Taking ZOOM+Performance for a Test Drive

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Most of us think about going to the doctor when we’re sick in order to get better. But what about checking in with your doctor when you’re well in order to enhance your health and actively try to prevent some of those acute illness or chronic injury visits in the future?

That’s exactly the concept behind ZOOM+Performance, one of three primary care platforms offered by ZOOM+Performance Health Insurance, a company right here in Portland, Ore., that’s committed to revolutionizing the American healthcare system. What started in 2006 (under the name ZoomCare) as state-of-the-art neighborhood urgent care clinics in Oregon, Washington and Idaho is now called ZOOM+ (as of 2015) and has transformed into a complete healthcare system with health insurance built in.

What’s brilliant, though, is that it goes beyond what is traditionally offered in healthcare delivery systems to play a critical role in preventing chronic illnesses that require costly interventions down the road. ZOOM+Performance, in particular, caught my eye because it’s geared toward people who want to optimize their human performance using food, movement and relationship as medicine.

ZOOM+’s mantra is “Twice the health at half the cost and 10 times the delight.” So when they invited me in last week for one of their signature wellness assessments, I decided to put that mission to the test.

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After checking in and filling out a few forms, Dr. Natasha Kassam whisked me off to a private room to get my vitals and take my health history. She white-boarded my information as we walked through current conditions, concerns and goals together (i.e. have a healthy baby and resume my normal level of activity when it’s safe!).

She explained that ZOOM+Performance’s assessment is aimed at helping people improve athletic performance, mental-focus and creative energy. After doing some deep brain, cell and body tests, including VO2 Max, Neuroagility and Body Comp (typically there are some labs, as well, but not for the purposes of this visit), we’d regroup and she would prescribe food and movement to help me achieve my potential.

Brain & Nervous System Function

First up was Heart Rate Variability testing, which measures the balance and function of the two branches of the autonomic nervous system. A balanced system, meaning both the “fight or flight” and “rest and digest” sides are responding equally well, supports optimal cognitive and physical function.

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I sat down in a big, comfy chair while Dr. Kassam hooked me up with a monitor that attached painlessly to my ear lobe. Math problems and puzzled flashed on the screen for a few seconds each, followed by a breathing exercise which helped set a baseline for measuring the ebb and flow of my two branches.

Body Composition

From there, we moved to another room with an alien-looking egg-shaped vessel in it called the BodPod. The BodPod is considered the Gold Standard in body comp tests because it delivers a highly-accurate measurement of body fat percentage using air displacement and body density as markers.

British Olympic diver and television personality Tom Daley testing his body composition (courtesy of BodPod)

British Olympic diver and television personality Tom Daley testing his body composition (courtesy of BodPod)

Although we knew my results would be skewed, it’s completely safe — even for preggos — so I decided to give it a shot to get a feel for the experience. After stripping down to my skivvies and donning a swim cap, Dr. Kassam locked me in (don’t worry; there’s an emergency release in case you get claustrophobic) for two rounds of measurements.

It was quick and painless, although I will admit it takes some getting used to! Expect to hear a rush of air and some thumping, plus you’ll feel a bit of pressure in your ears; but just sit still, stay calm and relax — it’s over before you know it.

Neuroagility

Next up was my favorite part of the session: Neuroagility. Thanks to infrared sensors, you get to interact with the neuroagility wall, which is an experimental assessment of neuromuscular coordination and gross-motor ability.

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Step one is to stand in front of the wall to get everything calibrated. Step two is a short practice run; it takes a moment or two to get a feel for how the system responds to your movements. And step three is the actual test where you’ll have a few seconds to “touch” orbs that appear in different positions on the wall.

You feel like you’re in a video game, and as the orbs appear and disappear more rapidly toward the end, you’ll be running back and forth like a crazy cat trying to follow a pointer on the wall. Now try doing this while pregnant — i.e. carrying extra weight, off balance and out of breath — and, well, you get the picture.

VO2 Max

For the final test, we went over to a bike that was wired up to a machine for the VO2 Max assessment. ZOOM+’s cycle test is a quick way for them to get the calculation, which is an indicator of aerobic efficiency and endurance.

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Dr. Kassam instructed me to pedal slowly and steadily on the bike while keeping an eye on one of the metrics (I forget which one it was — most likely cadence — but my instructions were to keep it around 60 despite changes in resistance). Meanwhile, they’d be tracking my heart rate and other stats to come up with a final score.

My Results & Recommendations

Brain & Nervous System Function: Although I was able to bring my system into equilibrium during the breathing exercise, the “stress” of the first part of the test threw me more into the “fight of flight” mode, so Dr. Kassam recommended daily meditation or mindful breathing to bring more awareness to my breath.

She recommended some useful apps and exercises, in addition to trying out rhythmic breathing while walking, running and biking in order to raise my performance threshold when under stress. As far as I’m concerned, she nailed this right on the head because it’s something that I currently neglect as part of my training regimen, but could help me perform better going forward.

Body Composition: Dr. Kassam warned me that this measurement wouldn’t be valid due to me being pregnant, and it was. I guess the machine doesn’t account for all things baby because I fell into the “Excess Fat” category, whoops!

But even though these results were skewed, it was well worth the experience so I know what it’ll be like next time around. I’m planning on going back post-baby to check in again so I can get some baseline metrics and make a game plan for getting back in shape.

Neuroagility: Oddly enough, despite having to lug around 15-20 extra pounds which left me feeling less than agile, I was able to score in the “Good” range here. I’ll be interested to see, though, if I can make it into the “Excellent” category post-baby when I feel a little less inhibited with my movement.

VO2 Max: Yes, I know I’m pregnant. And, yes, I know my heart rate is elevated, my lung capacity feels like it’s decreased and my endurance is lower due to these factors, as well as not being able to work out as hard or as long as I’m used to.

But I’ve got to admit that the “Average” rating here was, personally, a bit of a bummer. Of all the metrics, I figured it wouldn’t be too far of from my normal range…but I keep reminding myself that it’s all about the big picture right now.

And it just goes to show you how much of an impact pregnancy has on all of your systems. Don’t get me wrong; I’m more than happy to be able to divert any extra oomph toward Baby H, although I’ve got to admit that I’m excited to get back to work on this when I’m able to safely start training again!

The Verdict

After my tests were completed, Dr. Kassam and I met back up in the first room to discuss results, as well as her recommendations for moving forward. Of course, since things are a little out of whack at the moment, I wasn’t expecting anything revolutionary in terms of next steps; however, her insight really impressed me.

In addition to the mindfulness and breathing awareness exercises, she suggested that I try alternating in a high-dose probiotic with my usual probiotic supplement. The ideas is to flush and re-populate my GI tract — not only to aid with digestion, but also to keep my system in tip-top shape prior to delivery.

Dr. Kassam was also enthusiastic about the idea of adding gyrotonic workouts to my regimen. Gyrotonic utilizes three planes of movement for exercise sequences that are composed of spiraling, circular movements. These carefully-choreographed sequences are designed to create balance, efficiency, strength and flexibility — not to mention improve posture, regulate breathing and strengthen the core and pelvic floor (super important for moms-to-be!).

If I were on the ZOOM+ plan, the next steps would be for Dr. Kassam and I to set some measurable goals and design a 90-day sprint in which we’d make a game plan for how to go about reaching those goals. We’d meet monthly to check in on progress and tweak the approach, as needed.

This kind of accountability, along with the thoughtfulness and relevance of her suggestions, would no doubt produce some great results. In fact, even though I’m not doing the traditional sprint-and-follow-up format with ZOOM+, I am following through on her recommendations and look forward to going in for another assessment to get a more accurate baseline after Baby H comes this spring.

If you’re in the Portland area, it’s something I’d advise checking out because it’s both empowering and enlightening to be able to take your health into your own hands. Not to mention that getting ahead of the curve when it comes to healthcare is no longer something any of us can afford to ignore.

For more information about ZOOM+, visit ZoomCare.com.

Disclaimer: I received a complementary performance assessment to try. All opinions (and geeking out over the associated metrics) are my own, however. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Kinetic Fix!

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Fave Fix: Farm to Fit Delivers Farm-Sourced Dishes to Your Doorstep

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Chef Jeremy prepping breakfast, courtesy of Farm to Fit

We all know that living a healthy lifestyle has just as much — if not more — to do with properly fueling your body as it does with hitting up the gym. Yes, I’m talking about balanced meals, portion control and keeping calories in check. Simple, in theory, but many of us (me included) struggle with regularly putting it into practice.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not perfect when it comes to eating habits. For every beautiful nutrient-packed, whole-food meal I proudly make from scratch, there are a few nights each week where Ben and I find ourselves dining in a restaurant, grabbing something on the run or (gasp!) microwaving up a frozen pot pie, which was one of my early pregnancy cravings. Don’t judge. 

While we try to batch-cook on weekends as much as possible, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But we still want to prioritize healthy, home-cooked meals — now, and especially in the first few months after Baby H comes when we know we’ll be even shorter on time, sleep and energy.

One potential solution? I’ve got to credit Ben with this one: Farm to Fit, Portland’s own locally-sourced, portion-controlled, chef-powered meal delivery service. He met the owners and was intrigued by the description (I mean, it’s gotta be good to survive in a foodie town like this, right?), so we tested it out recently to give ourselves a break from the daily shop-chop-cook-collapse grind.

Chicken fajitas, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Chicken fajitas, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Farm to Fit graciously sent us a week’s worth of the 1,200-calorie a day plan, knowing that there would be plenty of wiggle room in there for ample snacking in between. Disclaimer: neither of us is on a diet — especially me right now — and while we don’t count calories because of our activity levels, we do snack consistently throughout the day to maintain weight and muscle mass.

The meals — breakfasts, lunches and dinners — arrived neatly packaged in an insulated cooler and each dish was labeled with nutritional info and microwave directions, if needed. Farm to Fit also included a handy print-out with a suggested order for consuming the meals, which is probably partly to do with the balance of calories for each day and partly to do with some foods being more perishable than others

Regardless, we dug in and were pleasantly surprised with the amount of food, the taste and the variety. Some of my favorites were the breakfast crepes (eggs, ricotta, spinach, basil, mozzarella, parsnip puree…oh, that puree), beef pho lunch (timely for rainy Portland soup-slurping weather), along with a perfectly-cooked and tender balsamic-glazed steak (with horseradish creme fraiche, sugar snap peas and a yummy root vegetable gratin). Ben also loved the paella with chicken, chorizo and shrimp, plus the Grecian frittatas with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, olive, feta and sausage.

As you can see, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill delivery meals; Farm to Fit’s team takes as much pride in meal planning, sourcing and prep as any of the restaurants around town. And the best part? You can enjoy some of Portland’s freshest seasonal produce in the comfort of your own home — without spending all of your free time in the kitchen.

Kahlua pork, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Kahlua pork, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Farm to Fit offers flexible weekly meal plans that are portion controlled, with the option of 1200, 1600, or 2000 calories per day, plus gluten-intolerant, low carb and diabetic-friendly options. Customers can choose from three-, five- and seven-day meal plans that are conveniently delivered every Monday and Thursday around Portland (for a $5-15 fee) or can be picked up at a number of specified pick-up locations around the area.

Menus change with the seasons to take advantage of fresh produce, and Farm to Fit makes more than 21 different meals per week. The company is also committed to locally-sourcing other ingredients, wherever possible; here’s a list of their local farm partners.

If you’re a picky eater, don’t despair; Farm to Fit also offers a special Signature Dish plan, which allows clients to customize menus to suit their tastes. Other special requests and/or substitutions can also be made at an additional charge.

Since Ben and I do enjoy cooking when we can, we’re not likely to use Farm to Fit indefinitely. However, it’s something we’re planning on signing up for intermittently when we want an occasional break, and Ben mentioned it might be a great way to take some of the pressure off when Baby H comes, so we can stay committed to eating healthy, nutritious meals while muddling our way through the early weeks of parenthood. Yes, please. 

Grilled Oregon coast salmon, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Grilled Oregon coast salmon, courtesy of Farm to Fit

For more information and ordering details, visit Farm to Fit’s website or call 503-688-9248.

Recipe: Green Bean Salad with Seared Pineapple and Shrimp

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Sick of the same old same old when it comes to summer dinners? Spice things up a bit with this Sriracha-spiked salad.

I spotted this recipe in the July issue of O Magazine, and since it’s A) not too heavy on ingredients, B) chock full o’ nutrients, and C) ready in practically no time, it’s been what’s for dinner. Especially on weeknights when we’re pressed for time and creative meal ideas!

And, no, it’s not as spicy as you’d think. I’m not one for set-your-mouth-on-fire heat, but I love me some Sriracha; this recipe is more about flavor, though, than pushing the limits of your palate.

Green Bean Salad with Seared Pineapple and Shrimp

(courtesy of Marcia Kiesel via O Magazine)

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1½ cups 1″ pineapple chunks
  • ½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. Sriracha

Directions:

  1. Bring a large nonstick skillet of water to a boil. Add ½ tsp. salt and green beans, and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
  2. In the dry skillet, heat ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil on high heat until shimmering. Add pineapple chunks in a single layer. Cook until browned on the bottom, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add ½ Tbsp. oil to skillet. When hot, add shrimp, and season with ⅛ tsp. salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring a few times, until shrimp is just cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pineapple.
  4. To skillet, add 2 Tbsp. oil and add garlic. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup tomatoes and cook 1 minute, crushing with a spoon to release juices. Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and Sriracha and stir well. Remove from heat and season with ¼ tsp. salt.
  5. To bowl, add reserved beans and the additional ½ cup tomatoes. Pour warm tomato-Worcestershire mixture on top and toss well. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Are you on Team Sriracha — yay or nay? 

Recipe: Thai-Style Noodle Salad

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As we creep toward our one-year anniversary of living in Oregon, we’re headed for a season of record-breaking temperatures. Not that I’m complaining. It’s going to take a lot more humidity to scare this Midwesterner who’s also lived through a few sweltering East Coast summers.

If I’ve noticed one thing, however, it’s that my desire to eat warm foods is inversely proportional to the number on the thermometer. So hot summer days call for a cold, protein-packed salad — and this one’s something I whipped up on a weeknight utilizing ingredients we already had on hand.

Because, if we’re being honest here, my willingness to hit the grocery store also plummets as the heat rises… 

Thai-Style Noodle Salad

Ingredients: 

Salad:

  • 1 package black bean pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 bag matchstick carrots (approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 cups grilled chicken, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise & chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 1 small container roasted peanuts

Sauce:

  • 2 cups all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP ginger (minced or paste)
  • Dash of salt

Directions: 

  1. Once pasta is cooked and cooled, place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all sauce ingredients.
  3. Pour sauce over salad, and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Serve immediately (with a sprinkle of peanuts), or refrigerate for an hour if you want to eat it cold.

Not only is the black bean pasta gluten-free, but it’s also a terrific source of protein — there’s a whopping 25 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber in every serving!

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This salad is super-versatile, too; I’d serve atop leafy greens for a more nutrient-dense main dish or as a side salad to accompany a meaty entree on nights when I’m looking for more protein.

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Do you adjust your kitchen habits with the weather?

Give Your Body a Natural Tune-Up with Turmeric

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Growing up, I remember my mom always experimenting with one superfood or another. Whether it was flaxseed, papaya pills, pomegranate seeds, blueberries, wheat germ, spinach, dark chocolate or garlic — you name it, we tried it in the name of achieving optimal health.

So it should probably come as no surprise that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. As much as I like to “eat the rainbow” and get an array of nutrients and vitamins through my diet, I’m not opposed to giving Mother Nature a little leg up every now and then with whatever natural remedy is all the rage.

This is why turmeric is the latest supplement to pique my interest. Well, more specifically, curcumin — the antioxidant found in turmeric.

Turmeric Root

Used for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb in China and India, turmeric is a distant relative of ginger. Not only does it give curry and mustard their bold yellow colors, but it’s been long used to support healthy digestion, promote cardiovascular health and support the immune system.*

Usually, I take daily turmeric supplements in pill form to ensure consistent consumption, and I was in the process of mulling over a post on the topic when Gaia Herbs reached out and asked if I’d like to try their new TurmericBoost products as an alternative. Um, yes!

I say “alternative” because instead of a pill it’s a powdered mix that’s flavored with vanilla and chai spices with no added sugar or flavorings. It comes in two varieties, Restore and Uplift, both of which contain concentrated turmeric extract to support a healthy inflammatory response with black pepper to aid in absorption, along with a prebiotic blend to support intestinal flora.*

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I’m not gonna lie, I was a little worried about mixing the turmeric directly into food; especially because it has a powerful smell. But I knew there was one way to test it for sure — in one of my now-infamous shower smoothies post-ride this past weekend.

So here’s what I whipped up, using my immersion blender:

  • 1 frozen banana, quartered
  • 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
  • 10 ounces unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tsp Gaia Herbs TurmericBoost: Restore

Simply blend all ingredients until smoothie reaches your desired consistency. Prepare with a handful of ice cubes if you like it thicker and colder. Pour into a glass, and enjoy!

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With a warm, bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of ginger, the turmeric blended seamlessly into my smoothie. In fact, with the addition of the vanilla and chai spices, it reminded both Ben and I of one of our favorite holiday drinks: eggnog.

This one went over so well in the husband taste test that I’m excited to try Gaia’s other turmeric recipes here. The Pumpkin Chia Pudding and Overnight Oats look especially interesting because I’m always looking for healthy, grab-and-go breakfasts after my morning workouts.

Now, the disclaimer: Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start mixing herbs and medicines so you don’t experience any adverse side effects.

Turmeric is known for being potent and playing well with others, so it might be something worth looking into if you’re searching for a more natural way to support your health and facilitate recovery.* Here’s a handy guide (below) with some additional information on turmeric’s health benefits, side effects and cautions if you’re interested in learning more.

Totally Turmeric: Your Complete Guide to Turmeric
“Totally Turmeric” on Health Perch

Why Gaia Herbs, in particular? Well, just as I like to shop at local farmer’s markets so I know where my produce comes from, I like the same level of detail when it comes to herbal supplements.

Every product manufactured by Gaia has a “Meet Your Herbs” number printed on the label, which allows you to trace every aspect of the product ingredients. This includes where the plants were grown, production methods, laboratory test results of safety and purity, along with information about scientific research and traditional use of herbs.

If you’re like me and are conscious about what you put into your body, that kind of transparency is much appreciated.

**Enter to WIN** Gaia wants to know how you ‪#‎livelifebrighter‬: Show how TurmericBoost helps you live a brighter life for a chance to win the ultimate smoothie pack + tons of healthy weekly prizes. Click here for details and to enter!

Do you ‘spice’ up your recovery process with supplements? 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Disclosure: I received samples of Turmeric Boost and received additional compensation from Gaia Herbs for testing their product, but all opinions are my own.

Recipe: Zest Nutrition’s Lemon Yogurt Cream Pie

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When she’s not helping kiddos eat better by day as a registered dietitian or running around with Team LUNA Chix Portland Run on Monday evenings, Megan Fuetterer can often be found in her kitchen concocting some pretty amazing so-good-you-won’t-believe-they’re-actually-good-for-you recipes.

Case in point: this pumpkin pie, which landed her on the TODAY show in Joy Bauer’s “Too Good To Be Healthy” holiday pie competition.

Megan, along with her business partner Anna Rossinoff, founded Zest Nutrition, which is dedicated to helping women shed the guilt and overcome the struggle with food. Zest’s mission is to take a whole-foods approach to eating to support women in accomplishing health goals and truly loving their bodies, so they can spend less time in their heads and more time in their hearts.

This Lemon Yogurt Cream Pie that Megan created is one such example; she wanted a treat for breakfast one morning, so she whipped up something that’s sweetened with honey, nestled in a whole-wheat crust and packed with protein from a yogurt base. Go ahead, and indulge without guilt!

Zest Nutrition’s Lemon Yogurt Cream Pie

For the Crust

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup softened coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Directions:

  1. Using a hand mixer, mix the flour, salt and oil together until you have good-looking crumbs.
  2. Add water and continue to mix. If your crust is too crumbly, continue to add water until you get the right consistency.
  3. Press crust into a the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan. You might have some leftover crust depending on how thin you make it.
  4. Bake your crust at 450F for 10 minutes. Let cool before adding pie filling.

For the Homemade Lemon Curd

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Mix together eggs, honey and lemon zest in a nonstick saucepan or pot.
  2. Heat over low heat, then add coconut oil and continue to stir.
  3. Once melted, stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes until it thickens.
  5. Let cool before adding to pie filling.

For the Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (Megan recommends 2%)
  • 1 1/2 cup homemade lemon curd (recipe above)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp water

Directions:

  1. Mix together yogurt, lemon curd, honey and vanilla.
  2. Put the water and gelatin in a microwave safe bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Then microwave for 10 seconds until gelatin is dissolved and immediately whisk the hot gelatin into yogurt mixture.
  3. Pour into pie crust, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to allow pie to set up.
  4. Add any toppings or garnish as desired…enjoy!

Megan’s secret to making this pie pop is the addition of homemade lemon curd, which is actually much easier to make that you’d think (I even added a few key limes we had on hand to give it extra zip).

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Ben and I couldn’t wait the full six hours for the pie to set, so we dove in after about four, topping it with fresh berries and devouring it as dessert.

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Of course, by morning it was even better — not only did the filling fully set, but the lemon-lime flavor also mellowed out a tad. Start your morning off with a slice and a cup of coffee, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a good day!

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Pie for breakfast: Yay or nay? 

Recipe: Coconut Flour Chocolate Chunk Bars

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Finally — a no-fail coconut flour recipe!

I could wax poetic about how these bars are low in carbs, high in fiber, gluten-free (depending on the chocolate), blah blah blah…but all you need to know its that — holy crap — they’re good. And not too bad for you.

Next time you have a hankering for chocolate chip cookies, this isn’t just a healthier substitute; it’s about to become your new go-to recipe for chewy, cakey, chocolatey bars with that perfect balance of sweet-and-salty, thanks to a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chunk Bars

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (I used cashew)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 oz your favorite dairy free dark chocolate bar, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, optional

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×8 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil, honey, vanilla, eggs, and almond milk. In a separate medium bowl whisk together coconut flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined and batter is smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate, reserving a few tablespoons for sprinkling on top, if desired.
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes (mine took closer to 26) or until edges are golden brown and knife comes out with a few crumbs attached. The batter may look like it’s not all the way cooked, but it will be. DO NOT OVERBAKE.
  5. Cool bars on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes so they settle a bit, then cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!

As mentioned above, I also sprinkled some sea salt on top before baking to offset the sweetness just slightly.

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Have you struck gold with a coconut flour recipe?