Running through the city with a La Colombe coffee in one hand, while quickly inhaling a Balthazar croissant from the other, it’s hard to imagine taking the time to cook a healthy, well-balanced meal at day’s end. With a schedule fuller than your Seamless delivery history and your summer holiday looming, night after night ending in a carb loaded bloat isn’t helping you feel bikini-ready or more importantly, giving you the energy you need to keep up with your ambitious workload. When your 9-to-5 job looks more like 7-to-8 (including commute and endless late-night emails) the last question you want to ask yourself is what you would like on your dinner salad.

It’s not enough to just “eat clean,” you need to put healthful food in your body that’s easy to digest, leaves you feeling full, and helps your body recover from the long day of work you’ve put it through.

We are often led to believe that listening to our bodies is the key component to a healthier and happier life. And that’s true to an extentof course we should be checking in with ourselves and try to interpreting what our bodies need, but what we think our bodies are saying is not always true. I hear from my nutrition clients constantly, “I ate really well throughout the day, but then it got to about 8pm and I became ravenous.” Our mood and how we see things changes constantly throughout the day depending on our environment, what we’ve eaten that day, and any other perceived stressors. We may have great intentions of a healthful meal plan, but when stress elevates and sleep dwindles, our trusted intuition craves food that gives quick energy, i.e. carbs and sugar.

There are easy resolutions though, my favorite being the slow cooker solution.  By slow cooking your food, you’re not only simplifying your prep work and active cook time, but you’re also making the food more bioavailable. According to Food & Nutrition, when meat is slow cooked, you reduce the cell damaging compounds known as AGEs (advanced glycation end products), which is linked to inflammation, as well as decreasing the time it takes to digest making it easier to absorb the nutrients like magnesium, collagen, and glucosamine, which actually helps reduce inflammation and joint pain.  Here is my go to recipe that I use for at least two dinners and at least one lunch weekly.

Try this simple nutrient packed recipe:

2 lbs beef or lamb shank

– the bone in is where you will reap the greatest benefits from the collagen

3 large carrots (5 small)

– high in antioxidants which helps fight free radical damage

6 celery stalks

– increase digestion, and reduces bloating

1 C mushrooms (any type, increases the rich umami flavor)

– high in antioxidants which helps fight free radical damage

1 tbsp ras el hanout

– which is a blend of anti inflammatory spices ginger, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice, cloves and cayenne

1/2 tbsp tumeric

– anti-inflammatory

1/2 tsp salt

– helps break down meat and increase digestibility

Step 1: Rough chop veggies, I like to keep pieces about an inch long

Step 2:  Add meat, veggies and spices in to slow cooker

Step 3:  Add enough water that contents are covered

Step 4: Put on low heat for 5 hours

I like to add avocado and fresh cilantro to my stew after cooking to help keep it fresh.

Note:  If you prefer a meat free meal, a slow cooker is also a great way to make a quick Indian dal. My go-to is this  coconut red lentil dal I found from Nicholas Day.

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