The Healthy (Conscious) Interview: Miranda Hammer of Crunchy Radish
When you think of a dietitian, what comes to mind? It’s usually not a food blogger or a plant-based chef…so I really love sharing the work of dietitians who inspire me. Miranda Hammer, Registered Dietitian and Founder of crunchyradish.com, is one of those dietitians. I started following her work after a student of mine tipped me off and both her blog and instagram account provide a delicious dose of inspiration that keeps me moving forward in my own healthy eating.
In addition to being a dietitian, Miranda is also a trained natural foods chef so you know this lady’s got some serious game in the (NYC-sized) kitchen. Let her inspire you to make the kitchen your playground!
Which came first, your dietetics career or your plant-centred diet? And how has one informed the other?
When I first began my career, I was not focused on plant-based nutrition as the corner stone of my ethos nor was I as focused on personally eating and living that way. As I began practicing, educating, and developing recipes and content, the importance of leading a plant-based lifestyle became more and more prominent for myself and in my writing and recipe creations.
You live in NYC – a city filled with tiny kitchens, super convenient takeout and meal delivery at every turn – what advice do you have to help get people cooking more often?
There are also amazing greenmarkets, CSAs, and speciality markets. I think the key is to make it work for you and place a priority on cooking. If you have a super busy schedule make the time to meal prep and set yourself up for success so you don’t turn to takeout or delivery when you get home late during the work week. Finding pleasure and reward in cooking and enjoying the process of purveying for ingredients and figuring out what to cook and experimenting, is all part of getting into the kitchen and finding fulfillment and enjoyment in cooking.
You’ve just finished your training as a natural foods chef; what new skill has seriously upped your kitchen intelligence?
I just finished the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts and it was an incredible experience. It really opened my eyes to a whole new way of cooking plant based. I learned a lot about cooking with seaweed, scratch cooking condiments, medicinal cooking, and making vegan desserts.
It used to be that salad was a “compromise” meal for a healthy eater…your instagram feed definitely squashes that notion. What makes a killer salad, in your opinion?
I love playing around with textures and crunch whether its from toasted nuts, shiitake bacon, chickpea poppers, or crunchy veggies. Also making things vibrant with a diversity of colors and of course acid. I love a zesty dressing with lemon juice, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil.
With all you have going on…how do you nourish your body and mind to stay well?
I always prioritize working out. I usually run in the park in the morning with my dog and husband and I will also sign up for a few HIIT classes at Refine Method during the week. I am learning more and more the importance of balance and how to embrace the slower moments which will then allow me to more skillfully ride through the intense busy times.
How to make the BEST roasted Brussels sprouts (AD)
Without a doubt, Brussels sprouts are my favourite vegetable. Like, it’s no contest. I could eat a whole pound of these roasted Brussels sprouts to myself!
These tiny “little cabbages” are deeply flavourful and loaded with nutrition: as a member of the cruciferous veg family just like kale and broccoli, they’re packed with anti-inflammatory sulfur-based phytochemicals called glucosinolates. What’s more, they’re also high in fibre; one cup of cooked sprouts contains 6 grams!
So, I’m partnering with @halfyourplatecanada to help you make perfect Brussels every single time! In my opinion, it’s the best way to cook Brussels to bring out the natural sweetness and tone down any sulfur-notes that might have you cringing about all the mushy Brussels you ate as a kid.
How to perfectly roast Brussels sprouts in 4 EASY steps:
🔥 Use a higher heat: crank that oven to 425.
🌱 Trim + halve 2 lbs (900g) of sprouts and toss with 3 tbsp avocado oil, plus ½ tsp each of salt and garlic powder, and some pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. You need more oil than you think to get the browning and crispness you’re looking for.
👩🏻🍳 Flip them cut side down. Roast for 20-30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes, and every 3-4 minutes after. Smaller sprouts will likely be done in 20!
💥 Taste and adjust any little flavour boosters you like. I like a pinch of chile flakes. And to round out any bitterness you taste, a little drizzle of maple syrup will make it disappear! But you could also add a bit of lemon zest, or extra flaky salt, or even some almond parmesan!
Shopping tip: Look for sprouts that are bright green with firm, tight leaves. When roasting, choose sprouts that are about the same size so they cook evenly, without the too small ones getting burnt.
For the full recipe, with the almond parmesan, head to the link in my bio!
This peppermint bark is so yummy and soooo easy, it makes a great holiday hosting gift! (AD)
I really love gifting homemade goodies around the holidays, so whenever I can, I am mindful to make allergen-friendly treats so that everyone can enjoy them, like this peppermint chocolate bark made with @enjoylifefoods new Chocolateriz - Ricemilk baking morsels and white baking mini chips!
It’s fun to make with the kiddos, plus, it’s a school-safe treat for end-of-year celebrations!
Did you know that 1 in 2 Canadian households is impacted by food allergy?
Enjoy Life is made in North America’s largest dedicated nut- and gluten-free facility, and all of their products are free of the top 14 common food allergens, like wheat, egg and dairy (so yes, they’re vegan!) and perfect for those with intolerances, too.
Peppermint Holiday Bark
255 gram bag of Enjoy Life Chocolateriz - Ricemilk Morsels
255 gram bag of Enjoy Life White Baking Mini Chips
½ cup (125 mL) mini candy canes
¼ teaspoon (1.25 mL) peppermint extract
Method is in the comments!!
Visit enjoylifefoods.ca to learn more about the new products 🍫
Confused about what serving sizes on the nutrition facts actually mean? (AD)
You know that I’m not a big numbers person: nutrition should be simple! Eat mostly whole and lightly processed plants like vegetables, canned beans and sprouted grain bread and don’t sweat the rest of it.
But what if you want to check in on your fibre intake? Or see how you’re doing with protein?
That’s when understanding the nutrition facts panel matters. So let’s talk serving sizes…which don’t really tell you how much you SHOULD eat. Instead, they make it easier to COMPARE different products by telling you how much nutrition is in a reference serving.
And this year, the reference serving for bread in Canada changed to help make the labels more consistent. Soon, if you haven’t already, you’ll see that the serving size for breads is now 2 slices because, based on stakeholder feedback, that’s the most commonly eaten serving.
When the serving sizes are the same, it is easier to compare things like fibre, protein and minerals between breads.
So next time you pick up @silverhillsbakery Sprouted Grain Breads take a peek! You’ll notice that 2 slices of most varieties contains 10 grams of fibre, more than 10 grams of protein and higher levels of some minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium than many other whole wheat breads.
But that doesn’t mean YOU need to eat 2 slices. We all have different body sizes, activity levels and appetites. You might only need 1 slice…or you might need 3! If that’s the case, remember to do the math on the label,cutting values in half to see the amount in one slice.
Have a question about label reading, sprouted grains or fiber? Drop it in the comments!
Eating higher fibre plant foods with an irritated or inflamed gut can lead to pain, bloating or diarrhea.
But does that mean you don’t tolerate them?
Not exactly 🤔
Instead, consider your gut in need of some rehab, the same way that you’d rehab your body in order to get back to full activity post-injury.
The reason why plant fibres feel irritating - but also why they’re so good for you - is that by definition they are hard to break down and not 100% absorbed.
So the undigested or unabsorbed plant matter travels through the gut where it may feel irritating, gets fermented by gut bacteria leading to pain or bloating, or drawing water into the gut leading to loose 💩
But you CAN increase tolerance.
I did it in practice for years: increasing intake of plants AND improving gas, bloating and 💩 at the same time.
It’s best done one-on-one but I know that not everyone has access to a dietitian so consider these tips with your doc:
1. Choose a low fermentation, soluble fibre like psyllium or partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG). These are less irritating and don’t cause as much gas as other fibres.
Start with 1 tsp (5 mL) a day. Drink at least 1 extra glass of water a day. Take separately from supplements + medications as it can bind them up. Wait until you feel no symptoms before you increase dose.
2. What about food? juiced or blended is your friend. Can’t eat chickpeas? Try 1 tbsp hummus. Can’t do greens? Try green juice. Veggies tough? Try making a roasted vegetable soup.
Cooking veg, and blending, makes veg easier to digest. A tiny bit is better than nothing!
3. Go slow and be consistent. It’s better to drink 1/2 cup of green smoothie every single day than to try a stir fry once a week. Your gut - and gut microbiome - need time to adjust. And it will!!
Hope these tips are helpful! Looking for more?
I’m doing a mini-deep dive on FODMAPS in my Nutrition with Desiree community Friday (it’s free!) or grab a copy of my book Good For Your Gut. The Soothe recipes are designed for compromised guts.
The information on this site is intended as educational only and cannot replace one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian.
We respectfully acknowledge that we live and work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation.