All posts by Jana Snyder

How to store fresh spinach

fresh baby spinach + how to store it

Ingredient readiness makes healthy homecooking so much easier! Fresh baby spinach is one of those things that’s ALWAYS on hand in my fridge. Its flavor and texture are very mild, and it’s an easy way to add healthy greens to so many dishes. But if you don’t store it right, it can quickly waste away into a slimy mess in the bottom of the veggie drawer!

Here are my tips on storage to keep spinach fresh as long as possible.

Important note: when I show how to use a paper towel for fridge storage, I forgot to mention or show that you also put the lid back on the bin!

Here are some of my favorite ways to use spinach:

As a pizza topper: Gluten-free pizza crust

In these quick, easy mini-fritters.

Paleofied buffalo chicken quesadillas

Crustless make-ahead quiche


And, of course, spinach salads:

Spinach salad with strawberries

Quinoa and spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

Club salad with creamy vinaigrette

You might also like my post on 30 things I always keep stocked in my kitchen. Ingredient readiness makes healthy homecooking so much easier!



Featured image by chiara conti on Unsplash

Why the food-health connection is so personal for me

my family - why food + health is personal to me

The connection between real food and health is a very personal topic for me.

It began when I was 15, sitting in a pastor’s office with my parents. (I was about that age in the photo above. I’m on the left.) My poor mom and dad were at their wits’ end: they couldn’t figure out why their daughter had turned into Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde. I was prone to such angry, violent outbursts that I sometimes frightened my own mom and dad. I could see it in their eyes.

After listening to our story for a bit, the pastor asked my parents a surprising, pivotal question: “Have you had her tested for hypoglycemia?” (low blood sugar).

So began my journey into understanding the connection between food and mental/emotional well-being.

My mom dove into understanding the medical issue and then explaining it to me so I could get it. I learned that eating sugar sent my biochemistry on a rollercoaster that had the power to make me anything from foggy-headed to hopeless to furious. After some adjustments to our family’s diet, I learned how to eat mostly sugar-free, most of the time. I adhered to that way of eating to varying degrees over the next few decades.

Fast-forward about 20 years, and the health challenge was no longer mine: it was my parents’. They were in their late 60’s and, based on the common medical advice, began following a “heart-healthy diet.” Lots of fruit, salads with low-fat dressing, whole grains, and limited, very lean meat. Butter and eggs were replaced with chemical doppelgangers. Lots of packaged and processed foods, too. Anything was fine, as long as it was labeled “low fat,” “low calorie,” or “diet.”

If it's low fat, it must be healthy!

I remember being confused in the eighties when I began to hear about red meat and eggs and dairy fat being bad for you. Everyone in my family grew up on farm fare: homegrown vegetables, of course, but also eggs every day, bacon or sausage for breakfast, and home-raised or local beef and chicken — with all the fat! Nobody dieted or counted calories.

And they were the healthiest people I knew.

Mom + Dad when they were young
Mom and Dad in younger years

A few years into following their low-fat diet, my mom was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, so she got even more serious about following the diet to the letter.

Grandma reading to grandkids - before dementia set in

Around 2004, she began showing signs of dementia. Soon, she received the diagnosis of “probable Alzheimer’s.”

This time, I was the one digging into the medical info. And what I found stunned me.

Yes, there’s a genetic component to dementia. (My mom’s mom also had it.) But back then, science was just beginning to suspect that it’s not the fat that’s driving heart disease and diabetes: it’s the sugar and carbs. Now, 10 years later, the case looks more certain.

There is a strong correlation between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. One study found that having diabetes almost doubles one’s odds of having Alzheimer’s. Many experts are now calling it Type 3 Diabetes. (Including the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology and the Mayo Clinic.)


But dementia isn’t the only disease linked with diet. My dad had been diagnosed with Lupus while I was still in high school. Until he started the strong meds to keep the debilitating symptoms at bay, this I-can-fix-anything guy could barely hold a screwdriver, because his hands were so swollen and painful. I remember his trying to talk my mom and me through an electrical repair — an exercise in frustration for everyone involved!

helping Grandpa fix a motor

In 2007, my dad was diagnosed with a second disease: pulmonary fibrosis. His lungs were being consumed by scar tissue. This was likely the result, said his doctor, of either the lupus, or the medication he’d been taking for it the last 25 years.

Recent evidence is also beginning to recognize a connection between diet and autoimmune diseases, or at least the symptoms. (one source)

Genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.

I tried desperately to re-educate my parents, but it was too late. The old “low fat, diet everything” mantra was too strongly ingrained in them. As they continued to follow the mainstream advice, they spiraled down into worse and worse health.

My dad died in 2010. His mind was sharp to the end, but his body betrayed him, and his last few days were harrowing. A week before he died, a nurse told me she could hear dripping water in his chest.

My mom’s Alzheimer’s took 10 long, dark years to steal her away.

Her grandchildren — my son and daughter — had been her greatest delight. She missed their high school and college graduations, because even travelling a short distance would have been too overwhelming for her.

granddaughter's wedding

She missed her granddaughter’s wedding. At that point, she longer recognized any of us, even for a second.

She joined my dad in heaven in 2015.

my parents in happier days

Could a different diet have prevented or reversed their disease? I don’t know. No one can say for sure. And let me be clear: I’m not saying diet is a cure. (Except, possibly, for Type 2 Diabetes.) There are certainly other factors at play, but after reading story after story of people reversing the effects of diabetes and autoimmune diseases with diet, I firmly believe that a real-food diet with the necessary healthy fats could have slowed and lessened the cruel impact these illnesses had on our family.

But it’s not too late for me. I have fully committed to an almost completely sugar-free lifestyle, with minimal proccessed and maximum whole foods.

And now it’s my passion to reach others before it’s too late for them. I want to save other moms, dads, and grandparents from missing out on life while they’re still living.

And it’s not just disease that robs us of life while we’re still living: it’s achy joints, and lack of energy, and foggy brain. It’s discouragement and guilt about how helpless we feel to make permanent, meaningful changes.

So now this is my passion:


Inspiring people rescue their own health,

by equipping them to change

what they eat and why they eat.



It’s not too late for you, either. How can I help you?

Learn more:

Can I help?

A food freedom manifesto

celebrate your food freedom



Being free to make your own personal, informed choices about food.
Knowing which foods you’re free to eat because they’re kind to your body and mind.

food freedom is...

Knowing which foods you’ve chosen to free yourself from because of their addictive or harmful qualities.

Knowing your own healthiest boundaries; when you can relax them and when you can’t.


woman enjoying food freedom

When you slip up, you don’t give up. You give yourself grace and move on.
Not expecting food to fill your depleted heart, mind, or soul.
Enjoying delicious food — with gratitude, without guilt.

free to enjoy delicious food

–  Jana Snyder, 2017

“Food Freedom Is” printable – A simple black-and-white page, free to download and print.


images via Upsplash:

woman holding sparkler – by Morgan Sessions

raising a hand – by Eye for Ebony

woman looking to the side – by Katie Treadway

muffin w/ pansy – by Alex Loup

Keto snickerdoodles!!!

Keto snickerdoodles - gluten-free, almost sugar-free

Some phrases bring together words whose combination blows the mind. Things that just seem impossible, or too good to be true. “Affordable luxury.” “Well-behaved two-year-old.” “Clean kitchen countertops.”

When I heard the words “keto snickerdoodle,” I had that kind of reaction. No! That can’t be done!

But ketosizeme did it. A completely sugar-free, gluten-free snickerdoodle!

When my daughter was home for Thanksgiving, I requested she make that recipe. (I love having this girl in my kitchen!)

DD making sugar-free snickerdoodles

ketosizeme's snickerdoodle recipeThe cookies came out gorgeous!

They look very similar to the traditional cookies, and we loved the texture. There were a few things we didn’t love, though. None of them the fault of the original recipe…

We thought they needed a little more cinnamon on the outside — just a matter of personal preference. Ours came out way too sweet — probably a result of using a different kind of sweetener. (One of my pet peeves with stevia is that there’s so little consistency in sweetness from brand to brand, making it hard to nail someone else’s recipe unless you know what brand they’re using.) And the last thing we wanted to see if we could change was that the cookies left a weird cooling sensation in the mouth. This was probably a result of the erythritol in the Truvia sweetener we used. (Erythritol is a refined sugar alcohol that has little or no effect of blood sugar levels.) I don’t usually use granular stevia, because I haven’t found one that I like that’s free of fillers, but in this case, I thought the cookies really needed a granular sweetener.

So I experimented with the recipe a bit.

I significantly reduced the amount of sweetener used in the cookie, and tweaked the other ingredients to bring the flavor closer to what I think is a classic snickerdoodle taste — more vanilla, for one thing.

Mine didn’t spread as nicely as the original recipe; they came out having more of a bon-bon shape, but they still make a pretty plate of cookies.

plate of keto snickerdoodles

I felt that, because the coating on the outside is the first thing that hits your taste buds, I should use real sugar for that, rather than a sweetener that might leave an aftertaste or weird sensations. But there’s only two teaspoons of sugar in the whole recipe — which works out to 1/10th of a teaspoon or less for each individual cookie — which I consider a very acceptable amount. (If even a tiny amount awakens your sugar dragon, though, you might want to try a granular sweetener instead.)

Also, my husband thought my first version was a little too oily, so I cut back on the butter and added a little coconut milk. (You can use real milk, cream, or half-and-half, if that works for your diet.)

And with that change, we were both like, “Nailed it!”


Keto snickerdoodle recipe

Makes about 20, depending on size.

2 cups almond flour from blanched almonds
3 Tbsp Truvia sweetener
3 Tblsp butter, softened
1 egg + 1 yolk
1.5 teasp vanilla extract
1 teasp coconut milk (the thick kind for cooking, not the thin kind for drinking)
1/2 teasp baking soda
1/2 teasp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

1 teasp cinnamon
2 to 3 teasp fine sugar, organic if possible (if your sugar is coarse, use 4 to 6 teasp)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the cinnamon sugar coating in a small bowl and set aside. (Use the lesser amount of sugar [2 teasp fine or 4 teasp coarse] if you’re accustomed to little or no sugar in your diet. Use the higher amount [3 teasp fine or 6 teasp coarse] if not.)

Butter should be softened almost to the point of melting. Mix all dough ingredients well in a small mixing bowl, using a mixer if possible. (A small handheld mixer is fine.) The dough will look crumbly, but will stick together well when pressed.

keto snickerdoodle cookie dough

Roll the dough into balls slightly larger than 1 inch, or use a cookie scoop. Coat the balls in the cinnamon sugar, leaving the bottom side uncoated. (This avoids burning the cinnamon sugar, and reduces the amount of sugar you’ll ultimately eat with each cookie.)


cookie dough in cinnamon sugar


Place closely spaced on a parchment-lined or nonstick cookie sheet. The cookies will spread a little, but not much. Place in the preheated oven on the middle rack.

keto snickerdoodles, ready to bake

Check cookies at 10 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out mostly clean. It’s good for them to be soft in the middle. If they’re not quite done, continue checking every minute or so.

keto snickerdoodles, just baked

Let cool to room temp, then store in an airtight container.

Makes about 20, depending on size.

Don’t have time to make ’em today? Pin it for later!

These very-low-sugar, gluten-free snickerdoodles are crazy close to the real thing!

Wanna change? Start small and doable. (#2thingschallenge)

start small - like really small

I remember when I first felt a glimmer of hope that I might actually be able to lose the weight I’d gained over the course of several stressful years. I found a website for a personal trainer, and the people in the “before pics” looked a lot like me. But what was even more encouraging was their “after pics.” They looked leaner, healthier, happier — but not like they were spending two hours a day working out. Maybe this is possible, I thought. And I actually cried from relief. I hadn’t realized just how hopeless I felt until a little ray of hope shone into my gloomy heart.

Continue Reading

Almond Hummus (Keto and Paleo)

legume-free hummus recipe - keto, paleo, whole30 compliant

If you haven’t had hummus, I encourage you to get past the weird name (it took me a while) and give it a try. The main ingredient is chickpeas, but they’re really there for substance more than flavor; it’s the seasonings that carry this dish. Hummus is a creamy, garlicky, cumin-blessed mess. This Lebanese dish is usually served as a dip, but can also be used as a sandwich or wrap spread, a topping for grilled chicken, or even salad dressing.

Continue Reading

2 things you gotta change for permanent weight loss

2 things you gotta change for permanent weight loss

For years, I had only temporary success at weight loss. I’d exercise for a while, lose some fat, then stop exercising and gain it back. Or I’d cut out some foods, lose a few pounds, then gain them back. Usually the cycle ran less than a year.

I’m not alone. Nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years, according to Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. (source)

Continue Reading