West African Veggie Stew

West African Veggie Stew

by HealthyMeNow.net

Prep     15 min       Cook   30 min        Ready In         45 min             Serves: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled & cut ¼ inch slices
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ teaspoon each cinnamon and crushed red pepper
  • 1 quart chicken broth (vegetable broth if going Vegan)
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped spinach


  1. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes. Add raisins, cinnamon, red pepper and broth. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes.
  3. Add chickpeas and spinach. Heat through. Serve over cooked rice or couscous, if desired.


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Negative Labels

Many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation, but this can be reversed.

We live in a culture that uses labels as a means of understanding the world and the people living in it. As a result, many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation. Unless we can find a way to see the good in such a label, we may feel burdened by an idea of ourselves that is not accurate. It is important to remember that almost nothing in this world is all good or all bad, and most everything is a complex mixture of gifts and challenges. In addition, different cultures revere certain qualities over others, but this does not mean that these qualities are inherently good or bad. For example, a culture that elevates outgoing behavior will label an introvert in a negative way, calling them antisocial. In truth, the ability to spend time alone is one that most great artists, mystics, and visionaries share. Owning the positive side of this label can lead us deeper into our gifted visions and fertile imaginations.
When we look into the lives of any of the great people in history, we always find that they had quirks and eccentricities that earned them less than ideal labels from the societies in which they lived. Many famous artists and musicians were considered to be isolated loners or disruptive troublemakers, or sometimes both, yet these people altered history and contributed to the world an original vision or advances in our understanding of the universe. If we can remember this as we examine our own selves and the labels people use to describe us, we find that there is a bright side to any characterization.

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Feminine Wisdom

What makes a woman confident is her ability to call

upon her feminine wisdom.

So often in our world we tend to think of strength as a quality that arises from a place of firm determination and a will to succeed no matter the cost. Even though we might want to think of a strong woman as being defined in this way, what really makes a woman confident is her capacity for listening to her true self and being able to call upon her feminine wisdom to any situation that may arise. A woman does not need to step into an assertive role or act like a man in order to be effective at what she does—she simply needs to get in touch with her insight and sense of compassion to truly demonstrate the depth of her strength.

Listening to the feminine side of ourselves may not seem easy at first for this type of energy is something that is often overlooked in many aspects of our everyday lives. If we can connect with this part of who we are, however, we will find that there is an unlimited wellspring of strength available to us. Our capacity to tap into our intuition and listen to our inner guides, to take into account the needs of those around us, and to view a situation with compassion and love are ways that we can show the world the true power that is part of our feminine nature. When we learn to integrate this source of strength into our daily tasks and decision-making, we will find that we can be more flexible and open to the things that happen around us and more receptive to new ideas. Not only will we see the world in a different light, but we will truly start to realize the potential for this form of energy to both empower ourselves and those around us.

As we cultivate our feminine energy we can redefine the meaning of strength. By embracing our feminine power as something that is strong in its own right, we are able to use it with true assurance and determination and draw upon what truly belongs to us.


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Harness The Power

When we take the time to recognize when we are happy

and what that feels like, it becomes easier to recreate.

Those of us on the path of personal and spiritual growth have a tendency to analyze our unhappiness in order to find the causes and make improvements. But it is just as important, if not more so, to analyze our happiness. Since we have the ability to rise above and observe our emotions, we can recognize when we are feeling joyful and content. Then we can harness the power of the moment by savoring our feelings and taking time to be grateful for them.

Recognition is the first step in creating change, therefore recognizing what it feels like to be happy is the first step toward sustaining happiness in our lives. We can examine how joy feels in our bodies and what thoughts run through our minds in times of bliss. Without diminishing its power, we can retrace our steps to discover what may have put us in this frame of mind, and then we can take note of the choices we’ve made while there. We might realize that we are generally more giving and forgiving when there’s a smile on our face, or that we are more likely to laugh off small annoyances and the actions of others when they don’t resonate with our light mood.

Once we know what it feels like and can identify some of the triggers and are aware of our actions, we can recreate that happiness when we are feeling low. Knowing that like attracts like, we can pull ourselves out of a blue mood by focusing on joy. We might find that forcing ourselves to be giving and forgiving, even when it doesn’t seem to come naturally, helps us to reconnect with the joy that usually precedes it. If we can identify a song, a picture, or a pet as a happiness trigger, we can use them as tools to recapture joy if we are having trouble finding it. By focusing our energy on analyzing happiness and all that it encompasses, we feed, nurture, and attract more of it into our lives, eventually making a habit of happiness.

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Food You Want to Avoid

Foods/Additives to Avoid

The typical American diet of fast foods, white flour, sugar and poor nutrient intake contributes to the malnourishment of individuals leading to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other illnesses readily occurring today.

We eat for health or disease. The following list is for you to avoid eating for disease:

Foods to Avoid
• Fast food
• Junk food
• Sugar (such as high fructose corn syrup, glucose, maltose, sucrose, dextrose)
• Fat- free products (added sugar and sodium and preservatives)
• Sugar-free products (artificial sweeteners are hazardous to our health and stimulate hunger)
• White flour
• Processed foods
• Caffeine
• Sodas and carbonated beverages
• Fried foods
• Hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats
• Artificial sweeteners (splenda, nutrasweet, sweet n low)

Common Chemical Additives to Avoid
• Artificial colors and flavors
• Sodium nitrite and nitrate
• BHT and BHA
• Aspartame and saccharin
• Sucralose/Splenda
• Sulfites
• Sulfur dioxide
• Brominated vegetable oil (BVO)
• Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
• Propyl gallate
• Propylene glycol
• Aluminum salts
• Polysorbate 60, 65 and 80
• All dyes – yellow, blue, red, green, etc.

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More Healthy Food You Should Include


Protein: Protein boosts the immune system, creates neurotransmitters, builds muscle mass.

Quinoa: A plant seed that is a nature’s superfood! It contains all essential amino acids required to build muscles and repair body tissue. Contains magnesium to relax muscles and lower blood pressure. Excellent source of minerals acting as antioxidants to rid body of cancer and disease causing substances. Helps reduce headaches and migraines.

Asparagus: Asparagus is rich in protein. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C, Riboflavin, and folic acid.

Beans: Beans contain calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, folate, and alpha-linolenic acid. They are proven to help in the fight against cancer. Beans are high in protein, beneficial to those with diabetes, helps lower cholesterol, promotes normal activity of liver and pancreas, helps relieve rheumatism and gout. They are also beneficial for anemia, hypoglycemia, thyroid ailments, diabetes, skin problems and those who are overweight.

Beets: Beets are an excellent blood builder and body cleanser. They are a great source of amino acids and Vitamins A, C and B6.

Bell Peppers: Bell peppers are rich in silicon, which nourishes your hair and nails. They are helpful for skin blemishes, colic and annoying flatulence. This type of pepper is also shown to prevent clot formation and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Broccoli: Broccoli is high in Vitamins A, B, C, potassium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, B-complex and protein. It is is rich in the cancer-fighting substance DIM and aids in detoxification.

Brussels Sprouts: Brussel sprouts are high in Vitamins A, B, C, potassium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, B-complex and protein. When eaten raw, they are one of the best sources of Vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also aid in detoxification and work as a cancer fighter.

Cabbage: Cabbage is a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-complex, potassium, magnesium and calcium. It is an effective laxative. Cabbage has been known to improve stomach ulcers, heal the skin and remove toxins from the body.

Carrots: Carrots are one of the best sources of beta-carotene. They also contain Vitamins B, C, D, E and K, calcium phosphorus, potassium, and organic sodium. Carrots are excellent for the skin, hair and nails. They stimulate digestion and help the body get rid of excess water. Carrots also have a tonic effect on the liver and aid in cleansing the liver.

Cauliflower: Cauliflower contains Boron, which helps in the fight against osteoporosis. It has similar benefits to cabbage.

Celery: Celery is rich in Vitamins A, C, B-complex, calcium, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, iron and sodium. It aids in regularity and is a good nerve tonic. It also is useful in lowering blood pressure and normalizing the body temperature during summer months. Celery contains organic sodium, which is essential to the proper functioning of the major body systems.

Cucumber: Cucumbers combat toxins in the body. They are a great energy source for muscles and nerves, fight infection, calm anxiety, promote urinary flow. Cucumbers are also helpful for arthritis, cramps, indigestion, anemia, constipation, gout and rheumatism.

Ginger: Ginger is an excellent carminative—a substance that promotes the elimination of intestinal gas. Ginger relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract and helps to relieve nausea and vomiting.

Kale: Kale improves the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. It is one of the best suppliers of nutrition for the eyes and has more calcium ounce for ounce than milk.

Lettuce: Lettuce aids normal elimination. It is a natural sedative and is helpful for insomnia. It’s also used in the prevention of hair loss and nervous problems. Lettuce also helps with the flexibility of muscles and joints.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are rich in Vitamins C and D, folic acid, pantothenic acids and phosphorus. They help fight bacteria and aid in stopping further development of blood vessels for tumor growth, apoptosis for cancer cells.

Onions: Onions are rich in vitamin C, copper and iron, as well as sulfur (major detoxification pathway), calcium and phosphorus.

Parsley: Parsley promotes normal digestion and urination and eliminates uric acid. It is helpful for anemia, arthritis, bladder problems, female endocrine problems, kidney problems, liver problems, prostate problems and urinary tract problems.

Radishes: Radishes are rich in iron and magnesium. They help stimulate the appetite and digestion by having an antiseptic effect on the intestinal tract. The high sulfur content tones the bloodstream and keeps it fresh and clean. Radishes heal and soothe the mucous membranes. They promote gall bladder function, stimulate respiration and calm the nerves. They are helpful for asthma, lung problems, thyroid disorders, eczema and sinus problems.

Romaine Lettuce: Romaine lettuce is one of the most nutritious types of lettuce. It aids normal elimination, acts as a sedative, is helpful for insomnia, hair loss and nervous problems. It also helps with the flexibility of muscles and joints.

Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti squash is high in beta-carotene, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and helps prevent atherosclerosis. It also supports blood sugar regulation.

Spinach: Spinach contains twice as much iron as most other greens. It is a strong protector against cancer. It also restores energy, increases vitality and improves the quality of the blood.

Sweet Potatoes & Yams: Sweet potatoes and yams are exceptionally rich in carotenes. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C, calcium and potassium.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are full of nutrition. Red tomatoes have up to 4 times the amount of beta-carotene as green tomatoes. They are an excellent supply of Vitamin C, carotenes and potassium, but may aggravate arthritis in some individuals. Tomatoes have more nutrients than an apple which has more than 500!

Turnip Greens: Turnip greens improve the blood’s ability to carry oxygen around the body. They are one of the best suppliers of nutrition for the eyes. Turnip greens also have more calcium ounce for ounce than milk.

Zucchini: Zucchini contains Vitamin C and Lutein, which promotes eye health. Zucchini helps to lower high homocysteine levels.

Zucchini Squash: Zucchini squash helps cure asthma, as it contains Vitamin C—a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties. Zucchini squash can also help prevent the risk of having multiple sclerosis.

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Healthy Food You Should Include


Apples: Apples contain more than 500 nutrients. They stimulate muscles and nerves, help eliminate uric acid and reduce cholesterol. Apples also promote normal digestion and liver function. They have laxative properties.

Apricots: Apricots build healthy muscle and nerve tissue, stimulate the appetite, and have a laxative action. They are astringent to the stomach and may be beneficial in treating anemia. Apricots are also stimulating when applied to normal facial skin and they promote healthy skin tone.

Berries: Berries are rich in vital nutrients, yet low in calories. They are excellent sources of potassium, pure water, water-soluble fibers, and flavonoids, which serve as protection against environment stress. Berries alter the body’s reaction to allergens, viruses, and carcinogens. They are also a good source of the anti-cancer compound ellagic acid.

Bananas: Bananas are rich in Vitamin B6 and fiber. They help to regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps muscles to contract properly during exercise and reduces cramping. They’re also helpful in overcoming depression and act as a good mood food.

Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is a rich source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. They are also rich in vitamin C, which protects the immune system from free radicals and also helps stimulate white cells to fight infection. Cantaloupe is important for the production and maintenance of new cells, especially during pregnancy.

Cherries: Cherries provide energy, promote natural elimination, enhance digestion and stimulate the bile. They contain Vitamins A, C, and calcium and are very helpful in cases of arthritis and gout.

Grapes: Grapes are a good blood and body builder and a quick source of energy. They can help constipation, gout, rheumatism, skin and liver disorders. They also aid in decreasing the acidity of uric acid and the elimination of the acid from the system, which benefits the kidneys. Grapes also help reduce platelet clumping and harmful blood clots.

Kiwi: Kiwis are rich in many vitamins. They contain more Vitamin C than oranges, as much potassium as bananas and a good amount of beta-carotene. Kiwis benefit the respiratory tract. They are also known as a water-soluble antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals and are high in fiber. They prevent asthma, wheezing and coughing and colon cancer. Kiwis also protect DNA from mutations.

Mango: Mangoes contain phenols, which have powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer abilities. They are high in iron, which helps anemia. They are also effective in relieving clogged pores of the skin and are valuable to combat acidity and poor digestion. Mangoes are a rich source of Vitamins A, E and selenium, which helps to protect against heart disease and other ailments.

Nectarine: Nectarines are low in calories and are naturally fat free. They help maintain a healthy immune system and are a great source of antioxidants, which help protect the skin from damaging UV rays by counteracting free radical activity. Nectarines are also a good source of Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and potassium.

Orange: Oranges are recommended as an energy aid. They tone blood vessels and prevent brain fatigue. Oranges are rich in calcium, iodine, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine and iron and promote normal digestion, combat infection, prevent scurvy and help reduce fever.

Papaya: Papayas are rich in anti-oxidants and fiber. They help promote health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. They contain papain, an enzyme that helps treat sports injuries due to swelling, other causes of trauma and allergies. They also help with proper function of a healthy immune system.

Peach: Peaches provide energy, promote normal stomach acidity, aid kidney function, act as a gentle laxative, and can be used against “morning sickness”.

Pear: Pears contain vitamins A, B-complex, C, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, sodium, and sulfur. They stimulate muscles and nerves, eliminate uric acid and help reduce cholesterol. Pears promote normal digestion and liver function. They also have laxative properties.

Pineapples: Pineapples help with digestion in the intestinal tract and protect against macular degeneration. They are high in Vitamin C.

Plum: Plums provide vitamin A, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and carbohydrates for energy to muscles and nerves. They have a mild diuretic action that aid in normal elimination and act as a blood cleanser.

Pomegranate: Pomegranates act as a heart stimulant, aid in the removal of plaque build up in arteries, help fight parasitic invasion and relieve diarrhea.

Tangerine: Tangerines have a distinctive sedative virtue due to the high bromine content.

Watermelon: Watermelons are loaded with antioxidants. They help in energy production, protect against macular degeneration, help fight heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer, prevent erectile dysfunction, and are a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of fats and contains oleic acid that helps lower cholesterol. Avocado is also a good source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. It guards against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke and helps protect against breast cancer.

Almond Milk: Almond milk is rich in Vitamin E and contains high levels of unsaturated fat. It has been associated with lowering the risk of heart attack. Almond milk contains little to no saturated fat and no cholesterol, making it extremely good for those suffering from high cholesterol problems. Unlike regular milk, almond milk does not contain lactose—making it easy to digest and good for those who are lactose intolerant. It is also good for those trying to lose weight.

Brown Rice: Brown rice provides all necessary carbohydrates requirements. It is rich in fibers and helps control blood sugar and cholesterol. Brown rice is beneficial for stomach and intestinal ulcers and diarrhea. It is an easily digested starch food that supplies important nutrients for the hair, teeth, nails, muscles and bones.

Nuts: Nuts help prevent heart disease. They contain the amino acid arginine, which can boost immunity and reduce blood pressure. Some nuts contain tryptophan, which stimulates production of serotonin in the brain. Nuts can also help to alleviate depression and boost relaxation.

Olives: Olives are an excellent source of oleic acid and Vitamin E. They are effective in the prevention and treatment of asthma, cancer and arthritis.

Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, which is effective against depression. They help promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin seeds are high in Zinc, which helps protect against osteoporosis. They also effectively reduce inflammation and prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, are low in cholesterol and also protects against many cancers.

Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are packed with healthy fats, proteins, fibers, minerals, vitamin E, and phytochemicals, which are all important to the nutritional quality of the diet and of fundamental importance to human health. They help in memory and cognitive functions and are also excellent in lowering cholesterol.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil has a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant substances. It offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL cholesterol levels while raising HDL levels. It is very well tolerated by the stomach. Its protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Extra virgin olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones and lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

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Agility Training to Help you Get Over Life’s Daily Hurdles

        If the thought of pedaling a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill brings about thoughts of medieval torture devices as you head to the gym, you are not alone. In fact, most gym-goers view cardio as a necessary evil instead of an enjoyable exercise. However, what if we told you that cardio training can be fun, increase performance and help you drop that extra ten pounds without once stepping onto a cardio machine?

     Agility training is another form of cardio fitness that can be fun and create more helpful results for the body than simply increasing cardiovascular efficiency and decreasing body fat.

     Weekend warriors and those simply racing through the daily grind can benefit from adding in a few agility training drills to increase performance.
Agility training teaches the body to start, stop and change direction quickly while maintaining proper posture. Agility challenges you to control your center of gravity over a changing base of support while changing directions at varying speeds. It is important to remember that we move at varying speeds and in various planes each day.

     Training to improve movement not only increases functional capabilities, but will help you avoid injuries by teaching the mind and body to work together and move at different speeds using the correct muscle at the correct time in the correct plane of motion. Agility training can provide numerous overall training benefits such as challenging your core, legs, balance, reactive capabilities, increasing your cardiovascular efficiency and best of all decreasing body fat.

     Agility work can be done using cones or lines and is best performed on a basketball court, tennis court, grass field or in an aerobics room. Performing agility drills on concrete is not advised and may be harmful to your body. Opt for surfaces that provide better control for short, quick movements and avoid surfaces that may have loose gravel or feel slippery. With agility training, the proper surface can make all the difference.

Ask your Personal Trainer for more agility today!

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Bye Bye Back Pain

The simplest, easiest, most basic moves are usually the most important gift you can give your body every day. These exercises are preventative movements that when done on a daily basis will keep you tuned up so you don’t miss out on life. 

Here are a few of the stretches I do with clients on a daily basis after our exercise sessions; they can be done at anytime even before you get out of bed.  I recommend doing them before and after a good workout!

One Knee Hug:  Lying on your back, hug one knee into chest, feel stretch in lower back the other leg can be bent at knee or extended as needed for comfort.  Breathe. Switch legs.

Two Knee Hug:  Lying on your back, hug both knees into chest, feel stretch in lower back.  Breathe into the stretch feeling your spine lengthening with each breath.

Hip Rolls:  Lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms out to the side in a T position, shoulders level and palms up.  Rotating from the hip allow your legs, knees together to roll to the right side.  Attempt to keep your shoulders flat on the floor.  Breathe into the torso stretch.  Pull your abdominals in and bring your knees back to center and roll them to the other side.

Pelvic Lift:  Lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor and shoulder width apart, arms out to the side in a T position.  Lift your hips up into the air; keep weight centered in your whole foot and on shoulders.  Slowly roll yourself down, starting from your mid back, lower back and then rear end. Articulate the spine as though it were a ‘string of pearls’ make sure your knees stay still during the movement – they have a tendency to roll open during the lowering.  Breathe.

Elbow Prop-Up:  Roll over onto your belly, prop yourself up on your elbows, legs extended together behind you.  Visualize lifting your chest.  Pull in your abs and feel your spine naturally extend, drop your shoulders back and down.  Breathe.

Tips & Warnings:

Don’t force yourself to stretch to far.  Forced stretches can do more harm than good.  Practice the relaxed, deep breathing form of stretching.

Certain exercise routines can be a good way to reduce lower back pain.

Hire a Certified Fitness Professional, as they will know which exercises and back stretches are best for you.

Keep your muscles hydrated by drinking lots of water to help reduce the inflammation that can cause further back muscle pain

If you have prolonged pain, consider seeing a Chiropractor for back pain relieve before going with a surgical option.

Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.

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Meal Cycling For Weight Loss


Monday Average 1659 Calories 1659  
Tuesday   1328  
Wednesday   1991  
Thursday   1659  
Friday   1494  
Saturday   1825  
Sunday   1659  
*Calorie cycling provides same amount of calories per week, but ‘tricks’ your body by constantly changing daily calories. This helps to prevent or break plateaus. Guideline only


Based on eating 5 times a day:  3 meals 2 snacks

Carbohydrates  55%        Protein  25%       Fat  20%


GRAMS PER DAY 228g 103g 36g
GRAMS PER MEAL 45.6g 20.6g 7.2g
CALORIES PER DAY 912 cals 415 cals 332 cals
CALORIES PER MEAL 182.4 cals 83 cals 66.4 cals

 Do Macro-Nutrients Matter?

There is a difference of opinion on this. Some feel that only calories count, whilst others argue that distribution of nutrients is what is important. The reality is – you must find what works for you – and to do this you have to start somewhere! If it doesn’t work – try something else.  Several fitness experts feel that extremes (such as very low carb, and very low fat, are only appropriate for a small section of the population).

Getting It In Context

Here’s a quick look at what the gram values are for some common items: (note that we are not delving into the nutritional quality aspects here – such as sodium, calcium, breakdown of fats, ingredients etc…)

  Carbohydrate Protein Fat
McDonalds Big Mac & Large Fries 116g 31g 55g
1 Slice of Super Supreme Pizza from Pizza Hutt 28g 13g 17g
4oz (113g) skinless boneless chicken breast, 1 cup brown rice (cooked), 1 cup broccoli 43g 38g 5.5g
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