Start the New Year with WRAPS

nori sheets, collard greens, paleowraps

Ahhh yes….another amazing year has come and gone. Sometimes I cant even believe all that has happened in twelve months time. What it a dream or am I really sitting here in this place and time? I remember as a little child each week and month seemed like an eternity and each year even more unfathomable. Now as an adult it seems I can hardly take a deep breath and another year has already flown by. For me each New Year is an opportunity to truly reflect and to be honest with the woman I have become. Am I happy? Am I satisfied? What can I change to increase my quality of life? And what can I do to become a better person? These are questions that may or may not have a simple answer. And for now I am just grateful to be here breathing in the cool brisk air and experiencing another beautiful blue bird winter’s day.

Nevertheless, it is an exciting time of year, a chance to start anew, and to improve as a human being. But what does that mean to you? Perhaps you want to read more books and watch less TV, or perhaps you want to start exercising more and eating healthier to feel good in your skin once again. Whatever it may be, the New Year is a chance to reevaluate the previous year and what positive changes you would like to make for the future. Resolutions are very personal, some easier to speak about some more difficult, but each is valid in it’s own right. Most of the time resolutions are made based upon old habits and changing a habit that required years in the making will require lots of love and attention to unwind. However, positive changes do not happen unless you steer the wheel. It is up to you to dig deep down and pick out where change will increase your quality of life. 

nori sheets, collard greens, paleowraps

Often times when I speak with patients the most difficult meal to change seems to be lunch, especially those that are on a gluten-free or Low FODMAP diet. And I am sure they are not alone. Therefore, with this mind I will share my favorite easy to make ahead, healthy workday lunch to help you on your New Years resolution. WRAPS!

These wraps are not your typical ho hum wraps made with flour tortillas. Instead they are made with nori wraps, collard greens, or PaleoWraps….and stocked full of tasty plant based goodies, sauces, and spreads. So get on board and start the year off smart with these super tasty and super healthy wrap ideas.

Nori Wraps (Gluten-free and Low FODMAP)

You may have had seaweed in your miso soup or in your sushi roll. However, nori wraps can and should be used outside of the Asian cuisine. Seaweed is a nutritional powerhouse full of minerals and vitamins including manganese, magnesium, iron, iodine, calcium, copper, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a host of B vitamins including B12.  Plus each sheet only contains about 10 calories making it a great lower calorie and gluten-free alternative (1). However, it is important to note that although seaweed is great for thyroid health, due to its high amounts of iodine, consuming too much can cause the opposite effect. Luckily nori contains the lowest amount of iodine and can be eaten safely multiple times per week.

Collard Greens (Gluten-free and Low FODMAP)

This versatile cruciferous vegetable is a wonderful alternative to a traditional grain based wrap. Not only is it a lower calorie option like the nori wrap, but collards are rich in compounds called sulforaphanes which support natural detoxification and have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Therefore, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and collards have been studied extensively for their cancer preventive abilities. Furthermore, with 7g of fiber in every cup, collards have been found to have a powerful cholesterol lowering ability similar to that of a prescription drug called cholestyramine. Interestingly, steamed collards have been found to have a much greater ability to reduce cholesterol than raw (2).

PaleoWraps (Gluten-free)

These wraps are made of raw coconut meat, coconut water, and unrefined coconut oil. Although these are a bit pricy, they can be a great addition to a gluten-free wrap arsenal. Coconut is rich in lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride which has shown to increase both HDL and LDL cholesterol in the blood, with a more favorable increase in HDL overall. A recent study including 116 adults with coronary artery disease found that the treatment group, which received 1 tablespoon of raw extra virgin coconut oil daily for 3 months, had significantly increased levels of HDL cholesterol compared to the control group (3).  Furthermore, many of the short chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized rapidly for energy and have been found to have potent anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral effects (4).

nori sheets, collard greens, paleowraps

How to Make the Best Wrap

Making a wrap with these wrap alternative requires a little ingenuity to make sure everything stays in the right place. Follow the steps below for a wrap that will not fall apart while eating. 
  •  First put down a spread/sauce as as sticking agent.
  • Then add your grain/beans/legumes/tofu/etc
  • Then top with your favorite veggies.
  • Dress with a little sauce or salad dressing if desired.
  • Roll up, fold in the edges, and roll again. If you are using nori wraps make sure to wet the remaining edge with a little liquid (sticking agent). This helps keep the roll from unrolling later on. 
  • Wrap the roll in plastic wrap or store in your lunch food container and store in refrigerator. 

nori sheets, collard greens, paleowrapsWrap Idea: Nori wrap, smoked paprika aioli, steamed rice, pickled shitake mushrooms, marinated and baked/grilled tofu, avocado, broccoli sprouts, and pickled ginger.

Smoked Paprika Aioli
Makes ~ ½ cup

¼ cup Vegenaise (or regular mayo)
2 tablespoons soy milk (or regular milk)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice


Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Store in refrigerator.

nori sheets, collard greens, paleowrapsWrap Idea: PaleoWrap, baked red sweet potato flesh, chimichurri, spiced black beans (black beans mashed with smoked paprika aioli), avocado, and broccoli sprouts.

Makes ~2 cups

1 bunch cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (leaves and tender stems)
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ small yellow onion
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 teaspoons ground cumin
¾ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1 jalapeno, deseeded (if you want it spicy leave some of the seeds)
¼ cup water


Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

nori sheets, collard greens, paleowrapsWrap Idea: Collard wrap, hummus, turmeric quinoa, minced olives, cucumber, bell pepper, arugula, and fresh basil leaves.

How to Make a Collard Wrap:
Using a pairing knife shave the thick vein down being careful not to puncture the leaf. Cut the stem off at the bottom so you have a neat edge. Meanwhile bring water to boil in a large sauté pan. Place your collard leaf into the boiling water and reduce heat to medium. Allow to cook for ~ 30-45 seconds until bright green and pliable. Remove from heat and immediately run under cold water. Then fill with your favorite goodies.

nori sheets, collard greens, paleowraps  
1. Edible Seaweed. Accessed January 2, 2015. 
2. Collards. Accessed January 2, 2015. 
3. Cardoso DA, Moreira AS, De Oliveira GM, et al. A Coconut Extra Virgin Oil-Rich Diet Increases HDL Cholesterol and Decreases Waist Circumference and Body Mass in Coronary Artery Disease Patients. Nutr Hosp. 2015;32(n05):2144-2152.
4. Lawrence GD. Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013;4:294-2013.

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