Monday, December 31, 2012

Detox from the Inside Out this New Year's


**Published on MindBodyGreen

I am so grateful to have another article chosen for MindBodyGreen, and hope you all enjoy my intrinsic goals for the new year...

The end of the year is a time to focus on where we’ve been, and where we strive to go in the coming year, whether it’s making a change towards a better diet, implementing a new workout plan, or perhaps making a career change. All of these resolutions may bring you more happiness and make your life feel more full, but consider some intrinsic ways to detox this year, and experience more happiness than any crash diet or juice detox will ever make you feel.
This year, try out some resolutions that will fill your life from the inside out:

1.  Focus on needs vs. wants.

As a society, we tend to focus on material objects, hence buying and receiving gifts throughout the holidays. My father always told me, “You can only have so much ‘stuff’!” I am now starting to realize how right my father was all these years, and have found myself needing and wanting less ‘stuff.’ I started my New Year’s resolution early this year, and gave away bags and bags of clothing, shoes, and jewelry that I don’t really need. My life feels organized, light, and ready to take on the new year. Less is now more.

2.  De-clutter your relationships.

Just as material things tend to build up in our lives, so do relationships that don’t serve us anymore. You may have individuals in your life that bring more negativity than inspiration, and are constantly trying to bring down your sunshine. It’s time to let go of those relationships and focus on nurturing the ties that help us to realize our full potential and continue to allow us to grow into thriving individuals.

3.  Give more than you receive.

I’m not talking material objects when I say ‘give,’ I’m talking about the non-material things that we provide for others. Give more love, honesty, and support in your relationships. In your career, be the team player instead of the competitive player. Do selfless gestures that others may not anticipate, without expecting anything in return. The return you will receive feels better than any material gift.


4.  Have kindness and acceptance for your body.

Focus on nourishing your body with healthy foods as much as possible, and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t eat perfectly everyday. Integrate physical activity into your day, whether it’s walking the dog, taking a yoga class, or cleaning the house. Accept your body for the strengths that it has, and don’t dwell on your faults, it’s the only body you have, and deserves only the best treatment. Avoid extremes.

May you feel fulfilled, energetic, and surrounded by love in the coming year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Recharge


When my diet needs a little balance and grounding, especially after holiday lunches, dinners, and all the parties in between, I love a good smoothie to get my diet back on track...a RECHARGE!

On the days I want to recharge my diet, I usually start the day with hot water, lemon, and cayenne to start cleansing from the inside out. I cut out coffee and switch to green tea with lemon throughout the day. In the middle of the day, I whip up a yummy nutrient filled smoothie with greens, fruit, hemp or green proteins, coconut oil, and a few extras like the smoothie below.

My digestive system gets movin', my energy level stays steady all day, and I feel all around lighter. 

You're sippin' till supper!

This blueberry smoothie has been on regular rotation for me lately, and it tastes almost like a blueberry cheesecake...or almond butter & jelly sandwich! 

Ingredients:

Spinach, handful
Frozen blueberries, 1 cup
Almond milk, 1 cup
Coconut oil, 1 Tbsp
Mejdool dates, without pit, 2
Hemp protein or green superfood powder
Slivered almonds, small handful
Cinnamon, 4 dashes
Coconut flakes, unsweetened, optional

Add all ingredients to blender, and add water if consistency is too thick.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peppermint Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


That's a mouthful...and did I mention no egg and no dairy...

Santa's getting some healthier treats this year!

If you are all out of time, and need to whip up something sweet for dear Santa, these cookies are quick and simple...even for someone like me where baking just isn't my thing {I tend to forget important ingredients like flour...oopsie}.

Ingredients:

*Earth Balance margarine, 1 cup
Brown sugar, 1 cup
Water, 1/4 cup
Vanilla, 1 tsp.
Peppermint oil, 1/2 tsp.
Quick cooking oatmeal, 3 cups
Whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 cups
Salt, 1 tsp.
Baking soda, 1/4 tsp.
Dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together margarine and brown sugar. Add in water, vanilla, and peppermint oil. In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients: oatmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture, and add in dark chocolate chips to preference.

With spoon or scooper, shape dough into small balls. Cookies don't change shape and expand as you bake, so shape to your preference on your non-stick baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cookies will get crispier as they cool, so don't leave in oven longer than the specified time.

*I must mention this is a vegan margarine and just as creamy and sinful tasting as its' dairy cousins.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Veggie Eats: Creamy Truffle Sauce


This recipe is inspired by the combination of two foodie obsessions of mine... 

The first inspiration is from a zen little vegetarian restaurant, The Green Temple. They have the most amazing Tofu sauce that is used on almost all their dishes...so delicious and yummy, I literally leave no trace of it on my plate...OUT OF THIS WORLD!

The second inspiration is from my last visit to Italy, where I enjoyed the most decadent, TO-DIE-FOR truffle sauce...it left me searching for truffle anywhere I could, and caused me to make a splurge purchase of some truffle oil at the market so I can make my own sauces (It wasn't really THAT expensive...more than your average olive oil...).

The best thing about the combination of the two is that this sauce gives you the creamy, rich truffle flavor...without the dairy.

I have been experimenting between veganism and vegetarianism, trying to find what feels best for my body, and the one thing that has made the most impact is cutting out dairy...I'm not perfect, and I've been dabbling with cheese 1-2 times per week, but I've definitely noticed a difference in my digestion, energy level, and weight management.

Enough about me though, let's get started...

Ingredients:

*Sprouted tofu, 1 lb.
Olive oil, 1/2 cup
**Bragg's Amino's or Tamari, 1/3 cup
Garlic, 2 cloves
Lemon, juice of 2
**Nutritional Yeast, optional, 1 tsp.
**Truffle oil, 1 1/2 tsp.
Oregano, 3-4 pinches

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

You can heat the sauce and top over pasta, vegetables, or use in place of a creamy mushroom sauce in a casserole.

*Un-sprouted tofu can be used as well. I prefer the sprouted, as it is made from sprouted soybeans, which increases the calcium, iron, and protein in the tofu.
**These items can be purchased at your local health food store or Amazon, which is a great resource to get deals on some of the more specialty grocery items.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just Breathe


 As I was trying to manage through the hustle and bustle of holiday traffic last night, I received a good helping of road rage from someone out of nowhere. 

It shook me up a little...as my tiny little Mini Cooper was no match to the giant truck that wouldn't let me live down the accidental last-minute merge I attempted. It really made me think...what makes people so worked up during the holidays, or any time of year, that they feel it's necessary to threaten harm on another?? ...Especially over something so small...

The reason I bring up my road rage incident is because it was so small, in comparison to the extremely tragic events in Connecticut this past week...yet people still allow themselves to get so stressed and worked up, they take it out on everyone around them...especially this time of year when emotions are magnified. 

While we can't control the emotions and actions of others, we can control OURSELVES. When the stress is rising through holiday functions, family gatherings, and all of the buzz of the holiday season...take a second to... 

BREATHE...

 and be grateful for the life you have...
just a little reminder :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Veggie Eats: Tofu Tahini Scramble


*Published on MindBodyGreen.

You won’t be disappointed with this creamy vegan-friendly dish! This scramble has a sweet and spicy Asian flare, and is super quick and easy to make. 

The coconut oil gives the dish its sweetness, and the tahini gives it a nutty, warm flavoring. 

I served my tahini scramble over baby kale, chard, and spinach, but it would be just as yummy over a quinoa or brown rice. 


Ingredients:
Makes 2-3 servings

Coconut Oil, 3-4 Tbsp
Garlic cloves, 2
Tahini 2-3 Tbsp
Tamari, 1 Tbsp
Lemon, juice of 1
Brussel Sprouts or Broccoli
Edamame, 1/4 cup
Garbanzo Beans, 1/2 cup
Tofu, crumbled
Garlic Chili Sauce or Siracha, optional



In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil, garlic, and the juice of half of a lemon. Once the oil and garlic have heated together, add the brussel sprouts. On medium heat, cover the brussel sprouts for 10-15 minutes to soften. Once the brussel sprouts are almost soft, turn down heat to low. Add tofu, edamame, garbanzo beans, tahini, tamari, and juice of half of a lemon. 


Scramble together until all ingredients are married, and add garlic chili sauce or siracha to taste!


I like to make an additional tahini sauce to drizzle on the greens before topping with the scramble.  In a separate bowl, mix together tahini, lemon juice, and tamari for an extra creamy dressing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kombucha for Detoxification and Energy


Kombucha is my version of healthy soda...it has an effervescent quality to it, and refreshes and re-energizes!

There are tremendous benefits from consuming kombucha, whereas soda...not so much...

KOMBUCHA
is a fermented effervescent tea with detoxing and energizing qualities. You can make the tea on your own, or you can purchase a ready-to-drink bottle at your favorite health food store. Bottled kombucha is often complemented with ingredients, such as ginger, spirulina, chlorella, or chia seeds, and give it a less bitter taste.

Let's discover some of the most common benefits:

1.  Kombucha contains live cultures of probiotics, increasing intestinal flora and improving digestion. Your body will be able to absorb the good nutrients, and get rid of toxicity.

2.  Most versions of kombucha contain a wide range of B vitamins, providing energy to the body, as well as vitamin C, boosting immunity and promoting detoxification.

3.  Kombucha balances the pH in the body, alkalizing acidity, and flushing toxins out of the kidney. This is similar to the benefits of warm water and lemon, that I discussed here.

4.  Kombucha increases metabolism, as the body is brought into an equilibrium with all systems running more smoothly.

The benefits of kombucha are most effective when consumed on a daily basis, which can get quite expensive if you are buying it pre-bottled.

Try brewing your own kombucha in order to gain the most benefit...something I plan to try out myself...so stay tuned for a tutorial on how to brew your own!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy: A Documentary

Photo Via

To end a great weekend celebrating my sister's birthday with family and friends, I finally got around to getting cozy and watching a great little film called 
HAPPY:)

Happy explores cultures around the world, in search of what makes people happy, and I am happy to say, it is not $$.

This documentary was extremely touching, and focuses on the true journey of happiness and where we experience it most...through community; through active, productive, and enjoyable activities; and by helping others, and contributing to their happiness.

So if you have an hour of time...discover HAPPY...


Happy is available on Netflix instant, or for $2.99, you can watch Happy through the official Happy site here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Veggie Eats: Rosemary Hummus


With the holidays in full swing, the party invites are overflowing, and you probably need a healthy contribution to the holiday party menu...

 My Go-to...
HUMMUS

This creamy fiber-filled dip is an easy option that can be made ahead of time, and uses ingredients that you probably already have on hand...and you'll guarantee that you have something healthy to nosh on besides that tempting spinach and artichoke dip!

Ingredients:

Garbanzo beans, 3 cups
Olive oil, 1 cup
Garlic cloves, 3-4
Tahini, 2 Tbsp
Lemons, Juice of 3
Rosemary, 2-3 sprigs, minced
Cayenne pepper

If you are using dried garbanzo beans, you will want to cook them ahead of time, like I showed you here!

Add 2 cups of garbanzo beans to a food processor, as well as olive oil, garlic cloves, tahini, juice of lemons, and rosemary. Pulse to blend all ingredients together. Add 1 more cup of garbanzo beans, and process until you reach a creamy consistency. You may need to add additional olive oil if the beans are being stubborn and not easily reaching a creamy consistency. Add cayenne pepper to taste, and serve with crackers or vegetables!

The rosemary is optional, and can be omitted or substituted. I like to try different flavorings, like...black bean, edamame, or spicy jalapeno!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An At-Home Yoga Practice


Photo Via

Finding an at-home yoga practice may be a great option for those with crazy schedules, as a cost- saving option, or if you want to supplement your regular studio practice. There are a few online resources where you can pay a small monthly subscription, and have access to hundreds of classes, and lots of different styles of yoga. I am currently using YogaGlo and am loving it!

YogaGlo is $18/month for unlimited classes, and they have many different styles of yoga, including pre/post natal, restorative, vinyasa, and even meditation. Classes run from 5-120 minutes, and are offered at different levels. You can choose a class based on endless criteria, such as a class for energizing, detox, cross training, or yoga at work.

To Create a Successful and Fulfilling At-Home Yoga Practice:

1.  Find a quiet space where you have enough room to spread your mat, and are free from clutter and distractions. You may need to move furniture aside...I learned my lesson with this one, and had a nice run-in with the couch while trying to manage a headstand.

2. Light candles and dim the lights so you can focus, and get the feeling of a studio.

3.  Don't allow yourself to stop your practice to answer your texts or finish the laundry, this is time for YOU!


4.  Try different classes and types of yoga that fit your mood, and your body's needs. If you don't want to pay for a service, there are YouTube videos you can find for no cost. 

5.  Take your practice to a level you are comfortable with. In a studio class, our ego often comes out in the form of competitiveness that causes us to push ourselves farther than is comfortable for our body.

An at-home practice may not be ideal for everyone, but may also be the only way to get in your practice. For a new mom, this could be a great option during the baby's nap time. It is a time to focus on YOU and get a re-charge so you can be more focused and present for your child throughout the day. For students, an at-home practice would be a productive study break, and yoga has been shown to increase attention and alertness.

I still enjoy the social aspects of a studio class with a live teacher, but for a few days out of the week, I have also found challenge and satisfaction in an at-home practice.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rainy Day Cravings: Homemade Pho


Cold and drizzly nights call for warm and cozy meals, and this homemade pho was the perfect nutritious combo to fulfill my rainy day craving!

The best part about this pho is you could use any vegetables you have in your refrigerator, and it's super quick! 

Ingredients:
Makes 3-4 servings.

Olive oil, 4 Tbsp
Vegetable Stock, 5 cups
Sesame Oil, 2 Tbsp
Tamari, 4 Tbsp
Ginger Root, grated
Onion, sliced
Broccoli*
Cremini mushrooms*
Shiitake mushrooms*
Baby bok choy*
Kale*
Tofu, firm
Soba noodles

For flavoring:
Basil 
Lime
Jalapeno

*Vegetable amounts can vary based on your preference, and the amounts that I used are shown below.


In a large pot, add 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, and onions and set on medium-high heat. Add broccoli, or any vegetables that may need a longer cook time, such as brussel sprouts. Add in vegetable stock 1 cup at a time, steaming the broccoli and onion. Add in mushrooms, bok choy, kale, tamari, and a few grates of ginger root. Heat on low until pho reaches a rolling boil, and add sesame oil before serving.

In a separate pot, boil water for the soba noodles. Once water has reached boiling, add the soba noodles for 8-10 minutes until al dente. Drain in colander. 

Add soba noodles and cubed tofu to serving bowl, and add pho to fill bowl. Basil, jalapeno, and lime can be added to taste. I also add siracha for an extra spicy kick!

Pho Belly...Pho Heart! 
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