Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dirty 30...Not For This Girl!

My favorite product right now...made from live, raw foods, and stored in the fridge so every morning is like getting a facial!

As I move into my 30th year this Friday...eek!...I have become more aware and educated about what I put in my body, but even more so...what I put ON my body. The task of eliminating chemicals and toxins from your diet alone can be quite the task, but cleaning up the everyday products that you put on your body can be absolutely overwhelming.

Our skin has absorptive properties, so technically you shouldn't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't put in your mouth, as the skin is just another way for toxins and carcinogens to enter your body, creating cancer-growing cells.

When I first started tossing my toxic products and making room for the new products, I would stand in the store aisle, eyes glazed over, not knowing where to begin! So what can you do...besides memorize all the wordy ingredients you want to avoid, like...diethanolamine or isopropylparaben. No thank you!! The process doesn't have to be daunting, and I have to say I feel more empowered and in control as I move into a new decade!

So here are a few things that I've done over the past 6 months to change the products that I use and educate myself around the toxins that hide in many of our everyday beauty products...

1. Save the following link on your phone, or print it out and keep it in your handbag...Be Naturally You.
A great friend, who's mother is a natural skin care chemist, gave me this handy list of ingredients to watch out for when you're shopping for new products or making sure your existing products make the cut. The list can be a bit overwhelming, but the more you use it, the easier it will be to remember the ingredients you need to watch out for!

2. Start simple...
Change out each product as you run out of it. This can help your wallet and your sanity. When you're getting low on say face wash or mascara, start looking into which brands you can switch to instead of completely dumping your cabinet of products.

3. Shop Health Food Stores...
Local health food stores, as well as Whole Foods and Sprouts, have great natural beauty products, and they usually have knowledgeable associates available that can help walk you through their favorite natural products.

4. Trial and error...
I probably tried 4 different deodorants before I found one that actually worked well, so don't be afraid to find out that some of your more natural products don't perform quite the same as the chemical-filled products you're used to. Friends that are on the same journey are helpful in finding great products too!

5. Get Back to Basics...
Coconut and essential oils were my best friends when first starting to switch over my products. You can find great uses for coconut oil here, I use it for lotion, eye makeup remover, lip balm, night cream, ETC! Stay tuned for a homemade dry skin remedy you can whip up yourself, and have confidence in the ingredients.

Just a warning: The more you know, the more you're going to check every single product in your home...haha! Just last night I was doing dishes and reading the ingredients of my supposedly "natural" dishwash soap, and looks like I need to find a new one...totally worth it though!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

LOCAL Greens: Kreation Organic Juicery


I tend to make my own juices at home, but when I'm about and about and I need something to keep me sustained, I make a stop at Whole Foods, or more recently
in Manhattan Beach.

Kreation is a small chain with locations in Manhattan Beach, as well as various spots in West Los Angeles. The juices are made from 100% organic fruits and vegetables purchased locally in Santa Monica. They have a wide selection of juices, kombuchas, nut milks, and enhanced waters like lavender, aloe vera, and peppermint. I love how each juice has the ingredients, as well as the benefits you'll receive from each ingredient on the side of the bottle. They also let you sample each flavor before you buy so you know exactly what you're getting...like healthy wine tasting! Maybe not so much, but at least you don't buy a huge quantity of one flavor, and then try it to realize it tastes like dirty socks...

Not only does Kreation have yummy and nutrient-rich juices, their stores are filled with gorgeous succulent walls. Even their truck that delivers juices around the Los Angeles area has some amazing greenery on it! You can pick up a juice or two if you're just stopping in, or they also have detox plans that you can purchase if you want to do a cleanse for a few days...or maybe a month...or more!




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fennel, Beets, & Blood Orange


I have never cooked with fennel before, but I'm trying to branch out from my normal weekly veggie rotation, and {FENNEL} was the veggie I've been missing. I had no idea how to use it, and after doing a little research on how to prepare it, came up with this yummy dish, which actually felt pretty fancy for a {Monday} night! This would be a good dish for a special date night dinner at home, or if you want to impress your friends at your next dinner party!

FENNEL
also has innumerous health benefits, and can aid in treating anemia, indigestion, and constipation. It is also helpful in eliminating toxins from the body as a diuretic, prevents hair loss and eye disorders related to aging. 

Ingredients:

Fennel, 3-4 bulbs
Beets, 2-3 bunches 
Red onion
Olive Oil, about 1/2 cup 
Blood oranges, juice of 2
Garlic clove
Lemon, juice of 3
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
The beets require the longest roasting time, so it's best to start with them. Rinse and remove the stems, and try to remove as much as the outside root as you can, without removing all the skin. Cut beets into fourths and wrap in aluminum foil to create a steaming package. Place directly on the oven rack and let steam for about 50 minutes, or until you can pierce them lightly with a fork. While the beets are steaming, cut off the fronds and bulb end from the fennel. Save the fronds for a garnish. Slice each fennel into fourths. Chop the red onion into large pieces, about the same size as the fennel slices. Place the fennel and red onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, and a few grinds of black pepper on the fennel and onions, and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. I set the timer for my beets at 30 minutes, and then added the fennel and onion to let everything cook for another 20-25 minutes.

To prepare the Blood Orange Vinaigrette, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, a garlic clove, and the juice of 2 lemons, and 2 blood oranges. Whisk all ingredients together, and add black pepper to taste.

Add beets to your dish, and then top with roasted fennel and red onion. Drizzle blood orange vinaigrette, and add fennel fronds as a garnish.


Voila...an easy, healthy, and {fancy} dish!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kale and Brussel Sprout CHOPPED Salad


This week's Farm Fresh delivery included the most beautiful Lacinato kale I've probably ever seen, it was silky and had the most rich dark green color. I wanted to use it raw, and in a dish that really highlighted how fresh and flavorful it is, instead of throwing it in a smoothie or making kale chips.

Which led me to the most heavenly combination of chopped kale, brussel sprouts, onions, quinoa, and pine nuts, with a lemon garlic vinaigrette!

Let me just say, when I began making this dish, and my guy asked me what was for dinner and saw what I was concocting, he said he would order pizza...fine, more for me! Well, let me tell you, by the time this dish was done, he had forgotten about the pizza and was even suggesting some yummy additions to add to the mix for next time. DOUBLE SUCCESS...there will be a next time, and the kale and brussel sprout chopped salad beat out the pizza!

Ingredients:

Kale, 1-2 Bunches, Chopped with center stem removed
Brussel Sprouts, 12 Ounces,Trimmed and chopped
Onion, 1/4, Sliced
Quinoa, 1 Cup, Cooked
Pine Nuts, 1/4 Cup
Coconut Oil, 1 Tablespoon
Olive Oil, 1/4 Cup
Garlic, 1 Clove
Lemon, Juice of 2-3
Black Pepper

Remove the stems from the kale, chop into small pieces, and place in a large bowl.

In a large skillet, add coconut oil, trimmed and chopped brussel sprouts, and onion. Add a few dashes of pepper, and a squeeze of lemon to season. Saute on medium heat until onion and brussel sprouts soften. For the quinoa, boil 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of quinoa, cover and simmer on low for 10-12 minutes. Pine nuts can be added to the quinoa, or toasted in a skillet.

For the dressing, combine chopped garlic clove, olive oil, and juice of 2 lemons. Add 2-3 dashes of black pepper. Whisk to combine all ingredients.

Add brussel sprout mixture, quinoa, pine nuts, and dressing to your bowl of chopped kale and toss together.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The JOY is in the Journey

Photo Via

Well friends, I have decided to start a new journey and am in my second week of Yoga Teacher Training! Remember last year when I talked about 'Finishing What You Start' and said this was one thing I would love to accomplish...well, I'm doing it! I'm a bit terrified, but overall I feel that this is exactly what I need to be doing right at this moment.

For the next 8 weeks, I will be consumed with reading, practice teaching, trainings, lectures, and improving my own practice. I am excited to see where the journey takes me, and can't wait to be able to share yoga with others.

Our first homework assignment was to write an essay on what yoga is to ME, and I decided to share a few highlights of the reasons why I am drawn to this practice, and hopefully you'll be inspired to go take a yoga class this week and feel it for yourself!

The moment I reach my mat, I begin the process of uniting or re-uniting with myself. The world behind and ahead of me disappears, and I suddenly feel comforted, calm, and quiet. The insecurities, the worries, my relationships, and many other thoughts that cloud my mind suddenly begin to fade away, and my focus moves toward my breath and the strength of my body on that day. With each practice, I am amazed and grateful of what the body is capable of, which nourishes and pushes my mind to continue further in my practice. And sometimes, it is not my body that needs the extra attention and love, but my mind, and yoga is the silence.

My regular practice has truly made me more accepting of myself and my body, and if you can love and respect yourself to the fullest, then the love and respect you bring to others will only be greater. If you can't love yourself, then it's very difficult to truly love others in an unconditional and nonjudgmental way. No one is perfect, and yoga is forgiving, and teaches you to be forgiving. Each time I practice is a new chance to start over, to recreate, and decide the path I want my life to take that day. Yoga creates a calm strength, not only in my body, but throughout my life and interactions when I leave my mat. My yoga practice has encouraged me to crave and seek positive experiences and positive relationships.

I am truly grateful for the community of yoga that is always there to comfort me during both the hardest, and the best times of my life.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Special Delivery: Fruits & Veggies



I received my first shipment of organic fruits and veggies this week from Farm Fresh To You, and let me tell you, it was like Christmas! I have never been more excited to receive a package on my doorstep!

Farm Fresh To You is a fruit and vegetable delivery service that brings organic, in-season, and LOCAL produce right to your doorstep. You can choose the items you DON'T want, and your delivery for the week will depend on what the farms have ready for pickin'! There are lots of varieties of boxes you can receive, such as veggies only, or fruit and veggie mixes. This week was blood oranges, Nantes carrots, butternut squash, red potatoes, and Hass avocadoes!

I decided to try it out so that I can incorporate more in-season produce into my diet, as well as challenge myself to try new recipes with fruits and vegetables that I wouldn't normally pick up at the market, like this romanesco...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Day of LOVE.

Photo Via

Ohhh Valentine's Day!

I have to admit...I have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day. I think it's a wonderful day to celebrate our relationships and those we care about most, but sometimes I think the flowers, card, and candy cliche that is expected ruins the whole idea of the day. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE getting fresh flowers and gifts, but it means so much more when it's just because, and not because Hallmark created it.

To me, a perfect Valentine's Day involves a shared meal {without the fixed menu}, quality time spent remembering why you love the one {or ones} that you love, and maybe a nice little love note!

Whether you have a Valentine or not, you can try one of these LOVEly LOVE day activities:


1. Wake up early, and make coffee or breakfast for your love {loved ones}.

2. Leave a surprise note for your love {loved ones} letting them know how much they mean to you.

3. Take a yoga class together, enjoy a walk at the beach, or spot eachother in a CrossFit class.

4. Draw a bath for your loved one after they come home from a long day. Add lavender essential oil to make it extra indulgent.

5. Cook a favorite dinner instead of fighting the crowds at local restaurants. My Valentine and I will be cooking up some homemade pizzas at home, my idea of a perfect night!

6. Treat your love {loved ones} like it's Valentine's Day everyday. Affection, kind words and gestures go a long way in keeping your relationships strong and fulfilling!

Enjoy your day of LOVE tomorrow!

...And Happy Valentine's Day to my LOVE!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Veggie Eats: Caramelized Cauliflower



As a veggie loving gal, I am ashamed to admit that cauliflower is not my favorite. I hardly ever buy it at the market, push it aside when it comes with a dish, much less cook with it.

Well...after a yummy dream-worthy version of caramelized cauliflower at Lazy Ox Canteen in Los Angeles, I had to attempt my own caramelized version of this fluffy cloud-looking veggie, and I think I've found a new dish for the weekly rotation!

What you Need:

Cauliflower, 2-3 heads
Olive oil, 1/2 cup
Crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon, Juice of 2
Black pepper, to taste
Nutritional Yeast, optional, 1 Tablespoon

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and remove cauliflower from it's stock. Place in a large bowl, and add olive oil, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, juice of one lemon, a few grinds of black pepper, and nutritional yeast. Using tongs or clean hands, marry all ingredients.

Spread cauliflower mixture onto a large cookie sheet, and cook for 10 minutes in heated oven. Remove pan after 10 minutes, turn cauliflower, add juice of second lemon, and bake for 10-20 more minutes, depending on how browned you prefer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Little Things

It's been a while since I've focused on The Little Things, so here are a few moments from the last few weeks that make me grateful, humbled, and excited for the little things to come!

Our latest lil' home project that is now proudly hung in our dining area. I am truly unbelievably lucky to have a guy by my side that is so handy, and loves to help me bring to life my crazy project ideas!

A birthday celebration for my handsome Dad! I have been brought up by two of the most generous, loyal, and fair parents, and love having any reason to get together and share good wine, food, and always great conversation.


Custom made 'sister' necklaces! These were a very late arriving Christmas gift to my sisters from me, but they were sure worth the wait. Even in our 20's...well almost 30's for me...we can still wear our version of 'friendship' jewelry.


Daily green juices to keep my energy levels high and my insides smiling! As you can tell from the numerous juice and smoothie posts lately, I am definitely trying to sneak in as many greens as possible, and it feels oh so good!


Amazingly gorgeous winter sunsets, I just can't get enough. One of my favorite things to do with my guy on the weekends is explore the cliffs near our home with our pup. Nothing makes you feel more grounded than a beautiful view and sunset!

**If you follow my personal Instagram, you may have seen some of these already :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

DEtox to REtox


Phew...that was one crazy week! I am ready for some rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation this weekend!

Sometimes the weekends include a bit more eating out and maybe a glass of wine or two, so when I'm feeling like I need a little detox before I retox, this green juice is refreshing and oh so easy to whip up!

Ingredients:

Cucumber, chopped
Lemon, peeled
Spinach, large handful
Ground matcha green tea, 1-2 tablespoons
Cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon
Filtered water, 3/4 cup

I have an amazing Blendtec blender, so I throw in all the ingredients, and choose the 'whole juice' option, but this can also be whipped up in a Vitamix or juicer.

Do you have any yummy detox combos for juices and smoothies that are your go-to?? I would love to hear, as I'm always needing a new combo!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ground MATCHA Green Tea

Ground Matcha Via

My recent discovery of matcha green tea in powdered form was like striking gold! I had no idea what a glorious superfood I was missing out on all this time!

Powdered matcha green tea makes the other superfoods look not as super, and is an easy addition to smoothies, juices, soups, plain hot water, or even cupcake batter??!! It contains 10 times the benefits of a steeped cup of green tea!

Let me tell you why I LOVE me some powdered matcha:

1.  Powdered Matcha Green tea has almost 7 times more naturally occurring antioxidants than dark chocolate...Plentiful antioxidants means boatloads of alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral benefits for YOU!

2.  The caffeine in powdered matcha provide a calm energy which lasts for about 4-6 hours, and provides a productive alertness much different than a cup of coffee. Your mood is elevated and you have a greater ability to concentrate, but still feel the ZING!

3.  Powdered matcha contains choryphyll, which detoxifies the blood, balances pH, and also gives it a bright, cheery green color.

4.  Other reported benefits of powdered matcha are that it promotes fat burning, aids digestion, improves foul breath, and boosts immunity.

Stay tuned Friday for a little detoxification combo using some powdered matcha...just in time for the weekend!

Monday, January 21, 2013

No-Bake Energy Bites


My sister gave me this recipe a few years ago, and I completely forgot how amazing these energy balls taste, as well as how easy they are to make! 

They are a better alternative to the packaged energy bars, which are definitely convenient, but these have no preservatives, are gluten free, dairy free, raw, and all that fun stuff. If you have kids, have them get in on the action and help you form the balls, and even do a little taste testing!

Ingredients:

Makes 15-20 energy balls.

Oatmeal, 1 cup
Almond butter, 1 cup
Agave, 1/3 cup
Raw unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 cup
Chia seeds, 1/2 cup
Mini dark chocolate chips, 1/2 cup
Vanilla, 1 teaspoon

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Let mixture chill in refrigerator for 1 hour. Wet hands with water and form mixture into balls. Store in an airtight container up to one week.

I recommend doubling this recipe if you have fans of these energy bites. The day after I made these, I peeked in the refrigerator, and there were only about five left...looks like my guy approved!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Veggie Eats: Vegan Caesar Dressing


I am definitely a sucker for a good creamy dressing or dip, and this Vegan Caesar won't disappoint! 

It tastes divine drizzled over a salad, or as I prefer, drizzled over roasted potatoes...heck, I just dip each bite! ...Sure to satisfy my craving for some creamy comfort food.

Ingredients:

Olive oil, 1 cup
Water, 1/4 cup
Lemon, Juice of 1-2
White wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Tamari, 1 tsp
Dijon mustard, 1 tsp
Black pepper, 1/4 tsp
Garlic, 2 cloves
Nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup
Tofu, 1/2 pound, 8 ounces

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

Your salads will smile with this one!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Amazing Chia Seed


You may have heard a lot of buzz around this little seed recently, and I like to think of chia seeds like...flax seeds on crack!

Chia seeds were an ancient staple in the diet of Mayans and Mexicans, and were used for sustained energy while hunting, as well as in religious ceremonies. Today, they are gaining popularity due to their unending nutritional benefits, and can be found in many health food stores. 

I could make a laundry list of the benefits of chia seeds, but here are a few of my favorite:

1.  Chia seeds are great for weight management. They absorb up to 12 times their own weight, and they expand in liquid, curbing your appetite, giving you a full feeling.

2.  Chia seeds contain a high concentration of omega-3, as well as omega-6, which is needed to support heart health, and may lessen your risk for cancer and arthritis.

3.  Your digestive system will start movin' and groovin' thanks to the high fiber content of the chia, which also has a beneficial effect on cholesterol. 

4. Chia seeds are a complete source of plant protein and contain all nine amino acids, great for vegetarians/vegans.

5.  Per ounce, chia seeds provide three times more calcium than skim milk, preventing osteoporosis.

I use chia seeds in smoothies, baked goods, granola, salads, etc...but my favorite snack when I need an energy boost that keeps me feel full is...

Chia Pudding


It's super simple to make...just combine 1 cup of almond, hemp, or coconut milk with 2 Tbsp of chia seeds. Stir mixture every 10 minutes or so as the chia seeds expand and create a tapioca-like pudding. Add cinnamon and agave to taste!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Give Me More Detox!


First off...apologies for not posting in what seems like forever!!! The holiday buzz finally got me...I spent lots of time with friends that came to town, indulged in lots of food and drink, and unfortunately got sick along the way!

I am craving healthy meals at home, and lots of smoothies to clean out my system from the past few weeks, so here's another smoothie recipe that is absolutely delish!

It's a version of my favorite Whole Foods Smoothie...the Green & Glowing!

Ingredients:

Spinach, very large handful
Orange, 1/2 peeled
Mango, frozen, 1 cup
Pineapple, frozen, 1/2 cup
Coconut flakes, raw unsweetened, handful
Chia seeds, 1 Tbsp
Almond milk, 1 cup

Add all ingredients to blender, and enjoy!

You will be back to feeling the glow in no time!
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