Image-1I saw a meme today that said “May the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me.”  This truly sums up how I have felt since starting to focus more on my intentions each day rather than obsessing about the gym and food.  Allowing space for me to reflect on my goals in a positive way and allowing all those moments in-between to be framed in a more positive light allows me to feel inspired where I’d like to.

This past week, since starting my journey to whole health I have borrowed from my days of practicing hypnobirthing for childbirth.  After the birth of my first child didn’t go as planned I decided to take more personal control over my birthing experience.  For my second, I dragged my husband to hypnobirthing classes, I read the hypnobirthing books and I listened to all the meditation CDs (and a few others) day and night.  I had the perfect, most incredible “pain-free” natural childbirth.  Honestly, I wanted to give birth again and again just to experience that feeling one more time!  And I did, twice more, in the comfort of my own home.  People are always flabbergasted when I tell them how much I enjoy the whole labor and delivery experience.  People are baffled when I say that it wasn’t painful – it was intense – but not painful.  I am always met with dropped jaws and disbelief.  Often I am asked, how???  The answer, for me, was training my mind every day of my pregnancy.  The mind is a powerful tool.  While I was pregnant every thought of pain would immediately be replaced with a positive thought, every negative word was replaced with a positive word, my visualization of birth were me opening up and hugging my child out.  I NEVER allowed negative thoughts to overcome me.  This was the key to my empowering births.

As I reflected each day this week on my health and wellness, I kept thinking, “If birth is supposed to be the most painful experience, would similar principles work for me on this journey?”  Recognizing the parallels between hypnobirthing and gaining better health with intention, I noticed that I have set eating well and exercising as priorities, and that there is no need to obsess about it; it just needs to become part of my daily routine.  Yet, everything in between needs to align with this concept.  With the intention of no negative self talk, I am learning to stop myself every time I think “ugh, I hate my knees” or “ugh, my stomach is so flabby.”  Every time a negative thought has crossed my mind I intentionally try to shift it to a positive.  This is tough to do.  Tough.  Tough.  But this process worked for me for childbirth, and I feel that the space between where I am and I where I want to be is what will inspire me.

Here are some ways to aid in setting intentions for your goals:
 
1. Build awareness of your current self talk: It is difficult to change something when we don’t know that it exists.  Paying attention to the moment and to the self talk can provide valuable information about how the patterns in the mind work.  For example: I may think, “I don’t want to go to the gym.”  When I look more closely at this thought, I realize that I may say (secretly) to myself, “I am not fit, and this is hard,” or, “what if I look silly in the gym if I can’t do an exercise?” or, “I’m too lazy.”  These thoughts are ok to notice: Simply be aware of your self talk, catch yourself in the moment, and send a little kindness and compassion to yourself and observe.
 
2. Create an affirmation/mantra: Think of how you want to be…how you want to feel.  This may be, “I am full of energy,” or, “My body is nourished with this food,” or, “I love to sweat and try new things.”  This affirmation should be something positive, perhaps phrased as if it has already happened.
 
3. Repeat the affirmation frequently: Some people find it helpful to put a little picture on their mirror, or on their fridge, to remind them to repeat the affirmation at different points throughout the day.  The more the mantra is reaffirmed, the easier it will be to change our habits and patterns.  So for me, when I notice any negative self talk, even, “Ugh, I should really go to the gym, but I don’t want to,” I recite my mantra, “I am full of energy and it feels so great to move my body,” which encourages me to follow through with my intention.
 
Stay tuned for more affirmations and mantras that are helpful to me on our closed The Holistic You FB group.  Please share your mantras and affirmations that work for you — it may inspire someone else!  
 

Many of you have been following my journey to lose 20 pounds.  Well, I have to tell you, it’s tough.  Honestly, losing the weight isn’t that hard — over the last year and a half I have probably lost 60 pounds in total.  The problem is I keep gaining and losing, gaining and losing.  I have been half a pound away from the 20 pound goal on numerous occasions and then something in life happens and I gain a few pounds, that turns into 5 and then I make some excuses and say I’ll start again next week…and then I start in two weeks or a month and I’m up 10pounds from where I was.  

This is so flawed.  

Today, I’m back on.  But this time with a different approach.  

The Holistic You is growing and we have teamed up with my sister, Laurel, who is an engineer (although no longer practicing), social work therapist, yoga and meditation teacher (prenatal and otherwise), labor doula and PhD candidate in social work and infant mental health with a focus on all things mindful (seriously…she’s working with the cream of the crop on mindful research) to provide a much more holistic experience.  Stay tuned for more on this.  But in the meantime, I’m using this to help me on my journey to health.  

First, I’ve enlisted Laurel on this journey because support is key and working towards establishing these habits and lifestyle change is always easier with someone else.  

Second, I’m becoming more intentional with my approach.  I’ve noticed lately, in my overall life how important this is.  I have four young kids, an energetic dog, a husband, a house to run, lots of volunteer work and clients, life…you get the picture.  And I just barrel through my day getting everything done.  Recently, my husband and I have started a purge of “stuff” in our house…this is the catalyst to my new approach.  The calm this brings me is incredible.  My space seems far less chaotic and I feel like I can stop and think for a moment.  With this, brings an opportunity for me to be more mindful and it creates the space for me to set my intentions for the day.  Today, my intention is health and wellness – MINE – not my kids and husbands and dog.  Mine.  

My intention to release the pressure to do this fast and furious.  My intention is to stop. Notice a breath or two (maybe more).  And enjoy the beginning of my journey to whole health.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m setting goals, but with a different mindset, more centered around self-love and acceptance.  Today, I worked out and I’m eating on point BUT I’m also going to let go of the obsession and allow space for me.  Today, I’m going to go to Starbucks and finish the book I’ve been trying desperately to finish for months.

I feel like this is the recipe for my success.  Laurel and I will be looping you in on our journey here (for the next little bit) and always in our closed FB group.  Please join us over there and let us know what you think! 

 

 

So. Hi. 

It seems I haven’t blogged in over a year.  In the last 4 months I have been reminded of this day after day.  That’s been a happy thing for me because it means I’ve been talking to people about nutrition and they have been engaged and wanting to know more. So awesome.  However, my life just hasn’t had room for it and I’ve been trying to embrace balance.  My hope through this past year was that come September I would really ramp things up because my littlest one was starting morning preschool and I would…have time…wait a second, what’s that?  Although, since he has started I have been busier, in a different way, then I was with the kids at home.

So here is my quick HI! Trying to get myself back into the blogging thing.  Over the next couple of days I’m hoping to give you an update on “I’m a Nutritionist and I Need to Lose 20 pounds” because this has been an ongoing journey for me with many new lessons and realizations that I think have really helped me with my clients.  And I would love to share this with all of you! 

 

Until then…

 

 

 

photo 1 (5)We have a beautiful apple tree in our backyard that provides us with more apples than we know what to do with come Fall.  Yesterday, my 5 year old and I went out to pick some and after getting a nice basket full I asked her what we should make…we contemplated as she ate one.  We debated between an apple, apple chips, apple sauce, apple muffins or apple butter.  She decided that we should make apple fries with our spiralizer.  So we tried all three plates on the spiralizer and decided that each is great in it’s own way.  We ended up with some very nice thin pieces of apples and two different thicknesses of spiral fries.  Once we spiraled all of apples we spread photo 2 (3)them out on a baking sheet and sprinkled them with cinnamon.  I forgot to put parchment paper down which would have been very smart, next time!  We baked the thinly sliced apples for 2 hours and the spirals for 3 hours.  In the end we had a delicious after school snack for all the kids.  If you haven’t guessed, I’ll probably be posting some healthy ways to use apples over the next couple of weeks since we have an abundance of them to eat up!  In the meantime, you can enjoy this easy and healthy snack with your kids! 

 

Baked Cinnamon Apple Frites
An easy and healthy snack for your whole family to enjoy!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 4 apples (I leave the skin on but you can peel)
  2. cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200F.
  2. If you would like to peel your apples, peel them. I leave the skin on.
  3. Use a vegetable spiraler (any plate works but for fries the thicker spiral is nice) or slice thinly.
  4. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  5. Spread spiraled or sliced apples onto the lined baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, toss, bake for another an hour (depending on the thickness you may need to put them in longer)
  8. Once the apple is crispy, remove and enjoy!
Notes
  1. The thinner the slices the faster they cook.
The Holistic You http://the-holistic-you.com/

 

 

This is a quick post just to keep everyone up-to-date.  I’m down to 145 pounds and have lost 15 pounds since starting this.  I have 5 pounds to go to reach my goal of losing 20 pounds!  I’m pretty excited about that!  

This has been all about perseverance and working through every single temptation to “yo-yo” and jump on some diet fad to lose it quickly.  I’m taking things one day at time.  It’s a lifestyle shift — mostly the shift for me is figuring out how to stay true to my health beliefs while living a busy life.  This is possible.  We can be healthy and busy!   

More to come…stay tuned. 

My husband usually makes breakfast on the weekends but today he took our dog out for a run a little later in the morning and the troops were getting hungry.  So, it was my turn to step up to the plate and make them something healthy and delicious.  Challenge accepted.  I decided to try and make our own muffins from scratch without googling a thing!  And here is what we came up with…

Banana Blueberry Bran Protein Muffins
Yields 18
A healthy and delicious muffin that can be used for breakfast or a snack on the run.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)
  2. 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  3. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  7. 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (see notes)
  8. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  9. 1 cup coconut flour
  10. 1/2 cup oat bran
  11. 1 cup greek yogurt
  12. 1 tablespoon ground chia seed
  13. 6 tablespoons coconut sugar (or Sucanat or natural cane sugar)
  14. 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  15. 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  16. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  17. 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (see note)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease or line a muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas and place in a medium bowl along with the milk, vinegar, maple syrup, greek yogurt, chia and vanilla.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a small pot over low heat. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flours, oat bran, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda).
  5. Stir coconut oil into the wet mixture. Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Gently fold in the blueberries, being sure not to overmix as this can result in dense muffins.
  7. Spoon about a heaping 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin, filling each tin about 3/4 full
  8. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pan for 5-8 minutes and then transfer muffins to a cooling rack and cool for another 15 minutes.
Notes
  1. Feel free to substitute the buckwheat and whole wheat flour for spelt flour to have a nice gluten-free muffin.
  2. If you are using frozen berries please add them frozen at the very end to prevent bleeding into your muffin.
The Holistic You http://the-holistic-you.com/
 These were a hit with my kids!  They couldn’t wait to get them out of the oven and would hardly let them cool!  

Enjoy!

 

 

 

We finally bought a vegetable spiralizer and I am so happy that we did!  This dinner was delicious!  The kids had a fabulous time peeling and spiraling the zucchini and we all had a wonderful time eating it — even my most picky eaters!  If you are looking for a a stellar substitution to straight up pasta, wait no longer — here it is!  As my kids called them ZOODLES! Enjoy! 

Zoodles and Vegetable Quinoa Marinara Sauce
Serves 6
A wonderful substitution to regular pasta, this zucchini pasta recipe is healthy, nutritious vegetarian gluten-free meal.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Zoodles
  1. 6 large zucchini squash, peeled
  2. salt
Sauce
  1. 1 jar organic pasta sauce
  2. 1/4-1/2 cup of water
  3. 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
  4. 1 zucchini
  5. 2-3 carrots, diced
  6. 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
  7. 1/4 green bell pepper, diced
  8. 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  9. 4 tablespoons kelp granules (optional)
Zoodles
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and peel your zucchini cutting off the ends.
  3. Set up your spiralizer to the small triangles (if you don't have a spiralizer julienne tiny strips of your zucchini and de-seed) and place the zucchini in and turn that crank!
  4. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels and spread your zucchini strips across them.
  5. Place the zucchini in the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove zucchini noodles and wrap them up in the paper towel and squeeze.
  7. Add the zoodles to the sauce you will be preparing while they were cooking and sauté an additional 5-15 minutes (depending on how al dente you would like them).
Sauce
  1. While zoodles are in the over empty the jar of pasta and add water to desired consistency (remember the quinoa will absorb some liquid) in a medium sauce pan and add 1 cup rinsed and drained dry quinoa and bring to a boil.
  2. Once at a boil simmer for 10 minutes and chop vegetables.
  3. Add vegetable and kelp granules to pasta and quinoa and simmer until zoodles are done.
  4. Add sauce and zoodles to a large sauté pan and cook, stirring continuously (I find using tongs to be helpful) for 5-15 min until the zoodles reach desired consistency.
  5. Serve zoodles and sauce on their own or over a bed a green (do the bed of greens -- we all need more greens!)
The Holistic You http://the-holistic-you.com/
 

Since I haven’t been doing my food journaling any longer and making that accessible.  Many have been wondering what am I actually eating that is helping me lose weight? Honestly, it  varies day to day but the gist of it is the same.  I am never hungry, I’m not taking any “magic pills”. I am not doing no carb, no dairy, no-no-no.  I am limiting some foods but I’m not depriving myself either, I am allowing myself to have foods that aren’t so great 10% of the time (this includes dairy and simple carbs).  Here is a typical day:

Upon Waking

Warm water and lemon

Breakfast

Green smoothie with a lot of greens and a little frozen fruit with a plant based protein powder

or

Eggs on greens with avocado

Snack

Fruit with nuts

or 

Greek yogurt and nuts

Lunch

BIG salad with quinoa or leftover dinner on top

or

Sprouts, veggies and chick peas wrapped in swiss chard

Snack

Veggies and Hummus

or

Raw seeds and fruit

Dinner

Loads of veggies, sweet potato and vegetable protein (or legume) the options are endless! 

Snack

Frozen fruit

or 

Brown rice tortillas toasted with salsa

OK…so this may not seem like a lot of food but it is!  Seriously, I am not craving anything, I am not hungry and if I was I would eat more.  And, writing it out it looks so boring, but it’s not — there are so many delicious recipes that fit into these categories and everything I eat has many layers and dimensions to it.  It is fabulously delicious and satisfying.  If you are stuck for recipes look at the recipes tab on my site for some that I like!  

Bon Appétit! 

The other night was one of those crazy-hectic-crazy-I-have-no-time-to-make-dinner kind of a nights.  I spent a couple of minutes looking through the recipes that I have posted on my site and found one I liked…BUT I didn’t have the ingredients.  Next thing I knew I’m doing my own thing with 4+1 kids running around my legs.  This took me literally less than 10 minutes from start to finish (with some helpful shortcuts that didn’t compromise nutritional value).

Vegetable Teriyaki
Serves 4
A delicious, fast and healthy teriyaki bowl that will leave you wishing you had doubled the recipe (seriously, double the recipe!)
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 bell peppers (time crunch: use frozen pre-cut peppers)
  2. 1 15oz can of chick peas, rinsed and drained (if you have time used dried cooked chick peas)
  3. 1 bag pre-washed spinach
  4. 1 bag microwaveable brown rice (available at Trader Joe's) (if you have time use dried cooked rice)
  5. 1 tablespoon flax oil (optional)
For the sauce
  1. 6 tablespoons tamari
  2. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  3. 1 tablespoon kelp granules (optional)
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  5. 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  6. juice from 1/2 lemon
Instructions
  1. Sauté peppers and chick peas on low-medium heat.
  2. Cook microwaveable brown rice per instructions. If you are making dried rice prepare in advance based on instructions.
  3. Prepare sauce by combining all ingredients in a bowl and whisking.
  4. Add rice, spinach and sauce to sauté.
  5. Serve on a bed of greens.
Notes
  1. It is always great to cook your chick peas or other beans from scratch because it improves the digestibility. We are all busy and sometimes can't, be ok with that. Same with the brown rice and frozen veggies, we lose minimal if any nutritional value by choosing these options and they can make meal time healthier when we may turn to a more unhealthy option in a time crunch.
The Holistic You http://the-holistic-you.com/
 I know…can you believe that I used frozen vegetables and microwaveable rice?  Honestly, this is new to me.  I just discovered the organic brown rice at Trader Joe’s (after a friend told me about it) and while I was looking for the rice I found the frozen veggies.  This really has made my busy life easier.  Research suggests that for both frozen veggies you lose little nutritional value and some nutrients are increased.  My philosophy is, if the frozen veggies and rice get you eating healthier alternatives it is better than not eating it all!  

ENJOY!

 

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Hi Everyone!  It’s been a while but I’m still here.  While I am always committed to healthy living and eating clean I found the summer to be a difficult time to shed any extra pounds.  Between having all four kids home for some family fun time and hurting my leg and ankle the summer was about maintenance for me.  Which is exactly what I did.  I maintained my weight (from the point where I had gained some weight back) and felt great.  Since the kids headed back to school I’ve been able to institute the 3 R’s, re-evaluate, re-focus, and re-commit with NO EXCUSES. I’m happy to report that over the last two weeks I’ve lost 6 pounds and some inches! I am down a total of 12 pounds and 4.25 inches around my waist since we began this journey!  Here are the details: 2.measurementchart The last couple of weeks have been ALL clean eating, there has been no exercise due to my leg and ankle and there probably won’t be any for the next couple of weeks.  But this just shows how much of an impact eating clean can have on our lives!

I’ve also started adding links to recipes that I love on my site: check them out, I’ll be updating it often!  Note that I often don’t follow recipes exactly so I’m going to gradually update the links to my take on them.  I’ll be posting them on the blog so you won’t miss them.  I hope this will help you find some new and healthy meals for you and your family.  If you have any recipes you’d like me to add send them my way.

I have 8 more pounds to go – I’M BACK!  And excited! How about you?

Many people have been asking me for recipes, recipes and more recipes coupled with “what do you eat for dinner?”  Let me tell you, it is ever so glamorous.  It all starts around 4pm (sometimes a little later) with “oh, ef…I need to make dinner” and then I procrastinate a bit hoping that the clean food fairies will do me a solid just this once.  Alas, I find myself opening and closing the refrigerator and pantry countless times until it comes to me (I can make something easy for the kids and have my hubby make something yummy when he gets home! or)  I’m going to throw this and this and this together, and then I cross my fingers.  Sure, sure…I’m all for meal planning in advance and sometimes I get into a good groove and we plan…but not always (or even often).

Tonight was no exception.  I actually had a vague idea of what I was going to make around nap time (which is stellar for me) unfortunately, I dreamed I had more of the ingredients than I did for the dish that I was going to make, so I  improvised.  My inspiration came in the form of summer squash from the garden.

pickerimage (2)

Now, now, now don’t get me wrong our dinner ALWAYS looks like this…oh wait…do you know how much work it was for me to get this shot?  First, I had to make some Annie’s Mac & Cheese because we had a playdate at our house and I wasn’t going to force this deliciousness on the palette of an unsuspecting 5-year old, I wasn’t even sure if my kids were going to eat it.  Happily, they did and I discovered this after getting the plates all set up for a super pretty picture (whilst a two year old was holding onto my leg screaming singing “mommy, mommy, mommmmmmmmy”) and I ran to get my phone only to find this when I came back…

photo 3

…and two happy girls!

photo 1 (5)photo 2 (food)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I missed getting a shot of our dog enjoying it off of the floor, too!  But all in all this turned out super well and it was FAST and EASY (11 minutes start to finish).

All you need to do is:

Make a 1/2 cup of dry quinoa and then add some cubed avocado, black beans, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Halve and deseed your summer squash (or zucchini) and stuff those babies! Voila a healthy dinner in 11 minutes!

Oh, and just so you aren’t fooled by my oh-so-glamorous life…this post is brought to you from the sanctity of my car, in our driveway, while the kids are getting into bed, before I run out to do groceries for a barbeque we are hosting tomorrow.  Yes, so glamorous!

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to write a blog post about getting back on track.  I spent May working really hard and was rewarded with fabulous results. Then June hit and life got crazy hectic again but I maintained my weight loss.  And then July…oh July!  I had all four kids home all day, we went on vacation, had a sick little one and there were many sleepless nights.  I managed to gain 3 pounds (read: drank wine, wine and more wine); I was still eating well with splurges but my exercise has gradually decreased.  Trying to keep the house clean, taking care of ALL the kids ALL day, preparing food and everything else that comes along with life made it difficult to find the extra time and energy.

This seems to be a common trend with my clients, too.  We are truly motivated and committed until transitions happen in life and then it is hard to find our footing. At this point we must re-evaluate, re-focus and re-commit before we are too far off our path.  I’ve allowed myself to consciously veer knowing that my time would come very quickly to figure it out again!  And here we are!

Re-evaluate

One reason I was so successful in May was because I really felt the support.  My husband made some tough adjustments to his schedule (which we both agreed would happen for a month) to open up space for me to train more and have time to prepare more food.  There were also a lot of people joining and supporting me on this journey.  This was a realization I needed to get back on track.

Earlier today my sister, brother and I committed ourselves to our very own (very made up) “bikini body challenge”.  I put together a 7-day meal plan for us, fired it off to my husband to get him on board and then sat down for the evening which is where, serendipitously, I found my new focus.

Re-focus

Tonight, my husband and I started watching Extreme Weight Loss (we don’t often watch this) and I was in awe. This woman was 315 pounds and lost 94 pounds in 90 days!  How amazing is that?  Not only had she lost a tremendous amount weight but her high blood pressure was now under control WITHOUT any medications!  I have always believed strongly that the key to health and ridding our society of lifestyle ailments (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.) rests acutely in taking care of our bodies.  True, this amount of weight loss isn’t realistic for all of us BUT what was truly inspirational was her mindset and the commitment she engaged to make such a HUGE transformation in such a short period of time.  Even more inspirational was the support her husband showed her — he embraced a more healthy lifestyle while she was away at bootcamp and saw amazing results for himself.  Remarkable. 

I now recognize my great support team and will focus on opening myself up to accepting this support (which can be hard for me).  I’m looking to surround myself by people who would like to have a nice bowl of fruit and enjoy iced green tea with me by way of eliminating the temptation of pizza, beer and ice cream!  Just think about the differences we can make in our overall health with a little exercise and a clean diet!

Re-commit

I’m always motivated by challenge!  So…here we go again!  Let’s jump back in and do this!!!

My BIG PICTURE Goals:

  1. Muderella September 5th
  2. Half-Marathon on October 26th
  3. Lose 5 pounds by August 31st

How will I get there?

  • Clean eating
  • High-Intensity interval training 3-4x/week
  • Run 4x/week
  • Cross train 1x/week
  • Rest 2 days/week

Who’s with me???  What are your goals and how are you going to achieve them??  Put it out there — you can do it!! 

Ladies and Gentlemen, one of my health secrets revealed.  Lemon Water.

OK, it’s not that big of a secret but I swear by it.  If you know me, you’ve heard me say it over and over again “are you drinking your lemon water in the morning?”  Seriously, ask my friends.  Ask my clients.  Ask the people at my gym.  Ask the woman at the grocery store.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.

A glass of lemon juice contains fewer than 25 calories. It is a rich source of nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin fiber. It also has medicinal values and antibacterial properties and contains traces of iron and vitamin A.  What more could you ask for?  A lot.

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

  1. Aids Digestion: This is my #1 reason for drinking lemon water.  Upon waking, instead of grabbing a coffee try having a warm glass of lemon water first.  The atomic composition of lemon juice is similar to the amylase (saliva) and hydrochloric acid of digestive juices.  Having it first thing in the morning wakes up your digestive system, loosens ama (Ayurvedic for toxic residue) in the digestive tract, flushes out the unwanted toxins and encourages bile production after a nice night of sleepy detox.  Lemon juice will also help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating.
  2. Boosts Immune System: Lemon water is loaded with vitamin C which is an electron donor, and this awesome property accounts for all of its known functions. As an electron donor, vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant in humans helping to protect our immune system from deficiencies and the adverse effects of toxins and harmful free radicals. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms like mild bronchial issues, and reducing the amount of phlegm your body produces.  Vitamin C also increases iron absorption which plays an important role in immune function. Lemon water also contains saponins which show anti-microbial properties that are credited with preventing the common cold and flu.
  3. Supports Central Nervous System and Heart: Lemon water is high in potassium which improves brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure by stimulating the functions of the entire Central Nervous System (CNS) by nourishing brain and nerve cells. The potassium content also keeps all cardiac problems at bay by diminishing mental stress and relaxing the heart muscles. It boosts the formation of blood cells, regulates blood pressure and supports your heart and blood vessels known to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
  4. Clears Skin: The antioxidants present in lemon water helps to decrease wrinkles and blemishes and combats free radical damage. Since lemon water helps flush toxins out of your body and blood it works to provide a healthy glowing skin healing your skin blemishes from the inside out.  Lemon water is alkaline in nature and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that kill some types of bacteria known to cause acne.  The citric acid in lemon juice gradually fades spots, acne scars and evens out your skin tone while getting rid of that pesky oily skin.

    TIP: Slice open a lemon and rub it across your face to help with acne and removing blemishes!  If you are a crazy over-achiever add a few drops of honey to a lemon half before applying it directly to the area where you have blackheads and wait five to 10 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.

  5. Boosts Energy: The energy we welcome from food comes from the atoms and molecules it is made up of.  Citric acid in lemon is highly electrically active and a reaction occurs when these positively charged ions enter the digestive tract and interact with the negatively charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negatively charged ions, providing our bodies with more energy when it enters the digestive tract.  When we mix the lemon with pure water the water acts as a conductor to deliver electrolytes directly to your cells boosting cell energy and nourishing your adrenals for a clean energy output that sustains you throughout the day.  Many say that they drop their 3pm coffee when they begin to habitually drink lemon water in the morning. Coffee is dehydrating and stresses your adrenals creating a temporary energy that drains and depletes your body’s energy reserves.  Maybe this is what you need to kick that coffee habit? 
  6. Mood Lifting: The soft, sweet scent of linalool, a substance found in lemons has mood enhancing qualities that turn down the classic “flight-or-fight” stress response within us helping to reduce anxiety, depression and clearing one’s mind.
  7. Balances pH levels: Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for our bodies. I know, you think they are acidic but once the citric acid metabolizes inside the body it becomes alkaline. Both the citric and ascorbic acid in lemons are a weak acid that is easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease occurs when the bodies pH is acidic. Symptoms of “acidosis” can range anywhere from achy joints, stiffness, insomnia, and depression to chronic disorders and major disease. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to neutralize the body and maintain a proper pH balance within the tissues and organs.
  8. Cleanses Your System: The citric acid in lemons maximizes enzyme function stimulating the liver and aiding detoxification.  Lemon water is a natural diuretic, which means it increases the rate of urination, which is highly important for maintaining the health of your urinary tract and entire renal system. As lemon water promotes the elimination of toxins and other waste materials from the internal system it can easily help promote overall health and well being. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements and remove toxins.
  9. Hydrates Your Lymphatic System: Your lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and is responsible for carrying lymph, a clear fluid, toward your heart.  It also filters disease-causing organisms, distributes fluids and nutrients, aids the immune system in destroying pathogens, removes waste, debris and cancer cells from your body (just to name a few).  Hydrating your lymphatic system combats the effects of dehydration like feeling tired and sluggish, having a weakened immune function, constipation, chronic lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, insomnia, lack of mental clarity and feelings of stress and anxiety. Warm lemon water supports the immune system by eliminating toxins, hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body and replenishes body salts, especially after a strenuous workout.
  10. Aids Weight Loss: Lemons contain pectin fiber which assists in fighting hunger cravings and satiating your appetite helping you lose weight the natural way.

I bet you’d like to make your own warm lemon water to start your day?  It’s easy!

The Basic Lemon Drink

Squeeze 1 half a lemon (preferably organic) into a few ounces of room-temperature (or warm) purified water.  Enjoy!  Remember, cold water actually slows down digestion.

Pretty simple, right?  Right!  If you want to get a little more fancy!

The Morning Cocktail

Add the juice of one lemon to 4 oz of warm water with a pinch of Celtic or Pink Sea Salt (you can also add a tiny dash of sugar) for a morning cocktail made for a champ!

The sea salt helps with hydrochloric acid production, balances your electrolytes and provides a gentle boost to the adrenals.

The Afternoon Tea

Another option is to make a delicious lemon ginger tea.

Heat your water to hot and add the juice of one lemon with a few pieces of grated ginger, and a dollop of raw honey.

This lemon ginger tea is a nice pick-me-up in the afternoon and soothes your digestive system.

The Soothing Throat Drink

Lemon is great for a sore throat.

Boil some water, add lemon, manuka honey and1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

You’re throat will thank you!

Next: The 3 R’s We Need to Know When Life Happens

Over the last two weeks life has been hectic.  I haven’t given an update because I’ve slowed things down a bit and was refocusing.  Working on balancing combining my busy life and all the exercise I would love to be doing!  If I could I’d be exercising everyday still but this isn’t feasible with our life right now.  A few changes I made for me these past two weeks were: my food journal and exercise.  I stopped my food journalling online because I felt like I was focusing on calories too much, and honestly, I’m not a big believer in calorie counting when you are choosing healthy, fresh, clean options.  However, one of my findings while journalling was that I definitely wasn’t eating enough food to help my body build muscle with all the exercise I was doing.  So, I pulled back on my exercise and my journalling.  Over the last two weeks I have lost 2 pounds at total of 12 pounds in 6 weeks. This falls into the healthy, sustainable weight loss zone so I am pleased!  I haven’t measured myself, I think I’ll save that for the end of the month.  

I know I could be losing more, more quickly but this is not a race and we shouldn’t be stressed by our health regimen.  I was very focused on getting the first 10 pounds off and now that I’ve gotten there I’ve switched my mentality to slow and steady progress.  My nutrition is close to the same but I am allowing myself a little more wine and snacks when we are out.  I’m living real life now and I’m not stressing about my choices as long as I know that I am choosing clean 80% of the time and consciously making choices the other 20%.  I’m still seeing results so this is working for me and it is a much more balanced approach.

In terms of exercise, I have been running at least three times a week.  I was very happy the other day when I ran 3 miles at a 9:36 pace (which is quite good for me, I rarely get a sub-10 time).  I have been doing a couple of tabatas (or high-intensity-interval training) per week and I’m hoping to up that just a tad.  We also bought a bike seat for the back of my bike so I can tote my 2 year old with me on bike rides.  I see many family bike rides in our future; I get our two year old and my husband will get our 5 and 3year old in the double bike trailer and our 7 year old will be speeding past us!  Watch out rail trail here comes the Hicks-Kolodziej Krew!

I’m hoping to lose 3 more pounds by the end of the month.  Wish me luck!

Next: 10 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water

 

We have all seen the ads on our Facebook feeds:

“the magic pill that J.Lo used” 

or the headline on our favorite fitness magazine:

“lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks”, 

“lose 4 inches by eating this food alone”

And I’m certain we have all tried one of the high-protein, low-carb, low-fat, grapefruit-only, maple-syrup-cayenne-lemon drinks that your friend lost 10 pounds on.  Or perhaps you haven’t been duped by these diets because you’ve figured it out!  You have just been eating TOO MANY calories and that’s why you aren’t losing weight.

Well, I’m here to tell you that these fad diets DON’T WORK!  Even if you have lost 5 pounds in the first week — it’s not going to stay off my friend, it’s not.

If you’ve followed a fad diet, you are in good company. You are also probably not the only one who has had trouble staying on one of these deprivation diets for a long time. Or, if you did lose weight I’m certain we can all commiserate that the pounds DID NOT stay off once you went back to your usual way of eating.

Fad diets don’t help you keep off the weight in the long term.

But why?  I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, let’s do a very basic overview of some of the more popular fad diets out there:

High Protein Diets (including South Beach, Atkins, and Bernstein)

Description: The most aggressive high protein diet is Atkins and the premise of all of them is simple; very high protein to very low carbohydrates.  This ratio of foods causes your body to burn its own fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

Benefits: This approach is effective for lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin resistance and blood sugar, and weight.

Problems: Eating a high-protein diet for a long period of time can promote weight loss but it can also lead to kidney damage, and (depending on the type of protein consumed) high saturated fat relative to essential fatty acids balance, nutrient deficiencies and constipation from lack of fiber.  Protein is also an inefficient source of fuel for your body to utilize (glucose from carbs is much more efficient) so one may be left feeling exhausted.

High Carb, Low Fat Diets (including Ornish, Pritikin, McDougall, and Swank Diets)

Description: Complex carbohydrates comprise 55% or more of the diet; often the ratio can be as high as 80% carbohydrates, 10-15% protein and 5-10% fat.

Benefits: Like all plant-based diets, these will lead to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, weight loss, lower cardiovascular and cancer risk, and a healthier gut due to the high fiber.

Problems: A high-carb, low-fat diet can lead to deficiency in essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, D, E, and K deficiencies.  Also, often people feel hungry and potentially hypoglycemic.

Blood Sugar Diets (including The Zone)

Description: Excess insulin makes us gain weight and keep it on.  The goal is to regulate blood sugar levels by consuming a perfect balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein (40-30-30) at every meal so the body can burn fat more efficiently and have more energy.

Benefits: Balancing blood sugar levels is a key to staying satiated and reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and associated diseases.

Problems: This balance contrasts sharply with the accepted nutritional standard of 65-15-20 and it does not differentiate between types of carbohydrates and recommends avoiding all high-carb foods (therefore a candy bar and a carrot are the same “type” of carb). Often weight loss on this diet comes from restricting calories and not from the magic (and complicated) macro-nutrient formula presented.

Low Calorie Diets

Description: Calorie-restricted diets aim to set your body at an ideal weight to achieve maximum metabolic efficiency.

Benefits: Slows down aging, preserves mental and physical function and reduces risk of degenerative diseases such as heart, cancer and diabetes.

Problems: People are encouraged to eat more nutrient-dense foods but often end up actually eating far too little. When a person consistently eats too little their metabolism lowers because they lose muscle.

And many more…Vegan Diets, Mediterranean Diet, Paleolithic Diet, Blood Type Diet, Sally Fallon and Weston Price, Raw Food, Master Cleanse, DNA diet/Nutrigenomics, and more!

All of these diets have their pro’s and con’s, and some more than others.  They key learning is that…no one diet works for everyone!  The concept of bio-individuality is that each person has their own nutritional needs and making generalizations like “dairy is good for you” or “fat is unhealthy” doesn’t work for everyone.  One person’s food is another person’s poison, and that is a big reason why fad diets don’t work in the long run. It is important to look at your age, health, activity level, blood type, metabolic rate, and personal preferences to determine your dietary needs.  With that said, here a few other reasons why fad diets don’t work.

WHY FAD DIETS DON’T WORK

Sustainability: Fad diets are meant to be just that, a fad or short term. The goal is to lose as much weight as possible as fast as you can even if this is not sustainable.  Many of these diets claim to be a lifestyle change but continuing on the plan is usually not easily maintained and we get lost in the “in-between” stage. These diets do not teach sustainable eating habits that encourage and teach us to eat healthfully over the long term. Therefore when we go back to our previous way of eating the weight inevitably comes back.

Activity level: Weight loss and health is a combination of diet and exercise.  We must move enough to burn the excess energy we take in from food.  I don’t believe in counting calories when eating a healthy, clean diet.  However, when it comes down to it expended calories must equal or be less than ingested calories or the extra will be converted to fat. If you concentrate solely on depriving yourself (which is not sustainable) and don’t incorporate regular exercise, the loss will never last.  

Metabolism:  Our metabolism is the rate at which our body burns energy to keep us alive and it changes depending on our age, regular nutrient intake and activity level. During a fad diet, when food is restricted and exercise is often decreased (or non-existent) the body enters what we all know as “Starvation Mode”.  When our body begins to defend against the perceived starvation our basal metabolic rate adapts to the lower nutrient intake in order to preserve the little energy that it’s getting and slows down. When we begin to start eating regular foods in our regular amounts the calories are burned more slowly since the body’s metabolism has adapted to running at a slower rate.  This leads us to easier and more rapid weight gain than we were previously used to. This is yo-yo dieting at it’s best. We repeatedly try to lose what we have gained back further deteriorating metabolic health leading to nothing but long term weight problems and ill health.

Lean Muscle Mass: When we lose weight too quickly the body enters “Starvation Mode” and it searches for whatever fuel source it can find for energy. Our bodies like fat because it pads our organs, provides warmth, and fuels our brain. Therefore, the body begins to burn muscle instead which results in us losing highly coveted lean muscle mass.  Healthy lean muscle is where our metabolic tissue lives and helps us to burn calories more quickly. Losing this muscle causes our metabolism to slow down more which means when we start to eat more food again we gain weight back because the body won’t convert this food into muscle but will instead immediately store it as fat. This equals more fatty tissue and less lean muscle. Losing fat and not lean muscle mass only comes from a combination of exercise and healthy, clean diet.

Snacking:  Often we begin to stop snacking when we want to lose weight and follow a fad diet because we aren’t “allowed” to eat enough food through the day. Our bodies need a steady supply of fuel to function properly and remain satiated. Eating every 5-6 hours means extreme hunger by mealtime which leads to overeating and unhealthy cravings taxing our already slowed metabolism creating more stored fat. 

Macronutrient Imbalance: Fad diets tend to focus on limiting one or more of our major nutrient groups; carbohydrate, fat or protein. The body needs all of these nutrients to function properly. Without them in healthy proportions we are at risk of nutrient deficiency which is not only bad for our weight loss but very bad for our overall health.  Not only that, when the restricted foods are reintroduced we are programed through chemicals released in our brain’s pleasure center to binge on the “missed” food leading to more rapid weight gain. 

But you just can’t seem to lose weight even though you are eating healthy?

There are many reasons that people have trouble losing weight and keeping it off while eating a clean diet and exercising. These can range from hormonal changes, cortisol and stress levels, food sensitivities, chemical-laden foods and more.  I will talk more about these in a future blog post but this is when a Nutritionist is really helpful.  They can work with you to determine what your diet should look like.  For instance, you know that highly popular dark leafy green that goes by the name Kale?  It’s not good for all of us (but it is good for most of us) shocking, I know!  But  we all require something different from our diets and it’s important to know what is right for you.

The best diet is not a diet at all, but a way of life that includes food you enjoy, exercise, and healthy habits.

Next: A Quick Update After Week 6

My first goal was to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks.  While my scale doesn’t actually read that I’ve lost 10 pounds my fitness evaluation reveals that I have lost 10 pounds of body fat, I’ve gained 1.5 pounds of muscle and I’ve brought my overall fat percentage down from 37% to 32%.

So this is pretty awesome, yes!  But since I’m being completely transparent on this journey I was kind of bummed.  You know, I sit with my clients and encourage them every time I see them; I tell them not to expect too much, to go slow and be proud of any progress and that there are always set backs along the way.  I tell them to be gentle with themselves to know that you don’t always have to be perfect.  Progress in the right direction is what we are looking for. These words are easier to say and harder to live by.

I KNOW that in order to lose weight and transform yourself into a healthier person it requires time, slow and steady progress and being honest with yourself.  To have results that last we must go slowly, set our egos aside and be patient with ourselves.  Blast – this sucks.  I have been working so hard and while I have been happy and feeling great along the way I wanted to see MORE progress.  I wanted to blow my goals out of the water.  I wanted to see the scale read UNDER 150.  But it didn’t and I wasn’t happy about that.  My mental self knows that this is the most ridiculous thing — I’ve lost 10 pounds of body fat and I’ve gained muscle! Muscle is what I want!  Muscle is where your metabolic tissue lives and this is what helps to “speed up” our metabolism making weight loss more efficient.  However, I’ve been brainwashed, along with the rest of us that the number on the scale matters.

Guess what?  IT DOESN’T.  What matters is your health.  What matters is your fat and muscle percent.  What matters is how you feel.  What matters is staying positive and kicking ace.  What matters is staying on track.

So instead of getting off track and eating cookies and chocolate and drinking wine to deal with an invisible set back we need to remember the long game.  We will all have moments when we feel discouraged but that is when our strength must shine and that is when we must persevere.  Wallow for a moment (which I’ve done) but then pick yourself back up and brush yourself off (which I’m doing) and put things in perspective (which I’ve done). Dude, I just lost 10 pounds of body fat, that’s pretty fantastic.

The other great news is that from a fitness perspective I’ve improved!  Here are my results (column 1: before six week challenge a year ago, column 2: after 6 week challenge a year ago, column 3: 4 weeks ago, column 4: right now):

2.measurementchart (1)

This past week’s food journal can be found here and my exercise plan looked like this:

4.foodexerciseweek1

 

Finally, here are my measurements for the week:

difference

This coming month I plan to set a goal of 5 pounds.  Why not 10 like the first month?  We all usually lose more weight at the beginning because our bodies are a little “shocked” and drop a few pounds right away after which it begins to level off to a healthier sustained weight loss.

My Goals for Month Two

1. Lose 5 pounds by June 30th

2. Drop my fat %  and increase muscle mass (not sure what those number look like)

3. Continue to eat clean with a target of 90/10

Next: Why Fad Diets Don’t Work

 

 

Once again, I had a busy week but I managed to stay on track and see results.  This week I lost 1.2 pounds for a grand total of 9 pounds down.  The even better news is that my fat % is down which means I have built more muscle!  My first smaller weight loss goal was 10 pounds in 4 weeks, I’m one pound away from reaching my first goal!  I am super stoked that I have lost more inches and my clothes are fitting more comfortably, too!  Also, my fancy scale at home gives me my metabolic age (which I haven’t been sharing because I already feel like there are a lot of numbers to look at) and I’m younger by one year this week — this means I am healthier and happier!  Here are my results:

week3results

My food journalling for the week can be found here.  I’m struggling to eat enough food to compensate for all of my exercise.  I’m never hungry and have been making happy and healthy choices so I feel okay with this.  There is no deprivation and I am well nourished (however, I did skip a meal or two accidentally, oops!).  I’m trying to make my meals a little more robust by adding in some more healthy fats and proteins.  One of my other goals was to cut back on my wine consumption.  I’m doing OK with this but not super crazy fabulous.  I find it very difficult in social settings to say no and find myself having a glass or two.  May the wine Goddesses be on my side this week!

As for exercise, I’ve still be going pretty hardcore.  I’m going to continue this for one more week and then pull back a bit.  My exercise for the week looked like this:

week3exercise

Needless to say, I’m pretty pleased but there are few things to work on:

  1. Eat more healthy fats and protein.
  2. Don’t skip a meal
  3. Say no to wine!
  4. Rest and recover

Next: I’m a Nutritionist and I lost 10 Pounds of Body Fat

 

 

 

 

When people begin to eat clean they often feel much better…but usually not until after their bodies have transitioned from eliminating all that added sugar from their diet! When you feel your cravings stepping up (cravings almost always stem from the body wanting more sugar!) Ask yourself:

Do you really want some sugar?  

I’ve had my moments!  Especially when I’m alone and I know that no one else will know.  But then I think, that’s not being fair to myself and I am the only one who won’t benefit from eating it. It’s been surprising to me because I really don’t eat a lot of added sugar on a daily basis!  Getting over sugar cravings is not easy, know that the efforts you make are well worth it and the benefits will be long-term health improvements.

What is my body trying to tell me?

Have you ever wondered if these annoying cravings were trying to tell you something other than go grab a donut? What if, instead of sabotaging your health and weight loss efforts, they were sent to enhance your efforts to get fit and slim down?

 Well, this is exactly what’s happening.  When you experience a sugar craving it’s your body’s way of sending you a message that it needs something else in order to get the body you deserve: healthy, slim and energized.  And once your body get’s these things it will stop sending you these messages!

Your body is trying to tell you that:

It needs water!

Your body doesn’t tell you that it is thirsty until you are on the verge of dehydration. Sometimes, when you get really dehydrated, your body signals this to you by sending out a sugar craving, or other strange food cravings for that matter.

So the first thing to do when you get a craving is to drink a full glass of water and then wait at least twenty minutes before you indulge your sweet tooth. 

Please try and consume half your body weight in ounces of water a day!

It needs nutrients.

Often people think they are eating a great diet because they’re choosing fat-free or low-cal food. The unfortunate thing is that the highly-marketed healthy foods are some of the most nutrient depleted, contaminated foods on the planet.  If you are eating foods that lack nutrients, the body will wind up in deficit.

If there is a deficit of nutrients your body will not have enough fuel to create the energy it needs to get you through the day.  Your body will turn to whatever quick fix it can find to solve it’s energy shortage. Leading the list for quick fixes: sugar.

Please stop eating processed foods, restaurant foods, unhealthy prepared foods and switch to a clean, organic nutrient-dense whole foods diet.

It’s bored.

Oftentimes when people are dissatisfied with their lives or just flat out bored they turn to food for comfort, pleasure, and enjoyment.

It’s important to recognize when you’re using food as a means to distract yourself, fill an empty void, or entertain yourself because your life is not as fulfilling as it could be.

Please try and dig deeper when a sugar craving strikes to find out what’s really going on.  

9 Tips to stop your sugar cravings:

Oftentimes, people are looking for a quick fix or magical tip to stop their cravings.  When, in essence it’s all about making a handful of small changes that will add up to fewer cravings and feeling healthier and more energized.  My tricks for stopping cravings are:

  1. Eat often: This not only helps balance your blood sugar, but it also lessens the cravings you will have. 
  2. Eat dried fruit: Many people crave sweet foods after they eat. Eating something like fruit, or a dried fruit, following a meal can help. Don’t overdo it, though because fruits do contain sugars and dried fruit is generally higher on the glycemic index than fresh fruit.
  3. Go Nuts: Try eating nuts or nut butters (like peanut, almond, cashew butter). Nuts can often fill that need for something salty and satisfying.
  4. Salad greens: Many grocery stores stock mixed salad greens. Eating greens before a meal tends to fill people up; they are also loaded with vitamins and other nutrients (which is what your body is really craving) so it’s a great two-for-one filler-upper!
  5. Up the Fiber: Eat some form of fiber before every meal. Fibers swell and helps you to feel full.
  6. Exercise: When you feel the cravings beginning, go for a walk. Exercise not only gets you out of the kitchen and away from the temptations but it has also been shown to reduce cravings.
  7. Brush your teeth: Brushing gives you a bit of that sweet taste you are looking for and many people don’t feel like eating once their mouths are clean.
  8. Drink water: Sometimes cravings get mixed up in your brain and what your body really needs is water and not sugar. 
  9. Remember, it is just a craving: You are not a slave to your cravings. When you start to feel that you really need something sweet, stop and think about it. You have probably eaten recently so you are not going to starve – even though your brain is trying to convince you that you are. You will be surprised how cravings disappear after a while.

Will my cravings ever stop?

I can’t say that you will never want something sweet again but you will not have such strong urges for sweets after this.  Improving your overall diet and getting sufficient fiber and healthy protein in your diet will help retrain your body and stave off future cravings.

Whenever you find yourself impulsively reaching for something you know is not good for you, take a moment to slow down, breathe and reevaluate the situation.  Why do you really want this?  Are you hungry?  Then eat some protein and fiber!  Are you thirsty?  Drink some water! Are you bored? Get active; go out for a walk, a run, start that Pinterest project you pinned months ago!

Remember: Plan your foods and have healthy snacks on hand.  If you get hungry you will be more likely to give in to temptation.  Have a plan and make a commitment to yourself to stick to that plan.  The only person you have to be accountable to is you! 

Next: Week 3 results

Many of you have joined me on this journey and have found the hardest hurdle to surpass are the withdrawal symptoms and cravings you are having for certain foods.  Today we will look at withdrawals and tomorrow we will tackle cravings.

When you reduce or eliminate added sugar and processed foods (which usually translates to sugar in the body) from your diet you can expect to feel very different. In a week you will be feeling great but in the meantime, most people will experience some form of withdrawal. These symptoms can range from a mild anxiety to full-blown withdrawal symptoms.

Some common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Anxiety
  • Feeling Shaky
  • Headache
  • Aggression
  • Wanting to binge

Why do you have withdrawal symptoms? 

Sugar acts like a drug in your brain.  Similar to morphine and heroin, sugar triggers the release of natural opiates within the brain and this opiate effect stimulates the release of chemicals within your brain’s pleasure center that keeps you hooked.

 Your brain cells have tiny molecular structures on their surface called opiate receptors.  Sugar and carbohydrate cause the release of endorphins that trigger a pleasure response by activating dopamine receptors. The result is a pleasant “feel-good” effect and whatever physical or psychological troubles might have been bothering you are toned down a bit.

Researchers at John Hopkins University tested sugar’s effects in an unusual way.  Their test subjects were babies who were just one to three days old. The researchers placed the infants in their bassinets for five minutes, and naturally, some began to whimper a bit during this time.  Then they gave each baby either a tiny amount of sugar or plain water.  The effect was almost immediate.  Sugar-water stopped them from crying, water alone had no effect.  A pacifier can do that, too, but there is a critical difference: If the pacifier is removed, crying can ensue immediately; but sugar’s effect lingers for several minutes, even after the taste is gone.  The reason is that sugar causes opiates to be released in the infant’s brain, and these naturally calming compounds stay on after the sugar is gone.

Sugar causes the release of opiates within the brain.  But the opiate response does more than make you feel good.  It also has a marked appetite-driving effect. Inside your brain, the opiates triggered by the sweet taste are busily resetting all your internal priorities to make you care about one thing and one thing only: eating more of what has just passed your lips.

There is a chemical reaction that takes place when you eat sugar which leaves your body wanting more.  That is why you feel withdrawal symptoms.

3 Ways to Help Your Withdrawals!

Please know, your withdrawal symptoms will soon pass and you will be feeling great.  In the meantime, one of the best ways to deal with sugar withdrawals is to treat it like a hangover.

  1. Supplements: The best supplements for a hangover are a good B-vitamin, Vitamin C, and Magnesium. Most stores have some sort of hangover remedy; I like the fizzy packets from a company called Emergen-C (look for the sugar-free variety, but don’t worry if you can’t find it the regular Emergen-C has 5g of sugar those 5g could be really helpful in getting you through the first few days). 

  2. Nux Vomica: a homeopathic remedy that is often used for excess (as well as a few other things like allergies, digestive problems, and more)

  3. Water: drink lots and lots of water!

Be gentle with yourself

These first days are the hardest so please go easy on yourself.  Your withdrawals and cravings will be their strongest now — but you can get through them!  I believe in you.  Treat yourself to something special today – a massage, a leisurely walk or just take some time to read a book.  Take some time to reflect and remember sugar and processed foods are not a treat, it’s a trap (a client of mine coined that term and I love it!)

Next: 9 Tips to Curb Your Cravings

Ladies and Gentlemen.  I have finished week 2 and it was a challenging week.  Mostly because life was very, very hectic.  My husband was traveling, one of our kids had a birthday, we had two sick kids and life threw us some lemons.  But no excusesI lost 2.6 pounds this week and 7.8 pounds in two weeks!  I’m pretty happy with this because we all usually lose more in our first week of shifting eating and exercising and we gradually move to a healthy number of pounds lost per week (which is usually 1-2 pounds).  I am wondering if I clean up my diet even more next week and exercise hard, hard, hard if I will be able to see a little more progression — but this would be more of a personal experiment — losing 2.6 pounds in one week is pretty stellar.  

Here are my measurements for the week:

week2 difference

My food journal is here and you will see that I followed my clean eating rules BUT I was probably 70% clean and 30% not-clean — which leaves much room for improvement.  But, that is real life — we can’t be perfect all of the time, and we shouldn’t expect that from ourselves.

Luckily, I still managed to get all of my exercising in!

week2exercise

Things to work on for this week:

  1. Eating more regularly
  2. Getting all of my water in
  3. Having fewer glasses of wine
  4. Make every workout count!

Next: 3 Ways to Overcome Withdrawal Symptoms

Clean eating.  It’s quite the buzz phrase these days.  But what does it mean?  It really is the simplest and healthiest approach to eating!  All you have to do is…

Eat whole, unprocessed, preferably organic foods. 

Pretty simple, right?  Not for everyone.  What I have found with my clients is that once they begin to shift their mindset to clean eating they begin to realize just how much processed food they are eating and then they feel completely lost.  The good news is that the learning curve is smooth and quick!  It really just takes understanding the difference between processed and REAL food!  The beauty of this plan is that you can customize it for you. How?  Decide on how much clean and processed food your diet will be made up of.

I like to go by the 80/20 rule (80% clean and 20% not-so-clean) but strive for 90/10. If you are new to clean eating set your own guideline (maybe 50/50) and gradually change that until you are at a happy balance.  It may take some time to find replacements for some of your favorite things — but after a couple of weeks you will know exactly where to turn when you want some crackers!

Another rule we have in our house is that if you crave it and you make it you can eat it!  This makes it a little harder to indulge and it allows you to have control over the ingredients you put into your food.  You can choose healthier substitutions AND no preservatives needed!  I’ve mentioned before that I LOVE a nice French baguette.  Instead of running to the grocery store around the corner for immediate satisfaction I have put the time and effort into making my own loaf (which takes time if you like the double-rise recipe like I do).  This gives me the time to have a glass of water, munch on some greens and satiate my craving in a healthy way.  Once the loaf is made all I need is a small amount because I haven’t let my cravings take advantage of me (later we will talk about what cravings actually are!)

Finally, my BIG eating clean rule is toss out the calories!  If you are making healthy clean choices then you don’t need to worry about calorie count.  Remember, not all calories are created equal!  Some foods (say an avocado) is a high calorie, high fat food but it metabolizes much differently than the same number of calories in something like pasta.  So, don’t be afraid of your foods — this is not a diet, this is a lifestyle and we shouldn’t fear what we are eating but love what we are eating!   This is a good reminder for me because I find whenever I start food journalling I become fixated on the calories, grams of protein, fat & carbs.  This is no way to live.  Free yourself from your food — make clean choices and eat — you should NEVER be hungry!

5 Rules of Clean Eating:

  1. Eat whole, unprocessed, mostly organic food
  2. Strive for the 80/20 rule (80% clean, 20% processed)
  3. If you make it, you can eat it (within reason)
  4. Don’t worry about calories!
  5. Eat in abundance

Next up: Week 2 Results

My next planned post was supposed to be on Clean Eating BUT I couldn’t wait to share the news!  It has been one week since I last weighed and measured myself and I am quite happy with the results and feeling motivated!  I’ve lost 5.2 pounds and inches!!!!  Here are the numbers in black & white:

week1differencechart

AND, this is after using last night as a splurge night.  I drank more than my intended wine and had a small slice of homemade pizza.  To balance this I drank plenty of water and munched on avocado, peppers and carrots throughout the night.  We all had a great time, I didn’t feel deprived and I’m back on the wagon this morning (6am TRX class kicked ace!).

We all go through ups and downs throughout our journey and I found it really challenging to say no to wine!  This is real life and real life means allowing yourself to waiver every so slightly but doing this with control.  I’m meeting some friends this evening and I feel in control and won’t indulge like last night.  I am GREAT with that.  I am mindful of how I felt afterwards and am working too hard to sabotage myself for a few glasses of wine.

Onward.

Next: What is Clean Eating?

 

 

 

It seems as though over the past week everyone around me has begun their own healthful reformation of sorts.  I am so inspired by all of you.  For me, I am wrapping up week one and feeling GREAT.  I feel stronger, I have more energy, I’m not bloated and my skin is glowing (and I think I’ve already lost a couple of pounds but I haven’t checked).  

With that said, it hasn’t been easy, my kids have still been waking up through the night, I’ve had a couple of days that have started at 4am (with wide awake little ones), my kids have protested my departure to the gym and all-in-all it’s been a very busy week full of clients, volunteering at the school, kids’ activities, household responsibilities and everything else that comes with a family of six.  But I’ve still managed to squeeze in 5 workouts, a yoga class and have easily stuck to my nutrition plan.  I am also happy to say that I’m not craving foods, I’ve had very minor “withdrawal” feelings, and I’M NOT HUNGRY! 

Wait a second, so I think I’ve lost a couple of pounds and I haven’t been hungry?  

That’s right!  This is not a diet, this is clean eating folks and one should not be hungry when eating clean.  We can eat in abundance when we make healthy choices throughout the day.  In return for these choices our body thanks us with a perked up metabolism and increased nutrient absorption.

Next up on the blog is a post about eating clean but for now, in an effort to be completely transparent and accountable, I’ve made my food journals available for everyone to see.  If you’d like to keep tabs on me please click here but I’ve attached this weeks here and will update it at the end of today In my eyes, there is room for improvement but this is a pretty great start! Especially considering I have eaten at someone else’s house and I have been out to eat (I chose moderation of of nutrient-depleting foods and this morning we went to Blackbird — I really wanted to get a big egg sandwich with cheese on a croissant but instead happily asked for two eggs over medium on a bed of greens — and it was satisfying and delicious!)

As for exercise, it has been fabulously exhausting.  I’ve been going to the gym at 5:45am Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and working out from home Monday and Wednesday.  The Saturday yoga class is at a local studio.  I’ve been putting my all into these workout[here]s and working hard – if I’m there I’m going to make it count!

Here is what my plan for this week has been:

exerciseweek1

Take aways from today’s blog post are simple:

  1. Eat clean food in abundance
  2. Feel satiated always
  3. Exercise like you mean it
  4. Eating clean and exercising makes you feel FABULOUS!

Up Next: What is Clean Eating?

It seems that we all have 10-20 pounds to lose!  I have received a lot of emails and messages from people who want to join me and begin their own reformation.  This is absolutely fabulous and excites me!  The BIG question is how will we do it??  

My secret.

Drum roll, please….

CLEAN EATING & EXERCISE! 

Wait, you mean there isn’t a magic pill?  There isn’t a blend of herbs and powders to mix and drink??  There isn’t a maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper drink??

No.  There isn’t.  We are doing this right.  And the right way is to eat clean and exercise!  I’m not interested in any miracle pills or drinks.  Losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise.  However, there are a lot of ways to help boost your metabolism with food and exercise that many don’t realize.  A nutritionist and personal trainer can help you tweak a plan to maximize your results. If you continue to follow my journey you will catch on to a few of my trade secrets.   But first…

One reason I have decided to take on this adventure in such a public forum is because I find that when people discover that I am a Nutritionist they can feel self-conscious about their food decisions around me and become very apprehensive to share or defensive when they do share what they and their families eat.  Here’s the thing — I’m human too and I am not perfect.

Confession: I love chocolate, wine and french fries.  Wait, there’s more I LOVE carbs!  Yes, that’s right, I LOVE foods that aren’t necessarily great for me! However, I don’t indulge in these loves everyday.  

I drink wine. Every. day.

I eat chocolate when I am with other people. 

I eat french fries mostly when I’m at a restaurant (which is rare).  

Now, the carbs…this is a tough one.  Pasta, french bread, and the likes are also a weakness.  When I do indulge my problem is portion control — I always want MORE!

I have recognized my weaknesses.  Now to put together my customized plan that takes these and my other needs into consideration.  This is something that I do for my clients after a full health assessment.  If you would like to follow my plan please consult a professional first.  There are many ailments that need specific attention (high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, inflammation, digestive problems, allergies, etc. — for a complete list please see here)* and to achieve a healthier you you will need to work with someone knowledgeable to help you determine what is best for you.

No excuses. Here goes.  My nutrition plan:

I will eat clean.

I will not be hungry. 

I will miss drinking wine. Except one on the weekend. And I’m being positive, right?  So this is *awesome*

I will enjoy foods that are not refined grains.

I will eat foods with no added sugar. 

I will refresh my digestive system with warm water and lemon upon waking. 

I will replenish myself with 10 glasses of fresh water a day (and only drink my tea when I really, really need it because hey, it’s hard enough to drink all that water, do I really want to have to drink more?)

I will be present at mealtime and enjoy my food slowly. 

 I will strive for 12 hours between evening and morning nourishment.  

I will keep a food journal. 

Now, for the exercise portion or the program I have consulted my friendly personal trainer who has helped me develop a plan.  Perhaps I will have him write a post in the future on what to look for in a fitness plan.  You can do this at home but It’s really hard for me.  If I get up before the littles to exercise at home; they wake up.  If I wait to exercise after they are in bed it is far too late for me because, well you know, after putting them to bed, cleaning up dinner and getting things ready for the next day I finally sit down with a half-hour to spare before bedtime!  And exercising during nap time takes away from precious laundry, cleaning, working time. So, no excuses, enter Mr. Fitness from Fitness Your Weigh.

Here goes…my fitness plan:

I will perform high-intensity-interval-strength-training 3x/week.

I will complete 12-minutes of “Tabata-style” cardio 3x/week.

I will engage in 1 vinyasa yoga class per week.

I will run (when my little one lets me put him in the jogging stroller) right, no excuses. I will run 3 miles 3x/week!

There we have it.  My secrets revealed.  Easy peasy, right? 

Next up on the blog: What I’m eating and and how my exercise is going!  

*Medical disclaimer.  This program is for educational and informative purposes only and is not intended as a medical or professional advice.  Always consult your primary he alt care provider before making any changes to your diet or nutrition program.  No health claims are made for this program.  The nutrition program will not help cure, heal, or correct any illness, metabolic disorder, or medical condition.  The author is not a medical doctor or registered dietician and is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist.  All foods are not tolerated by everyone equally.  If difficulties or discomfort arise due to your inability to digest, tolerate or utilize any food suggested, discontinue use until the reason for the difficulty can be addressed or if necessary seek appropriate medical care. If you have diabetes, chronic hypertension, high blood cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, or any other medical condition or metabolic disorder requiring special nutrition considerations, we suggest you consult a health care professional for health advice.  The author and publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any of the information contained in this blog or web site. The user assumes all risk for any injury, loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by using any information describes in this blog or web site.

So, that was depressing and awesome all in the same breath.

Before I explain, over the past few weeks I have been putting together my plan to start this reformation and over the coming days and weeks I will reveal how you can join me.  Yesterday was the beginning for me.  I went to Fitness Your Weigh for my fitness evaluation.  Oh boy.  We weighed me and measured me and tested my VO2 capacity and performed some basic fitness tests and finally ran a circuit drill.  I was even further from where I once was and this enlightenment has motivated me even more!  As my trainer Steve said, “Room for transformational progress,” and that is just what we are all in for.

I have never been one concerned with what the scale says; I truly believe in being healthy and that pounds don’t always reflect one’s precise health.  The way my clothes fit and my body fat percentage are much more important factors for me, but as a society we use these benchmarks and our weight in pounds to measure progress.  So, today I will share with you my measurement chart and my goals.

These goals are realistic and open to change and will grow with me throughout this journey.  The whole experience will take time and patience, but that is how my reformation will last.  Fad diets and crash courses in one thing or another never have lasting power and I’ll explain why not in days to come. But first, a few promises to myself:

No excuses.  I hear excuses from clients often and I know them all.  While many are valid in their space if one is going to make a commitment to something we have to put all of these excuses aside and take control.

Take my time and enjoy the process.  I, like many of you, enjoy instant gratification.  I am results driven, but for now I’d like to take a breath, go slow and feel great while doing it. 

Positive Perspective. Never use the word fat negatively and never say anything negative about how I look.  See the beauty in the process and be thankful for the opportunity.

Next up, goal time!  (Yes, we should all use the S.M.A.R.T. approach to goal setting but I’m not so great at that — we’ll work at tweaking these to make them a little smarter but for now…)

  1. Lose 10 pounds in 28 days.
  2. Improve from “above average” to “good” category for Vo2 test in 28 days
  3. Achieve 25% body fat in 6 months.

**I will revise and set new goals as each milestone is achieved.  Getting me to the 20 pounds and beyond!

How will I do this?  MY SECRET: How will a Nutritionist Lose 20 pounds? 

I’m a nutritionist and I would like to lose 20 pounds. Ok, I’m not just a nutritionist; I’m also a wife, a mother of 4 young children (7, 5, 3 and 2), a social coordinator, the CEO of our family, a chauffeur, and a friend. I haven’t always been this heavy or out of shape. Before having kids I was 115 ponds and after my fourth baby, whose pregnancy I worked out through and I completed a fitness challenge at our local gym (Fitness Your Weigh, check them out!), I weighed 139 pounds. And then came a year full of crazy travel for my husband and a lot of business for me as a pseudo-single parent, not to mention having a baby-toddler always home with me!  I fell into the mommy-trap of taking care of everyone else and not myself.  I wasn’t following all of the advice that I give to clients — which is not authentic, but is the reality sometimes.

I always told myself, “I would never let myself go” and, for the most part, I haven’t. I still shower (well, often enough) and I wear jeans (ok, sometimes) but I wear make-up everyday (almost) and I usually brush my teeth before I leave the house in the morning (well, at least before lunch time). The big thing though is my weight. I always said as soon as I saw the scale move up I would nip it in the butt (oops, I mean bud). Well, here I am at 155 pounds and the nipping has to start!  I am 16 pounds heavier than I was after the fitness challenge just over a year ago.  And YES, I can’t believe I’m disclosing this!

photo 2 (2)

June 2012: Two weeks after baby was born

photo 1 (2)

April 2013: After working out since baby was born and undergoing 6-week fitness challenge

photo 2 (1)

April 2014: The beginning of my personal challenge

photo 1 (1)

April 2014: about to start! Side view


“So, please join me on my journey.  Watch me as I reveal my goals and secrets about losing 20 pounds the right way.  I promise to be honest and real.

Join me on your own journey and we can be healthier together!

Tomorrow: Getting started!  It’s not all about the pounds!  Measurements and Goal Setting!

**Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will talk about Prevention which will include foods to avoid and more!**

Our Sunday morning was hijacked by the right ear of my 3-year old daughter and her first acute ear infection.  It is common knowledge amongst our friends and family that our family trusts in nature, food and our bodies for healing.  So whenever one of my kids comes across some form of illness people always ask me “so, what did you do?”.  I’m often asked to “put it somewhere” so they can find it without having to text me when that particular ailment casts it evil spell on their family.  So today, I am writing it here, in hopes of you finding it when you need it.  

 As many of you know, ear infections are often not treated with antibiotics any longer.  I’m no doctor but my understanding is that most ear infections aren’t really that.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has set out new guidelines for diagnosing ear infections because in the past they have been “over-diagnosed”.  It seems that any sign of red  through an otoscope warranted an “infection label” when sometimes the red bulging tympanic membrane could have just been fluid that was not draining well — not necessarily an infection.  Further, most ear infections are viral in nature and won’t respond to antibiotics, instead these antibiotics can cause an ear infection. Some studies have shown up to a 600% increase in the rate of recurrence when antibiotics are used in the treatment of chronic ear infections.  Furthermore, other studies have found that ear tubes were no more effective than a placebo in preventing the recurrence of ear infections.

 Anyways, there is a lot of information about this online.  Just google it or ask your doctor, it seems that this is mainstream thinking nowadays.  Where I come in is with the not-so-mainstream approach of handling it.  We don’t turn to Children’s Tylenol or anything of the likes.  Here is what we did this morning to relieve my crying, fussy little girl who was in terrible pain with a bulging, flaming red something or other in her ear (like I said, I’m no doctor but I can use an otoscope with the best of them!)

 Garlic & Mullein Ear Oil

 I am a crazy evangelist of garlic and mullein ear oil!  And, I have just learned that two double-blind studies support this use (source 1, source 2).  Garlic is anti-viral making it a nice alternative to antibiotics, which only cover bacterial infections. Garlic also contains alliin and allinase which provides a natural anesthetic that can provide some relief while it deals with the “infection”. Alliin is an odorless substance found in garlic that when crushed or cut releases an enzyme called allinase which when put in contact with alliin turns into allicin. Allicin is responsible for much of the typical odor of garlic. It is very active chemically and helps the garlic bulb defend itself from attack by insects and other threats. However, allicin is unstable, and soon breaks down into a variety of other substances.  Therefore, garlic powder won’t have any alliin or allicin left by the time it is purchased so you need to use the real deal to help with your ear infection!  

 You can buy ear oil online (there are many available, we have tried many but currently have this) or in your local health food store but you can also make your own.  I like to add a little lavender oil to my mix.  This is the only oil that I use that can go directly in the ear in a diluted state.  

 We warm our oil in a glass of hot water and then put a few drops in one ear and then place a cotton ball in.  We have the child lie as long as we can keep them down with the oiled ear up until we treat the other side.  We always treat both sides even if only one ear hurts. 

 Epsom Salt Sock

 After we have put the ear oil in we place a warmed sock that is filled with epsom salt, which has anti-microbial properties, on or just under the ear.  Pressing the sock to the infected ear helps get the lymphatic fluid moving and draws fluid out which reduces swelling and pressure in the ear. 

Essential Oils

Years ago I took many aromatherapy courses and I have since continued using it in all aspects of life.  My favourite essential oil for the ear is cajeput.  I like to mix this in a carrier oil with eucalyptus and lavender and massage the outside of the ear, jaw and neck in a downward direction and gently in front of the ear toward the cheek.  Other oils that can be used are rosemary, oregano, chamomile, ti tree and thyme.  Use 5 drops of essential oil in 20ml of carrier oil (you can use olive oil, fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, etc.) 

 I am not a proponent of using essential oils internally unless you are working with a registered aromatherapist.

 NOTE: It is important to use high quality essential oils for them to be effective.  

 Rescue Remedy

 If one of my children is very irritable and having trouble calming down I turn to Rescue Remedy for Kids.  Today, my daughter could not stop crying and I gave her a squirt, she stopped, put her head on me and was asleep within a minute.  Now, those were some great results — it’s not usually that night and day — but it helped her today.  

 After a nice long nap…she woke like the morning hadn’t happened.  

 Other Home Remedies

 There are other home remedies that you can try but after going through four kids with ear infections here and there, I have found the above combination works perfectly.  If you are interested in some others here is the quick of it:

Chiropractic

If my children had chronic ear infections I would bring them to the chiropractor as adjustments are said to work wonders.  Here is an article from the American Chiropractic Association http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=69

 Collodial Silver

Holistic Squid has a great article on why it is safe but should be used sparingly. 

 Onion Cure

The theory is that the fumes from the onions which are a natural cleanser will go into the ear canal and help unblock them. They also go through the sinus cavities, so this can also be used with a really severe sore throat to help cleanse the system.  The basics are to put a halved warmed onion as a compress on your child’s ear or drip a few drops of onion juice in their ear.  It’s easy to find specific instructions online.  

 Herbal

Herbal tinctures and teas are also a great alternative for pain management.  A couple of my favourites are passion flower and valerian root drops to relax your child and help relieve pain.

 Breast Milk

Breast feeding babies is also an effective way to help prevent chronic ear infections.  Babies that have been breast fed for four or more months have a reduced risk of developing chronic ear infections for about 12 months after breast feeding ends.  Whether this is due to a reduction in food allergies or protective factors in the breast milk has yet to be determined.  While I was nursing, I would express and put a few drops of milk in my children’s ear to help ease their ear ache.  

 When to See A Doctor

 The “Basic rule of thumb for parents is: Don’t call the doctor for an antibiotic unless the child has a fever over 102 degrees or severe symptoms of cough, runny nose and ear pain, . . . Instead, a parent can safely wait 48 to 72 hours, giving pain medicine as needed, and watching to see if those symptoms simply go away. If the fever rises or the cough and runny nose last for several days, that’s when the child needs to visit the doctor for a full evaluation.”

 STAY TUNED: There is only one thing more important than treating an ear infection and that is prevention.  I’ll be posting my recommendations imminently.   And of course, this will include food!  

 

Nut milks are all the rage these days and it is all for good reason.  Bovine milk can be very difficult for people to digest and can contribute to many inflammatory ailments, especially for children.  My kids drink mostly hemp milk at home with the occasional glass of almond milk. We do a combination of making our own and buying from the store.

Yesterday I had a thought: there is pretty much a milk alternative for every type of grain and nut out there.  You’ll find oat milk, rice milk, 7 grain milk, hazelnut milk, almond milk….the list goes on.  But I have never seen quinoa milk.  My kids love quinoa, it is a staple in our house and if I could figure out a way to give it to them without the messy clean up that comes along with it it would be a major win.  To google I went!  Apparently, it does exist (so I am not as clever as I thought) Vitasoy makes a version and Good Groceries Company makes one too!  This is incredible.  But, I haven’t been able to source it yet so I made it.  It took about 25 minutes since you have to cook the quinoa first but I was already going to be doing this for dinner so I just made extra.

It was incredibly delicious and my kids loved it.  Try it at home!

1 cup quinoa grain
2 cups + 5 – 6 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 date (optional)

First, I  soaked my quinoa overnight in water and drained it before cooking (or you can rinse quinoa under running water to remove bitter saponins). I then cooked 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water.  Once it was cooked and cooled slightly I added the cooked quinoa to a blender with 2 cups of water and blended on high until smooth.  You may need to add water (up to 6 cups for the consistency of store-bought milk alternatives) to the desired consistency, blending the mixture after each addition.  Add in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and date (if using). Pour milk into nut milk bag or cheesecloth, hold over a bowl or large jug. Massage contents until all liquid has passed through the material leaving only the ‘pulp’ behind.

I used my leftover quinoa pulp for our breakfast this morning.  You could also save it for baking – no waste here!

 

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Another snow day here in Massachusetts.  Along with the challenge joys of having 4 kids at home comes the joys challenge of getting everything done and food on the table while keeping them happy, stimulated and…well…fed!  Some may balk at the tasks at hand and run in sheer terror but not me.  No, not me, I stepped up my game.  

A snow day brings along that all-too-familiar craving for comfort food.  But, those beloved comforts are not so great for our health.  They promote inflammation, which is the precursor for many health issues, and help us to put on those unwelcome pounds.  So today, we transformed a typical American dinner into something healthy and delicious.

We made homemade veggie burgers on sprouted bread, baked chick pea fries and a favourite in our house, kale chips.

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This picture is proof that I am no food stylist but the meal was delicious!  My most discerning customers (my four kids) all ate it and liked it!  Here are the recipes…

Veggie Burgers

¼ cup water

2tbsp ground chia seed

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cooking onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 ½ cups black beans

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

8 fresh basil leaves

2 tbsp cilantro

2 cups cooked or canned red kidney beans

¾ cup brown rice flour

Place water in a measuring cup and add ground chia. Set aside for 2-4 minutes. Preheat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Reserve 4 tbsp of olive oil. Add onions, garlic, black beans, cumin and salt and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Place basil, cilantro, beans and ½ cup flour, along with the water and flaxseed mixture and mixture from stove into a food processor and blend until the mixture is a paste. Reserve ¼ cup of brown rice flour. Take large handfuls of the puree and roll them into balls and flatten into burger shapes. Coat both sides of burgers in remaining flour. Place on broiling pan. Brush both sides of burger with remaining 4 tbsp of olive oil. Cook under broiler for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Baked Chick Pea Fries

2 cups cold water
1 cup chickpea flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs (optional)
olive oil for drizzling

Line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper and set aside. Mix the cold water, chickpea flour, and spices in a medium sized pot with a whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil slowly over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute until it is the consistency of pudding.  Spread the chickpea mixture into an even layer in the lined pan. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then cover loosely. Refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to a day (or put it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes like we did).  Turn your solidified chickpea porridge over onto a cutting board and cut into little fingers about 4 inches long by 1/2 inch wide. Gently coat the little fingers with bread crumbs (optional) for a crispier outer crust. Place on an oiled cookie sheet and drizzle/spray with olive oil to make sure they get crispy. Bake at 450f for 25-30 min, flipping once (gently spray with oil once you have flipped).

We served ours with homemade garlic aioli. 

Kale Chips

Kale, deribbed
Olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 375. Combine the debribbed kale, a drizzle of olive oil to coat and a sprinkle of sea salt in a bowl.  Toss.  Spread out evenly on a baking sheet.  Put in oven for 15-20 minutes tossing half way through.  You want these crispy, so don’t take them out to soon!

Enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day!  The holiday of love, lust and chocolate!  Here are a few recipes to help you provide you and your loved ones with some healthier treats!  Enjoy!

Print Recipe

Raw Brownie Bites

Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Medjool dates pittedrawbrowniebites
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds unsalted, raw
  • 1/2 cup walnuts raw
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder or 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Blend the sunflower seeds and walnuts in a food processor or high powered blender until finely ground but not a nut butter consistency.
  2. Add the cacao powder and vanilla extract and blend again until mixed evenly.
  3. Remove pits from dates.
  4. Add the the dates and process until a dough like mixture is formed. You should be able to sculpt the dough without crumbling.
  5. Using a 1 Tbsp measuring spoon, scoop the dough and roll into 12 balls.
  6. Keep in the refrigerator for 1 week or freezer for up to 1 month.
  7. Enjoy!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 112
Fat: 6 g
Sugar: 11 g
Carbohydrate: 15 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

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Chocolate Chia Pudding

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons chia seedschocolatechiapudding
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together well. It takes a little stirring time to incorporate everything.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 min or leave overnight.
  3. Enjoy topped with chocolate sprinkles or fresh fruit!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 166
Fat: 8 g
Carbohydrate: 24 g
Protein: 4 g

Serves: 15
Ingredients
Red Velvet Filling:red velvet

  • 1 c Dates (about 25), soaked 1 hour
  • 1/2 c Shredded Beet about 1 small
  • 1/2 Large Avocado
  • 1/2 c Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 c Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Tbs Vanilla
  • 15 drops Vanilla Crème Liquid Stevia

White Chocolate Exterior:

  • 1/2 c or 4 oz Organic Raw Cocoa Butter
  • 1/3 c Arrowroot Powder
  • 2 tsp Coconut Cream*
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Crème Liquid Stevia
  • Silicone Chocolate Heart Mold

Directions

  1. *To obtain coconut cream, I simply refrigerate a full-fat of Organic Thai-brand Canned Coconut Milk and measure off the amount of firm cream I need to make this dessert.
  2. Make Filling: In high-speed blender (I use my Vita-Mix), blend together dates, shredded beet, avocado, cocoa powder, coconut oil, vanilla and 15 drops of the vanilla crème stevia. Tamper as needed and blend until completely smooth. On parchment-lined cookie sheet, measure out 15 small ( ¼ tsp – ½ tsp) dollops of fudge and place in freezer to help quick-set filling.
  3. In medium container, smooth out the remaining fudge and store for future candy making or simply raw-fudge enjoyment.
  4. Make white chocolate: Over low heat, heat cocoa butter just until melted, stirring the entire time to prevent burning. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. The chocolate will appear yellow, it will lighten as it firms.
  5. Once fully incorporated, add 1 tsp white chocolate to each mold. Set chocolate molds in freezer for 10 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Leave the remaining chocolate in stock pot as you will need this to remain soft/liquid for the final step.
  6. After 10 minutes, remove fudge filling and chocolate mold from the freezer. Place small dollop of fudge in the center of each mold, ensuring the filling is not touching the walls of the mold. Cover fudge filling with remaining white chocolate, approximately 1 ½ – 2 tsp in each mold. Return mold to freezer and allow chocolate to set until completely firm, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from mold and serve.
  8. Makes 15 truffles

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 106
Fat: 5 g
Sugar: 11 g
Carbohydrate: 16 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 1 g

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While everyone in the Northeast is cuddling with their littles indoors during the Blizzard of 2013 we are all looking for things to do with our overzealous children!  My 5 (and 3/4) year old had a great question earlier today, and I quote “will sprouts survive snowmageddon?” I had to chuckle and wonder how she knew the term snowmageddon.  With that query aside I had to answer “yes, inside.”  That led us to our next activity; sprouting. 

My kids love sprouting almost everything, but their favourite is clover because it is fast and furious and rather impressive.  But you can sprout just about any bean, legume, seed, pulse or grain.  Why would one ever want to do this?  Nutrition, of couse!  Through sprouting (or soaking) you can turn these small little pieces of nourishment into nutrient dense powerhouses that are much easier for you to digest and are a healthier snack and addition to any recipe.  A seed (or grain or legume or pulse or bean) have many nutritional advantages but many of them are inhibited by anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid which is good for you in small amounts but stops nutrient absorption in larger amounts). Once the germinating process begins by soaking the seed the seed has been activated and is a living plant.  The anti-nutrients are discarded and the seed has been changed, inside and out. When you eat that seed you are no longer eating just a seed, but a tiny little plant.

The process is simple and the pay off is huge.  When you sprout you are:

  1. Neutralizing phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors
  2. Aiding digestibility
  3. Providing additional nutrition
  4. Alkalizing the body

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Neutralizing Phytic Acid and Enzyme Inhibitors

Phytic acid is a phosphorus compound found in most plant foods.  When first introduced to the diet, it binds with minerals, particularly calcium, iron, and zinc to form insoluble compounds that are carried out of the body in the stool.  This means that it is extremely difficult to assimilate these nutrients and can irritate the digestive system. By sprouting (or soaking or fermenting foods), you prevent the phytic acid from blocking minerals and leaves a little phytic acid for the beneficial effects it has on your body.  You will also be neutralizing enzyme inhibitors, which unfortunately inhibit enzymes in the actual seed, and valuable enzymes within your digestive system that are needed for optimum digestion once they have been eaten.

Hot tip: discard the soaking water to your houseplants!  

Aids Digestion

Have you ever heard someone tell you they won’t eat beans or legumes because it causes them terrible, un-scently intestinal gas?  There are other changes that take place during sprouting that make it easier for us (and the people around us) to digest these healthy foods.

Phytic acid does not cause the gas from legumes. The carbohydrate found in legumes, which is highly fermentable and hard to break down, causes this. Soaking will help reduce some of the fat content and convert the dense vegetable protein to simpler amino acids for easier digestion. The more complex carbohydrates in the foods will also start to break down into simpler glucose molecules.

Hot tip: add a piece of kombu seaweed or one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar while soaking to ease digestion and flatulence.

Other Nutritional Advantages

Beans, legumes and pulses and whole grains are rich in minerals and B vitamins (especially B2, B5, and B6), and when combined, can provide complete protein for the body.  Sprouting increases carotene dramatically, and also creates an abundance of vitamins C, D, E and K, calcium, complex carbohydrates, chlorophyll, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, all amino acids, and trace elements.

Alkalizing to the Body

Some foods are acid forming, and some are alkalizing to your internal pH. We need a balance of acid to alkaline food to maintain the perfect pH levels. The average American diet is acidic and contributes to many ailments and diseases (this is information for another post).  By sprouting your grains and legumes, you are creating a more alkaline food you have started the process of making a plant. A little more like eating a plant or vegetable so therefore more alkalizing.

How to Sprout (the basics)

 

Bean sprouting tops (for standard mason jars) can be bought at your health food store or online.  You can also make one from some muslin, cheesecloth or gauze and a preserving ring or rubber band.  There are also sprouters available online.

Sprouting is very easy and takes little time and virtually no green thumb:

 

  • Put two to three tablespoons of beans, seeds, or grain in a screw top jar and half fill the jar with warm water.
  • Leave to soak overnight.
  • Pour off the water.
  • Rinse once or twice and stand upside down until the water drains out completely.
  • Keep the sprouts in a dark area or cover them with a kitchen towel until you see they are germinating.
  • At this stage, bring them into the light to develop their green tips that contain chlorophyll.sidebar_sprouts
  • Rinse twice daily until the sprouts are at least 3-cm long or have two baby leaves.

Please remember to drain water out completely, if you leave the sprouts standing in their water they will quickly rot. Also, do not try to sprout too many seeds at once because they increase their size rapidly. Wash the jar thoroughly between sprouting.

Sprouts are best when fresh so try to prepare only as much as you can use in three days.  If you need to sprouts will keep crisp for up to a week if stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  Sprouts are delicious raw in salads, sandwiches, or added to soups and casseroles at the end of cooking. They can be blended with drinks or added to desserts. Sunflower sprouts can be dried in the oven, ground, and added to baking or granola.

Sprouts are particularly useful during the winter months when the supply of garden fresh vegetables is low. Children in particular marvel at the miracle of sprouts and are more likely to eat them when involved in their production!

You can find a chart with a variety of seeds and their sprouting times on my website under Hot Topics.

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CONGRATULATIONS!!  We did it!  30 days of green smoothies!  What an amazing accomplishment – even if you weren’t able to make a smoothie every day the fact that you committed to the challenge and started it has made a difference in your health.  The hope is that now you will be able to include this wonderfully nutritious drink as a staple in your balanced diet.

Today, I made a smoothie with homegrown and manually pressed wheatgrass.  Wheatgrass is a nutritional powerhouse because it is immediately absorbed into the blood stream and gives instant energy while boosting your immune and nervous system. It purifies the blood and cleanses the kidneys, liver and urinary tract, as well as enhances the capillaries and reduces high blood pressure.  Wheatgrass increases the red blood count, improves digestion and metabolism, and contains antioxidants which repair damaged cells and rejuvenates aging cells.  If this isn’t enough it has been known to relieve sore throats by gargling with it, helps weakness and fatigue, removes acne scars, is an excellent skin cleanser, treats acne and pimple problems, and prevents graying hair and removes dandruff.   Wait a second, sounds too good to be true; if that’s so, it gets better!  It improves blood disorders, is an appetite suppressant, is suitable for diabetics as it regulates blood sugar levels, and is very beneficial for cancer patients. Whew, sign me up! 

Growing wheatgrass is pretty easy.  All you need is a simple garden tray, soil, compost, Azomite and wheat seeds.  You can buy a kit like this to begin.

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Start by soaking your seeds overnight.  Drain the water and place a paper towel over the seeds until they begin to germinate. Once they germinate you can spread them over the soil, compost and azomite on the gardening palette.

Water the seeds heavily and place 4 layers of wet paper towels on top.  Keep the towels moist.  Once the grass has grown approximately two inches you can remove them and let the grass grow.

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When the grass reaches approximately 6cm you can harvest it.

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You need a special juicer to extract the juice from wheat grass.  I use a manual extractor which works fine, you can buy much more expensive and electric juicers.  But regardless of what you use homemade wheatgrass is easy and inexpensive (once you are set up).

photo 7 photo 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rather like the taste of wheatgrass.  Many find it too potent; if that is the case add it to your smoothie!  You can also buy freeze-dried wheatgrass powder that does the trick and tastes a little better (well, some brands do, others have a gritty texture).

photo 10

This was a wonderful way for me to end my Green Smoothie Challenge!  Smoothies are a big part of my families diet – I hope they continue to be a part of yours.  Remember:  add plant-based protein, mix up your greens, add good fats and superfoods!  But most of all…enjoy them!

Please let me know how your experience has been – I look forward to hearing from you!

 

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I’m still here!! Yes, that’s right…I’m here and I’m making smoothies, every day! I just haven’t been able to post for various reasons! But, I’m here and I know that many, many of you are here, too! I’m still getting emails, texts and posts from all of you. It’s rather inspirational. Probably one of the coolest things was having someone I didn’t know ask me if I’ve tried “this green smoothie challenge thing” that their friend was doing it and she thought she should too. I said “hmmm…I’ve made them once or twice, but tell me more about this challenge.”

So, I’m ready for this upcoming weeks challenge – making a SUPER SMOOTHIE. I have been growing my own wheatgrass timed perfectly for this coming week. We just juiced our first batch from it. I will post more later this week!

I haven’t made our smoothie yet today, but I’ll highlight a smoothie from earlier in the week; our “good fat” was cod liver oil.

photo 2

3 cups collard, kale, mustard greens

2 cups romaine

1 cup parsley

1/2 cucumber

1 banana

3/4 cup pineapple, frozen

1 cup blueberries, frozen

1/2 lemon

2 tbsp cod liver oil

I blended all of my greens and then added in the fruit and cod liver oil. It was quite tasty…I love the taste of parsley in a smoothie, it’s so refreshing!

photo 3

I’m looking forward to this coming week. We will put it all together and have super powered smoothies! It’s pretty exciting that we are nearing the end — make sure to keep me posted on your progress!

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Oh yes!  Pack that blender FULL, FULL, FULL of greens!  The taste isn’t really different and you are getting so much more nutritionally!  Think about it — you will get at least 4 servings of your fruits and veggies for the day!  Yesterday, I made a massive green smoothie.  And today I made another for my morning workout…but first, here is Friday’s smoothie:

photo 1

1/2 cup coconut water

3 cups kale

1 cup turnip greens

1 cup collard greens

1 cup mustard greens

1 cup spinach

1/2 cup blueberries

1 cup pineapple

1 banana

3 tbsp chia seed

First, I added all the greens – such a great assortment!  You can choose to mix a lot of greens in your smoothie or a different green each day for variety.  But, variety is important!  You want to switch it up a bit.

photo 2

After blending all of that up I added the fruit and chia.

photo 3

This smoothie, even with all of those greens, was still awfully sweet.  My first sip made me go – eeee, that’s sweet!

photo 4

I saved some of this for my husband (as I do every day).  But by the time he got home in the evening it was awfully thick (from the blueberries) but I thought…mmm…imagine freezing this in the summertime, it was the perfect consistency for a faux-ice-cream. If we could work on the colour, we’d be on to something!

Today, I made my smoothie first thing in the morning so I could have some extra energy for my workout.  There was no time for pictures, except the one afterwards of my almost finished smoothie.  This was 8 cups of greens (in total), mostly kale and a little spinach, banana, pineapple, coconut water and chia (yup, pretty close to yesterday’s smoothie).

photo 5

Tomorrow, I’m going to add some good fat to my smoothie – I can’t decide what yet…avocado, cod liver oil…only time will tell!!

Enjoy!

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Congratulations everyone!  We are official in the latter half of the challenge!  If that wasn’t exciting enough I made my favourite smoothie so far.  As mentioned yesterday, I was challenged to add more greens from a wonderful supporter; she supplied me with a recipe to try.  I tweaked it slightly because I wanted to add some different greens.  This smoothie is my new go to!  It was a wonderful plant-based protein source while keeping the calories and carbs manageable (182 calories, 35 carbs, 0 fat and 14g of protein).  Here it is, please try it!

3 cups spinach, rawphoto 1

1 cup turnip greens

1 cup collard greens

1 cup mustard greens

1/2 cup coconut water

1 orange, freshly squeezed

1 banana

As my ingredients were being stolen away to a two-year old chant of “my coconut water, mine”

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I packed my blender full, full, full of greens and added the coconut water and orange juice.

photo 4

Then I added the banana.  It got really smooth and creamy and was a beautiful green colour green!  And this smoothie received glowing reviews “I like it, yummy, so good, so good, more please”.

photo 5

 photo 6photo 7And yes…my seriously cute 2 year old got a wonderful haircut last night by her older sister!  But, I digress.

As mentioned, this smoothie is lower calorie yet still a great source of protein.  How could this be?  You will remember from an earlier post when I was writing about spinach I mentioned mustard greens! I promised I would write about them – do you remember why?  Protein!  This green is meeting our week one and week two challenge – protein and mixing up your greens.

Mustard greens are, you guessed it!  The leaves of the mustard plant. They are a member of the Brassica family and are a cruciferous vegetable.  There haven’t been many studies done on mustard greens alone, but there have been a number of studies on cruciferous vegetable with which mustard greens have been a part of.  Mustard greens are an antioxidant, detoxifying and anti-inflammatory vegetable which all contribute to cancer prevention. They provide some of the highest concentrations of three powerful antioxidants: vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. They are also a good source of manganese, folate and vitamin E.  The antioxidants and sulfur-containing nutrients in mustard greens help boost detoxification activities in the body.  Vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids are two essential anti-inflammatory agents found in mustard greens; Vitamin K directly regulates the body’s anti-inflammatory system and Omega-3 fatty acids are important building blocks of the widely complex inflammation system in the body.  Preventing chronic inflammation is essential in lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, arthritis and more.   Mustard greens are a good source of dietary fiber, which promotes good colon health, regulates the metabolism and aids in digestion.  Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of vitamin A have been linked with strengthening the eyes and the prevention of macular degeneration.  A good source of both calcium and potassium, mustard greens may help promote good bone health and help prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.  This is a highly nutritious, low calorie foods that is high in dietary fiber which will help regulate the metabolism and maintain a healthy body weight.

Have you been able to add some new greens to your smoothie??

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I am so happy!  I may have encouraged another friend to start drinking green smoothies!  Not just anyone…someone, I didn’t think would come over to the green side.  He has been jokingly asking me to make him a green smoothie — and today, I did.  Delivered to his door.  When he finished, he said it was “awesome and he may just have to hit up the grocery store for some greens.”  Now, that just made my day!  So, what was in this smoothie?  Unfortunately, I have no pics to show because I was rushing – yet again – but it was:

1 cup spinach

1 cup kale

1 cup chard

1/2 cup pineapple, frozen

1/2 cup mango, frozen

1/2 an avocado

1/2 lemon

a touch of almond milk

You will notice that I added more greens to my smoothie today.  I had a great email from someone gently telling me to up my greens.  Challenge accepted. :)  So, I filled my entire blender with greens to the top and blended that down and then added everything else.  Didn’t even notice there were more greens.  Score.  Absolutely delicious.

Tomorrow, I should be back on track with taking pictures and adding a little extra to my posts.  It’s been a busy few days for many reasons.  One of the reasons was a workshop I ran tonight on Nutrition 101.  We had a great turnout and although I was somewhat verbose and kept going on tangents; I think it went well.  Next week, I will be having a workshop on stopping your sugar cravings.  If you are in the Groton-area, please consider attending – the more the merrier!

Oh…and I did make a smoothie yesterday too — in fact, I made two!  How is everyone else doing?

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The weekend was very busy!  When all 4 kids are home and we are running around checking off the events in their social calendar it leaves little time for writing a blog post.  However, we did find time for the important things like our 2 year olds birthday party AND a green smoothie each day!  The smoothies we made over the weekend were pink-green smoothies so my 5 year old would drink it but they still had all of that green power behind them!  I posted pics on Facebook…take a look!

Today, I’m back to my bright green smoothies!  I wasn’t sure what I wanted so I just let my 7 month old grab some things for me.  This is what he came up with:

1 cup spinach, chard, kale mixphoto 1

1 granny smith apple, sliced

1 banana

1 orange, peeled and sectioned

1/2 cup mango, frozen

2 tbsp ground chia

I blended the greens first and then added apple, banana and mango followed ny the orange and chia.

photo 2

This was way to sweet for me!  I could only drink half and I saved the rest for my husband.  I think if I added half an apple and half an orange it would have been better – or more greens :)!  I may try to tweak this one late tonight.

And, if you are in the Groton-area, check out our workshop series that is starting this week.  This week we will start with Nutrition 101.

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Later today I will be sending out the plan for next week.  We will be focusing on using different greens in your smoothie.  In honour of this coming weeks challenge I decided to make a rather unconventional smoothie.  I have been planning this smoothie since last week when I talking with someone who wanted to join the challenge but hadn’t yet because the only green in their fridge was broccoli.  I knew a tasty smoothie could be made with broccoli!  Hence my smoothie for Day 10:

photo 11 large banana, peeled

1 cup broccoli, chopped

1/2 red grapefruit, peeled

8 ounces of almond milk

 

 

 

 

I put everything in the blender and…you guessed it – blended!

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This smoothie was rather refreshing.  It tasted a lot like grapefruit (which I love) and the taste still lingers leaving me wanting a little bit more.  I’m intrigued with using broccoli, I think I’d like to try it with pineapple!

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Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth. Along with a high amount of potassium, broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.  One cup of broccoli contains the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Moreover, vitamin C is an effective antihistamine for easing the discomfort of the common cold. Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. Broccoli is helpful in repairing skin damage thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains which helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself. One cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions. Broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function. Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories. Studies have shown that the carotenoid lutein helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as possesses anti-cancer effects. Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A that is needed to form retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that is essential for both low-light and color vision. The carotenoid lutein may also slow down or prevent the thickening of arteries in the human body, thus fighting against heart disease and stoke. The B6 and folate in broccoli also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.

I’m sure you have noticed that I have been featuring a different green or supplement that can enrich your smoothie at the end of each blog post.  Something that I’m sure you have noticed is how powerful and healthy greens are.  It is important to use a variety of greens to get the maximum benefit from them.  With at least one green smoothie a day you are ensuring that your body gets necessary vitamins and minerals to improve your health over the long term.  When using a variety of greens there is no need to worry about what you are missing — you will know that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health.

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Day 9 and going strong!  I’m not sure about you but I’m loving this!  Even better, my husband and I just sat down after getting all the kids to bed and he said “Are you going to make a smoothie??”, I excitedly proclaimed “Yes!”  He gave a a little cheer (really!) and told me he is getting into this and can’t wait to see what different combination I’d come up with today.  I had a certain unconventional smoothie planned for today but he said he was in the mood for something a little sweet, refreshing and not too thick.  So, I switched it up and made a recipe that I wanted to make from the Vitamix web site called the Glowing Green Smoothie .  Here goes!

photo 11 1/2-2 cups (360-480 ml) water (I used coconut water)

3/4 pound (340 g) organic romaine lettuce, rough chopped, about 1 head

1/2 head large bunch or 3/4 small bunch organic spinach

3-4 organic celery stalks, halved

1 organic apple, cored, quartered

1 organic pear, cored, quartered

1 organic banana, peeled

1/2 fresh organic lemon, peeled, seeded (not shown here)

1/3 bunch organic cilantro with stems (optional)

1/3 bunch organic parsley with stems (optional)*

Place water, romaine, spinach, celery, and optional ingredients, if using, into the blender.

photo 2I then added the  apple, pear, banana and lemon juice.  I had forgotten the lemon until the last minute — but it got in there!

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After blending for about one and a half minutes I had a nice smooth smoothie that was a glowing green!

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This was a hit – but I like my smoothies cold (which is why I often use frozen fruit) so next time I use this recipe I think I will add some ice cubes!

Today we will look a little bit closer at ome of the worlds favourite garnishes – Parsley!  Parsley is rich in Vitamin B12, C, K, A as well as Beta Carotene and is a good source of folic acid and iron.  It is a power plant of chlorophyll and has volatile oils such as myristicin, limonene, eugenol as well as alpha thujene which are antioxidants found in nature.  Having parsley everyday helps to reduce blood pressure and reduces the risks related to high blood pressure such as hypertension.  Parsley is a diuretic and promotes healthy workings of the kidney.  The oil of parsley herb is a good remedy for hair loss, dry skin, ear infections, ringing in the ear and partial deafness.  Having parsley herbal tea is helpful as it stimulates digestion of protein and fat.  Parsley herb improves hormonal balances in females therefore it is helpful in treating problems like premenstrual syndrome, menopause or delayed menstruation cycle and eases cramps during menstrual cycle.

Tell me, how is the challenge going for you?

*parsley juice is often contraindicated for pregnant woman

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Today I tried to make a smoothie that was protein-rich but also not too many calories.  Let’s just say I haven’t perfected the quest but this was a start:

photo 12 stalks, swiss chard

2 stalks, celery

A handful of alfalfa sprouts

1 banana

2 tbsp twister powder (hemp, maca, cacao)

and…not shown in picture but added later

1/2 cup pineapple, frozen

1/2 cup mango, frozen

I put in all the greens and blended it up.  It was a little challenging, I had to add more water than usual but I got it all blended in the end.  I keep getting questions about a blenders — mine is working for me, it is a little extra work but these smoothies can be done with a regular blender – just keep at it!

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I then added the banana and twister powder.

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I had my finished product, which wasn’t so great.  It was very bland and gritty.

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I needed to add to something to give it a little sweetness but not too much.  I opted for pineapple and mango since this is my go-to fruit.  I find it tastes the best with greens and usually helps give it a great green colour.

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As you can see, this time I did not get that great green colour BUT it was definitely more palatable with the fruit added.  It was still slightly gritty from the Twister Powder (now called Superfood blend from Navitas Naturals).

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This smoothie did achieve my lower cal, higher protein goal.  327 calories and 12g of protein.  I’m certain I can tweak the ingredients to get a much better taste – but it was drinkable!

I added swiss chard to this smoothie.  Swiss chard is a root vegetable; it is a beet but is cultivated for it’s leaves.  The nutrient density of swiss chard rivals that of spinach with 35 calories per cup, 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.   Swiss chard has a high sodium content, is a good source of magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, copper, calcium and phosphorus.  Swiss chard is high in vitamin K and vitamin A providing more than your daily requirement in one cup. It is also a wonderful source of vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and choline.  With all of this said, swiss chard is also an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification supporting vegetable.  Include it in your smoothies to receive all these wonderful benefits!

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7 days done and we are going strong!  Today was another crazy, hectic day around here but I still managed to squeeze in a smoothie.  At one point today, I was doubtful.  I was feeling tired and like it was too much work.  I realized that that was probably because I was on the go and hadn’t eaten anything substantial and then I reminded myself how I keep telling people just how easy, and fast it s and how great they will feel afterwards.  So, I took my own advice and begrudgingly pulled out the blender.  Of course, my blender was acting up and not blending well…finally, I blended everything together; kale, banana, pineapple and almonds.

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One sip and I was already feeling rejuvenated!  Oh, how happy I was that I pushed through and made my smoothie.  I’m already looking forward to my smoothie tomorrow; I’m hoping to be more creative!  Until tomorrow…

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For everyone who has joined us this week – welcome!  I’ve heard from many people have been inspired by your posts on Facebook and are ready to join the mix – or the blend – of people making green smoothies in this challenge!  It doesn’t matter when you start; what matters is starting, so congratulations!  I can’t wait to hear how you find making your first smoothies.  For all who have been with us over the past week, how have you been finding adding protein?  Last night I made a smoothie to enjoy while we watched for the highly anticipated Downton Abbey season premier.  Most often these big television events are accompanied by chips and dips and things to sip.  But not in our house!  Last night, my husband made homemade salsa and I made PB & J smoothies!  It was a wonderful treat and we felt like we were indulging – perception is reality!

This morning I dropped my kids off, ran home and made a smoothie before heading to 10am bootcamp at Fitness Your Weigh.  I was looking for a protein heavy drink to compliment my work out and help me build some lean muscle mass.  My ingredients were:

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1 cup kale, raw

1 cup spinach, fresh

1 banana

1 cup pineapple, frozen

6 spirulina tablets

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 cup goji berries

2 tbsp hemp protein powder

I added my greens and blended with a little bit of water and then I added all my remaining ingredients.

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This was a fast and easy smoothie that tasted ok.  Not my best, but I was happy with it.  The goji berries were an over-powering taste, I like to be able to taste my greens in a smoothie.  But it did the job for me this morning!

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I have been doing a nutritional analysis everyday of my smoothies. I am trying to find the ultimate smoothie that is lower in calories and has the perfect carb/protein balance.  This smoothies was lower in calories than some of my others (the entire batch was 485 calories but could be shared with 2-4 people) it had 97 carbohydrates, 7 grams of fat and 20 grams of protein.  Not quite perfect but it’s getting there.  I have been drinking this smoothie all day so by the end of it I will have downed all of those calorie, carbs, fats and proteins.

Something I put in my smoothie today was Spirulina (the 6 tablets added 2 grams of protein).  Spirulina is a simple one-celled microscopic blue-green algae that has been studied greatly over the last 20 years.  Spirulina is a rich source of beta carotene food, with a full spectrum of ten mixed carotenoids. About half are orange carotenes: alpha, beta and gamma and half are yellow xanthophylls. They work synergistically at different sites in our body to enhance antioxidant protection.

Spirulina is an ideal anti-aging food; concentrated nutrient value, easily digested and loaded with antioxidants. Beta carotene is good for healthy eyes and vision. Spirulina beta carotene is ten times more concentrated than carrots. Iron is essential to build a strong system, yet is the most common mineral deficiency. Spirulina is rich in iron, magnesium and trace minerals, and is easier to absorb than iron supplements. Spirulina is the highest source of B-12, essential for healthy nerves and tissue, especially for vegetarians.

About 60% of spirulina’s dry weight is protein, which is essential for growth and cell regeneration. It is a good replacement for fatty and cholesterol-rich meat and dairy products in one’s diet. Every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.

Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, a compound found in breast milk that helps develop healthier babies. Moreover, with its high digestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition in impoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients when it has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.  Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a natural cleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonly ingested by the body. Spirulina also increases stamina and immunity levels in athletes, and its high protein content helps build muscle mass. At the same time, it can curb hunger that may develop during the most demanding training routines. Thus, it indirectly acts as an effective way to maintain an athlete’s ideal body weight.

Well…how about that!  Have any of you added spirulina to your smoothies?

 

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Day 5!  The end of our first (short) week!  Tomorrow we will begin the first full week; everyone should have received the plan, with recipes and a shopping list in their inbox.  If not, please let me know so I can send it your way.  Before I share with you my smoothie of the day I wanted to let you know something I am going to try — feel free to try it and let me know how it goes.  Yesterday, I was at a birthday for one of my girls’ friends and while I was talking smoothies with some of the moms an idea hit me.  A couple days ago we talked about freezing our greens on Facebook, why not freeze our greens with all of our other ingredients (except the liquid portion of the recipe) in an air tight freezer bag.  On Sunday, you could prepare your smoothies for the week and then just plop them in the blender.  Not a bad idea when you are exceptionally time crunched.  I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m going  to.

Today, I made the pear smoothie recipe that was sent out in the email.  I make this smoothie sporadically because I find it to be rather sweet.  The ingredients are:

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4 pears, sliced

1 banana

2 cups of spinach

2 cups of almond milk

1 tsp of cinnamon

2 tbsp Hemp Hearts

I started by blending the spinach with the almond milk.

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After that I mixed in all the other ingredients.

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I then had my smoothie to share with my family!  Whom, by the way, seemed to drink it all!

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Funny, over the last few days I have received pictures, emails and posts of people and their kids enjoying their smoothies!  Such a wonderful thing.

After spending some time talking about smoothies this weekend I realized that there are many out there who are intimidated by making one.  I promise, it really is quick, easy, delicious and nutritious!  Once you try it, you’ll feel the benefits.  We drink smoothies often in our house and we have for a long time.  Last September, we fell into a rut and weren’t making them as often.  My husband said to me one night, you know, I think it’s the lack of smoothies that are making me lethargic.  This coming from my husband was amazing!  And, I agree, it was the smoothies.  We are able to get more fruits and veggies in one smoothie than in one typical meal.  It is an easy way to get what you need to fuel your body and when it’s missing you realize how your typical eating habits can lack those 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies.  So, for those intimidated – try!  I’m not asking you to give up any meals – if you do, that is fine, as long as you are eating balanced.  What I’m asking you to do is get one very nutrient dense drink to help set you up for a successful day of eating!

Please, enjoy your Sunday!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last night I sent out the plan for this coming week (at least I did – whether or not my newsletter service has yet is a gamble – we’ve been having issues with it – thanks for bearing with us!).  The goal is to begin to try and add some protein to your green smoothies to help balance blood sugar and create a drink that will satiate you for longer.  This morning I headed to my 7am Bootcamp class at Fitness Your Weigh so I threw together my smoothie rather quickly (and didn’t have much time to take pictures).

The smoothie was as follows:

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2 handfuls of spinach

A handful of alfalfa sprouts (home sprouted)

1/4 of an avocado

15 almonds, raw and soaked

3/4 cup pineapple, frozen

14 pieces of mango, frozen

4 tbsp hemp protein powder

2 tbsp chia seeds

This morning I just threw everything in at once because I was in a rush to get everyone breakfast and out the door the the second my husband got home from his 6am workout.

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This was not the best idea, at all.  It ended up taking me longer to blend and I kept having to open up the blender and stir everything around.  My husband got home and I was still trying to blend it all.  If I had a Vitamix, I’m certain this wouldn’t have been a problem.  My hubby took half so I was left with this…absolutely delicious.

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This smoothie was full of plant-based protein.  I did a nutritional analysis of it and it contained 25g of protein!

Let’s take a closer look at spinach as a protein source.   We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but he was also protecting himself against inflammatory problems, oxidative stress-related problems, cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and cancers at the same time.  Looking at spinach as a protein source, 100 calories of ground beef has 10 grams of protein while 100 calories of fresh baby spinach has 12 grams. Per calorie, spinach does have more protein than ground beef. Yes, I realize you would need to eat 14 cups of spinach to consume 100 calories and that is a lot of green smoothies.  But this is merely to point of the nutrient density of spinach. While spinach is one great source of protein it is an incomplete protein so a balance diet is essential to get all the amino acids.  Now, let’s not stop here…there are other greens; like mustard greens that contain even more protein in them!

Tell me, how did you get your protein in your green smoothie today?

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I am so excited about this!  I am rather impressed by the number of people that have taken on this challenge and I am encouraged by everything that is being shared.  Many people are contacting me directly; which I love and welcome.  If you feel comfortable, please share with the group on Facebook so everyone can share in your experience and knowledge.

Today was a very hectic day for me.  After getting the three girls off to school (the first day they have all been well enough to go) I had just the baby with me to get everything accomplished that I haven’t been able to do while everyone has been sick.  So, instead of making my smoothie for breakfast (which I normally do) I stopped in at our local Wellness Bistro for a fruit smoothie (there are no green smoothies on then menu) to go with my breakfast.  I stopped in at home to make a smoothie for lunch…and this is what I concocted:

photo 1 3 stalks of swiss chard

A handful of spinach

A handful of alfalfa sprouts (sprouted at home)

1/3 of an avocado (no rind)

2 apples, sliced (pink lady and granny smith)

1 cup mango, frozen

1 banana

2 tbsp of Hemp Hearts

First I took the the swiss chard and spinach and blended it with some water.

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I then added the banana, avocado, carrots, alfalfa sprouts and sliced apples.

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Finally, I threw in the mango and hemp hearts.

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And then my finished product!  Which was rather delicious.  I have never tried this combination before but it was really good save for the overpowering flavour of the alfalfa sprouts.  Luckily, I like the taste of alfalfa sprouts!

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I drank three glasses of this wonderful concoction.  Originally I was going to write about the benefits of sprouts in a green smoothie but then I decided to add hemp hearts because there was a question about them on Facebook.  I also wanted to add a protein source since the information that will be sent out tonight will be talking about protein.  Hemp Hearts are a wonderfully nutritious food.  To start, they are a complete protein and are a great source of omega-6 and -3. In addition, hemp hearts are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E, as well as the minerals calcium and iron. Hemp seeds contain 25 percent protein, 35 percent fatty acids and 27 percent carbohydrates (primarily fiber).  They provide energy, like caffeine or sugar would but because it is a perfect calorie-complex protein blend you will not experience the crash.    Since they are a complete protein source it is also a great food to help curb your appetite, especially in between meals or before a workout (much better than an energy bar).  Hemp hearts are also known to be good for your digestion and cellular health.

There is more to be said about the benefits of hemp in general.  But, I believe the information above is enough to wet your whistle to ask any questions or do a little more research :)

What did everyone else drink today?
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Welcome to Day 2!  I am overwhelmed by the number of people who are participating in this challenge — I can’t wait to hear how everyone does.  Over the last week or two my kids and husband have all succumbed to some form or another of the cold and flu.  Last night, I felt it starting to come on so today I’m taking it easy and eating all the good cold & flu fighters (see an earlier post of mine for cold & flu prevention).  With that said, I made a form of my immune boosting smoothie which you will all have received in the little booklet that was sent out via email.  If you did not receive it please make sure that you are signed up for the newsletter or message me your email so I can add you to the list.

photo 1My smoothie today was as follows:

2 stalks of kale, raw

2 stalks of celery

1 banana

1 cup of pineapple, frozen

1 cup of mango, frozen

3 clementines, freshly juiced

2 tbsp hemp protein powder

I started off by de-ribbing my kale and adding some water to the blender and then blending.  While I was doing this I had to contend with some little hands running away with some yellow gold (as she called it).

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I then juiced my clementines.  I started with my standard hand juicer that you see in the picture above but switched to my new little citrus press that Santa gave me in my stocking this year.  I really liked it.  It worked great for the small clementines!

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After that, I threw in all the remaining ingredients except the hemp protein and blended.

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In went the hemp…and voila, our finished product!

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Today I made my smoothie early enough so the whole family was still home and we could enjoy it together.  My eldest saw that it was green and ran the other way (which is what she always does unless I can get it into a stainless steel thermos before she sees).  My middle two girls were big fans! They even tried to feed it to the baby but we intercepted!

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It was a workout day for me, I opted to not go to my 7am bootcamp class so I could rest and fend off this cold that feels imminent. I did a little workout at home so I paired my smoothie with some avocado and an egg over-easy on sprouted bread with a cup of echinacea, elderberry, ginger root and yarrow tea (the tea will be my companion over the next few weeks since the colds & flu are running rampant around here).

So, besides the “queen of greens” being present in this smoothie it was chalk full of vitamin C power with the fruits.  But the hidden gem was the celery, why? Celery has long held the status of “just a crunchy vegetable” with very little nutritional wealth.  Recent research has increased our knowledge about celery’s anti-inflammatory benefits, specifically to the digestive tract. There are unique non-starch polysaccharides in celery, including apiuman, which produce these anti-inflammatory benefits.

Celery has the well-known antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids, but scientists have now identified at least a dozen other types of antioxidant nutrients in celery. These antioxidants include dihydrostilbenoids like lunularin as well as furanocoumarins like bergapten and psoralen. The antioxidant support we get from celery is largely due to its phenolic nutrients that have been shown to help protect us against unwanted oxygen damage to our cells, blood vessels, and organ systems.

Now tell me, how are you all doing with your smoothies?  Are you sharing them?

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First, I’d like to welcome everyone to the first day of the next 30 and hopefully beyond! Over the years I have found that making green smoothies has been one of the best things I have done for myself.  Why do I like green smoothies?

  • Increased energy and clarity (I am not a coffee drinker but the way I feel with a green smoothie is comparable to what many explain their first cup of coffee feels like)
  • Beautiful skin, bright eyes, and shiny hair (sometimes I add silica to my smoothie to help with the shine and lustre of my hair and skin)
  • No cooking or washing pots and pans required
  • In one drink you consume more nutrients and enzymes than you would with cooked foods
  • You will supply your body with amino acids needed for protein, omega-3 fats, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin Bs, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and countless other minerals and phyto-chemicals, including those with cancer, free-radical and disease fighting properties.
  • Plenty of FIBER for much better digestion
  • Experience overall improved health.
  • Weight loss (although, I’m not into gimmicky weight loss plans so this would be used to supplement a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle)

Today, I made my staple green smoothie.  Why is it my staple?  Because I always have these ingredients on hand!  Now, I don’t have a super fancy blender like a Vitamix (although, it is a dream of mine — probably after we have put our 4 little kids through University my dream will be attained – although, they have come out with a more affordable version and refurbished ones that seem to bode well).  I digress.  So, I use a plain old Cuisinart blender that is not as powerful as a Vitamix which means that I add my ingredients into the blender one or two at a time. I also find that when blending greens they often become more frothy and almonds are still a little chunky (which I rather like).

So I started out with my ingredients:

2 stalks of kale, raw

1 cup of frozen pineapple

1 banana

1/4 cup of almonds

2 tbsp of chia seeds

I added my de-ribbed kale, broke it into pieces and blended it with a little bit of water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I added the pineapples and banana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, the almonds and chia seeds.  As mentioned, the almonds don’t become smooth in my blender. I don’t mind crunching them while I drink my smoothie. The chia seeds will make the drink thicker the longer you let it sit (chia seeds absorb water and become gelatinous) so drink up!

With that said, try and drink your smoothie within 20 minutes to receive all the nutrients and enzymes you can before they begin to oxidize.  You can add a little lemon or lime to keep it fresh longer and prevent oxidization.

So, what is the green powerhouse of this smoothie? Kale, the “queen of greens”.  Kale is a low glycemic index food that is highly anti-inflammatory.  One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

Since this is a short week, I’ll post another recipe for tomorrow and on Friday I will send out the entire plan for next week with shopping lists!

For tomorrow take any fresh greens you like (about 40%) and blend them with fruit (about 60%) and add a splash of lemon for a truly refreshing smoothie.  You could try:

1.5 cups of Greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, parsley, mint etc.) Please do not add mint if nursing.
2 cups of Fruit (frozen or fresh berries, mango, pears, pineapples, banana, etc.)
1 tbsp of hempseeds or hempseed protein powder
2 cups of water
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy; approx. 45 seconds

So, what smoothie did you make today and how has it made you feel?

 

 

 

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January 1st.  A new year and a fresh start.  I have always had a love-hate relationship with New Years.  The possibilities seem endless but I have been through this same rigamarole one time too many and have become jaded by the optimism (I know, I know — I am a goal oriented person and the thought of setting lofty goals only to be forgotten in the weeks to come is disheartening to me).  So this year, it’s the year to do something manageable for you, for me, for us all.  I’m going to embark on a 30-day green smoothie challenge!  It won’t be much of stretch for me since I am a die-hard smoothie addict but throughout the holidays I have, admittedly, been off the wagon and it is time to hop back on.  I can feel the big dinners and scrumptious desserts not only taking a toll on my waistline but also on my mood, energy level, mental alertness and joints (these favourite holiday foods are the breeding grounds for inflammation in the body).

The best and easiest way to combat these feelings is to make sure that we are getting enough of those dark leafy greens – they are magical!  Yet, it is difficult to get enough, everyday, especially when our lives are so hectic.

So I vow, right now, to take the easiest step I can to boost my immune system, boost my energy levels, and fill myself with all that healthy antioxidant power that will make my whole body feel better inside and out.  I am going to drink at least 2 cups of green smoothies a day for the next month to kick start my healthy year.

I’m going to begin with my green smoothie go-to; so grab your favourite blender and get blending with me!

1 cup of bok choy or kale, raw

1 banana

1 cup of frozen pineapple

1 date

Blend the bok choy or kale with a little bit of water (try 8 oz to start) add the date, blend, add the banans, blend and finally the pineapple, blend.  This is your first easy-peasy green smoothie!  If you’d like, you can add a handful of almonds, chia seeds or flax to give you that extra boost!

Simple, right?

I’m going to follow my green smoothie with a glass of wheatgrass an hour later – what will you do?

Jump on board – let’s do this!  And tell me you are going to do this so you have someone to be accountable to!  I will provide you with recipes and shopping lists for the weeks to come — let’s do this together!

Cheers.

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Now that cold and flu season is upon us how about some tips & tricks  for staying healthy?  Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting some things you can try to help boost your immune system and snub the common cold.

Colds and flus are caused by viruses and cannot be treated by antibiotics.  The best way to prevent and overcome a cold is to naturally strengthen your immune system. The immune system needs vitamins A, C, and E plus minerals like zinc and selenium to fight these viruses.  Today I will focus on my top 10 healing foods that will provide you with these nutrients to support cold & flu prevention!

Drum roll, please.

# 1 Use Stevia: Sugar suppresses the immune system so sweeten only with Stevia.

#2 Crimini mushrooms: Known as “baby portabella,” one serving has over 50% of your selenium and 15% of your zinc needs. Sauté some in a pan and add a can of crushed tomatoes for a quick sauce. 

#3 Garlic & Onions: Garlic is known to be antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and have antioxidant effects. Garlic has a long folkloric history as a treatment for colds and is commonly stated to strengthen the immune system. However, up until 2001, there was no supporting evidence for this use. Since then, however, evidence including a well-designed double-blind study does suggest that regular use of garlic extract can help prevent colds (source). Aim to eat 1 clove/day for their benefits.  The flavonoids in onions actually work with vitamin C to help kill harmful bacteria. Consider making a delicious pot of onion soup to warm you up.  

#4 Raw pumpkin & sunflower seeds: A quarter-cup of these tasty seeds will provide you with 90% of your daily vitamin E.  They are also high in zinc, a critical mineral for a healthy immune system. Toss some on your morning oatmeal, your salad, or add some to your greek yogurt.

#5 Citrus fruits: Rich in immune boosting vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and other antioxidant flavonoids, have an orange or grapefruit with your breakfast or start your day with some warm water with fresh, organic lemon juice.

#6 Dark Leafy Greens: These phytochemicals give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost.  The darker the better. Vegetables contain rich amounts of vitamins A and C, both antioxidants that can strengthen your immune system.  They also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, K, B1, B2, B6 and supply rich amounts of flu-preventing minerals including zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium and copper. 

#7 Kefir: An excellent food source of the probiotic acidophilus. 70% of your immune system lines the digestive tract and a diet low in fiber, and high in trans fats and sugar creates an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in that digestive tract compromising your immune system. By promoting healthy bacteria growth with acidophilus you will be promoting a healthy digestive tract which means a healthy immune system. Kefir is much higher in acidophilus than yogurt and it also has nearly no lactose and is well tolerated by lactose intolerant people. Don’t like Kefir? Supplement with a quality probiotic for at least 2 months in the winter.

#8 Herbal Tea: Two staple immune boosting teas are Ginger & Lemon Tea and Elderberry Tea. Ginger & Lemon is great for strengthening immunity. Grate some ginger root and add 1 tsp to a cup of boiling water and steep for 3 minutes. Add 1 tsp organic lemon juice or ¼ fresh lemon. Sweeten with Stevia or raw honey. Elderberry Tea has been proven to be the most potent anti-flu remedy and is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Drink at least 1 cup/day.

#9 Spinach: A powerhouse! One-cup of cooked spinach gives you 377% of your daily vitamin A, 30% of vitamin C, 20% of vitamin E, and 15% of zinc. Try adding frozen chopped spinach to your favorite soup, tomato sauce, or brown rice-based dishes.

#10 Red bell peppers: One cup of raw red pepper has 291% of your daily vitamin C.  Not only that, but you also get 100% of vitamin A. You can top your salad or sandwiches with red pepper.

REMEMBER! Drink plenty of water! To boost your immune system drink water with organic lemon juice in it. Water carries micro-organisms out of your system and the lemon juice not only increases the liver’s detoxifying capabilities but also supplies you with a natural source of Vitamin C and is alkalizing to your body’s pH levels. Aim to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water or non-dehydrating fluids like herbal teas, soup and veggies juices.

Stay tuned for my next post which will have some simple every day things you can do to prevent that darn cold and flu from coming for a visit. 

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