Monthly Archives: April 2014
Yes, you probably want to start singing the jingle from the commercial: Ch-ch-ch-chia (pet). And yes, you can eat this seed! Who would have thought it was so healthy back in the day? This recipe is so easy to make it’s almost too good to be true.
Scrumptious Chia Pudding
- 1 cup coconut, almond, or hemp milk
- 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 banana
- ½ cup blueberries (frozen are OK)
- Handful of almonds or walnuts, if desired
- Cinnamon, to taste
Mix all the ingredients together and let them sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Stir after a few minutes, as the chia is “gelling” into a pudding-like consistency. Let it sit in the refrigerator about 20 minutes or until ready to eat.
Makes 1-2 servings
If you find the pudding too thick, you can add more milk or a little water. If you find the pudding too thin, add more chia or any of the other ingredients to make it thicker. You really can’t go wrong with chia pudding, which is why I love making it so much!
Now, let’s talk about the health benefits of chia.
It is a superfood, for sure! According to Dr. Andrew Weil, chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provides fiber as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
Another great benefit of chia seeds is that they are good for travel. Pack them in your suitcase and have them readily available to make chia pudding for breakfast or a snack in your hotel room. You can also pack travel size containers of almond milk (if checking luggage), as well as nuts and just pick up fresh fruit in your destination city.
Soon you will be singing ch-ch-ch-chia right along with me! Enjoy!
Be well & Inspired!
Your Wellness Warrior
We have all done it: extended our R.E.M. cycles by hitting the snooze button once or twice, maybe even three times. The payoff for those precious extra minutes of sleep often ends up with a mad dash out the door forgoing breakfast. This morning ritual couldn’t be more counterproductive. Your body has just spent hours resting and recovering from the prior day’s activities and now needs fuel to tackle the new day ahead.
Here are a few of my favorite on-the-go breakfasts that will help you get your day off to a great start. All of them can be adapted to meet your dietary lifestyle.
If you literally don’t have a moment to spare, then you are going to love a morning parfait. It can be prepared the night before, and all you need to do is open the fridge, grab it, and go. You will need a small container, store-bought or homemade granola, yogurt of your choice, and optional fruit. Depending on the season, I like using berries, apples, peaches, or mangos. Place some granola on the bottom of the container. Next, add some of the yogurt, and then add the fruit. Repeat these layers and you are done.
With a little more planning and a bit more time in the morning, you can enjoy a delicious breakfast wrap. You don’t need many ingredients to create this protein-rich breakfast. Gather up your favorite veggies, some eggs, a tortilla of your choice (wheat flour, gluten-free, or corn), rice, and cheese (optional). The night before, place a variety of vegetables in a roasting pan with a bit of EVOO, and roast at 450°F for around 20 minutes. I have used combinations of zucchini, summer squash, onions, garlic, carrots, red peppers, broccoli, and eggplant. Really, the list is endless. Save these veggies for the morning.
In the morning, scramble up one or two eggs or egg whites, and add the veggies, seasoning, and optional cheese. Place everything in a tortilla, and it’s a wrap. Out the door you go.
What is more convenient than breakfast in a cup? In the time it takes to brew up some coffee or steep some tea, you can blend together a nutrient-rich smoothie. Here is a basic smoothie recipe that you can adapt and make your own:
1 cup milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk
1 cup mixed berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
1 cup kale
1 cup water
¼ cup kefir
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Be well & Inspired,
Your Wellness Warrior
The “fight or flight” syndrome – You’ve heard of it, right? Accompanied with the image of the saber-toothed tiger dashing after a hunter, getting ready to attack. You often get into this situation, don’t you? In modern times, we’re not literally in that frantic position, but our bodies are often reacting as if we were fighting for our lives. Our adrenal glands, located on top of each kidney, are forced to work overtime in an effort to deal with stress from all sources: injury, disease, work, family, finances, environment, etc.
It’s hard to imagine these small endocrine glands, essentially the size of a walnut, responsible for the manufacture and secretion of vital hormones such as cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. The cortisol production is crucial for the body to combat stress. Whereas thousands of years ago the stress was a finite amount of time – you either outran the predator or survived or you were eaten – nowadays, stress seems to be a state of being for so many people.
Although not getting along with a boss or missing a bill payment are not life-threatening like the saber-toothed tiger, our bodies react to the stressors in a similar fashion. The body starts to feel unsettled. More and more cortisol is produced because the body believes it needs massive amounts of energy to run for its life. This happens over and over again throughout the day: getting the kids ready for school and getting yourself ready for work, traffic, spilling coffee on your new suit, your assistant calls in sick and you’ve got to send out 20 packages today, the babysitter is late picking up the kids from school and taking them to soccer practice, your late afternoon meeting runs over and you leave the office late so family dinner becomes you eating leftovers alone. And all this is going to happen again tomorrow!
Here’s the problem: chronic stress can overload the adrenal glands to the point of exhaustion. For some, the fatigue will become overwhelming and the adrenals will no longer function properly to provide the energy and resources the body needs on a day-to-day basis. When someone is exhausted, a natural suggestion is to get more sleep. That’s not always easy with adrenal problems because insomnia is a common symptom. There are, however, steps you can take to prepare yourself for sleep, which is certainly one of the best ways to refresh and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.
For better sleep and to heal your adrenal glands:
1) Go to bed at the same time every night between 10-10:30pm, and get 7-8 hours of good, restorative sleep
2) Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and sugar in late afternoon/evening (or remove them completely from your diet to avoid any rollercoaster-like blood sugar surges).
3) Keep a gratitude journal near your bedside. Every night, list five things (or more) for which you are grateful. Remind yourself that even though you may feel fatigued, there are wonderful aspects of your life and many reasons to heal.
Be well & inspired!
Your Wellness Warrior
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you would have no doubt heard about the amazingness of juicing. But did you also know that a juice elixir can also be a healthy and safe way to lose weight? When drunk in complement to an existing weight-loss plan, juicing provides a high level of quality nutrition, which will assist in weight-loss. Read on to find out how.
- Easy Digestion
One of the best benefits of juicing fresh fruit and vegetables is that drinking them (as opposed to eating them) makes them really easy for your body to digest. If you are to juice say a couple of tomatoes, celery, cucumber, spinach, and carrot, you will make a delicious and easy to drink fresh vegetable cocktail that will provide a huge amount of nutritional benefits to your body. If you were to actually consume those same vegetables raw, from a plate, in one sitting, you would find the process to be quite difficult. It would take a lot of effort to eat and digest the same quantity of food. But by juicing those vegetables, you get to drink in one glass a dense quantity of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients really easily.
- Reduction in Cravings
When you drink a glass of freshly made vegetable or green juice, you are loading every cell of your body with detoxifying minerals. By drinking your veggies and fruit, you are giving your body all the amazing nutrients that it needs to heal, stay healthy, and reduce the risk of illness. In turn, you will also find that you experience a reduction in cravings, particularly for sweets or processed foods. This is because you are feeding your body all that it needs. Your body won’t be sending messages to your brain that make you crave particular foods that contain certain minerals or vitamins that you might otherwise lacking. It is in this way that you will start to lose weight, often quite quickly. You simply won’t be eating the bad foods that make you gain weight, and you won’t feel like you are even depriving yourself of these foods like you might if dieting.
- Tasty Fuel
It is also handy to know that green juices taste great! You can make your juice really flavorful by adding in lemon, mint or ginger to really add a tasty punch to your juice. You will enjoy the flavors of the juice so much that you will choose to make a juice rather than eat another less healthy snack food. It is also worth noting that juice you make at home on your own is a much better option than that which is store bought. Fresh juice made with a base of vegetables is going to contain much more nutrition than the kind that comes from a carton. Even fresh, store-bought juices will often have sugars and other additives as well as preservatives added to the juice. This kind of juice means you are drinking a lot of unnecessary calories. On the other hand, a homemade vegetable and fruit juice delivers nothing but goodness that is healthy fuel for your body.
- Filling Snack or Dessert
Another amazing thing about juicing is that by drinking a freshly made juice, your appetite shuts off. This is because your body (which is amazing at knowing just what it needs!) is getting all that it is looking for. You will feel satisfied and satiated, much more than you would by eating empty calories in junk food. Your body will feel revitalized, not sluggish or heavy, and instead of searching for more food even after you have just eaten something, you will find that you don’t really want or need anything more.
- It is not a fad diet
Once you start making juicing a regular part of your lifestyle, and start to experience all the health benefits and begin losing weight without a struggle, you will realize that incorporating fresh juicing into your life is definitely not a diet fad. Unlike regimented diets that are difficult to follow and which can often make you gain weight, juicing works in such a remarkable way that you will want to include juicing in your life forever. Unlike fad diets, you will never feel deprived or hungry. Not only that, but other aspects of your health will also improve. You might notice your skin is clearer, your eyes are brighter, and your nails and hair grow more quickly. You will also have more energy and you will start to feel amazing. Juicing will seriously become a way of life you will want to follow forever!
- You invest in your health
In order to start juicing regularly, you will need to invest in a juicer, which initially will mean setting aside a bit of money. You might feel like this is an expense you don’t want to have, but by making that purchase, you are committing to your health and weight loss. It gives you a reason to stick to the concept of juicing for long enough that you will start to notice the difference in how you feel. It is also an investment in your health and well-being, so not only does juicing help you to lose weight, but it will save you money in medical fees in the future.
- Fun and Variety
In order to lose weight and to stay motivated, life needs to be fun, right? Juicing is the ideal way to bring this into your life. As you start to get into juicing, you will find it great fun making new combinations of fruit and vegetables cocktails. You will make all kinds of unique and interesting drinks, and you will find that you never get bored from the endless variety of beverages that you can make for yourself and others. You will also want to share these drinks with others, which will also mean getting encouragement and support from those around you as you continue your weight-loss goals. Support is super important when it comes to making, and sticking to, healthy changes in your life.
Really, juicing is a fabulously fun, easy, and healthy way to shed those unwanted pounds without any struggle or deprivation. You have got nothing to lose by starting to make green juicing a regular part of your lifestyle. To get you started, here is a delicious and easy juice to kick-start your weight-loss:
Trim and Delicious Green Juice
½ beetroot (peeled)
1 rib celery
1-inch piece of ginger
Run the vegetables through your juicer and enjoy!
Please visit my website for more great recipes http://www.lifeoficoaching.com
Be well & Inspired,
Your Wellness Warrior
Cravings happen even to the healthiest of us. Often, when a craving hits in the afternoon or the evening after dinner, we get the urge to snack. Snacking can be a bad habit to get into, because the snacks we choose are often junky, un-nutritious, and high in calories, sugar, or fat.
The trick to snacking without piling on the pounds is to find healthy alternatives to the regular snacks you might normally reach for.
Usually, when we get a craving it is for either something sweet (chocolate!), savory (potato chips!), creamy (ice cream!), or crunchy (crisps!). Obviously, my examples are foods you shouldn’t eat all the time if you want to be trim and healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to fight your cravings for the rest of your life. Instead, you just need to substitute.
Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:
• fresh, whole fruit
• apples and almond butter
• dried fruit
• green smoothies
• banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or raisins ,and serve)
• dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butter
• organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips
For your savory cravings, try these healthy alternatives:
• pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root
• tabouli, hummus
• steamed vegetables with tamari/shoyu or umeboshi vinegar
• freshly made salsa or guacamole
• Sauerkraut (will also knock your sweet craving right out!)
• salted edamame
Your creamy cravings can be met by eating:
• rice pudding
• dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush
• puréed soups
• puddings made with silken tofu, avocado, or mashed banana
• mashed sweet potatoes
• coconut milk
Finally, don‘t cave and reach for the Pringles, when you can eat these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks:
• frozen grapes
• rice cakes
• light popcorn or plain popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan)
• carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
• celery and nut butter
• raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
Don’t fight your craving. Instead, listen to what it is your body wants specifically and choose the healthier option that will be good to your waistline.
Be well & Inspired!
Your Wellness Warrior
Can I tell you something?
There’s something that I didn’t realize when I first started working one-on-one with people who want to make their health and wellness a priority, people who are sick of feeling less than amazing, and people who are confused about who to listen to for advice.
Here it is: Most of us already know what we need to be doing
to improve our health!
There is a lot of information (and mis-information) when it comes to the foods we eat. Just look at the variety of books in the ‘diet’ or ‘health’ section of your local bookstore. But when it comes down to it, we still know the basic things we should be doing to improve our health.
In fact, when I ask my clients “What are three things you think you could be doing, to improve your health?” I get similar answers each time:
- Be more active
- Stop eating _______ or stop drinking ________ (or stop smoking!)
- Eat more vegetables.
We intuitively know how to make ourselves well. But when it comes to following through… That’s where we fall apart. I know!! I have done it, too. I still do it. I might be a health coach, but I’m still human! I eat chips, I drink wine, and sometimes I don’t eat as well as I know I can.
For the next week, I’d like you to think about the obstacles that are stopping you from living your healthiest life. Think about it, journal about it, reflect on it.
What obstacles are standing in your way? Maybe you work long hours and cooking a healthy meal seems too time-consuming, or maybe you feel that the price of healthy food is too high. Perhaps you will discover that you aren’t sure if you really deserve to feel amazing.
Your job for the next week is to simply think, reflect, and journal on these obstacles. Knowing your obstacles, habits, and patterns will help you figure out how to work around them!
I would love to hear your comments below. Tell me what is stopping you! Let’s work it out together!
Be well & Inspired!
Your Wellness Warrior
Did you know that food has vibrations that allow it to create change in our bodies on a cellular level? Food that is alive and from the earth will energize and invigorate you, while processed, pre-packaged, dead food will leave you feeling lethargic and uninspired, like a light that has fizzled out. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Dark green leafy vegetables are full of chlorophyll, which is basically liquid sunshine. It is the substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from the sun and convert it into usable energy. When we consume raw dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and Swiss chard, we fill our body with the equivalent of the plant’s life blood – the very thing that allows a seed to flourish and take form.
Chemically, the blood of the plant, chlorophyll, is very similar to our blood and, when consumed, it helps us to oxygenate and breathe life into every cell. Pretty cool, huh? Chlorophyll is also extremely cleansing and detoxifying.
Here are some other high vibrational foods for you to try:
- Tree Fruits – try apples, pears, bananas, coconuts, avocados, nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, oranges, lemons, limes, mangos, pomegranates, blueberries, cherries, and olives.
- Non-green veggies
- Raw Cacao – chocolate in its pure form has over 1,200 phytonutrients. It contains nutrients like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese. It also contains phenylethylamine, which are the feel good characteristics, and theobromine which dilates the cardiovascular system to allow all the benefits to come in.
- Goji Berries – packed with antioxidants, which can help minimize free radical damage to our cells.
- Cultured and Fermented Foods –a great source of probiotics, which will help your digestion stay on track.
I firmly believe in the old saying, “You are what you eat.” Junk in = feeling like junk, and rich, living, nutrient-dense food = much happier body and mind. Don’t just take my word for it. We’ve all tried the junk in, junk out experiment, so don’t you think it’s time to rock your body and mind with some fresh and fabulous food? By eating food that vibrates at a higher frequency, we increase our life-force energy and feel more radiant inside and out.
Be well & Inspired,
Did you know that when you make juice from raw vegetables, your body absorbs the nutrients within 15 seconds? Talk about an energy shot! No need to buy those sugary and chemical-ish concoctions from your local drug-store or mini mart. Juicing is an all-natural way to boost your energy and feel amazing. When you juice your fruits and veggies, you end up extracting all the water and nutrients from them and leave behind only the plant fibers. By separating the fruit or vegetable from its fiber, we gain access to all of the amazing vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients which are much more easily assimilated by our body than if we were to eat them.
This allows your body to absorb the nutrients more quickly, without having to digest the dense bulk of the plant. You can also fit an amazing amount of veggies into a single glass of juice, making it a great way to use up those extra veggies from your garden or CSA share. PLUS, you will end up with a glass of deliciousness that packs a powerful nutritional punch. Although some would also say that the cost of stocking enough fresh organic vegetables to make daily juices can be somewhat expensive, my feeling is that if you stop buying all of the pre-packaged foods/snacks you were buying, you will end up saving money in the long run on your food AND your doctor bills.
One more thing before I go: while you can control the quality of ingredients when you are making fresh juice at home, always read your labels when it comes to buying store-bought juice. These juices can be high in sugar and have a high glycemic load, which may cause blood sugar imbalances.
Be well & inspired!
Your Wellness Warrior
If you are a stressed and busy person who feels the need to learn meditation, but the idea of finding half an hour or more to meditate itself is stressful, have no fear! I have a few short meditation techniques that are only three to ten minutes in length.
These techniques are quick, easy, and super beneficial for busy people like you and me!
1) Breathe – This really is at the heart of meditation. By focusing on your breath, you are able to let your thoughts flow in and out and ultimately pull your focus inward. This technique can last as little as 60 seconds or as long as 10 minutes, and the best part is that you can literally do it anywhere.
I recommend that you bring your thumb and middle together like this:
The pressure point will automatically bring your mind into focus. Now, start to bring your focus to your breathe. Inhale in for a count of 6, hold for 4, and exhale for 6. Do 5 rounds of this, and then take note of how you are feeling. More relaxed? A bit Zen? Focused?
The best part is that you can do this anytime, anywhere.
2) GPS4Soul – This is for all of my technology junkies. Okay, we are all a bit addicted to our smart phones, and generally I recommend taking a break from all of our connectivity. But, I have found this app to be invaluable as a form of quick meditation.
GPS for the Soul is a killer app for better living. The app is based on two truths: that we all have within us a centered place of harmony and balance, and that we all veer away from that place again and again.
This super cool app has a feature that allows you to check your heart rate using your iPhone camera lens.
The camera flash turns on to guide you to put your index finger on the lens. You can instantly see your heart rate being tracked and visually see a graph moving up and down as the numbers change.
After your heart rate is tracked, the app assesses how stressed you are and offers guides to help center yourself and become calmer. If you are balanced, it will offer other guides to stay in that mindset.
The guides are everything from mediation to yoga poses to photo therapy.
Each guide also gives you breathing cues, a rising and falling visual. This is extremely helpful.
You can also make your own guides with pictures or songs.
3) Do Mealtime Mini-Meditations – Mealtime is a great time to meditate, because it’s already a given in your day. This is the perfect time to take a few minutes to pause and appreciate your meal. Slow down and notice how the aromas of food can relax you, whether it’s a warm mug of tea, the cinnamon on your oatmeal, or veggie-filled soup simmering on the stove. When you smell something delicious and scrumptious, it is practically effortless to focus on your breath and take in the delectable aromas. Breathe them in. Slow down and enjoy your meal!
As you can see, meditation can come in many forms and you only need a few minutes to do this each day. Give one of these practices a try today.
Your Wellness Warrior
Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition, they are sparse in calories and dense in nutrients, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.
The most important thing for everyone to know is that superfoods are easy to find in every local supermarket. They’re worth looking for!
Top 10 Superfoods:
6) Kiwi Fruit
8) Sweet Potatoes
10) Wild Salmon
These nutritional, powerhouse foods are loaded with nutrients crucial to a healthy, long life.
If you can include a variety of them in your diet every day, I promise they will change your life!
I have also included a few of my favorite superfoods that you may or may not have tried:
Ancient cultures throughout Central America have long enjoyed chia seeds as a key part of their food and medicine. The seeds were even used as currency. Chia seeds are loaded with omega fats, protein, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. They have a mild nutty flavor and, since they absorb liquid, they’re ideal for hydration and feeling full. Check out this recipe for Chia Pudding: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9492/vegan-recipe-banana-strawberry-chia-pudding.html
Hemp is a well-balanced, vegetarian protein source that includes all of the essential amino acids. Not only is hemp one of the best veggie sources of protein, it’s easy for the body to digest and assimilate. Hemp also features plenty of other nutrients, including abundant fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins, and omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids. Sprinkle hemp seeds on salads and add them to smoothies for added protein. Just 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds will add 11 grams of protein to your smoothie.
Raw Cacao Nibs:
Nature’s chocolate chips
Cacao nibs are made from pure cacao beans that come straight out of the tropical cacao fruit. Cacao was a culinary treasure to Mesoamericans for thousands of years and touted as the “Food of the Gods” for its superior nutritional profile and exceptional flavor. Make a trail mix with shredded coconut, raw cacao nibs, dried cranberries, and a nut of your choice.
Maca is a potent, ancient Peruvian superfood highly prized by Incan warriors to increase stamina, boost libido, and combat fatigue. The maca root was prized throughout the Incan empire for its adaptogenic-like qualities that enable it to nourish and balance the body’s delicate endocrine system and to help cope with stress. It also energizes naturally, without the jitters and crashes of caffeine, and it can aid in reproductive function, helping to balance hormones and increase fertility. Add maca to smoothies for an extra energy boost.
Goji Berries: Goji Berries provide a number of important macronutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and soluble fiber. There’s even more to this sweet, little, red berry including 18 amino acids, free-radical fighting antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and more than 20 other trace minerals and vitamins including zinc, iron, phosphorus, and riboflavin (B2). Ounce-for-ounce, goji berries contain more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, and more iron than soybeans and spinach. Munch on these goodies as your afternoon snack.
Give one of these superfoods a try today to super charge your day!
Your Wellness Warrior