As more and more of us shop at Whole Food Markets and have become aware of the importance of eating clean and organic foods we are naturally moving toward foods that have the potential to make us incredibly healthy! Super foods are not new, as a matter of fact; they all go back to ancient times. We are just rediscovering what our ancestors knew instinctively.
Super foods are natural food sources with highly concentrated, complex supply of high quality nutrients with the least negative properties. The magazines are pushing them as diet aids, the truth is they are not always low in calories, but, for the number of calories present, they are always high in nutrients. They are an excellent addition to any healthy diet
Super foods should not be the only part of your diet. A really healthy diet would include a combination of live, raw plant foods, super herbs and super foods. Super foods can help nourish the brain, muscles, bones, organs, immune system and hair, skin and nails. They also correct imbalance in the diet. The ultimate goal would be to be able to quit taking vitamin and mineral supplements and actually get these nutrients from your foods.
Super foods include:
Camu Camu Berry
Adaptogen: A plant based substance with combined therapeutic actions in the human body. An adaptogen strengthens and invigorates the system while helping the body to deal more easily with stress of differing origin by supporting the adrenal glands. Adaptogens are believed to reinforce the non-specific power of resistance of the body against physical, chemical or biological noxious agents. They must also have a normalizing influence and may not be harmful or alter the bodies’ normal functions.
Antioxidants: A substance that reduces damage due to oxygen. Think rust or an apple turning brown.
HGH: Human Growth Hormone, Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland to fuel childhood growth and help maintain tissues and organs throughout life. Our growth hormone slows as we age.
Polysaccharides: A carbohydrate whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together that fortify the immune system.
Sesquiterpenoids: A class of Terpenes that have anti-inflammatory properties. They increase production of HGH by stimulating the pituitary and penal glands.
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Karen Davis is a health coach, life coach, Reiki II practitioner, a Hormone Cure coach, aromatherapist, and a detox & longevity specialist. Karen graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, The Life Coach Institute, and the Aromahead Institute. She is also certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and has studied the Hormone Cure with Dr. Sara Gottfried. Her approach to health focuses not only on the foods you put into your mouth but also incorporates the elements of body, mind and spirit. She has a thriving health & life coaching practice.
To find out more about her programs visit http://www.HolisticWellnessForWomen.com
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
One way to develop an eye-catching mid-section, strengthen your core and back regions is to incorporate abdominal exercises that work all areas. These exercises develop your core and tighten the tummy, which is designed as a stand-alone workout or add to your circuit training workouts. I also love to do these exercises as part of my 3 and 11-day detox programs alternating with yoga or gentle walk in order to flush out the toxins and keep me moving.
The first exercise is what I refer to as the Jack Knife sit-up. Lay on your back. Hands and feet meet in the center. Slowly extend arms and legs away from center of body. Don’t touch floor with arms or feet. Hold and bring back to center. Do these for 1 minute. Try to do 25-30 reps. If you are a beginner, bend the knees and bring them up to midline and back down.
Leg extension with a workout bar is to use a bar and hold the bar in front of you and just lower the legs while keeping the hands and workout bar in place overhead at waist level. Drop legs 6” from floor, hold then bring back up to the bar. If you don’t have a bar, place hands under lower back and lower legs to floor, approximately 6” from the floor and back up to mid-line. Do each exercise for 1 minute/rest for 1 minute.
Now take the same bar and alternate it from side to side in order to work the oblique.
If you are a beginner, stop when you need to rest and then continue to complete as many reps as you can in 1 minute.
Another great abdominal exercise you can do if you don’t have a bar is to simply do the Classic Scissor Crunch. Lay on floor, hands on head not behind head, so you can avoid pulling the neck and alternate legs to elbow. Right elbow to left knee and reverse, count that as 1 rep. What I refer to as a double count. Do for 1 minute. 25-30 reps.
The next exercise is great for your whole core, The Classic Plank. When done with the scissor crunch, flip over on your mat, place hands under shoulders, lift lower body in straight line, flat back and hold for 1 minute.
The last one is the Classic Crunch. Lay down on your mat, knees bent, hands on head so you don’t pull the neck, lift ½ way and back down, repeat. Complete as many as you can in 1 minute.
Complete all exercises, each one for 1 minute/1 minute rest between exercises. When you are done with all exercises, you will have completed one (1) circuit. Rest after each circuit for 2-4 minutes. Repeat circuit 2 more times up to 5. Complete 2-3 times a week and you on your way to an eye-catching mid-section, while strengthening your core and lower back region.
Eating Healthy When You Are Crazy Busy
I wanted to share some tips with you for when you are really busy but still want to eat healthy, because it makes you feel GREAT to keep eating healthy, right?!
And we aren’t going to let “being busy” stop us from feeling great, right?!
Well, I have some tips for ya on what you can eat to stay healthy when you are busy!
So fast, just pour some coconut water, rice milk or hemp milk into the blender, then throw in your fruits AND some veggies (spinach, cucumber, romaine lettuce, just to name a few).
Add some protein if you like (hemp seed or chia seed, or maybe a scoop of hemp protein powder) and some healthy fats (avocado, coconut milk. or the proteins I mentioned before which also have you covered on the healthy-fat front!).
For extra flavor, add some vanilla extract or dash of cinnamon.
Chop up a bunch of lettuce – romaine or red leaf – and add some spinach. Pile on some other veggies – tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, sliced beets, bell peppers, onions…whatever you like.
Add some protein. Choose pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, cooked organic chicken breast, kidney beans, sprouts, a hard-boiled egg, or salmon or tuna.
Make a quick dressing with stone-ground mustard, olive oil, and a couple sprays of Bragg’s Amino Acids (or just a bit of sea salt if you don’t have Bragg’s or can’t find it). Toss it all together and eat.
If you chop the veggies in bulk you can make a couple salads at a time, don’t add the dressing to them yet, and they usually last a couple days.
Know where you can get healthy take-out.
This could be from a nearby restaurant (I love my local Vietnamese restaurant and it’s really close and inexpensive) or you could find a place like Gourmet Any Day in Amesbury, MA, which I recently explored and am now in love with!! They prepare healthy food to go. I stopped by this afternoon and picked up a couple dishes to tide me over the next few days. They have many dairy & gluten-free dishes. Their portions will keep you on track but you can also get a medium or large size meal if you want to have extra leftovers.
No, it’s not quite as cheap as buying and preparing it yourself, but if you are a busy person (OR you just don’t enjoy cooking) and would just spend the money on junky fast food or pizza delivery, then it’s a much better value.
It’s always the small habits that add up. Don’t let yourself fall back into old habits that cause you to not feel so great!
I’d love to hear from you, too: what do you like to eat when you are really busy?
Your Wellness Warrior
All fresh fruits and vegetables contain magical powers when it comes to shiny hair, clear skin, and strong nails. However, the ones I’ve chosen below are perhaps not as well known for their powerful beauty benefits. Try and include these foods into your diet if you want to look your best without the need for botox or other unnatural remedies.
- Red Peppers. All red and orange colored foods contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Red peppers are particularly beautifying due to the minerals A, C, and K. Vitamins A and C can help prevent cell damage that leads to premature ageing, and they can also reduce inflammation, which can cause a puffy-looking face. Pepper also has Vitamin K, which is an excellent property for protecting our cells from damage.
- Spinach. All leafy greens are actually very powerful in terms of being a beauty food because of the chlorophyll they contain. There are also loads of other phytochemicals and fiber in spinach that help build blood that is super clean and which will show through in your skin.
- Turmeric. This yellow-colored, Indian spice has a load of powerful antioxidant qualities. Turmeric assists in protecting our cells from free radical damage and also contributes towards cleaning up metabolic waste in our systems. It is also great as a liver flusher to get rid of any poisons and chemicals which are stored there.
- Pumpkin Seeds. Wow, these really are powerful. What don’t pumpkin seeds have in them?! The humble pumpkin seed contains high levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, all essential for healthy cell maintenance. Make a handful of pumpkin seeds a regular part of your diet, and you will definitely notice a change in your appearance.
- Parsley. Next time your plate is garnished with parsley, don’t push it aside. This is a pretty powerful herb when it comes to anti-aging, as well as purifying and cleansing the body. It contains vitamins A and C as well as anti-oxidizing flavonoids that protect our cells from free radical damage. Parsley also helps to purify the blood, kill bacteria, aid digestion, and cleanse toxins from the liver.
The best thing is that all these foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. Add turmeric to juice and combine the other foods with some other fixings to make a great, beautifying salad. Who said that beauty was hard to keep?
Your Wellness Warrior
You may have heard the news…the avocado crops are suffering from the crazy weather this winter. We’ll still be able to find them in stores, but we can also expect to pay more for them. And, they are totally worth it!
- I love that your decadence tastes sinfully delicious, yet it’s the “healthiest” of fats.
- I love that you make my skin beautiful. The antioxidants in avocados help to get rid of toxins that promote premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. A lot of the toxins on your facial skin are the residue of makeup. Applying 1 mashed avocado as a facial mask and leaving it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing will help to remove these toxins and soften the skin. I promise, in the end, you will not look like the Wicked Witch of the West.
- I love to use you as a spread on my Ezekiel bread toast with a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
- I love that you make my hair shiny. One avocado mashed and mixed together with 1 egg and your favorite essential oil is great for conditioning your hair. The healthy oils in the avocado help to moisturize and soften dry and brittle hair, and the vitamin E helps to restore a natural shine to your hair. To obtain these benefits simply massage the avocado and egg mixture into your hair and scalp and leave in for about 20 minutes. Then wash and condition with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
- I love to use you in my salads. Any kind of salad.
- I love to use you on my sandwiches in place of mayonnaise.
- I love that you complete me. Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body, because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet. Highest protein content of any fruit (yes, it’s a fruit).
- I love to use you in my smoothies to add some creamy richness.
- I love to scramble you in my egg white omelet.
- I love that you help me with my ABCs. While avocados have a high caloric count (one avocado is 320 calories), the various nutrients and “healthy” fats make it a must-eat. They are an alphabet of vitamins. One avocado provides your body with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat. Perhaps the biggest health benefit of avocados is that by adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients. This means that when you combine other fat burning foods with avocado, you can improve your nutrient absorption up to 400%!
Oh, yes, I truly do love you.
Often, we are told how bad saturated fats are for our health. Whether it is by our doctors or news articles, we are sold just how bad coconut oil is because it is a source of artery-clogging saturated fat.
Well, coconut oil has been criticized when it is actually one of the good fats. It has been used in hospital formulas to feed critically ill patients and is a major component of baby formulas because it provides the same nutrient value as human breast milk. Coconut oil is used to treat a number of common illnesses and considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be a safe, natural food.
It was discovered by the people that live in the Islands of the South Pacific that these natives were robust and healthy eating traditional native diets. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis are almost unheard of, but when they abandon their traditional diets for the Western foods, they find that their health deteriorates, and the more the Pacific natives move away from the diet of their ancestors, the closer they come to the diseases of the West like diabetes, gout, obesity, and atherosclerosis.
Time and time again, we are told to limit our fat intake to reduce the risk of heart disease and should consume no more than 30% of our total calorie intake per day.
However, the Polynesian people consume large quantities of fat in the form of coconut oil, as much as 60% of their total calorie intake.
What people do not understand is that there are many types of saturated fats and they affect the body differently. The plant source that is found in coconut oil is different from what is found in animal products.
Coconut oil is used to treat patients that have digestive and malabsorption problems. It is commonly given to infants and small children so that they can digest their fat. Studies show that coconut oil helps to support and strengthen the immune system. The difference is the nature of the fat molecule, which is found in coconut oil. The molecules of all fats and oils are called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. One is based on the amount of saturation found within fats and oils (saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated). Another way of classifying fats is based on the molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Within fatty acids there are long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. They are known as short chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is mostly composed of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCT).
The majority of fats and oils found in our diets, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plant source which are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFA). Anywhere from 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids consumed are LCFA.
There are so many uses for coconut oil aside from cooking – check out this list of 4 beauty uses!
Have a fabulous day!