I’m sorry I’ve been such a slacker about the weekly beat, An old playlist is the worst.
BUT, no fears, I’m on top of it now. And you, my dears, are on top of the world.
I’m sorry I’ve been such a slacker about the weekly beat, An old playlist is the worst.
BUT, no fears, I’m on top of it now. And you, my dears, are on top of the world.
Remember that little chat we had about Gratitude and all the amazing things it will do for you?
Just a fun little follow up. I’ve got a couple great apps that’ll help you stick to your new gratitude-diary-keeping habits, making you a happier human overall.
1. If you’re more of the social, sharing type, and one that enjoys giving and receiving support to/from others, check out Happier.
Use the app to participate in this gratitude sharing community. Share your grateful thoughts, images, videos, etc. within the community (or with select friends, or even keep them private if you like). Community members then lend support by commenting or just clicking to say that your moment made them smile too.
Hey, Sometimes moments are just too good to keep to yourself, and this is great for those moments.
2. If you’re more of the private type and just want something that makes gratitude journaling more convenient with easy access, but for your eyes only (it even has optional password protection), then Gratitude Journal is for you.
What I love is that you can set a daily reminder for whatever time you like. No falling off the ‘gratitude’ wagon!
You can go back to any day, week, etc. and see what you had to be grateful for in that moment. How great to see weeks and weeks worth of things you have to be grateful for, all collected in one place. You can media to your posts in this app as well.
We all need a little help to help keep us on track, and these are two great options. Thanks Amy and Court for the discoveries!
I feel like people either love Gwyneth Paltrow, or feel pretty strongly in the other direction, but regardless of how you feel personally, I’ve got to tell you, the girl can write a cookbook.
For Christmas, my nieces (aka – my sister-in-law) gave me GP’s latest cookbook, It’s All Good. I’ve made a handful of recipes so far, as have a couple of my clients. And with each new one, we’ve found ourselves amazed at how great they’ve all been.
Just an aside – the photography is beautiful too..
So, I wanted to give you a little lowdown on the book and give you a couple of preview recipes along with my recommendation so that you can decide for yourself before making a purchase..
It’s relatively well-known that GP is a patient, and huge supporter of, Dr. Alejandro Junger and his Clean program (there’s a book on that too). He actually wrote the forward to this book. And while I don’t think many of us are ready to go on his primarily juice cleanse, or stick strictly to the guidelines of the elimination diet for the rest of our lives, what I do love is that for the most part, GP’s recipes stick to the basic theories behind his approach – translation, very clean eating and pretty much all real food (yay!)..
So, let’s sample of a few of their recipes, and if you buy the supplies for these dishes and make them on your prep day this weekend, between the three recipes you can cover several meals for next week (depending on how many mouths you have to feed).
Either way, make a big batch of quinoa on Sunday, it will work for so many things throughout the week and you’ll be so glad to have it there and ready!
Okay. On to the good stuff…
1. Quinoa Breakfast Porridge.
I know. Sounds Simple. And it is. But I hadn’t come up with it before, and maybe you haven’t either. I’m now completely obsessed with it. So are every one of my friends that I’ve shared it with so far.
Before we start on that – I had been bummed out about the consistency of my quinoa lately and had been meaning to do some experimenting. Luckily, they did that for me: They suggest using a little less water than recommended and shared a little paper towel trick as well. My quinoa has been Oh-so-much better.
So, if you’re cooking a cup of dry quinoa – instead of 2 cups of water, use 1¾. Don’t forget a pinch of sea salt – maybe a half to a full teaspoon. Then, when the quinoa is cooked, and you’re letting it sit for 5 minutes off the heat before fluffing – lay a paper towel across the pot under the lid. It will absorb the extra liquids. Magic.
What to do:
Combine quinoa and almond milk in a small saucepan set at medium heat and cook, stirring until warmed through. Just 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add selected toppings.
Sliced toasted almonds or walnuts, a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, a chopped date, chopped dried figs, fresh berries, unsweetened shredded coconut…
You can really add anything.. your fave fruits – choose what’s local and fresh!
2. Turkey Meatballs
Because I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with dry turkey burgers, etc. I didn’t have high expectations for these. Let me tell you. Once I made these, I was 100% obsessed – they were a part of my lunches, dinners, even snacks until they were gone. So delicious and so shockingly flavorful.
What to do:
Combine the onion, garlic, herbs, and arugula in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, along with the turkey, salt and pepper. Use your hands to thoroughly combine all the ingredients, then roll the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs, in batches if necessary, until they’re browned all over (finish in the pan- or in the oven if you prefer (the recipe has them going into a tomato sauce at this pt to finish – also an option!).
Next time I have these – they’re being served atop some zucchini squash. The one other thing I’ll say is that I had a ton of fresh herbs left over, so I think th next time I make them, I’m going to double the recipe and just freeze some for later.
Okay.. One last recipe for your It’s All Good Preview:
I had it for lunch a couple of times. Then, when I had it for dinner and was in the mood for something a little more substantial, I threw in some roasted chicken and cooked quinoa that I happened to have on hand. Perfect.
And then when I had just a tiny bit left – I used that like a sauce on top of the random vegetable/chicken I was throwing together that night.
What to do:
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, garlic and bay leaf along with a heavy pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not browned, approx. 10 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock and the beans to the pot and turn up the heat. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until everything has completely softened and the soup is wonderfully fragrant, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Carefully puree 2 cups of the soup in a powerful blender and return it to the pot. Add the Swiss chard leaves and cook over medium-high heat just until they’ve wilted, about three minutes. Season up the soup with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Okay – So we’ve got three amazing, healthy, real food recipes to send you on your way. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
And here’s one last link to the book if you’d like to scoop one up for yourself. I say go ahead.
Your health is important.
You deserve it.
And it’s Valentine’s Day – show yourself some Love! xoxoxo
1.2.3. Seriously. It’s that easy.
I mentioned this one the other day when I was telling you about the new fave cocoa drink .
I knew this wasn’t a complicated thing to do, but at the same time, it took me a while to get here.
But I’ll tell you – now that I’ve tasted the sweet reward – I’m having a very hard time picking up a carton of the store bought stuff.
I swear I picked up 4 different brands in Whole Foods the other day, and reading the lists of ingredients, I just couldn’t put it in the basket, and that’s not even considering the difference in the taste…
And yes, I do live here in reality. I’m not saying that I’ll never be buying the store-bought version again, but this is so easy, and so much better for you. Translation – oh-so-worth. Maybe we try to go with the good stuff as often as possible, and then supplement or reach for the other stuff as more of a back-up.
Something to keep in mind – whether you make your own almond milk or not – Step #1 below is good to do regardless, and for many reasons (listed at the end of the post)..
Making Your Almond Milk:
1. Soak your almonds overnight. (approx 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of almonds). I do 2 cups of almonds at a time.. that gives me a couple of days worth of almonds (I’ve been making 1 cup’s worth at a time).
2. The next day: rinse and drain. You can use them right then, or store in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-5 days.
Note: These are also good for snacking. You can eat them as is, or a lot of peeps like to dehydrate them on low heat in the oven, or in a dehydrator. Again – see benefits of munching on soaked almonds below.
3. Put the following into a high-speed blender. Blend until everything is liquified and well blended.
(approx 1 minute, if that. Depends on your blender):
- 1 cup almonds
- 3 cups water
- The insides of a vanilla bean or a splash of vanilla extract (if you want vanilla flavor of course)
- 1 pitted date
To be honest, the first time I made this, I used the date. The second and third times, I totally spaced it and ended up adding a couple drops of stevia. You don’t necessarily need either, but if you want the touch of sweetness, either will do.
4. You’ll need a nut milk bag. They’re like $3-$4 at Whole Foods. And, I just checked – shockingly, I think they were cheaper at WF than on Amazon. Whaaa!? Don’t kill me if I’m remembering wrong, but even it so, I know I’m close. I really do remember being shocked at how inexpensive it was.
5. Pour the milk through the bag into a bowl or pitcher. Squeeze out the excess liquid. Keep for future use as almond meal, or discard. The milk will likely be warm from the blending. Don’t freak. This is why I do it the night before so it can chill in the fridge over night.
I’m telling you – this milk in the porridge (recipe to come) that I’ve been completely obsessed with = heaven.
I could eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Back to the reasons that soaking almonds is beneficial:
There are natural nutritional inhibitors and toxins in the skins of almonds, designed to protect the nutritional value within the nut until it is ready to germinate. Nature deactivates these toxins with water when it rains, and the the soil will be ready to support the growth of a new plant… and we deactivate these toxins by soaking the almonds in a bowl of water.
By doing this, we’re making more of the nutrients within the almond available for digestion. We’re also neutralizing the enzyme inhibitors that can prevent us from absorbing the nutrients we’re eating.
The skins also contain what are called phytic acids which can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. No Good. Soaking reduces or eliminates these as well.
All good stuff here peeps.
When you can – soak your almonds.
They’ll be easier on your digestive system, you’ll make the most of the nutrients available, and you’ll minimize any potential damage that can come from the natural toxins.
Okay, back to the reality thing one more time.
Am I going to serve a bowl of soaked almonds at my next party? I think you know the answer to that..
But am I going to soak them when I have them in the house on a regular basis? Yep. I’ll try dehydrating them next time and get back with you on that too. Word has it that they’re even more delicious.
Finally, but very important.. For those insane times when it’s just not realistic to make your own (or if you’re just sitting there shaking your head at me, thinking – this isn’t going to happen Karen), here’s a link to a number of products, including almond milk, that don’t contain carrageenan. This is an ingredient you find in so many products, notably almond milk (including organic) that you are best off staying away from. Consult the list. Do it for me, because I like you.
To kick off the new year, one of my fave clients told me she really wanted a reboot, and had decided she wanted to do a detox diet. So, in the spirit of camaraderie, (OR, the fact that I could definitely use the reboot myself) I decided to join her.
We’re doing a real-food detox, so this is not a juicing fast, or anything like that – just good, clean whole foods that will give us a fresh, healthy start to the new year. Eliminating some of the foods that promote inflammation, toxins and all those things we can really do without, and focusing on foods to help our bodies find their balance again.
What’s it to you?
Well, you, my friends, are going to reap the rewards. Or, at least as many as you can without actually joining us.
Only a couple of days in, and I’ve made so many new discoveries in terms of new foods, recipes, resources, etc. and it just feels wrong to keep them to myself.
So, although you might not be ready for (or even be down with), going on a detox just yet – each healthy recipe, tool, trick, product you add into your routine, adds up to make a difference.
Discovery number one saved me in a moment of serious desperation.
Picture it: Day 1 of Detox – I wake up to torrential rains. You know, the ones on Monday that melted all the snow from last week’s blizzard. Not the hugest deal, except for the fact that when it rains like this – at my apartment – this means it’s going to be raining both inside and out. And I don’t mean a slow drip, I mean active rainfall. I’m working on it with the landlord, but in the meantime, it was going to be a long day, and all I could think was: Coffee Please! The follow-up thought quickly stepped in: Detox = Coffee – not allowed. Nooooooo!
Well, I need it
But it’s raining In my apartment = I deserve it.
You promised you were in on this.
This conversation with myself may or may not have been out loud..
Thank God I had read about this raw cocoa drink the night before, because let’s face it, when you’re dying for the rich comfort of coffee, herbal tea just isn’t going to cut it. If someone had offered it to me, I may have thrown it on the floor with the 10 pots and pans across my floor ready to catch the rainfall I could already start to hear.
Back to the miracle drink: Almond milk, cacao, and a touch of stevia, that’s it.
Okay, yep, basically it’s hot chocolate. But it’s rich, super chocolatey dairy-free, sugar-free hot chocolate that’s not only is totally allowed, but Good.for.You.
Since I made my own almond milk the night before (SO easy – more on that in the coming days) this was sounding better and better. Not to mention there are 1 or 2 benefits of raw cacao:
With all these benefits – something to consider adding into the rotation detox or not
As for the “recipe”:
1 Cup almond milk (or nut, rice etc milk of choice)
2 TBS of raw cacao (I was shaving my own and it got a little messy – if you’re using powder, maybe start with 1 and build from there if needed)
Couple drips of Stevia
(And just because I add it to everything – a good couple of shakes of cinnamon)
Heat on low heat on the stove until warm and everything blends together. I think you know what hot chocolate should look like. Obviously if you’ve got a microwave, you can give that a whirl as well.
This morning I made it again, but then decided it was an iced sort of a day and threw it in the freezer for a bit. Just as delicious on ice – maybe even more so.
They’re here! Holiday parties, cocktails with friends, shopping marathons, wrapping marathons, making spirits bright. People sending cookies, office kitchens filled with every sweet you can imagine. Three years’ worth. In three weeks.
But, they only come around once a year, so relish in them. Soak in all the festivities, see friends that you haven’t seen nearly enough all year long, and celebrate!
At the same time, I vote no thanks to the Jan 1 Holiday Hangover. Exhausted, run down and feeling like you need to spend the next month locked up in the gym.
I promise, the season will be a thousand times more enjoyable if we just take a breath, and decide that the wheels don’t have to come completely off.
Here we go. Small, simple things that will make ALL the difference:
1. Hydrate Yourself.
Yes, shocking I know. But as much as this one is at the top of the priority list, it’s easy to let slide. Believe me, I’m reminding myself as much as I’m reminding you.
Making it easier:
2. Eat Breakfast.
I know, you do this every day, anyway, right? Great, so now that the insanity of the holidays has arrived, even when you feel like there’s no time, and want to blow it off. Don’t.
Eat breakfast, and make it count.
If it’s easy, you will do it.
And if it’s delicious, that won’t hurt either.
Try this gluten free Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal by Nutritionist in the Kitch. It’s delicious. I had it for dinner last night. Oh, and breakfast this AM. (Couldn’t send you in blind. I had to test it. That’s my job.)
It’s easy, and it’s got fiber, protein and is packed with nutrients, it’ll most definitely keep you full and energized throughout the morning. Cut it into 6 bars wrap them individually, you’ve got a week’s worth of breakfasts, right there. And if you’re on the fly, throw it in your purse on your way out the door. Of course ‘on the fly’ is not the best way to eat your meals, but I’m living in reality here. Holiday reprieve.
Breakfast in a jar – or Tupperware, whatever’s around – we don’t have to operate like we live in a Pinterest board to be healthy. Although, give it a try once in a while (maybe after the holidays). If it’s pretty, it’s more enjoyable, we’re more satisfied, and we’re more likely to stick with it. Just a thought. But for now, use what you’ve got!
Make a week’s worth at once. All the same, or switch things up. Just add the milk each night before you go to bed and give it a stir. It’s ready when you wake up. Top it with a banana, or a couple of seeds, nuts or dried fruit. when in season, load ‘em up with berries. Experiment, the options are endless. Just be sure to get your protein in.
3. Same idea as Breakfast: Bring your lunch – make it healthy.
If you’re going to be going to parties, out for cocktails, etc. after work (and I hope you are!) You don’t want to show up starving or fueled on whatever cupcake or half a cookie you found left in the office kitchen.
I know there’s not always time, so try to be as prepared for that as possible.
Yep, I know you don’t have time. But, you do.
And this will make ALL the difference in the world.
Even if you can’t stick to your normal workout routine, you can get some quality time in there.
Congratulations, you’ve just set the day on the right course.
5. Party Time.
And party you shall. A couple of small strategies to help stay on your game:
So now that we’re bordering on a post you don’t have the time to read, let’s wrap it up.
Each one of these strategies you commit to will make a difference for the better. So do what you can. You’ll thank yourself when you’re slipping into that New Year’s Eve dress, getting ready to welcome in the New Year feeling fantastic.
Most importantly: Soak in the spirit of the season and don’t forget to enjoy yourself and those you love.
Happy Holidays! XO
Okay. I went back to my original iPod for this one (Yes, I still have it. Truth be told, I’m going to have it bronzed one day).
As for the song – I figure, if it’s on the radio now, you’ll think of it yourself right? (Not that I’m swearing against new songs in the future, no such promises here) This is just why I’m leaning old school – it’s easy to forget about these gems!
Okay. So, give your playlist a little boost, and don’t forget to Share Your #Finishline(s)! It’s winter, and we all need to fuel up on each other’s motivation.
Without question, when talking to people about eating healthier, there are two things that come up as the biggest challenges. And, I know you’re well aware of what they are before I even reach the end of this sentence. But in case you’re a superhuman and these things are completely off your radar, let me help:
I hear you. This can be true.
But it certainly doesn’t have to be.
Thanks to a recent post by Jenny at Nourished Kitchen for this incredible discovery that I have to share with you.
It’s an online food/health store where you’ll find oh-so many of your basics, as well as your specialty health foods, at a Major discount.
Well, consider this a version of that, but for health foods and health products, I plan to use a combination of both.
This latest and greatest discovery is Vitacost. (Note: This is a referral link, so you’ll get $10 off your first order. However, if you don’t want to give your name and email for an account just yet, simply go to Vitacost.)
Not only are the products offered at great discounts, but they seem to constantly have additional sales and promotions, making the deals even crazier.
As I’ve shopped through the site, I’ve compared many of the products that I typically pick up at the grocery, or specialty stores, and I’m telling you, the savings are nuts.
On top of that, if you order at least $49 worth, shipping is free, and much like Amazon, you can subscribe to certain items you buy on a regular basis to save even more (an additional 10%).
Just to give you an idea as to the types of food items you can order on the site, the following is short list of some of the basics I’ll be purchasing on Vitacost.
You can also shop by diet or specialty. You can break it down by gluten-free, Non-GMO, vegan, raw foods, the list goes on.
I could write a list for days, but I just want to give you an idea of how much of what you’re buying at the grocery store (probably at much higher prices) can be found here, and delivered right to your door.
Less $$ and less schlepping – sign me up. Lord knows I can’t stand carrying all those bags. And I can’t even imagine how those of you carrying bags in one hand and children in the other, are keeping it together.
Listen, it won’t keep you out of the grocery store altogether. It better not – as you need to be stocking up on fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, and dairy, but:
1. You’ll cut your time in the store to a bare minimum, or maybe even be able to take care of those items at your local farmers market
2. You can truly stick to the perimeter of the store – eliminating temptations for things you don’t want or need
3. You’ll save a few extra pennies which will allow a little more room for that organic produce or dairy and that quality meat that’s so important to your family’s health
4. Often times, and especially if you live in more rural areas, it’s hard to find some of the health products you’re you’re looking for. Here’s your solution
So… as we’re all getting back to reality and can still recall all that pre-Thanksgiving grocery store trauma, I say you kick back in the comfort of your own home, and login to Vitacost.com
Then, in the comments below, let me know what you find. We can all share in each other’s discoveries!
PS – Did I mention, they have an app as well??
Just keeps getting better..
Yep.. this one is old school and was probably on one or more of your running playlists at one point – but perhaps it’s time to bring it back to the top.
Have a look out your window and you’ll know why I chose it. Sometimes you just have to turn up the music, close your eyes, and pretend.
Have a beautiful day!
It’s Officially Gratitude Month.
You may have noticed some of your friends sharing things they’re thankful for on Facebook.. Well, I’m a week late. But better late than never, and I want to make sure you don’t miss out on the serious benefits this simple practice can produce.
Yes, it’s a truly great gesture to share things you’re grateful for, and maybe even get others to pause and think for a second about the things they’re thankful for as well.. But practicing gratitude goes way beyond that. There’s a lot more to this gratitude thing than you might think.
Increasing numbers of studies are dedicated to the tangible benefits that having a grateful mindset gives us. Among the things practicing gratitude gives us:
I mean, really – they could stop at “You will be more happy.” and wouldn’t that be enough?
I Love this talk on TED, and highly recommend you take a few minutes to watch.
One of my favorite take-aways from this is the fact that 90% of our happiness is not predicted by our outside world, but rather, the way in which our brain processes that external world.
More evidence of just how powerful the mind is. And when the mind is constantly scanning for, and as a result actually seeing, the good rather than the bad, its going to find it. And you, my friend, aren’t going to be able to help yourself. You’re going to be happier.
There isn’t a choice.
Added bonus: Dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, has two functions, it not only makes you happier, but it also turns on all the learning centers in your brain. You’re going to be more alert, more productive, have greater focus, be better at your job. so on and so on, you get the point. More good stuff.
So, in case you haven’t yet dedicated the time to watching the talk above, and you’re wondering ‘How do I get in on this plan?” Here’s what the psychologists have determined:
“With just 2 minutes a day, for 21 days- you can rewire your brain to work more optimistically and more successfully. At the end of the 21 days – your mind will retain the pattern, and automatically scan for the good.” This is tried and tested.
A great place to start:
Write down three things you’re grateful for. Each day.
There are so many options here. Use a journal, keep it in an app on your phone, a Word doc on your computer, scraps of paper around your house or, take a picture, tag it #grateful and either share it, or keep it to yourself. Whatever you’ve got to do, just make it happen and be religious about it. For 21 days. After that, I’m pretty sure you’re going to continue on your own will – so I’m just asking the 21 days.
I’ve given this a try. And when I did, one friend was doing it with me, but no one else really knew. What was pretty amazing was that this other friend of mine kept asking me what was going on, and why did I suddenly seem so much happier. He didn’t just ask this once.. it was on several occasions. Honestly I had no idea what it was, I did agree that I was just feeling better, but truthfully had no idea why. It took me a bit to put 2 and 2 together.
So… I’m going to be honest and tell you that I fell out of the habit. But, I’m getting back to it. And I’d love for you to join me because I kinda like you, and I want you to be happy too. Not to mention, we’ll all get smarter together, keep it an even playing field
Added just for fun!: If you’ve read my #finishline post you know what’s coming..
Walking around, minding your business and have a ‘grateful’ moment? Take a picture. Tag it #grateful. If you want to share with us – post it to my Facebook Page or, create your own Pinterest board, make it public, keep it private – but either way, how great to go back and look at a whole collections of things that you are thankful for.
Just a note for when you’re debating whether to share or keep to yourself: Another study showed an additional significant increase in people’s happiness when they shared what they were grateful for.
No pressure. Just sayin’.