Thursday, September 15, 2011

Root Veggie Chips

                            Root Veggie Chips

Root Vegetables are a great way to transition into the cooler weather.  The are highly nutritious and great for when you are needing to feel more grounded or relaxed.   Also, incorporating more root veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes into your diet on a regular basis is a great way to ease sugar cravings and prevent sugar binges.  For my chips I used potatoes, sweet potatos, and carrots but there are many other root vegetables that will work well, such as beets and turnips.  I used a sea salt/rosemary blend but would love to do it with cinnamon or other spices.

2 or 3 small-medium size sweet potatoes
1 extra large carrot if possible
2 small potatoes
Few splashes of EVOO
Salt and Pepper OR Salt and Rosemary Or Cinnamon Or Whatever you want!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Slice veggies as thinly as possible to make a chip shape. Use the slicer on a cheese grater if that works for you, otherwise a high quality knife works well.  Keep the different roots separate because they may have different cooking times and some roots are high maintenance(potatoes have a lot of juice and beets turn everything red).

3. Toss the separate veggies in a bowl with olive oil(just to lightly coat the veggies) and seasonings.

4.  Put the slices on single layers on cookie sheets, sprinkle with more seasoning depending on your taste and bake for 10 to 20 minutes depending on how thin they are sliced.  This is best done when you are doing other things in the kitchen and can keep a close eye on them.  Once they are crispy, allow them to cool and enjoy or seal them in an air tight container. :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Raw Food ~ Real Life Magic

Every year, around this time, I find myself drawn to eating a diet high in raw foods.  It just makes me feel SO GOOOOD!! : )  I don't believe there is any other way of eating that rivals the mental, spiritual, and physical clarity that comes with a raw food diet.  This is food in its original form, the way it was meant to be eaten!  Full of enzymes and nutrients that are depleted when cooked and/or processed.  Here are some of the benefits that come with eating this way:
  • weight loss
  • major energy increase
  • decrease or elimination of anxiety and depression
  • bright eyes, clear skin, healthy hair and nails
  • increase in mental focus and clarity
  • increase in sex drive
  • disease prevention and treatment
These are just a few of the many reasons to increase your raw food intake.  Many "raw foodists" eat 100% raw year round.  This is great but unless you live in a tropical climate or have a personal chef, this isn't a realistic lifestyle for most people.  Raw food cools your body, so most people need more warming foods in the colder months.  Although, you can work around this with the help of spices and certain high fat raw foods.  Eating 100% raw can also be difficult because it gets a little boring eating smoothies and salads all the time.  There are a ton of awesome raw food recipes out there but many of them are time consuming and require kitchen equipment that you might not find in the average kitchen, like a dehydrator or high speed blender.

For the summer, I am aiming to eat 70% raw.  Raw food, by the way, is any whole food that has not been processed and is either completely raw or has not been heated above 104 degrees.  If you feel like this is something you would like to try, here are some general guidelines:

  •  If you are not used to a lot of raw food, it is common to have some digestive issues at first due to increase in fiber and enzymes.  Start slowly.  Do 25% raw for a week or two, then 50%, and so on.  Other ways to help with digestion are to blend things, make juice, and soak grains and nuts.
  • Eat one fruit at a time on an empty stomach, if you are just starting to eat raw.  It digests quicker than anything else, so this will also help with digestive issues.
  • Find balance between Chlorophyll(green leafy vegetables), Sugars(fruits, grains, carbohydrates), and Fats(nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, coconut).
  • Stick to organic and local whenever possible.  Check out your local farmers market for a great selection!
  • Eating raw doesn't have to be animal free if you don't want it to be.  It can include raw milk and meat(sushi grade fish, certain preparations of beef, etc.)
  • If you are used to eating processed foods most of the time, you will go through a detox process when you eliminate those foods.  You may feel tired or irritable, develop some flu-like symptoms, or even have an emotional release depending on what your normal diet is like and how long it has been like that.  This is because when you eat cleansing foods, the toxins(physical and emotional) that you have been storing in your body become released into your bloodstream.  These symptoms will pass but if the detox becomes too much for you to handle, don't give up, just put some of your normal foods back into your diet and go more slowly.
  • Respect your body.  No one diet is right for everyone.  If you go through a detox and still don't feel good, your body might be telling you something.  If you feel better after eating a piece of cake, then its safe to say that its just detox talking. But if you feel better after eating a piece of cooked chicken, you might just need more protein.   Figuring out what is right for your body is a process.
Green smoothies are one of my favorite raw breakfasts.  Here is a recipe for one of my basic ones:

1 banana
3/4 cup plain almond milk
handful of frozen blueberries
handful of spinach
spoonful of spirulina powder(optional)
spoonful of maca powder(optional)
3 tbsn hemp powder(optional for protein)

There is much much more to this topic.  If it is something you are truly interested in, I would recommend that you read The Sunfood Diet Success System by David Wolfe.  It is one of my favorite books and full of so much wisdom.  Please let me know if you have any questions!  Also if anyone decides to include more raw food in their diet, I would love to know about it!  Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Momma Day Granola

Happy Mothers Day to Mother Earth and all the amazing Mothers, Grandmothers, and Godmothers!  I made this granola today for my own fabulous Mother.  She's working a 12 hour shift today so I delivered it to her along with some other goodies.  I found this recipe in the book Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia.  She calls it "The Best Granola Ever" but I like my name better.  Next time I might substitute dried figs or cranberries for the apricots.  If any of these ingredients are unfamiliar to you, like raw nuts or cacao nibs, take a trip to your nearest health food store!

Momma Day Granola

    2 cups raw nuts, coarsely chopped                6 tablespoons maple syrup                      
    2 cups rolled oats(not quick)                         5 tablespoons olive or canola oil
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon                    1 1/2 cups dried apricots, coarsley chopped
   1/2 teaspoon allspice                                     1/2 cup raw, unsweetened coconut flakes
   1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg                         3 tablespoons cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 250°F
   Combine the nuts, oats, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and a dash of salt in a large bowl and stir.  Add the maple syrup, 4 tablespoons of the oil, and the vanilla extract and stir.
    Spread the granola evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir the granola well, rotate the pan, and bake for 15 minutes more.  At this point, the granola should be almost completely dry.  Add the apricots and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the mixture, stir well, and return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes.  Add the coconut and bake for 2 minutes more.  Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the cacao nibs.
    Let the granola cool before serving.

Now I'm off the clean up the gigantic mess I made in my kitchen.  Enjoy the beautiful day!! ;-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Deconstructing Cravings ~ It's All About Balance

Everybody gets cravings for certain foods.  Much of the time for foods that don't serve our bodies.  Sometimes these cravings can be a fleeting thing and sometimes they can seem to take over and really interfere with our efforts to lose weight and feel comfortable with ourselves.  The most important thing you can do is to be aware that there is usually a reason behind these cravings.  From there you can take the necessary steps to deconstruct the craving and break the cycle.

One of the main reasons for cravings is a lack of nutrients in the body.  Cravings for salty foods usually mean a mineral deficiency.   Start incorporating more vegetables into your diet, especially dark leafy greens and sea veggies.  One reason for sugar cravings could just mean that you need more sweet vegetables(sweet potatoes, carrots, onions) or fruits in your diet.  Cravings for things like caffeine for energy usually signify an overall nutritional deficiency.  Make sure you are eating a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains.  Take a multivitamin to supplement.

Another reason for cravings is the need for more primary food.  Primary food includes career, spirituality, relationships, and physical activity.  Are you in a job that you are passionate about?  Do you have a spiritual practice that you truly believe in? Do you have satisfying relationships in your life?  Do you have a regular exercise routine that you enjoy doing?  Sometimes we compensate for for the lack of primary food by reaching for secondary food.  In my experience, these are usually comfort foods(ice cream, pizza, candy).   Pay attention to when you have cravings for these foods.  Is it after a long day at a job you hate or in the evening when you wish you had someone to cuddle up with?  Instead of reaching for the ice cream, drink some water, take a walk, and think about how you will feel when you have your dream job or what that awesome relationship will be like.  

Sometimes cravings can be attributed to the seasons.  In the spring and summer, it's normal to crave light detoxifying foods.  In the fall and winter it's common to crave heavy warming foods.

When deconstructing cravings, it can also be important to think about what texture you are craving.  If you crave things that are dry and crispy, it can mean that you are drinking too many liquids.  If you crave food that is moist, creamy, or liquidy, it can mean that you are eating to many dry foods, like bread and crackers.

De-evolution is also an important concept to be aware of.  It is something that happens when we are becoming very healthy, following our passions and our lives are going extremely well.  This causes us to stand out from people who are set in their unhealthy ways(much of the population). We may get cravings for "bad foods"as a sort of self-sabotage.  I think of this as being our ego mind or fear bringing us down a notch and wanting to fit in.  

Whatever your cravings are,  know that it's ok to give into them but it's important to understand what causes them, so you can make healthy changes in your life.  Try to satisfy your cravings with less extreme, healthier versions of the foods you would normally eat.  If you have any questions or need any extra guidance, please let me know!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I have had a couple different people reach out to me recently, needing guidance with anxiety.  With all of the drastic changes going on in the world it's no wonder that anxiety has become an epidemic.  Here are some ways to naturally eliminate anxiety.

The first thing that I did when I was experiencing anxiety, was to eliminate caffeine.  This wasn't easy considering that I was working at Starbucks at the time.  Caffeine is something that can cause anxiety and make it worse.  If you drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis, slowly decrease it so the withdrawal symptoms are as minimal as possible.  Start by making each cup of coffee 1/4 decaf for a few days, then 1/2 decaf for a few days, etc.   Or, you can switch to black tea, then green tea, then white tea, then herbal tea.  If soda is your weakness, decrease the amount you drink until you have switched completely to caffeine free or none at all.  Increase your water intake during this weaning process to help with the withdrawal.  Chocolate can also cause the same effect, so be careful with that as well. 

Start to become more aware of your breath.  When we are stressed out, our breathing becomes very shallow, causing more stress and anxiety.  Sometimes I'll bring my attention to my breath and realize that I'm hardly breathing at all.  Yoga and meditation are both great ways to become more in tune with your breath.  Something simple and powerful that you can do, that doesn't take alot of time is to start a daily breathing/meditation practice.  I like to do this before bed because it is so relaxing.  First, sit comfortably in a seated position.  Just breathe like you normally would.  Push your tongue against the back of your upper front teeth.  Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts.  Hold the breath in for 7 counts.  Breathe out through pursed lips for 8 counts.  Repeat this exercise 3 times.  There is alot of power in this exercise, so don't do more than 3 repetitions until you've been doing it daily for a week or so.  Then you can increase to 4 or 5 reps. 
Another good exercise is to breathe in as deeply as you can and exhale as much as you can.

Eat a balanced diet full of clean protein, whole grains, and veggies.  For anxiety, green leafy vegetables are one of the most important things you can eat.  They have anti-stress, calming properties and are amazingly good for you.  The greener the better!  
Vitamin deficiencies can cause anxiety, so make sure you are taking a good multi-vitamin.  You may also want to get your levels checked because it can take more than what is in a multi to restore levels if you are deficient.  B vitamins are extremely important for the health of your nervous system.  I would recommend getting a good B Complex Stress vitamin and taking it daily.  B vitamins are water soluble and need to be replenished daily, so there isn't much risk of overdose.  B6 is the only one you have to be careful with.  Don't take more than 100 mg a day.

Don't forget to get your exercise!  It's something positive to focus on and the more focus on positivity the less room there will be for the negative.  What you focus on grows.  Plus, exercising creates those wonderful feel-good chemicals. :-)

Turn it off!
Turn off the television!  It's good to be aware of current events but not when it interferes with your well being.  Being aware of every murder and tragedy thats has happened within a 100 mile radius is not going to do you any good.  When you are constantly tuned into the media you put yourself on that same wavelength, causing fear, negativity, and ANXIETY.  Limit or eliminate your viewing time and spend the extra time listening to relaxing music or taking a walk in nature. 

Other Helpers
There is also a wide range of herbs and other therapies that help with anxiety.
Gaba is an amino acid that helps promote calmness, relaxation, and stress tolerance.  L-theanine also has the same effect.  It is the relaxing amino acid found in green tea.  Ashwagandha is an ayurvedic herb that has many rejuvenating properties including relief of anxiety and depression.  It's one of my personal favorites at the moment.  Valerian root is another useful herb that is great for anxiety as well as the promotion of sleep.  These are only a few of the many options out there.  I encourage you to do some research and experiment with what works best for you.  

I hope this was of some help if you are experiencing any sort of anxiety.  I know it's overwhelming to think about doing all these things at once.  Pick one thing, get that down and move on to something else until you are completely anxiety free!  Let me know if you need any extra guidance.

The first step to change is being aware of the need for change.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Are you reaching your true potential?

When we live a balanced life, amazing things happen.  We have more energy, extra weight comes off, and most importantly, we give ourselves the chance to reach our true potential.

Your physical body is a very important part of the balance.  Put nourishing food into your body, listen to your body, and your body will thank you.  Diet is an issue that is simple and complex at the same time.  It's safe to say that no matter who you are,  you should eat the simplest, cleanest whole foods you can get your hands on.   But, just like anything, everyone is different.  Certain foods are good for some people and not so good for other people. You have to take into consideration allergies, intolerances, location, season, age, etc.  It's taken me a good ten years to realize that I'm allergic to dairy.  I think I was in denial for most of that time.  But, now I've moved on and am much healthier because of it.   It's a process determining what is best for your individual body, but well worth the effort.

MOVE!!  Your body is meant for MOVEMENT!!  Exercise is such a huge form of stress relief, which is SO important for your well being!  And, just like food, you have to figure out what is best for your body.   Something as simple as taking a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood is a great way to exercise.  Don't forget to bring some motivational music with you!  I aim to exercise for an hour 5 times a week.  I usually walk around my neighborhood and on the track by my apartment.   I also usually do 2 or 3 yoga classes a week, which I've really grown to love.

So, diet and exercise are essential but, I've saved the best for last.
When food and physical activity are balanced with "primary food", we are able to reach our highest purpose and truly thrive.  Primary food includes our relationships, career, and spirituality.  These are often the most challenging aspects of our lives and the most fufilling.

Life is full of relationships. I'm no expert on the topic but I do know this is how it should be:  Let go of toxic relationships.  These are people that bring you down, encourage negativity and don't appreciate you.  You are an amazing person and have so much to offer the world!  Surround yourself with loving energy and people who support you on your life path!  Respect and honor yourself!

What are your natural talents and passions?  Are you putting them to use in a career that you enjoy?  If not, maybe it's time for a change.  I know this is easier said than done, but just being conscious of the need for change, is the first step to change.  We spend ALOT of our time at work.  It should be enjoyable and purposeful.

There are so many ways to practice spirituality, whether it be going to church, taking a walk in nature, practicing gratitude, or meditating.  I don't believe there is one way that is superior to the rest.  As long as you have something that you believe in and something that brings you peace.  Its great if you can develop a daily practice.  It can be something as small as stopping and bringing your attention to your breath.

There is a process in finding balance.  If you feel like you could use some support in finding your balance and reaching towards your true potential, let me know!  I offer free consultations.

And remember, being conscious of the need for change is the first step.



Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Cleaning!

Spring has sprung! Now is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning in our lives and our bodies. One of the best ways to do this is to include more green leafy vegetables in your diet. If you can get into the habit of including them on a daily basis, your body and mind will thank you. They are the best source of alkaline minerals, have wonderful calming effects on the nervous system, and have amazing healing and cleansing properties. Today I made a green juice with rainbow chard, granny smith apples, celery, carrots, and ginger. I've been on a chard kick lately but some of my favorites include kale(especially lacinato or dinosaur), spinach, and collard greens. If you don't have a juicer I would highly recommend investing in one. It's a great way to get a concentrated dose of nutrients. 
Spinach and chard do, however, contain Oxalic acid, which can interfere with the absorption of the calcium in them. This acid is broken down when cooked, so if you do eat either of these raw, switch it up a bit and don't do it all the time.

Another way of fitting these veggies into your diet is to steam them or sautee them with some garlic and olive oil. I especially love to do this with collard greens. You can do this by first washing the collards, then, one at a time, laying them on a cutting board and cutting the middle vein out. Then, fold the left side onto the right side and roll it up. Slice the roll so you come out with about 1/2 inch strips. Toss it in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper for as long as you like. For kale, I like to keep it raw and massage it for about 10 minutes with olive oil. Then I sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Parmesan is also good on it if you do cheese. Enjoy!  

As always, choose organic veggies if possible. Happing cleaning! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Drink more water!!

This is the simplest and most important piece of advice I can give.  Water helps with weight loss, increases energy, clears out toxins, and is great for your skin.  If you're thirsty, you have already passed the point of dehydration, so drink up!  It's best to drink the majority of your water early in the day and before meals.  I usually drink one or two big glasses first thing in the morning before I do anything else.  It's a great way to start the day and your body will thank you!  Coffee, juice, and soda don't count as water.  If you can't stand the taste of plain water, try squeezing in some lemon or lime.  They are both very cleansing.  Green, white, and herbal teas are also a good choice.