Monday, January 28, 2013

Black Bean Burgers

In a perfect world I'd be soaking my beans the night before making the dish to put them in, however, this world is far from perfect.  Unfortunately, canned food is dead food.  It's nutrient content has been lost after being cooked and stored on the shelf for who knows how long in a dark, BPA-laden can.  However, while engulfed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life sometimes popping a can open is the simplest way of creating a meal.  I'd rather my clients get in some canned black beans over no black beans.  I'd rather them make their own hummus using a can of chick peas rather than just buying a tub of hummus from the store.  With that being said, it's important to buy the right canned foods.  Below is a great example:  Eden Organic black beans with NO salt added, grown in the USA, with BPA-free lining.  Score!  Begin to be more mindful of the canned foods you so easily just grab while food shopping - those differences can make the difference in your health!  

These black bean burgers are a breeze to put together (you'll get the hang of it after a few tries) and usually satisfy all who have a taste.  It's my go-to recipe when I want a home cooked meal without a fuss.  I also love that it makes enough to pack burgers away for other nights when I don't feel like cooking.  Now, with all of the drama surrounding quinoa lately, I feel guilty even posting this recipe!  Who wants to starve poor Peruvians of their precious grain?  Not me.  So, I've significantly cut my quinoa consumption down.  For example, this recipe calls for 1 cup quinoa so I do 1/2 cup quinoa and the other half millet.  I love the sweetness of millet and how sticky it makes these burgers.  Highly recommend.  Enough chit chat, give these a whirl and let me know how they turn out!  

Not all canned foods are created equal.
1 cup uncooked quinoa 
2 cans black beans (BPA-free, please), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
dash of cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup flaxseed meal (or you can use dry breadcrumbs, GF if gluten free)

Add ins after they're cooked:  

Directions: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add quinoa and simmer for fifteen minutes. Let quinoa cool and then transfer to large bowl. Add beans, flax meal, cilantro, 1 tablespoon of oil, garlic, cayenne, salt, chili powder, cumin and pepper. Wash hands and squish ingredients together until smooth (or use an immersion blender to soften). Form into 1/2-inch thick patties. Place flaxseed meal or breadcrumbs in shallow bowl or on plate. Dust patties with flaxseed meal or press patties into breadcrumbs, turning to coat both sides. In non-stick skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Cook patties in batches, turning once, for about 8 minutes or until browned.  

Not going to eat all of the patties you just prepared?  Don't fry up the ones you aren't going to eat just yet and throw them into your fridge (if you plan to eat them within the next few days) or into your freezer (to eat them within the next 2 weeks).  

No bread needed for these patties.  They're surprisingly filling and quite delicious without any bread.  I like to eat it with half an avocado mashed with lime and cilantro with some salsa on top.  I prepare a bed of greens on the plate dressed in some fresh squeezed lime, sea salt, olive oil, fresh ground pepper and chopped cilantro.


Thursday, January 24, 2013


My boyfriend teases me saying that I'm "sassy."  The first few times it bothered me and made me feel bad - that maybe I needed to work on being sweeter.  But the more I thought about it I realized, yea, I am sassy and love it!  Guess it's the Jersey shore gal in me that's got a bite to my personality.  Instead of harping on the negative and consider ways to change aspects of my personality that others may or may not particularly like, I want to embrace my sassiness and confidently own it.  
It's what makes me who I am!  What's more sassy than that?  

SASSY:  Lively, bold, and full of spirit; cheeky.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Green Juice = Glass of Sunshine!

When I get a whiff of those bitter greens at my
local health food store my mouth actually starts to water.
I love, love, love fresh green juice!
Everyone is always so shocked to hear me say this, but I totally refuse to buy a juicer.  They're expensive, BIG, a pain to clean and require tons of fresh produce in my fridge to juice when I'm ready.  No thanks.  I'll keep things simple and snag a juice during my usual trip to my health food store or while strolling through town.  It's an expensive habit, but to me not having the hassle is worth it. 

I also feel that even though juicing is SO great, it's important to make shakes in your blender as well.  I dig fiber and enjoy blending whole (intact) foods into a shake.  As with most things, it's all about finding a balance.  I flip flop between juices and shakes all week long, allowing my body to let me know what it's feeling like that day.  Now, with either of these, the whole chewing process is eliminated.  To be sure that you're not completely confusing your body (which sometimes can result in cravings later in the day), try to enjoy something crunchy with your shake or juice like some sliced apple chunks or nuts.  You can even sprinkle coconut flakes and raw cacao nibs on top of your shake to add some crunch while enjoying, too. 

Green Juice
When I purchase a green juice it's loaded with greens and only greens.  I always ask for extra kale and a dash of cayenne pepper.  ZING!  Juices with fruits can get high in sugar dangerously fast.  This is NOT good.  If you're having a "fruit" juice, be sure to add plenty of greens (such as spinach because it won't effect the taste) and make it only on special occasions.  You want to flood your cells with nutrients, not sugar!  They are best consumed fresh, but you can keep them only for a day at the most in the fridge.

Green Shake
When I blend my morning shakes no matter what I'm throwing in it, it always turns out green.  Spirulina is a staple in every shake, and I throw whatever greens in my fridge in as well (kale, spinach).    Be mindful of the sugar in your shakes as well.  These can come from an overload of fruits, powdered protein substitutes (with additives as well, ick), or whatever juice or milk you're adding to the shake.  

Why is there such a green juice craze?
Green juices are power-packed with nutrition. Green vegetables have the ability to transform sunshine into the food that all creatures consume. True to their nature, greens produce chlorophyll, which oxygenate your body. This enables us to release stored toxins in the body. Greens improve blood circulation and give your body a boost of energy.  Chlorophyll foods also act as a form of 'stored sunshine', to regulate calcium and Vitamin D deficiency. So if you get no sunshine, then increase the greens in your diet.  Drink up and feel the amazing benefits!  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Feet = Happy You

Your feet are awesome.  They hold all of you up and take you anywhere you want to go.  In turn we should take very good care of them.

Warm them up.  Our feet can get cold during the chilly months here in the Northeast.  Be sure to bundle up in nice cozy socks to retain your body heat.  A relaxing habit to get in before bed is turning the warm water on in your tub while you brush your teeth.  Afterwards, sit on the ledge of your tub and soak your feet in just a few inches of the warm water while you practice some deep breathing, meditate for a few minutes or read your favorite magazine.  Follow that up with some nice lotion after drying.

Massage them good.  After bathing or soaking your feet, be sure to lather them with your favorite cream or oil and give them a good rub.  Allow your fingers to glide up and down the instep of your foot, pressing your fingers into the tops of your feet to work all of the tension out.  Squeeze each toe one at a time.  Doesn't that feel nice?  If you're not up for doing this yourself ask someone to do it for you or even better, book a pedicure!

Walk on nails.  Have you checked out the Shakti Mat?  It's a bed of nails that you can lie on, walk on, fall asleep on, etc.  It's invigorating, exciting, totally different and tons of fun.  I love keeping it at my feet while I work to stimulate every bit of my feet.  My feet are always happy and pink when I step off the mat.

Do your yoga.  Yoga stretches some of the muscles of our feet/ankles that most other physical activities do not.  Standing poses (like warriors, triangle, wide-legged forward folds, etc.) will allow you to appreciate those muscles as you hold the pose and feel your feet opening up.  When you're suffering from back aches, foot cramps or just need an excuse to kick your feet up, get a pair of Yoga Toes.  I swear by these suckers!

Go barefoot.  Shoes are fantastic, there is no doubt about that.  However, they create a barrier between our bodies and the earth, making us unable to soak up the healthy energy that our loving mother has to offer.  It's ever so important that we go barefoot as much as possible (more-so in the warmer months) so that we can directly connect to the earth's energy.  Think of how amazing it feels to be barefoot on fresh green grass outside, or how exfoliating it feels to walk on the beach where the sand gets caught in between your toes.  It's energizing on levels that we are so unaware of!

Friday, January 11, 2013

What is a Health Coach?

"Health Coaching is a support tool in educating, developing, and empowering one in self-care management." - Dr. Oz

Anytime I introduce myself as a "holistic health coach" people politely smile and nod.  They have absolutely NO idea what the heck it means - HA!  If I'm lucky, someone will make an effort to ask more about my health coaching, but most of the time I have to make it clear right off the bat.  Once I explain what I do, it's like the flood gates have opened!  People are usually so intrigued that almost instantly begin asking questions about their health, what they should be eating, etc.  
So that you're clear, I've summed up what my job as a health coach is below.  
If you or someone you know could use the assistance of a health coach, give me a holla!

I'm Someone Who Will Really Listen
Health Coaches are knowledgeable advisors who provide ongoing support and guidance as you set goals and make sustainable changes that improve your health and happiness. As your Health Coach, I will listen carefully and help you to navigate the world of contradictory nutrition advice to determine what changes are necessary for you.

Why a Health and Nutrition Coach?
When was the last time you talked with someone about your health and received the personal attention you deserve? It’s rare for anyone to get an hour to work on their nutrition and fitness goals with a trained professional. As a Health Coach, I create a supportive environment that will enable you to achieve all of your health goals. I have studied all the major dietary theories and use practical lifestyle coaching methods to guide you in discovering which approach works best for you.

Realistic Goals With Real Results
Most approach to nutrition dwells on real, wholesome food. Instead of creating lists of restrictions and good and bad foods, I coach my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline. No one diet or fitness program works for everyone.
I will guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices that best support you. I will also help you to make gradual, lifelong changes that enable you to reach your current and future health goals.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How I kicked the flu...naturally.

Just last week I wrote about a Sick Day.  I thought a good day or two of taking it slow and feeding myself the right things would make everything ok...but I had NO idea that I was up against the flu!  The evil flu that's been taking down everyone finally got me.  I blame no one but myself.  I was careless for weeks during the holidays allowing myself permission to skip workouts, miss yoga, eat too many goodies, drink alcohol, etc.  What did I expect?

After a few days of just not feeling right, having a heaviness in my chest and god-awful pain up my spine and neck, I finally surrendered to the virus when I realized I had a 101.2 fever.  It was time to use food as medicine to let the flu run it's course and get the hell outta me.  It was interesting how everyday I would feel a little different.  The nastiness began in my chest and each day made its way further up until finally I was just blowing my nose constantly, tissues everywhere!

Garlic. The ultimate boyfriend repellant, but killer flu-fighter!
I consumed a good 4-5 bulbs of these suckers while sick with my flu. 
My flu medicine:

Bulbs Of Garlic
Ezekial Bread
Miso Paste
Coconut Oil
Raw Honey
Turmeric Powder
Sea Salt
Cayenne Pepper Powder

Other goodies that helped me get better:
Bedtime tea
ZAND Elderberry Zinc Lozenges
Probiotics (morning and night)
Epsom salts (for when I needed a bath to ease my aching body)
Phone calls/texts from friends and family
Cracking a window

Each day I would do (roughly) the same routine.  It goes a little something like below.  If you get sick and need some guidance as far as doing it on your own, check it out:

Sleep as late as you need to with an eye mask so that the light won't wake you up.  

Drink HUGE glass of water.  Take probiotic.  Take temperature.

Have hot water with 1/2 lemon, 2-3 dashes turmeric, dash of cayenne pepper.  This boosts immunity and aids in relieving congestion.  While in kitchen, thinly slice 2 cloves of garlic and muddle them with a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil. Cover and save for later.  

Back to bed to rest, water at bedside.  Read.

Make a shake:  Spinach, water, 1/2 lemon, ginger, parsley, coconut oil, raw honey, hemp protein powder, 1/2 banana.  Not the tastiest, but certainly good for you.  It floods your system with green power, protein (from the hemp), healthy fat from the coconut oil, water for hydration, honey for a sore throat or cough.  

Back to bed to rest, water at bedside.  Take bath if needed.  Nap.  Take temperature.

Afternoon soup:  A cup or two of water on the stove.  Add a pinch of sea salt and while the water is heating thinly slice a few cloves of garlic and add to water.  When water comes to a low boil, crack an egg and whisk it well into saucepan.  Cook for a minute or two (you'll notice when egg is cooked).  Turn off stove, add a dash of turmeric and add in a tablespoon of miso paste (stir until dissolved).  Eat while warm.  While sick you want to stay as hydrated as possible which is why soups are always best when sick.  

Back to bed to rest, water at bedside.  Zinc lozenge.  Watch the tube, catch up on movies!

Dinner soup if hungry:  A cup or two of water on the stove.  Add a pinch of sea salt and while the water is heating thinly slice a few cloves of garlic and about an inch of ginger and add to water.  Chop carrots, celery, onion and add to water.  Allow this to boil for a minute or two until veggies are soft.  After they're cooked lower heat and add in some spinach and some parsley.  You can whisk in an egg if you liked the afternoon soup above.  Turn off stove, add a dash of turmeric and add in a tablespoon of miso paste (stir until dissolved).  Eat while warm.  Eating some more soup is another way to get liquid in while easing congestion.  This soup is also packed with helpful nutrients to feed your body with the good stuff it needs as it fights this virus. 

Have hot water with 1/2 lemon, a teaspoon of raw honey, 2-3 dashes turmeric, dash of cayenne pepper.  This helps ease body aches and soothes the throat and cough.  

Garlic toast:  Throw a piece of Ezekiel toast into the toaster and pull that muddled garlic and EVO out.  Spread the mixture onto toast (whole pieces of garlic and all).  Sprinkle just a pinch of sea salt and pepper on top of toast.  It's intense, but worth it.  I actually don't encourage eating dry, bready, cracker-type foods during this time since you want to just keep replenishing your fluids, but a piece or two of this toast each day is all good.  Garlic acts as a natural antibiotic.  It will make you wreak but it's worth it in the end.  

Back to bed to rest, water at bedside.  Check out Facebook and how many other people are going through what you are.  Take temperature.

Night cap:  A hot cup of Bedtime/Breathe Easy tea (just put both bags into your mug).  This will help you breathe easier through the night and help with sleep if you're restless.  

Take probiotic and prop pillows up in bed so that your upper body is on a 45 degree angle.  As hard as this may be, try to breathe through your nose.  This will hopefully keep your nasal passages flowing, rather than congesting them by lying horizontal.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Listen More

Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give to others.  The next conversation you have, genuinely listen without thinking other thoughts or what the next thing you will say.  Breathe deeply as you patiently allow the other person to finish what they have to say.  Notice the difference.  The benefits of listening can be enlightening to both the listener as well as the person speaking.  
It's such a wonderful practice.  

This picture was snapped at a place called Woody's Burgers in Port Antonio, Jamaica.  It was the sweetest little burger joint run by a lovely woman.  She whipped up the most delicious burgers for Lammer and I (yummy veggie options of course).  I couldn't help but snap a bunch of shots while we waited!  I left so inspired.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sick Day

Yesterday I woke up feeling not-so-right.  I took it slow, made sure to eat only nutritious foods and got to bed super early.  However, this morning was a challenge getting out of bed.  As I sit and write this sipping on my "breathe easy" tea I'm trying to get work done in my office but I'm tired, fog-headed, achey and not feelin' hot.   Instead of powering through it and just exacerbating whatever illness is happening in my bod, I'm going to stand up in my comfy PJs and bed-head hair and say,
"I don't think so."

Hey sickness, I'm going to kick your ass by:

1.  Resting.  This is a hard concept for most of us to grasp, especially when we have tons to take care of.  I'm going to finish this post, heat up some hot water (to break my congestion in my face and chest), get comfy cozy in bed, turn on Netflix and catch a few movies that I can nap in and out of.  I'm going to bring my planner with me so that in between naps/movies I can at least make a few phone calls to get a few things off of my check list for the day.

My sick breakfast includes a green shake made a little different
than usual, but quite good:  Handful of kale & spinach, 1/2 banana, 2 dates,
3/4 tsp spirulina, 1 tsp hemp seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water,
1/2 the juice of a lemon, 1 tbsp almond butter, inch of ginger, & 1/2 tsp coconut oil.
2.  Eating only nutritious foods.  This means going light on foods for the next few days, but making sure that the ones I consume are going to nourish me where it counts.  I'm going to enjoy a little lentil soup for lunch and then treat myself to a nice bowl of miso soup for dinner.  Miso soup is my go-to feel-good meal whenever I'm not feeling well.  I hearty mine up to make it extra yummy.  Umm, this is usually the time where I'd include the recipe or at least the link to my recipe but I have to put it together (since it's just in my head).  I'm going to have to take a raincheck on that though...because I'm sick.  Sugar cravings while sick believe it or not can still creep up, so I'm drinking loads of water, herbal tea and broth to hydrate and kick those cravings.  I do suck on a few Manuka honey (extremely powerful and healing honey)/ginger lozenges though.  They are super yummy and also contain some echinachea.    I'm also upping my daily dose of probiotics (healthy gut bacteria), eating lots of garlic, taking colloidal silver, taking vitamin D and still eating my greens.

3.  Practicing yoga.  I'm practicing my yoga in a few ways.  Number one, I'm following Ahimsa (non-violence), by honoring my body and taking the time to step back, rest and restore when it needs some extra love and care.  Number two, gentle heart opening stretches and side bends will not only open my congested chest, but they'll further help the lymphatic system to drain.  Number three, practicing pranayama (breath work) helps to kick out the stale air in my lungs.  I like to do a few lion's breaths or bastrika pranayama while feeling this way.  (Again, this is where I'd insert directions on how to do it or at least a link...some other time!).

Hopefully the next time I'm blogging I'm restored back to health and this funkiness is long gone.  
I'm confident it will be.  In the meantime, stay healthy!

What do you do when you're feeling under the weather?  Any tips and tricks you can share?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday Fun with Kiddies

Lammer & I had a fun filled holiday with both my family and his.  We embraced every chance we could to spend time with the ones we love most and we're so glad we did.

Below are just a few shots of this past weekend in beautiful Lake George, which was the last of our visits.  My cousin's little munchkins (there were 7 of them!) were the highlight of our visit and so much fun to be around!

Lammer is ridiculous with kids - in a very good way!
They were having a pretty serious phone conversation.

Lovey-dovey time with Auntie Yaya!