Monday, July 29, 2013

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Anyone's garden bursting with Jersey-fresh tomatoes?!  Mine is!  A no-cook tomato sauce is all about allowing the different ingredients to soak up one another's flavors. Let this one sit for at least an hour -- even three, if you've planned ahead. I love throwing this together in the morning or during the day so that by dinner time I can just throw on a pot of water for the noodles.  Any other kind of your favorite noodles can sub in for the brown rice ones, but it’s highly recommended!  This recipe serves about 4.

3 large, ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin, plus more for garnish
Coarse sea salt
1 package brown rice spaghetti
1/3 cup chopped almonds, for garnish (optional)

Combine tomatoes, garlic, oil, pepper flakes, basil, and a pinch of sea salt in a medium bowl and set aside for at least one hour.
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and return pasta to pot. Add tomato sauce and toss to combine.
Top each serving with almonds (optional) and fresh basil.  ENJOY!

 Crunchy almonds work best for this recipe so try sautéing 1/3 cup chopped blanched almonds in 1 tablespoon olive oil until fragrant and lightly golden, then season with sea salt.  Even toasted almonds will do!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fresh Holy Basil Brewed Iced Tea

I was introduced to tulsi tea during my first trip to India back in 2009.  Not only was it totally delicious, but it made me feel great overall.  I've been hooked ever since.  However, this is the first year I've finally started growing my own.  My plant is growing strong, looking more beautiful each day.

Fresh Holy Basil Iced Tea
Place about 4 cups of filtered water into a pot over the stove.  As the water heats, pinch a handful of leaves off of your tulsi plant, rinse, and add to the water.  Allow the water to come to a gentle boil and cover for 8-10 minutes (lowering the flame to a simmer).  Remove the cover and let the tea cool.  Once cool, remove leaves and pour into pitcher.  Place in fridge and serve when cold.  It's so light and amazing.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cantaloupe Juice for Digestion

This is a simple and delicious drink for anyone who loves cantaloupes, and needs to give their belly some extra love.  Cantaloupe and cardamom are two foods to aid in digestion and soothe your stomach.  Cantaloupes are an outstanding source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B5, B6, potassium, folate acid, and niacin.  

1/2 fresh ripe cantaloupe
1/2 cup water
thin wedge of a lime
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

Squeeze lime and blend cantaloupe, water and cardamom together well in a blender and sip slowly.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coconut Milk Cubes

Ahh, coconut milk.  You decadent, luscious nectar.
I keep cans of full-fat BPA-free coconut milk in my pantry, but I never seem to get through the whole can.  TRICK: Open the can. Do what you need to with it and then with any extra pour into an empty ice cube tray.  Freeze.  After they've froze, pop em' out and store them in your freezer for when you need just a bit of coconut milk.  

I grab them for:

morning SHAKES
dinner sauces
homemade ICE CREAM

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sweet Beets Shake

Juicer schmuicer - who needs one when this thing does it all and you still get all the fiber?  Greens, ginger, carrot, beet, banana, almond butter, hemp seeds, coconut water, lemon.  Poured into a nice big wine glass to enjoy, of course.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Interview with a Paleo

In order to be a successful health coach, I have to be hip and open to all of the different "diets" out there, which is certainly an interesting part of my job.  These past few years, I've taken such an interest in a primal (or better known as paleo) diet because it's very reminiscent of the Weston A. Price Foundation's "diet", and have decided to interview someone who strictly follows it.  Sean is a close friend of my brother whom I've reached out to a few times with some questions I've had about it all. Since he's totally the real deal paleo, I told him I had to represent him on my blog!  

CYH: 1. What made you shift your food choices/lifestyle to a more primal one?

Sean: There were many factors that contributed to my decision to go Primal/Paleo, but the main reason was that I really liked the simplistic, yet common-sense principles of food consumption, physical movement and lifestyle choices that it brought to the table. 

Five years ago, I began to gradually cut out refined sugars, white breads, pasta and rice, but continued to consume brown rice, wheat pasta, cane sugars, processed foods, alcohol and a ton of dairy. While I did lose 30 pounds and became much healthier during those first 3 years, I was still taking a lot of prescription meds for intestinal problems such as GERD, IBS, colitis and constant discomfort. I sort of thought that gluten and dairy might be contributing to these problems, but I stubbornly didn't want to give them up, so I made excuses and blamed my problems on bad genetics instead.

It wasn't until about 2 years ago when my sister and brother-in-law went Primal/Paleo that I began to really take a hard look at what I was consuming and how and why it was affecting me negatively. After constantly "Paleo Preaching" at me for months, they finally said, "Just try it for 30 days, dude. We promise you won't be sorry. What do you have to lose?"
I agreed and did it for 2 weeks. Then 2 more weeks. Now I am almost a year into it and I can't imagine ever going back. 

Obviously, once I started eating Paleo, the weight began to come off quickly. I've currently lost a total of 50 pounds since 2008, with the last 20 coming off over the past 10 months.
I've enjoyed being outside in the sun, biking, doing sprints, lifting random heavy things and not worrying about having a strict exercise routine. Having that freedom to move as fast or as slow as I want, whenever I want, is why I love being Primal. 

CYH: 2. How hard was it to make the shift, and do you feel like it's easy to maintain?

Sean: After those first 2 weeks of eliminating grains, sugars and processed foods cold turkey, my body totally crashed. I was shaky, anxious, tired, confused and moody. The detox was really a shock to my system, but once I got past a certain point and my body got cleaner, it really wasn't hard to maintain. 

Unfortunately though, as many people do in the beginning, I struggled when the weekends came around. I went through the "Paleo sabotage stage," still drinking beer and eating pizza or nachos, while telling myself, "I'm only cheating a little bit, everyone in the community admits to it, so it must be ok!" 

Turns out, that routine sabotage was actually really damaging my weekly cleansing efforts, and making me feel really bad about myself. So I buckled down and forced myself to go strict Paleo and stay there. I didn't go out with friends, and if I did, I ate before I went out. I didn't drink alcohol, I didn't allow myself any temptations. It was totally what I needed.
To this day I still struggle with cravings for cheese and ice cream, but not pasta, breads, cakes or pastries. And if I allow myself to eat something that is not Paleo, it's usually a small amount. After I acknowledge what I did and how it made my body feel, I let it go and move on. For me it's been the best way to deal with a potential derailment. 

As for the other aspects of Primal living, I feel that those came easy to me once I got eating Paleo under control. I was sleeping better, working better, moving around better, communicating better and becoming happier and happier, which opened me up to making more positive changes in other areas of my life.

CYH: 3. I find that many people are drawn to the paleo "diet" because it's a meat-based diet, and meat is something that many people enjoy having.  However, when following a paleo approach, the meat should primarily be from healthy animals (grass fed/grass finished, organic, free range, etc.), but healthy meat is pretty hard to come across in a regular supermarket, especially while dining out, and it sure is expensive.  How much would you say you purchase/consume healthy meats over factory farmed/generic meat that is what most restaurants and supermarkets serve/sell?  Also, where do you primarily get these animal products from?

Sean: This is one area that I do struggle with, but not because healthy animals are hard to access where I live in Gainesville, FL. It's because I am on a fixed budget so I can't afford perfectly healthy meat all of the time. I focus on buying free range, organic and antibiotic and hormone-free products, and when I can afford it, grass-fed beef, but I do have to settle for generic supermarket meat most of the time.

I try to purchase my meats from local markets who focus on farm-raised and organic products and stores like Trader Joe's, Fresh Market and Publix (an awesome supermarket we have in Florida). In the beginning of my journey I was without a car, so I biked, walked, rode the bus and bummed rides from friends to "hunt down and gather" my food. Having to put in that extra effort in a town that is pretty spread out, really made the whole food consumption process mean something more to me.

The concept of buying healthy proteins, is one of the main reasons I love Paleo, but I agree that the cost of those proteins can become a roadblock for some Paleo-ers. However, I think that if you are doing the best you can with what you have, and you feel happy and healthy, then you should be proud of yourself. When you stress about achieving Paleo perfection you are doing your body more harm than good. Embrace the revolution and the evolution.

CYH: 4. I'd love to hear about how living a primal lifestyle has changed you both physically and emotionally. Anything else you'd like to add about being Paleo?

Sean: Eating Paleo and living Primal simplified, yet enhanced my outlook on life. This lifestyle is easy to maintain because it's easy to achieve. By choosing to take responsibility for every little thing I put in my body, I've:

- Learned to cook better
- Discovered new foods
- Increased my will power
- Gained physical and mental strength
- Made new friends
- Lost body fat and more importantly, my wheat belly
- Gave up high-impact cardio and extreme weight training
- Increased my pull and push-ups amounts
- Maintained awesome energy levels
- Inspired other people
- Managed stress better
- Found my passion for exercising again
- Reconnected with nature
- Gained the ability to reign myself in quickly if I stray
- Learned a lot about nutrition, science and farming

CYH: Thank you, Sean, for sharing.  You totally rock!

Friday, July 5, 2013

CYH's Moment of Yoga: Inversions Flip Your World

My favorite part of any inversion is the opportunity to see the world flipped upside down.  It gives you a whole new perspective of something that you may be very familiar with...but just not from that view.  It's good to change things up both on the mat and off.  The next time it applies in your personal/professional life, imagine the situation from another perspective.  Give it a try on your mat and see what happens.  Give it a try in your life and see what happens.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

COREiculum Yoga Session

Last year I had the pleasure of working with Monmouth College student, Andy Stern, an entrepreneur and fitness expert who put together the genius idea, COREiculum.  It's a fitness program designed by college students for college students!  Keeping a student's hectic schedule, small dorm-room environment, sporadic sleeping habits, and dietary challenges, COREiculum is a student's professor, adviser, and classmate to a sculpted, toned, and well-defined bathing suit body in just 25-45 minutes a day.  I offered an "extra-credit" yoga course on the DVD and am psyched for college students to whip their health into shape by getting in their workouts, yoga, and nutrition habits into better shape!  

Check out more about COREiculum here and/or purchase your DVD!  
I enjoy the workouts each week at home even though I'm way out of college - HA!!

Wise Traditions - Timeless Information on Healthy Eating

While I was at school for nutrition years ago, we were exposed to the plethora of diets out there.  However, I will never forget the day we spent with Sally Fallon, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  All of the research, slides and information that she shared with us (from Dr. Price's work) made SO much sense to me.  Here is an excerpt from her book, Nourishing Traditions, giving the gist of it all: 

"Dr. Price was a dentist in the 1930's who traveled the world to observe population groups untouched by civilization, living on entirely local foods.  He concluded that all primitive diets contained some raw foods, of both animals and vegetable origin.  These groups were free from chronic disease, dental decay and mental illness; they were strong, sturdy and attractive; and they produced healthy children with ease, generation after generation.  

Dr. Price had many opportunities to compare these healthy so-called primitives" with members of the same racial group who have become "civilized" and were living on the products of the industrial revolution - refined grains, canned foods, pasteurized milk and sugar.  In these peoples he found rampant tooth decay, infectious disease, degenerative illness and infertility. Children born to traditional people who had adopted the industrialized diet had crowded and crooked teeth, narrowed faces, deformities of bone structure and susceptibility to every sort of medical problem.  Studies too numerous to count have confirmed Dr. Price's observations that the so-called civilized diet, particularly the Western diet of refined carbohydrates and devitalized fats and oils, spoils our God-given genetic inheritance of physical perfection and vibrant health."

The more time I spend with clients and working on my own diet, I find that it is the most healing when I stick to whole, real foods from the earth...just as Dr. Price (and nature!) encouraged us to eat.  This is a very primal way to approach what we should be eating, as all of this food comes from the earth.  Definitely check out Sally Fallon's cookbook above and be sure to check out the amazing Weston A. Price Foundation, Wise Traditions website.  It's loaded with timeless information about healthy eating.