Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Feel Gratitude, Laugh it Off

Yesterday was one of those days where one thing went wrong early in the morning and it just set the tone for the day.  One after the other things just kept going wrong, I kept stumbling upon frustration after frustration.  By mid-day I was ready to explode.  I didn't know if I was going to break down and cry my eyes out or scream and tell someone off.  All I wanted to do was cross my arms, make a puss and stomp my feet around!  But...I didn't.  In fact, as one unfortunate thing happened after another, I kept my cool.  I kept thinking of all I have to be grateful for, even in the frustrating circumstances I was facing.  By late day all I could do was just laugh at how things were still coming up, going wrong!  Being a laughter yoga teacher, I constantly remind my students to laugh at themselves and things that happen in their life.  It really does work and it certainly worked for me!  

I got into bed last night and instead of mulling over every crappy thing that happened (like the $25 parking ticket, or the tiff I got into with a coworker, etc.) I thought about all of the blessings that I have instead.  Yea, it was super annoying that I had to drive over the Tappen Zee bridge 3 times because my GPS took me the wrong direction somewhere but hey, at least I have a fully functioning car!  I laughed at everything the day was throwing at me and ended up sleeping it off, waking up to a new fresh start.  Take that crappy-day!  

Don't get me wrong, this takes work and lots of patience.  But if I can do it, so can you! works!  Laughing things off...that works too!!!  

I wrote this because this was the words of wisdom on my tea bag this morning.  How fitting!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spooky Stovetop Popcorn

Unfortunately, microwave and movie theater popcorn should be avoided since they are loaded with artificial flavoring and processed salt. On the other hand, homemade popcorn is a delicious treat that can be made with all natural, organic ingredients! Homemade popcorn only takes around 5 minutes, so it doesn’t even take that much longer than the microwave. It’s also much less expensive!  Every time I make this recipe for parties or events I've got friends and family begging to make more.  I hope you enjoy it as much as they do!

½ cup organic popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons coconut oil
sea salt 
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
1-2 tablespoons grade B 100% maple syrup

1. Make sure to have all of your ingredients, pan, lid, and bowl ready to go - once the popcorn starts, you may not have time to dig around your kitchen looking for things! Heat coconut oil in a covered saucepan on medium heat.

2. Add two popcorn kernels to the oil and wait until they pop – this will tell you when the oil is ready. Carefully remove the two kernels.

3. Add the rest of your popcorn to the oil – only enough for a single layer at the bottom of the pan. Put the lid back on the pan, slightly vented, and give the pan a few shakes.

4. Monitor the popcorn (do not walk away), shaking the pan occasionally.
As soon as the popping slows, remove the pan from the heat and let it finish popping.

5. Carefully pour the popcorn into a bowl and drizzle with white truffle oil, maple syrup and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Shake/stir the bowl well to coat popcorn.  
Since it's halloween, I love adding eyeball ping pong balls to make it spooky and fun!  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meal Planning: Getting your veggies in!

I live on the Jersey shore.  I work in Westchester, NY and am away from home for the first few days of every week.  This has been my life for the past 9 years I've gotten pretty good at meal planning so that I'm not stuck up in NY without any food.  Yes, I could easily go out and spend loads of money on food for breakfasts/lunches/dinners but not only do I not want to waste my money, but I also don't feel like consuming their poor quality foods.  Call me a snob, but I don't care.

This past week I noticed I hadn't gotten in as many veggies as I should have so I made sure to get them wherever I could to make up what I missed!  Above you'll see some spiralized "zoodles" that I made with my beloved Spiralizer.  I steamed some broccoli and blended it up into a pesto sauce to pour over the noodles. Of course, whenever I'm doing anything in the kitchen, I've always got some eggs on the stove to hard boil.  Such a nice portable way to get in quality protein and nutrition.  I also baked some carrot ginger muffins...gluten free of course.  The shredded carrot makes these so sweet and the ginger gives an exciting pop when you get in a bite.  

Healthy eating takes effort, there is no denying that. It's important to get your veggies in however you can, whenever you can.  Make the effort to think about your week, look at what you have in the fridge and google away some recipes or ideas of what to do for some meals.  Your body and well-being will certainly THANK YOU!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Don't forget to savasana

If you're a regular in my yoga classes, you've heard me say this time and time again...savasana is THE MOST important pose in your yoga practice!  It's also the hardest because most of us (if not all of us) have such a hard time letting go.  

Here in the West we've taken yoga to a very different place.  There's loads of "power" yoga classes, challenging yoga in gyms (with little to no spiritual aspect), and way to much ego-driven desires to get into certain poses.  It's a shame, because that is SO far from what yoga is.  

The relaxation aspect of yoga is crucial.  It's a major part of such a beautiful practice.  It's important to rest and relax throughout your yoga practice, in between poses so that your body can soak up all of the benefits.  Savasana is the climax to your yoga practice!  

It warms my heart to see my students melt into their mats at the end of class.  It's also a great reminder for me, as a teacher, to practice more savasana!  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Healing the Thyroid

My friend and fellow health coach, Stephanie Martel, and I gave a workshop this past weekend on Healing the Thyroid.  We had an excellent group of people and shared lots of natural healing options when it comes to nourishing and caring for the thyroid.  You can find Steph at the Vibrant Living Project!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Benefits of Dry Brushing

The most invigorating part of my day is the few moments before I get into my morning shower with my dry brush! Just a minute or two of dry brushing a day keeps my skin glowing and my insides healthy. Have you read my recent article on it on the Conscious Connection Magazine?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sweet Potato Fries

Who can resist sweet potato fries?  Not this girl!  Whenever there is a combo of sweet and salty, I'm eating it.  I love keeping sweet potatoes in the house this time of year to throw in the oven for my version of "fries."  Sometimes I'll even cube them up small and cook them the same way. Either way they're always fantastic.

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into thin fry-size pieces
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
few dashes of cinnamon, sea salt, pepper, cumin and all spice

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl until sweet potatoes are coated.  Scatter onto a cookie sheet and throw into oven.  Check back in 10 minutes and give them a good flip.  Check back in another 10 minutes and flip again.  Check every 5 minutes after this until they are soft enough to stick a fork through, and they should be starting to brown.  If you like they a bit crispier, keep them in a little longer.  (Timing for these totally depends on your oven).  Serve with organic ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Switch Up Your Toothpaste

Have you ever noticed that there is a poison warning on your dental care products telling you not to swallow it?  Toothpaste and other dental care products fall under personal care products and are therefore not under the control of the FDA - they can literally put anything in there.

I became wary of toothpaste after I began researching how toxic fluoride is to our bodies.  I first switched to whatever brands my health store had in stock but learned they just have some similar ingredients and still some that interfere with tooth care. For instance, glycerin is something that has been put into tooth paste to coat your teeth, intending that it will prevent cavities. The problem is, it takes approximately 20 rinses to remove it,  meanwhile the saliva in your mouth that is designed to remineralize your teeth is prevented from doing so. Glycerine is not a good ingredient. As a matter of fact there is not much that is necessary in tooth paste at all.  Most ingredients are sweeteners and chemicals, including anti freeze!  What?!  We are better off brushing our teeth with a dry brush then adding these items into your body. 

Here are the toothpastes in my bathroom cabinet as we speak:

To the right is what you'll find in our bathroom cabinet.  The farthest to the left, Desert Essence's Natural Tea Tree Oil toothpaste is what Lammer uses.  As of right now, this is the best I can do for him.  If it were up to him he'd still be using his Aquafresh, and I simply just won't allow that anymore!  The great thing about this toothpaste is it is fluoride free, gluten free (gluten is in freakin' everything!), and sodium laurel sulfite free.  It also tastes great and is still really foamy.  You can find Desert Essence at any health food store or Whole Foods.

Earthpaste is my new thang.  Here are the ingredients to the cinnamon flavored one I'm currently using:  Purified Water, Food Grade Redmond Clay®, Xylitol, Cinnamon Essential Oil, Redmond Real Salt®, Tea Tree Oil.
You've got the option of either swallowing or spitting this out after you've finished brushing...that's how legit it is.  After brushing I actually add a little water and swish so that the taste of the paste can really clean my whole mouth.  You can buy Earthpaste online. absolute favorite!  This is an Ayurvedic toothpaste that comes in a few flavors.  The cardamom-fennel is my go-to.  Here's another brand that commits to no fluoride, gluten, chemicals or artificial sweeteners.  They use plants, bark, roots, flowers and essential oils to clean and freshen the teeth.  Neem, which is used a lot in Ayurveda has invigorating properties for dental health.  You can find Auromere at any health food store or Whole Foods.

Ora Wellness's HealThy Mouth Blend should be in everyone's bathroom.  This blend is made of all organic and essential oils and is not only great for cleansing, but great for overall mouth health.  You can floss, brush or rinse your mouth out all with this tiny bottle of oil.  I love keeping a shot glass in my cabinet, filling it with water and 2-3 drops of this blend and swishing.  It leaves such a fresh and clean feeling.  Their products can be found online and I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter which is always filled with loads of helpful information.  

Turkey Roll-Ups

Love suggesting this option to my carnivorous clients. Making some of these for lunch is a great and delicious way of steering clear of gluten-filled breads/wraps.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Avoid Frightening GMOs this Halloween

There is NOTHING scarier than GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), along with a host of other harmful additives, ingredients and who-knows-what in our foods, including almost every Halloween candy out there that you can imagine. This Halloween, be mindful of what candy you consume not only for yourself and your family, but also the candy that you choose to give away to the trick-or-treating kiddies at your door!

Here are 4 companies you can trust when it comes to 
avoiding dangerous GMOs:

UNREAL Candy - They’ve taken the five most popular chocolate bar type candies and they’ve recreated them using natural ingredients and natural dyes. Can be found at many local Grocery stores, Target, or on

Endangered Species Chocolate - These chocolates are great-tasting (some have nuts), individually-wrapped, and reasonably priced. The company donates 10 percent of net profits to supporting species, habitat and humanity. Find at your local health food store or order online.

YumEarth Lollipops & Fruit Snacks - This is a candy that's free of common allergens like peanut, gluten and soy and is also free of dyes, corn syrup, GMOs and more. Find at your local health food store or order online.

Annie’s - Gummy snacks, pretzels or crackers in snack-size packs for something savory. All Annie's items are non-GMO. Find at your local health food store or order online.

Please remember: Candy is candy, and even if it's made with organic, fair-trade, sustainably harvested and naturally occurring everything, it won't solve the health epidemics we have here in America due to too much sugar and poor quality food ingredients.  Each bite of candy is a treat, so please enjoy in moderation.  
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Naturally Whiten Your Teeth with Oil Pulling

The practice of oil pulling started in India thousands of years ago.  Oil pulling is an age-old remedy that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums. It has the added effect of whitening teeth naturally and evidence even shows that it is beneficial in improving gums and removing harmful bacteria. The benefits from oil pulling also include helping with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems and much more.

Basically, you swish a couple teaspoons of a vegetable based oil (coconut, sesame, sunflower or olive) in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spit it out and rinse well.  Oil pulling is best done in the morning, before eating or drinking anything.  I actually will do it right before I jump in the shower so that the time passes and I'm doing other things while I'm oil pulling.  

How to do oil pulling:
1. Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the mouth. (I only oil pull with 2 teaspoons of organic coconut oil.) If it's solid it will melt in your mouth from the heat of your body. 
2. Swish for 20 minutes, as this is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time and it should be creamy-white when spit out.
3. Spit oil into the trash can…don’t spit into the sink! Do not swallow the oil as it is hopefully full of bacteria, toxins and pus that are now not in the mouth.
4. Rinse well with warm water. 
5. Brush well to make sure any remaining bacteria is killed.

This can be practiced daily to reap the benefits of teeth whitening, or once a week or even once a month.  Whatever you're comfortable with.  Please share your experience with me!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How do you stay healthy?

I can confidently say that I'm the strongest & healthiest I've ever been in my life because I am committed to maintaining great overall health:
I eat loads of healthyfats.
I take cat-naps when I can.
I practice yoga everyday on and off the mat.
I say NO to things when I am busy or feeling overwhelmed.
I meditate a few minutes at some point of each day.
I do Purely Twins workouts on the regular because they are quick & kick my butt.
I limit my sugar intake.
I laugh a lot.
I've broken up with gluten. (Bastard!)
I have the best fitness trainer there is at Condition for Life, Mike Cassalle!
I am barefoot most of the time to stay grounded. 
I just eat real food and I love preparing it myself.
I take really good care of my teeth and mouth.
I start each day with hot H2o, lemon & cayenne pepper.
I spend time in the sunshine.
I listen to my body when it speaks to me (symptoms) and nourish it with what it needs.
I chant all day long.
I keep a positive attitude.
I surround myself with inspiring people...
...I can keep going! 

 All of this in some way helps in improving my overall health. 
 How do you stay healthy?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Clean Your Tongue

I was first introduced to scraping the tongue in my yoga teacher training.  In India and in Ayurvedic practices, the hand (fingers) are used to scrape the tongue each morning as a kriya (cleansing technique).  You can easily use a tongue scraper - an inexpensive yet transformative utensil, is a simple, thin, u-shaped piece of stainless steel. It consists of a blunted edge that removes plaque and build-up from the surface of the tongue. The tongue cleaner also prevents bad breath, especially for people who eat a lot of dairy and build up mucus in the mouth, nose, and throat.

The tongue cleaner comes from the tradition of Ayurveda, which asserts that people who use one are better at public speaking, express themselves more thoughtfully, and speak more sincerely and authoritatively. Some people ask if the same effect can be gained by brushing the tongue with a stiff toothbrush. Brushing the tongue moves stuff around and is helpful, but a tongue cleaner is more effective as it clears out the deep deposits and generally keeps the area cleaner, stimulated and alive.

Cravings can be reduced by cleaning the tongue of leftover food. When the mouth can still taste the food, you may experience cravings for previously eaten foods. A tongue cleaner reverses the process of desensitizing your taste buds, which has happened to everyone to a greater or lesser extent. It allows you to taste more subtle flavors in food so that you can eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains with greater joy. When old residue is removed from the tongue, you will be better able to taste your food and won’t need to eat as much since you will have gained greater satisfaction from your meal.

And finally, a big advantage is that it enhances kissing because it makes the tongue more sweet, fresh and sensitive. If you are in a relationship, we invite you to check this out with your partner. Make an agreement to scrape twice a day for one week, and notice the difference.  Kissie-kissie!!!

·       Apply a few quick strokes, 2-3 times a day, or after brushing your teeth.
·       Use the rounded cleaning edge to scrape gently down the tongue several times, while applying slight pressure.
·       Rinse under running water and gently scrape again until no white residue is left.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Smoothie

The taste of fall right in your morning smoothie!

Pumpkin puree
Almond butter
Coconut milk
Maple Syrup 

Best part is, this is so decadent that it can actually pass for pumpkin pudding!  Either way, enjoy.