So, it’s fall ya’ll….and this means the weather starts to get a little more cool and crisp, the days a little shorter light wise, and the start of the holiday trifecta is upon us (for those that celebrate these holidays).
First comes back to school season which I guess isn’t technically a holiday but for us moms – it is typically the celebration of a feat of surviving another summer of keeping the kids occupied, happy, and minimally injured while keeping ourselves sane. Unfortunately this year, not everyone is sending them back off to school but atlas – I am enjoying the back to school displays in stores and the excitement that surrounds new school supplies and a new year of new growth and new learning. Then comes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season of lights and jolly.
Now as it turns fall – I also start to think of apple picking. I have enjoyed this every year since Kira was born. There is nothing like picking your own apples, sampling some and coming home to make a crisp or hot apple pie. I thought I would share some ideas on a health-ier version of an apple crisp that you can use those hand picked apples for!
First, I peeled and sliced up about 5 apples into bite size bits. The bite size is key so you can smother all of your toppings and coat each one to be popped into the mouth for a decadent treat sure to keep the doc away as the saying does go. Then you place them in a glass oven pan and smother them with melted vanilla ghee. Now yours may come already melted – depending on the temp of your house but pour a good amount over top and rub the apples all around. This was the first year I used vanilla because I didn’t know it existed until I did Action Jacquelyn’s Fit Action Plan recently and this vanilla ghee is yum. Plus ghee is easier on the body to digest and provides healthy fats to lubricate us especially during the drier months of winter. Then I sprinkled cinnamon all over the top and some arrow root powder to thicken (not too much). Then again using clean hands – rub your apples all up in this concoction.
Now – here is where it gets creative. Ideas abound. This time I added granola that I bought from Jody – an amazing baker in my area who makes homemade granolas in a variety of flavors.
Some other ideas that came to mind are dark chocolate morsels, regular oatmeal, coconut sprinkles, maybe some chopped up seasonal figs, peanut butter, or maybe some choc sprinkles…..play around! Because you are omitting the typical heavy crust on the pie – it is already a healthier version so adding a bit of something to sweeten it – I think is A-oh-kay.
Then you bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees F and remove from the oven to cool. Can be dopped with a dollup of coconut cream or home made whipping cream or enjoyed as is.
Write me if you try or have anymore creative cool topping ideas. I hope this finds you staying WELL!!
Yes. So recently I have been realizing that my dietary tendencies gravitate towards more fruits and veg and not necessarily enough sources of protein or meat.
So I have been forced in this Fit Action plan by Action Jacqueln to really dive into my meat consumption, relationship to meat, and realizing that meat (grass fed and taken care of) offers many health benefits. AND is tasty!
As my experimentation continues to spark curiousity and creativity in me as well as venturing to parts of the grocery store that I haven’t been to in a while – I made this dinner the other night that was summery, simple, and delicious so I thought I would share.
I don’t know why but shrimp for me seem to be a summer thang. So I purchased some shrimp which I rubbed with ghee (clarified butter for those of you that don’t know) and some garlic salt. Then I let it sit in the fridge for a bit. Using some no sugar bacon (which can be challenging to find but I guarantee you it is out there), I took the shrimp out and wrapped a piece of bacon around each. For half the shrimp I added a layer of no sugar mustard (also available but must read labels and contents) between the shrimp and the blanket of bacon. Then I cooked them in the over for 15 minutes and removed. For some color and added protein packed punch I added a cut up hard boiled egg. The entire meal was both filling and tasty.
You could even drizzle some olive oil atop or a few herbs of choice for some more yum, flavor and color. This is another recipe that one could get uber creative and come up with some variations on.
Okay Wellness Warriors, Workers, and Advocates – besides the blog I also send out a monthly newsletter that features a yoga teacher, studio owner, or wellness peep that I have been blessed to have had our paths cross in some way shape or form and have learned something from.
Historically- I have not included the interviews as blog posts but this one is so informative and interesting I wanted to share here as well. I met Karen when living in Zug, Switzerland and when I met her, heard what she did, and saw the passion & knowledge behind her starting Steps4You, I was immediately intrigued, moved, and wanted to know more.
For those who feel like they have been trying and trying to feel better but have no idea what direction to turn – she or someone like herself can help. A lot of times people go to the doctor and know something is off but are told everything is “in line” so they proceed. But for those of us that are a bit more sensitive, we know what it feels like to be well and to be a bit off and those markers are general guidelines but not a one all way to prevent and sustain optimal health. With the rise of alternative medicine, “lifestyle” doctors, etc. – I think we can all recognize that our modern busy world can take a toll on our health if we don’t take care of ourselves well. This often requires time, knowledge, education and a bit of dabbling to find what works for you and your system as well as the agility to know that it changes and shifts.
Karen stumbled into this as well in her own life. She saw when she had a family how important it was to make cooking and eating fresh meals part of their lifestyle. The convenience food can be for when you are on the go – but it is not sustainable for the long term for most of us. There is always the outlier right? The guy who lived to be 95 but ate pork belly fat his entire life. Yes, I get it. And just like with the COVID data, we see outliers – random children – stuff we don’t have total control over. BUT, in my eyes, when it comes to my body and my health – I value it so much and want to take the utmost care of it. I don’t want to ignore any of its cues esp after having had cancer.
So below is a snipit from our conversation. I hope this finds you well and gives you some ideas on how if you are getting some cues of feeling a tad run down, especially with the recent shifts in schedule and for some increase to computer time and decrease to people – then maybe it’s time to take a closer look at how you are fueling your body during this time. What I learned most from working with Karen is a reminder to eat the rainbow, check in with yourself periodically, and that is isn’t just what you eat, it is your relationships, how you breathe, how you connect to your community and how you live. They all have an impact to your health and to each other.
Q: Can you give me your definition of wellness and if it has changed in recent years or over the years?
A: It is a lifestyle where you feel you are healthy and can go forward in body/mind. 25 years ago –I believe it was seen as more of a diet but those are proving not sustainable. Living well has to have some consistency and a want to nourish yourself from the inside out with healthy well balanced meals, relationships to food, our bodies, our planet, and each other.
Q: For those that don’t know you (yet), can you tell me about your background and education in science/nutrition?
A: Sure. I started studying engineering at university but it didn’t feel very human so when I came in contact with a Masters of Nutrition I felt this combined the science with applicable human bodies and application. I could learn about how the body works, what it needs and how the food industry affects general health population. I noticed my children when they ate too much prepackaged food – they had health issues arise. My family then moved to France and I had time to cook with seasonal fresh ingredients and we all noticed a positive difference. This intrigued me to continue my study of the body’s cells and responses to certain foods. I then started to study the digestive system and the microbiome down there and it’s affects on the brain and overall health of people. An unhealthy gut can lead to allergies, asthma, depression, brain fog and all kinds of things we are seeing.
Q: When I first came to you for an overall assessment, I was intrigued by the machine you used – can you tell me about it?
A: Sure. It is called an OligoScan and it measure minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, heavy metals, oxygen levels, and the overall health of the cells. It is the basis I use to start and then give guidance from, reference at a later point. It is a spectrophotometric measuring which helps tell what is actually going on and more stable than a blood samples( influence by what you have been eating the last days). We see what is actually been the overall status quo for the past approx. 3 months of nutritional intake and behaviors of the body. We can then make a plan and use this again to reference at a later point. It doesn’t take long for your body to really like and change if fed well and overall stress monitored.
Q: Have you seen any trends in your patients that related to geography?
A: Yes, amongst the Swiss population a good percentage are deficient in vitamin D and lack iodine which makes sense because of the degree of the sun and soil with low salt (iodine levels) In California – heavy metals were prevalent which linked to obesity and stems from plastic bottle consumption and microwave usage. Lifestyle studies are so important to understanding how we take care of ourselves affects our communities. I love working with people to identify trends and set goals and small steps towards healthy changes. And I get to see the changes with them!
If you are looking to increase your intake of nutrients while also giving your digestive system a break – drinking juice without additives is a great option.
For ex. – let’s say you overdid fried yummy foods this fourth of July and are feeling a bit sluggish or are one of the people contributing to the spike in pizza sales during Covid – eventually this will catch up to you. So a good balance out maybe after a night of bread and cheese is a good ole juice. And trust me, once you start tantalizing your taste buds with nature’s nutrients – you may feel a shift towards better food options overall and better lifestyle choices.
My first experience with juices (other than Capri Sun as a kid) started back when I was diagnosed with cancer. I read Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Cancer and was amazed at all of the nutritional information available to helping one support their body’s natural line of defenses. I had never before looked at food as a means to my health. I had simply looked at calories and stayed away from fat. Fat is bad.
Now in the era of Covid- We have the masks and we have sanitizing spray – but what are you doing from the inside so that your body can fight off germs and illnesses? I also followed a blog called How Chris beat Cancer – he has a book now – by Chris Ward and he used juicing instead of chemotherapy that was recommended. He is alive and well.
I am going to review some benefits to juicing as well as some of my favorite juices plus their particular healing properties. You are your best coach, your best doctor, your best advocate, and your best investment to both yourself and those around you. Be well!
The first benefit is that you get MANY nutrients per ounce. It is packed full of goodness. Consider it like a supplement but without the powdery stuff in the middle and a shell capsule. This is coming straight from the garden, maybe even your own garden. Another benefit is enhanced absorption. It is not being processed the same as a whole food that needs to be broken down in your digestive tract. Let’s say your digestive tract is covered in slime or sludge and therefore your body isn’t actually absorbing much of anything. Until you clear that out – juicing can help! The nutrients go directly to your blood stream to feed your cells and aid in your body’s processes, including digestion and may help remove any sludge. Juicing also removes toxins – it is like sending in the immune boosting good stuff to clear out any debris. And lastly for those that hate veggies – it is a good way to mix the veggies with some delicious fruits and create a juice that is tasty to your buds.
Some of my favorites are:
Celery juice- I think it is amazing to do a morning only celery juice for breakfast for a few days if you are feeling a bit off. It totally resets the clock in my opinion. It helps reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation and fight against oxidative stress. As we age – we tend to take in less oxygen. There are a lot of reasons for this – more wear and tear on the body so therefore peeps live with some pain and unfortunately when you are in pain or uncomfortable or carrying emotional tension – you don’t breathe as well unless you spend time each day focusing on breath work or yoga! Now some people find the taste of celery juice to be mc-nasty and if this statement speaks to you – try adding one piece of an apple to provide a little sweetness.
Carrot/Ginger juice – this is great for healthy skin and boosts collagen production. It also serves as a good source of vitamin E which helps protect the skin from too much sun exposure. The ginger is an added bonus as it is anti-inflammatory and also helps fight colds etc. Ginger also helps with nausea and good for digestion. Refer to part on sludge above.
Cucumber/Apple/Carrot/Ginger/Lemon – This combo is hydrating, anti inflammatory, and cleansing. And tasty! With most juices – I suggest to keep the fruit content to one fruit and more of some veggies. You get a bit of sweetness while getting the most nutrient bang for your buck and for your body, mind and soul.
Also – this is a great time to get adventurous in the store and the kitchen by using all colors and types of fruit and produce. You can even add some jalapeno for a bit of heat.
Okay – so I have found it interesting recently that a lot of people are quoting science about the masks and the spread of COVID 19…. yet we still have an existing climate change and health problem that has been occurring for years and is a threat to our planet and all of us.
Do we see it on the news as much? Maybe the two are connected? Maybe they are both wake up calls to say hey – we aren’t living so well – this is not normal – get it together. Reduce consumption, reduce addiction, reduce stress, increase health.
So I find the dairy industry history very interesting and have recently been loving this plant based milk company’s milks and wanted to share. The company is called Elmhurst and is based in New York and was founded by Henry Schwartz who previously was part of his family’s dairy business delivering milk all over NYC. It was established in 1927 making the kind of milk from cows and in 2017 became a company who’s mission was now:
“By simply changing our diet, we can make a substantial and lasting impact upon our Earth. Swapping half of your meat and dairy consumption for plant-based alternatives can help manage climate change, conserve land and water resources, and protect animals and ecosystems. We are calling on each of you to take the 50% challenge and help spread the word!”
I think it is incredibly brave and courageous of him to realize that the American diet/lifestyle is making a lot of people far from well and wanting to shift the mission even though it was a family tradition. The name carried on, the quality and care behind the finished product carried on, but the shift was made to better take care of people’s health and the changing landscape and animal/people balance. He saw an issue. He sensed an issue. And he shifted. He didn’t try to hold on for dear life – he changed with the times.
He partnered with Dr Cheryl Mitchell to create a line of plant milks with fewer ingredients and more nutrition. There is even a barista line! Which I totally dig for making my morning froth pictures. I also love it in smoothies and can be added to cookie recipes as well. The Barista line does have a small amount of sugar added. I have also tried the cashew, almond, hemp, and oat and I have to say I love the taste. It is the only plant based milk I have found with this few of ingredients and just tastes clean. When drinking, I feel like I am giving myself the fuel my body needs & helping support a greater change that needs to be taken by more of us. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store – you can also order online. I live in PA and mine arrived shortly!!
So if you are thinking of taking a look at your diet and your health – let me leave you with this quote also found on the Elmhurst website and can be found at the bottom of this blog post….
We can spend decades arguing over eating meat or not and eating cheese or not – but I think we can take one look at America and say that our lifestyle is causing a lot of our issues. Change starts at the individual level. Be part of the change. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy ice cream, yogurt, etc. It means you honor the connection of taking care of yourself, each other, and the surrounding lands.
“The most ethical diet just so happens to be the most environmentally sound diet and just so happens to be the healthiest”
-DR. MICHAEL GREGER,
AUTHOR OF NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER, HOW NOT TO DIE
And I love love the heat. There is something about sweating and the summer that I happen to be a fan of and esp if followed by a dip in a lake or a shower but this heat is like humid HOT. So to keep myself cool without cranking up the AC – I have been experimenting with making smoothies with a limited amount of liquid and therefore it becomes more like a sorbet. The best part is you can eat it with a spoon like ice cream but if you want to sip from a straw- simply add more liquid. Oh, and the other best part is they are packed full of fruits that host a variety of health benefits.
So first let’s talk about the rainbow of fruits. The red ones have a ton of antioxidants that reduce the risk of high blood pressure, hypertension, some cancers, heart disease, and they improve brain function! The yellow ones are great sources of antioxidants as well as nutrients that help the skin due to the high levels of vitamin A in them. Orange ones also help the skin and immune system. The purple and blue ones contain natural plant pigments which help brain health and lower inflammation in the body. Green fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals, folate, and fiber. So basically – you can’t go wrong with what you pick and you can mix it up and keep it fresh with what’s in season allowing yourself and your body to experience the beauty of the rainbow.
So this morning I chose:
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 frozen banana
Put in blender and fill up about 3/4 of the way but not all the way to make the sorbet consistency.
Blend and scoop into a cup and enjoy!
Remember to use frozen fruit if creating a sorbet consistency and also that you can also experiment with your milks here. I chose Elmhurst Almond Milk because I love this brand of nut milks. Their cashew milk is also declicious!
Another favorite of mind is using 1 frozen banana, 1/2 ripe avocado, almond milk, and cacao or cocoa powder. It is yummy!!
I hope these find you well:)
PS – Here is the next morning with blackberries & banana – YUM
Who doesn’t remember liking a strawberry milkshake because one it combined ice cream and two it came out pink in color? Okay – so maybe not everyone but I sure did. Now yesterday I heard on the radio – they were talking about eating well and how instead of going on strict diets that are not sustainable (funny how this word becomes used more and more across all industries – sustainable growth & sustainable lifestyle)-get it yet?! – we are running ourselves and our planet into the ground. It is best to keep adding good stuff where you can in replacement of the maybe not so great and I won’t even say bad because sometimes a strawberry milkshake is fabulous and necessary. But those are intended to be treats & special occassions for most of us. Not the norm. Children in Africa are starving. And if you want to stay fit or if you are experiencing low energy, weight gain, and want to tone up for your overall health and upcoming summer months – here is a recipe I found a couple years ago and have made time to time since because it is so EASY and so TASTY and can fulfill the urge for that milkshake at times and boost you full of magnesium (from the cashews) which helps your body in the metabolism of food and the synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. A magnesium deficiency is linked to insulin resistance.
I particularly seem to crave this recipe when it hits strawberry season and I took a ride yesterday to Whole Foods and the strawberries looked amazing so I brought them home and this recipe came to mind. It comes from a website called Wall Flower Kitchen, and as always I have offered some suggestions on replacements and/or fun adds because again – I like playing and experimenting in the kitchen.
Things you will need:
6-8 large strawberries
6-8 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice (today I didn’t have any sweetener on hand so made without and it is still tasty because of the sweetness from the strawberries so depending on your taste buds try different sweeteners or without)
8 tbsp of coconut oil (I didn’t have this either so I added a bit of macadamia oil – I have to say I do suggest the coconut oil because it did make for a creamier version but it is possible had I added a bit more of the macadamia oil it may have sufficed)
1 cup soaked cashews
2 tbsp raw coconut flour – today I used arrow root to thicken a bit and added a little lemon juice because most vegan nut based cheesecakes include lemon to help it get that cheesecake consistency and I love that
optional tsp vanilla extract
You blend all of this together and then either pour into molds or ice cube trays. I poured mine into one circle pie pan and let it freeze for a bit before I cut into cubes but I have also used a mini ice cub tray and the website uses these cute little heart molds for a Valentine’s Day idea. I also added a little flaxseed today which does change the texture a bit and ups the nutritional good-i-ness.
Some other ideas I had for trying in the future include using a dollup of some full fat coconut milk, sprinkling in some cacao chips, or sweetening with a few medjool dates.
I hope this recipe finds you well and full of ideas for your future kitchen playtimes.
Brownie Bliss – Okay so yesterday after returning from a one night trip to the beach – I wanted to use the ripe avocados and sweet potatoes I had in my kitchen to create something yummy…..
Now, I had previously made sweet potato – avo brownies before thanks to a recipe given to me via whatsapp from a friend of mine but I couldn’t locate that particular one so after a google search I found one on paleoglutenfree.com and I modified it because I didn’t have some of the ingredients and well …..because I like to use “kitchen time” sometimes to completely let go, create, and listen to my inner guide. I feel like sometimes letting go in the kitchen and believing in my own instincts sometimes leads to failure – and sometimes success! Just like in life and with each undertaking – I learn more about the actual art of baking and myself.
Now these brownies are not only fudgy tasting but packed full of good fats and fiber and cocoa has high amounts of magnesium, which I think I mentioned a lot of westerners are deficient in. So these give you both the taste of childhood coupled with amazing nutrients to fuel you and avocados to keep your skin nice and subtle.
Now for frosting, you can get creative. The recipe called for a chocolate one but I used some leftover frosting I had in the fridge from a cake I made for our neighbors daughters birthday recently. I bought it at Target. It’s a brand called Simple Mills Organic Vanilla Frosting and it is made with coconut oil. So I mixed that with a little all natural peanut butter and Elmhurst walnut milk and voila- a chocolate peanut butter yummy snack. Now you could also sprinkle with some cacao nibs or maybe some peanuts or shredded coconut. I feel like this is your chance to pretend you are at one of those fro-yo places with tons of toppings and see what your heart fancies.
So below is the recipe as I made them:
2 sweet potatoes – medium in size
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
lil bit of baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
I blended all of this in my trusty vitamix until it made a brownie batter consistency where you couldn’t even tell anything yellow or green in color went into them. Then I spatula’d it into a loaf pan and baked at 350 degrees Farenheit for 30-35 minutes. I mixed the frosting while they were in the oven and then let them cool before I frosted.
So if you are craving something moist, chocolatey, and delicious – I hope this recipe finds you well!
Have you ever written down how many times your child or children says “I’m hungry” in the course of a day?
I honestly sometimes feel like it can be as early as an hour after Ms. Kirabelle just finished a meal. Now, sometimes I think this is actual hunger pains and other times I think it is boredom so I wanted to write down some tips to keeping the children healthy, engaged, and still in cue with their body’s signals and what they really mean.
Routine is very important from the time of birth to help teach them how to take care of themselves. The first thing the pediatrician told me my job was, was to teach her morning and night in order to get her into the same routine as Stan & I. In the morning you wake up and at night, you sleep and replenish. I noticed early on anytime we went on vacation and “let go” of our routines and maybe ate a little more food out or went to bed a little later – this made for a vacation hangover when it was time to get back crackin’ and to school/work. So the best thing to do is to maintain consistency with the working towards of breaks, rewards, vacation, and time to “let go”. We have kept meal times and snack times to specific hours so as not to make the kitchen a 24/7 convenience store but a time of connection to food, our bodies, and one another. A sacred time. A wholesome time. A slower time.
Another thing that helps is pre-planning healthy snacks that are on hand. I find it best to make a bunch on Sunday for the week ahead. Below are some ideas that my family likes and that you can play around with. I hope these find you WELL!
Cut up cucumber and tomato slices drizzled with olive oil and a little feta cheese. These one is actually easy to prepare and doesn’t need to be batched and made. And I love the green & red combo of color sprinkled with white
Fruit – all fruit and any fruit – great way to taste the rainbow, alternate seasonally, and even make happy faces with. Positive relationships with food start young.
Sliced veggies that work for your child – Kira likes peppers cut up
Seaweed snacks – high in iron, calcium, and magnesium, also good for fine motor skills
Plain bread cut up into shapes with peanut butter and goji berries ———————>
Plain yogurt mixed with fruit or sweetened a with little with honey
smoothies – Kira likes 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 avocado, nut milk of choice and cocoa powder – tastes like a choc milkshake
Nut Balls – here is where you can make these on Sunday and they are perfect for overall power and energy and you can even add in some things that are good for your child and they will never know- you will come to know how much of each. I usually start with a half of a cup of nuts and remember that you want to eventually roll them into balls so this is the consistency of what you want to see. If you ever need to “thicken or toughen them up” add some coconut flour or almond flour. I wanted to share some we have made using things from the cupboards. I find that as you experiment – your creative juices start flowing towards ideas. Example ideas below:
walnuts, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon – blend and roll – cinnamon roll inspired
soaked cashews, lemon juice, salt, maple syrup, can add chia seeds (gives like a lemon poppyseed flavor)
peanut butter, oats, honey, salt, cinnamon
soaked cashews, coconut butter, maple syrup, salt, dip in melted coconut oil and then roll in shredded coconut
almonds, cocoa powder, little peanut butter, oats, dates, and maybe even mini choc chips
soaked macadamia nuts, oats, maple, and little sprinkles for color (funfetti birthday cake spin)