Lately, I can’t get enough of tart flavors and thus created the tartest of smoothies to satisfy my cravings. Something I’ve been attempting to do is pay closer to attention to my body and what it’s asking me to give it. It’s not always the easiest to tune in and pay attention especially when sugar or alcohol or processed food (no one is perfect) is calling to me, but I’m doing my best. Red fruits galore have been catching me eye in the market so this smoothie combined with the tart flavor is really hitting the spot. Most associate cranberries as a way to ward off a UTI but actually they also slow tumor growth, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and promote gum health. I’ve never used them in a smoothie until recently and I’m kind of in love now. And just for good measure I’ve added in some superfoods for an extra kick. This smoothie is ideal for post workout nourishment and requires zero prep, simply throw it all in a blender and voila! Here’s a nutrient breakdown of some of the goodies in the smoothie –
Coconut Water is truly nature’s Gatorade minus all the nasties like food coloring and sugar that so often accompany sports drinks. The Potassium and Electrolytes in Coconut Water are staggeringly high which makes it the perfect recovery drink for everything from workouts to hangovers (yeah I said it, it works, try it).
Chia Seeds make their way into nearly every smoothie recipe I make and for good reason. For starters, they help to control hunger and for a girl that could spend a full day doing nothing but eating these are really helpful to fill me up and slow me down. Chia seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, antioxidants, fiber, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Side note – did you know that Chia means strength in Mayan and Aztec cultures? It’s amazing what you can learn on the Internet.
Psyllium Husk is basically a complex form of fiber that is used primarily as a laxative. Similar to Chia Seeds in that it soaks up water, psyllium husk helps ease digestive ailments and keeps you moving. It’s also been shown in limited studies to increase heart health by managing cholesterol levels, aiding in weight loss and balancing insulin in those that suffer from Diabetes (consult a doctor). It’s also flavorless so it can be added to nearly anything.
Manuka Honey is my favorite of all honeys because it has the strongest flavor and the most health benefits. Honey in general is an amazing superfood, but Manuka Honey is extra special because it’s far more potent. This golden nectar can be eaten or used to treat wounds, yep that’s right. It has outstanding antibacterial and antibiotic properties. Manuka is measured by it’s UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) so look for Manuka that has a 10 UMF or higher. The flavor is similar to bee pollen (another of my loves) so if you’re not allergic and like a hearty honey flavor than give this stuff a try.
Berry Tart Smoothie
1/2 cup Coconut Water
1/2 cup frozen Cranberries
1/2 cup frozen Raspberries
Juice from 1 Lime
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 teaspoon Psyllium Husk
1 Tablespoon Manuka Honey (if vegan use sweetener of choice)
1 Serving Plant Based Protein Powder
Add all ingredients to high powered blender and blend. Top with Bee Pollen for added energy boost (optional).
I prefer a thicker smoothie so add more Coconut Water if a thinner consistency is preferred.
As true as this is, it doesn’t make me want a nap any less. After a week and a half of traveling and sorority recruitment I am more than due for some self-care and dietary changes – namely sleep, face masks, less caffeine and no sugar. Shopping at Whole Foods this morning was the greatest way to start my week. Thinking out loud – I may have to make that a Monday morning ritual…
There are certain words in the English language that seem totally innocent and yet upon second look can be sneakily harmful. How often do we tell ourselves what we should and shouldn’t do rather than listening to what we want to do? I think it’s a safe assumption to say that there is not a man or woman alive who doesn’t catch themselves in a negative self talk pattern every now and again. Am I right or am I right? So how does should get us into a negative self talk spiral you ask? Should is a word with force behind it and it’s usually the word we use when we’re pressuring ourselves to do something we don’t really want to do. For example, “I should do this or that, but I don’t feel like it right now.” Did I mention should is usually followed by the word but, another word I actively steer clear of. Both should, but and try are all words that stem from a place of lack. When we live in a world that is full of abundance why do we sometimes pigeon hole ourselves into a place of lack? Not wanting to expend your energy on something you’re not passionate about is okay. And yet we often coerce ourselves into doing something we feel we should do even though we know it’s not the right choice for us and then we wonder why failure immediately follows. So how do we reroute ourselves on another path?
1. Start Listening –
When was the last time you sat quietly with yourself and genuinely asked you what you want? Quiet time is a dying luxury with phones and social media buzzing and the millions of responsibilities we take on as individuals. We’re so busy worrying about appeasing others we forget to take a beat and find out what we need to do to soothe ourselves. Often the best thing we can do for ourselves is is sit in silence on our own for 5-10 minutes. If you have more time by all means take advantage of that. However much time you need to get that conversation with yourself going take it.
2. Evaluate Your To Do’s –
The to do list for me is like a bad boyfriend. Some days I really want and need you around and other days, yeah I’m just not that into you. Does anyone else have this hot and cold relationship with their to do list? For me, there is no faster way to start shoulding all over myself than when I have a long ass to do list to complete. Writing things down is important, I get it, it’s easy to gloss over something and yet how much of it do you want to actually complete? Evaluate your to do’s and learn if they’re actually worth doing.
3. Discover Your Desires & Passions –
Amazing miracles happen when we sit down quietly with ourselves and pay attention to our wants, hopes and desires. Ideas and passions have a beautiful way of showing up when our head is clear enough to receive them. Free writing is a wonderful tool to explore our subconscious mind and find out what little gems we have stored away inside bursting to come to fruition. Whether you’re sitting in silence or free writing your way to discovery, learning what you truly want in life is always accessible.
4. Write Down Your Goals –
Goals that are written down have intention. There are a gazillion books on the subject of goal writing and that’s because hand writing them out works. Start with your big idea and then break down what the top five items are that can ensure you hit that big goal. Want to go even further? Write out five more items underneath each of the earlier five items and break them down to their lowest common denominator. Once you know what you want to do making those gorgeous dreams come to life will be a joy and there won’t be a should in sight.
5. Retrain Your Brain –
Eradicating words of lack from your vocabulary will be the single greatest choice you will make for yourself this year. After all it’s a whole lot easier to be successful in your endeavors when you speak in abundant language. When I started paying attention to my words I couldn’t believe how often I said but and should. Once you’re aware there’s no going back and it’s a lovely lovely thing.
When the weather drops below freezing my tastes and food cravings tend to shift to more seasonal food like root and cruciferous veggies. The colder months require warmth from wherever our bodies can find them and I choose to incorporate heat from heartier foods like broccoli, sweet potatoes and ginger. Lately I’ve been heavily craving Chinese food but not all the chemicals and heavy sauces that are so often served in restaurants so I sought out to make my own. I prefer simple recipes that don’t require a lot of fuss that I can throw together after a long day and not make a monsterous mess in my kitchen in the process. And this recipe is exactly what I needed to satisfy my craving.
The vegetables I used were simply some broccoli florets, broccoli rabe (which I decided on whilst at the market) and a yellow onion. I had originally wanted a sweet onion (which wasn’t available at the market) as I thought it may add some depth so if you’re so inclined you may try that instead of the yellow onion.
I don’t own a wok but I do own a dutch oven which gets used probably as often as my Vitamix. It’s the most useful cooking tool!
Mix all the veggies together with the tempeh and sauce, add in some brown jasmine rice and tah dah. Delicious and healthy chinese food.
I actually had this for lunch today and it was so good considering the 21 degree sub-zero temperature outside. Sometimes our bodies require more than just a salad.
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder, divided
1/2 c water
2 tablespoons water, divided
2 cloves garlic, diced, divided
16 ounces tempeh, crumbled
2 tablespoons sesame oil divided
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup broccoli rabe
1 small yellow onion, sliced into wedges
1/3 cup tamari
1 tablespoon date sugar or coconut sugar (your preference)
1 tablespoon coconut nectar
1 inch ginger root, diced
dash red pepper flakes (or more depending on taste)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
brown jasmine rice
In a medium sized bowl, combine 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder + 2 tablespoons water + 1 clove garlic until mixed thoroughly.
Add tempeh to bowl and coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium high heat, stir-fry tempeh until it reaches a golden color. Stir often as tempeh does stick. Once golden remove from heat and set aside.
Heat 2nd tablespoon sesame oil and stir fry broccoli florets + broccoli rabe + onion for 5 minutes.
Add tempeh back into pot.
In a small bowl, combine tamari + date sugar + coconut nectar + ginger root + 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder + 1 clove garlic + red pepper flakes + water and mix thoroughly; add to pot.
I’m currently reading the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (one of my favorite authors) and I can hardly put it down. I love a book that requires me to have a pen in hand because there are too many amazing nuggets of brilliance not to underline each page. The quote “argue for your limitations and you get to keep them” is directly from her book and it really spoke to me last night. How often do we as individuals tell ourselves we can’t or I’m too old to do something new or someone is doing it better or whatever? We let fear overtake our lives and convince us that we can’t. Well you know what? Fear can just go ahead and shove it. Limitations are nothing more than a wall built by fear. So on this freezing Monday I say “limitations? What limitations?”.
I have been thinking about writing this post for quite some time as it’s an area I have become increasingly more aware of over the past couple of years. As I age (gracefully I hope) my concern about being skinny or having the perfect perky breasts has fallen to a distant second as the focus on my hormones and reproductive health has taken center stage. I read over and over again that health begins in the gut and yet, you show me a woman that is miserable with pms or her period and I’ll tell you that health, for a female, begins in her lady parts. Now, obviously what you’re eating and putting in your body matters and can help alleviate many of the symptoms associated with female issues both leading up to your cycle and during. But, there are a few tweaks that can be made to make your inevitable monthly visitor substantially more pleasant that doesn’t involve food at all.
The absolute greatest thing I’ve ever done for my period is to start using a menstrual cup. I can’t say enough amazing things about this little device. In just 4 short months this cup has completely transformed my cycle and even alleviated some of the symptoms, specifically the cramping which is a side effect of using tampons. That alone was worth it for me. The menstrual cup which is made of a health grade silicone is completely free of all the bad stuff like BPA, plastic, latex, dyes and chemicals. It allows the vagina to function in it’s natural state without the drying out associated with tampons. Menstrual cups are reusable and when cared for properly can be used for up to one year before being replaced. Not only is this great for the environment but also for your bank account! And the wonderful thing about these cups is they only have to be emptied every 12 hours so no more panic to find a tampon.
Now I will say that you’ve got to be willing to “get to know” yourself with a menstrual cup. And there is a definite learning curve to insertion and getting it right (spoiler alert: you’ll know if it’s not properly placed) but the pros far outweigh the cons. I will warn you that if you have an IUD in place you’ll need to be careful with removal as the suction can dislodge the device.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on essential oils lately and have been reaping the benefits in the process. One of my lovely clients turned friends is a rep for Young Living Oils and she is always so gracious to find the answers to my questions (that’s not a plug I’m just giving credit where it’s due). When the ovaries that produce estrogen and progesterone are out of balance the symptoms can be severe and include issues like PMS, infertility and irregular cycles. Sadly, in today’s society with all the stress related activities and environmental factors these issues are the norm. Using essential oils and giving ourselves much needed downtime can help immensely on the uncomfortability front. Even simply diffusing the oils in your home can help with the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance. Or, add the oils to coconut or almond oil and give yourself a massage (paying close attention to the abdomen) to lesson symptoms. I’m not a bath person but these essential oils can also be added to a warm bath for further alleviation of discomfort. Lemon Essential Oil can actually be added to a cup of warm water (2-3 drops) for added internal detox.
If the menstrual cup is too over the top for you (if it is I totally understand) there’s also the option of organic tampons. Something I never personally thought of was the fact the main stream tampons are a) not 100% cotton and contain synthetic fibers b) the natural fibers have been bleached with chlorine and other chemical binding agents and c) the cotton that is used has been treated with pesticides and fertilizers. The most commonly used tampons are made from rayon and cotton which dry out the natural fluids in the vagina and can disrupt the pH levels leading to a list of issues. We pay so much attention to eating organic food and avoiding GMO’s at all costs, but what about the boxes upon boxes of tampons we use a year? We are walking around month after month with highly chemically treated devices inside of us. Yikes!!
Before I made the big switch to the menstrual cup I started using organic cotton tampons. Personally Natracare was my favorite but there are a handful of different brands to choose from if these aren’t for you. Natracare’s tampons are are certified organic and completely free of chemicals, pesticides, synthetic fibers and plastic plus they’re biodegradable which is an added earth friendly bonus. They run anywhere between $6 and $8 a box and can be purchased in America at any natural drugstore or grocery chain. If you’re hunting for them online Thrive Market (one of my favorite places to shop) has them super cheap at $3.95 a box with a membership.
Tea For The Ladies
Tea is one of the easiest and quickest ways to feel better. There is nothing better than a warm cup of tea when you’re feeling yucky and it takes almost no brain power to make which is great if you get a bit foggy during your cycle. I personally love Traditional Medicinals Tea brand because they have a good variety to choose from based upon what’s ailing me. When it’s time for my monthly menses these are my go to teas for quick relief.
Healthy Cycle Tea (description from Traditional Medicinals website) –
Feminine, healthy and empowering.Herbal Power
A wholesome tea that supports healthy menstruation.*
Reason to Love
Based on the traditional combination of raspberry and nettle, with other complementary herbs like angelica root, blessed thistle and cramp bark, this tea uses a tonic approach to women’s health. Herbal tonics gently support and nurture you, helping to promote balance and good health.* A blend of pleasant herbal tastes, we love this tea’s ability to support women’s wellness and vitality.*
Pleasantly herbal, with hints of citrus and mint.
PMS Tea (description from Traditional Medicinals website) –
Sunny and optimistic, comforting and kind.Herbal Power
Supports good mood during PMS – easing irritability, tension and discomfort.*
Reason to Love
We know what it really stands for, but sometimes it seems like PMS is short for Pretty Miserable Situation. A nice cup of tea can turn all of that around, especially if it eases irritability, tension, and discomfort.* A traditional combination of herbs – like skullcap and lemon balm – used to ease frayed and frazzled nerves, this tea can help you feel a little more like you can go with the flow during “that time of the month.”*
Warm, cinnamony – a balance of slightly bitter and sweet.
And then if all else fails there’s always my Chocolate Lovers Smoothie to comfort you while you weep into your pillow…just kidding. If you’re going to crave chocolate when you’re on your period this smoothie will totally satiate you. You can get the recipe here. Fun fact – I made this midway through my cycle and so I know it’s the perfect period recipe when all you want is some goddamn chocolate.