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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, tomorrow is the big day. As we prepare for the biggest meal of the year, I thought I would post some tips for keeping you from totally over indulging at your Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Remember the reason for Thanksgiving-remind yourself of all that you are grateful for and enjoy the company you are with.
  • Start your day off on the right foot with a bowl of whole grain oatmeal, a green smoothie (gotta get in those greens!), or some eggs scrambled with veggies.
  • Make sure there is a veggie platter where you are spending the holiday. If someone else isn't bringing it, volunteer to bring it yourself. What a better way to snack than on fresh, raw vegetables?
  • Cut back on the butter and sugar. Most recipes call for too much of both. Play with your recipes to see where you can skimp without losing flavor. You will be surprised! 
  • This is not the "last meal". You don't need to stuff yourself to the point of discomfort. Eat a small portion of each dish and take leftovers if you want more. It doesn't need to all be consumed in one sitting!
  • Get moving! Some families play flag football together while others go for a family walk. If your family doesn't have a tradition yet, now is the time to start one!



Wherever you are spending Thanksgiving this year, I wish you all a safe, happy holiday enjoyed with those that mean the most to you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November Newsletter

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
-Gandhi

Get Slow
Who doesn’t feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day? We rush through the day, running here and there, and end up exhausted. Somehow these days full of duties, obligations and busyness have begun to build up and become our lives. We spend our time doing things we don’t really want to do, yet feel we should. We’ve come to believe that being productive and crossing things off our to-do list is the ultimate goal.

The truth is, life on Earth is a brief gift, and our time is too precious to be used like this. If we want our lives to be balanced and healthy, we need to lessen our load and increase our down time. This means planning less in a day, prioritizing those things that make our hearts sing and de-prioritizing those things that are not imperative.

If we must accomplish many things each day, we can still change the quality with which we do things. How can we transmute that sprint to the train into something delicious instead of the usual gripping and tightening experience? Where can we find ease in the midst of stress? How can we cultivate the art of going slowly?

Take a few moments before you climb out of bed in the morning to remember your dreams and to think about what you want from the day. Leave your watch on the bedside table. Take the scenic route. Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer. Check email only twice a day. Don’t pack your schedule so tightly that there’s no time for a short walk. Light candles before you start to cook dinner. Add one moment here and there for slowness; it can be done simply and will have a profound effect on your well-being.

Adapted from an article by Marco Visscher & Jay Walljasper, Ode Magazine, Issue #15, www.odemagazine.com

Food Focus: Oils and Fats
Not all oils and fats are created equal. Heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. However, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly. Our bodies also need fat for insulation and to protect and hold our organs in place.

A healthy percentage of high-quality fat in a meal satisfies and leaves feelings of energy, fulfillment and warmth. When there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, symptoms can include weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness. Signs of insufficient high-quality fats are brittle hair and nails, dry skin, hunger after meals and feeling cold.

There are many sources of healthy fats and oils:
·   For sautéing and baking, try butter, ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil because they do not break down when used at high temperatures.
·   When sautéing foods at moderate temperatures, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
·   Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings on top of salads, veggies or grains.
·   Other healthy fats are found in whole nuts and seeds and in their butters like almond butter or tahini.
·   Whole foods such as avocados, olives and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 and omega-6 organic eggs.
Experiment with these healthy fat sources and see which work best for you and leave you satisfied.

When selecting oils, buy the highest-quality organic products you can afford, since cooking oils are the backbone of so many dishes. Good words to look for on the label are organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined. Words to avoid are expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted.

Recipe of the Month:

Avocado Dip
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 large peeled and pitted avocado
2/3 cup plain yogurt, goat yogurt or soy yogurt
1 diced tomato
dash or two of cayenne pepper
sea salt and black pepper

Directions:
1.   Mash avocado with a fork until very smooth.
2.   Add yogurt, tomato, cayenne. Blend until smooth. This may be done in a food processor, in a blender or with a fork.
3.   Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
4.   Serve chilled with mixed raw vegetables.
Note: Best made a maximum of 1 hour before serving.

Forward to a Friend
It’s such a pleasure to help those closest to us become happier and healthier. Please forward this newsletter to friends, family members or colleagues who might be interested and inspired by it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Health is so much more than the food we eat and exercise. One aspect of health that many people don't consider is in the products we use around the house for cleaning or personal care. I have made a point to rid my home of as many chemical cleaners as possible. I started small, replacing my glass cleaner with a squirt bottle of club soda. It does a great job removing smudges from glass and mirrors and the bonus is-the kids can help clean, and even beg for their turn to spray. I use vinegar and water (50/50) to clean my tile floors. Vinegar is a natural anti bacterial so I feel confident that I am cleaning the germs without harsh chemicals. It also kills 82% of molds and 80% of viruses! Costco sells a huge bottle of vinegar for about $5, or it can be found at your local grocery store as well. Speaking of Costco, I have been getting my dishwashing detergent there for some time. I decided that when I was out, I was going to make my own. I did some research and found a super simple recipe. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and have no complaints. Good for the environment, your health and your budget!


Dishwashing Detergent
1 cup Borax
1 cup Baking Soda
several drops essential oil of your choice ( I used tangerine)

Mix all ingredients in a resealable container. Use 2 tablespoons per load and fill your rinse aid dispenser with straight vinegar.