Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cookies - Healthy Option

Black Bean Chocolate Cookies 
(you wont even know they are good for you) 

This holiday season, or whenever you are craving chocolate, create something you will feel good about eating. This should satisfy that chocolate craving because the richness of the cocoa powder and the thickness of the beans makes these cookies fudgey and very satisfying!

Black beans and nut butters give these morsels punch of protein. Good oils in the nuts and coconut oils are important to absorb nutrients and minerals as well as for overall health. Cocoa powder gives a boost of antioxidants. Chocolate chips.....well, they are yummy and if you get organic, extra dark, the better they are.

NOTE: when and if, use as many organic ingredients as you can. If you don't have it, use what you do.

1 cup cooked organic black beans (rinsed if using canned)
2 tablespoons organic coconut oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons organic nut butter ( I like to use 1 almond butter & 1 peanut butter)
2 tablespoons organic milk of choice
5 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
4-6 pitted dates OR 1/2 cup maple syrup or sucanat sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soada
1/4 -1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Optional: 1/4 cup nuts of choice (crushed walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts etc.)
              Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil for festive cookies, or use different kinds of chocolate chips like peanut butter, white chocolate or peanut butter or even dried tart cherries, be creative! 

Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Put everything, except chocolate chips and nuts, in a food processor, blend until smooth. Add chocolate chips and nuts if you desire. Pulse a few times. 
Scoop into 2 inch rounds, slightly press down to make a disk. bake in oven for 8-12 minutes. They will be pretty soft, but will set up when cooling. Should have a soft brownie like texture in the middle and firm edges when cooked right. 

These things can be made up and baked in about 20 minutes or less. Easy, healthy and super yummy. Use them for the last minute party you forgot to make something for or a power snack for you and your family. 
Inspired by Green Kitchen

Happy Holidays! xx

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Aloe Juice - How to use it for your health

Aloe Juice is out in stores in many forms, but why? 
And what for?

In Ayurveda we look at aloe to help cool internal heat, cool the blood as well as help moisturize the digestive tract and colon. It can also help painful menstrual cycles

Taking a few tablespoons daily, in the morning, can help you to get in the medicinal powers of this plant right away. Like everything in excess, it no longer works as a medicine, so try this for a few weeks, notice how it is making you feel and then decide weather you continue for a few more weeks or if you have had enough. Don't take it straight for more than 3-4 months. Your body needs a break, you can always bring it back if you need to after a month or two break.

Here are things that this can be used for:

  • Excessive burning in the intestinal tract
  • Dry colon/constipation
  • Dehydration, dryness 
  • Acne/rashes
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cycle) - Take 2 oz - 10 days BEFORE your cycle, every morning. Repeat for 3 months of your cycle. Gel over juice is preferred.
Make sure your aloe comes form an organic source. I like inner fillet gel. Juice is fine too if you are using it more for hydration. Lily of the Desert is a brand that I enjoy. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Headache Relief

In Ayurveda we work with things called marma points, which are pressure points that are similar to accupuncture points, but instead of a needle, pressure is applied by touch.  If marma interests you click here for some more information. Otherwise, all you need to know is we have points on our bodies, that when sore or tender, can mean that there is an imbalance. By pressing on these points, which are correlated with certain organs or places on our bodies, we can help clear or alleviate any stagnation or discomfort. One thing that I struggle with is headaches. And I know from other people, headaches are a major inconvenience and quite frankly, suck!

Another thing you can do in conjunction with pressing on these recommended points is using a few drops of jasmine or peppermint essential oils when massaging these points. Just remember to wash your hands after so that you don't get any in your eyes.

The points to focus on are the brow points, outlined in red box below, and the pads of your thumbs (Right and left hand). Feel around for any tenderness and then once you find it, push on that point for a few seconds at a time. Notice if that helps to relive the pain in the head. better yet, find someone to massage these areas for you and try to relax into it as much as you can.

Other things to look at:
  • Do you work at a computer all day? Headaches hit mid afternoon or evening? Try take consistent breaks from your computer. Stand up every hour or two and stretch, take a quick walk or a trip to the office kitchen for some hot water. 
  • Also, look at your computer set up. Is your laptop or computer forcing you to look down when you type? If so you are straining your neck muscles by making them hold your head (which weighs on average, 10lbs) out from your shoulders. This tension causes tension headaches. Make sure you can look at your screen at eye level. If you cant, make it happen by elevating it with a shelf, books, bricks etc. (get creative). 
  • Have you gotten any fresh air in the past 3-4 hours. If your answer is no, take 5-10 minute break and go outside.
  • Have you exersiced in the past couple days, if the answer is no, make a point to go for a walk, take a yoga class or go to the gym after work for atleaste 30 minutes. 
  • Have you been drinking enough water? Make sure you are staying hydrated. No iced drinks. try sipping warm - hot water through out the day. This will also help with your immunity so it is a very important step into getting rid of headaches, while also keeping you healthy in other ways. 
  • Headaches can also be lack of nutrition. So make sure you are not skipping meals. 3 rounded meals a day is very important. if it seems like you are still missing something talk to a doctor, as it could be a lack of something in your diet. 

I hope this will help you find some relief. 
Be Well!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Now is the Time for a Fall Cleanse

Fall time is here, days are shortening and the temperature is dropping. Great time for an easy cleanse before your digestions gears up for the heavier foods in the winter months. 

Step 1: Eliminate sugars, carbs, fried foods, dairy, most fats and drink plenty of hot water or ginger tea throughout the day
Step 2: Go on a mono diet eating just vegetable soup, miso soup or Kitchari for all three meals and drink plenty of hot water or ginger tea throughout the day
Step 3: Take 2 Triphala every evening before bed
Step 4: Add in calming meditation, pranayama (breath work) and/or relaxing yoga into your day

Commit to a minimum of 3 days and a max of 5 days.
Choose step 1 OR step 2 and it is optional to add on step 3 & 4. 

Feel the lightning and clearing qualities as this cleanse purges out the heat of summer and gets you ready for winter snow! 

Website links for soup recipes:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Superfood Power Bites

Pictured: 1/2 mixture with cocoa powder for a chocolatey punch, other half with spirulina for a green powerhouse option!
In need of a snack item that you can eat right away, that will give you the energy that you need and the nutrients it takes to make it until the next meal? Make these in numerous varieties so that you always have something on hand. Also, great for a healthy sweet-tooth option! 
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup hempseeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup regular OR gluten free oats 
2 teaspoons chlorella or spirulina
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup diced dry figs
1/4 cup goji berries (soaked in warm water 5-10 minutes and drained)
1/3 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut
In food processor combine walnuts, oats, all seeds and nuts, green powder and salt. Pulse until nuts are ground coarsely. Add rest of ingredients and mix for 15-30 seconds. Stop to scrape off sides and pulse for another 30 seconds or so until you get a sticky dough. You do not want to over mix. Roll into 1 inch balls and freeze until ready to eat. Store in fridge for 3 weeks or freezer for 3 months. 
If you want all nuts and no oats, replace oats with favorite nut.
If you love nut butter add 1/3 cup favorite nut butter like peanut, cashew almond etc. in replacement of dates. However, add 2-3 dates for sweetness. 
Omit the cocoa powder all together for a more earthy treat. 
Omit coconut if you do not like the taste.
If you don't have figs or do not like them, replace them with golden or red raisins. Same for dates. 
To make these even more powerful add 1-3 of these superfoods: 1 tablespoon acai powder, 1 teaspoon maca powder, 2 teaspoons ashwagandha powder, 1.5 tablespoons camu camu, maqui berry, pomegranate powder. 
Adding fiber and more protein: 1 tablespoon tasteless fiber powder and/or 2 tablespoons favorite protein powder

Ayurveda Note: Great snack for vata or pitta. Too heavy and sticky for Kapha. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Balance Pitta With Afternoon Buttermilk

Balance Pitta With Afternoon Buttermilk

Pitta (fire) time of the day is from 10-2pm. Drinking something that compliments the heat of pitta can help to stay balanced and allows your digestive fire to burn just right. Making homemade buttermilk shake tastes delicious and is a great addition to your afternoon meal.

Homemade Buttermilk
1/2 cup organic plain yogurt
1.5 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cumin (double this if you like the taste)
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
5-6 fresh mint leaves

Blend in blender for 30-60 seconds and drink immediately.

If you don't have a blender handy during your lunch hour you can make this in the morning and bring it with you, just give it a shake before you drink. Or you can try it on your weekends and notice the might inspire you to make it before you head to work :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ayurveda Workshop in Alaska

Yoga & Ayurveda Workshop

Homer, Alaska

Many Rivers Yoga Studio

What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda translates into;  the science of life. It is an ancient system of health that developed in India over 5,000 years ago. Linked to the natural rhythms of nature, its tools are foods/nutrition, herbs, lifestyle and seasonal changes. Yoga and meditation are also used to help restore balance to the body, mind and soul.

September 13th • 12:30-2:30pm - Intro to Ayurveda:
This workshop will introduce you to the foundations of Ayurveda and teach you simple practices that you can apply in your own life to create balance and harmony. 
This will be in discussion format, dress comfortably and bring paper and a pencil if you desire to take notes. 

September 14th • 12:30-2:30pm - Food as Medicine:
Diet and nutrition is a large part of Ayurveda. Different foods react differently for each of us and understanding your constitution (dosha)  will allow you to make choices in your diet that will help support health and wellness. Seasonal changes also play a factor in how and when to eat and are taken very seriously when looking at an ayurvedic lifestyle. All these things will be discussed in this workshop so that you can apply the basic concepts into your daily life. This workshop will build off of the concepts learned on Saturday, September 13th. 
This will be in discussion format, dress comfortably and bring paper and a pencil if you desire to take notes. 

September 14th • 3-5pm - Ayurveda Yoga Flow: 
A dosha is the Ayurvedic word for constitution (your body type).  According to Ayurvedic medicine, there are three doshas and each person’s balance of the three doshas is their individual blueprint.  The prevalence of certain doshas in a person can affect things like personality, mental clarity, mood, and physical attributes. As we move through three dosha-specific flows, we will balance each dosha for optimal physical, mental and spiritual health. Pranayama (breath work) for each specific dosha will also be highlighted. 
This will be a yoga class so wear clothes that you feel comfortable moving in, as well as your yoga mat.

Please take this quiz before the workshop so you can find out which doshas prevail in you:

Before Sept. 1st - $20 per session
After Sept. 1st - $25 per session
To sign up please email:

Lead by Staraya McKinstry: an Ayurvedic Practitioner, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist and a 500hr Registered Yoga Instructor. Her passion lies in combining the sister sciences of yoga and ayurveda to bring harmony to all the external senses while benefiting the body, mind and spirit. 

Many Rivers - 1044 East End Rd Homer, AK 99603

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fruit, Not an Evening Snack

Many of us, trying to be good while still giving into our sweet tooth, eat fruit at night. Come to find out, according to Ayurveda, fruit should NOT be consumed at night because of the fermentation qualities. Since you are going to bed soon, the fruit is slow to digest and ferments in the belly and intestines, creating bloating, gas, indigestion  and/or upset stomach. Cure: eat your fruit in the morning or as an afternoon snack and don't eat fruit past 4pm. If you like juice, fresh (nothing in a pre-packaged bottle) fruit juice is the best with breakfast, as long as you don't combine it with dairy. If you live or work in the Indianapolis area, an awesome fresh juice place to visit is:, or juice at home.

To sum it up:  Eat fruit in the first half of the day and leave it alone for the second half of the day for one month to notice a difference in your digestion. Your mornings will be brighter!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to Drink Water

Many americans are dehydrated. I see people drinking things all the time but they are drinking the wrong kinds of fluids in order to keep the body hydrated. Sugary drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, soda, vitamin water, coffee drinks of all kinds, smoothies, shakes and even some teas deplete the body of water. Water is what will rehydrate you, and proper rehydration does good for the entire body! Water at the right time of the day is particularly important. It will help with hydrating the skin, hair, eyes, internal organs AND (here is a big surprise) can help with weight loss.
Follow these guidelines and feel and see the difference:

  • Drink a big glass of warm water with lemon upon waking up in the morning
  • Drink a glass of warm water 30-60 minutes BEFORE a meal
  • Only drink about 4 oz of room temp or hot water WITH a meal (sip throughout meal)
  • Do NOT drink water DIRECTLY AFTER a meal
  • Do not drink up to 1 hour after eating a meal (if you need a couple sips that is fine. no gulping)
  • Do not drink ice water, Iced tea or BigGulps....... 
  • If you feel very dehydrated sip on hot water every 10-15 minutes throughout an entire day. Be diligent about this. If you still feel like you could chug water at the end of the day then repeat for 2 weeks. This should properly hydrate the body in a way that your body can use and absorb the water it has been lacking. After 2 weeks go to drinking water in a way that is recommended above.
  • If your child has regular tummy aches try the water sipping though out the day or the big glass 15-30 minutes before meals. Many times this symptom in children is linked to dehydration. 
According to Ayurveda, drinking water to help with weight loss is not because of what common mainstream articles state; about filling up on water instead of food. That advise is actually killing your digestion, dimming your digestive fire and diluting the digestive enzymes, causing your stomach to have a hard time breaking things down, leading to digestive issues and weight GAIN. Drinking water 15-30 minutes before a meal hydrates the stomach and helps with the buffer zone that is made up of H20 around the stomach, which actually signals to the stomach that it is ok to turn on the stomach acid to full force so that it can break down the food. When you can break down the food you can produce more bile, which helps break down fat. Water drank in this way allows the body to break down and metabolize what you put in, leading to better digestion and if need be, weight LOSS.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Soaking, why would you do it?

Why soak certain foods? Because soaking makes things more digestible, especially for those of us who get gassy or bloated easily. It is a simple step and can make a world of a difference on how you feel after a meal with beans, legumes, peas, dried fruit or nuts.

Soaking reduces the amount of dryness (which can cause bloating and gas) as it heightens the water element in the food. This water element supports the digestive fire as it breaks down the food in the stomach. When you cook, add some salt, pepper and turmeric, these spices will also help cut down on the air quality in beans and legumes.

If you notice that some of these foods create discomfort try immersing 1/2 - 1 cup in room temperature water over night. Cover while they rest and then rinse and cook as directed. If you are soaking nuts or seeds, allow to soak no more than 8 hours, then rinse and lay on cooking sheet and dry in oven set at the lowest temperature for about 6 hours. If you are going to consume the nuts or seeds right away, no need to dry them. Dried fruit is not always easily digested by everyone either so soaking it in warm water for 30-60 minutes can help.

To make soaking more pleasing think about getting a pretty bowl or container that you find aesthetically pleasing. That way, when you need to soak something you can place it on the counter as more of an art piece and less of something that you see as clutter.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cooling Tips for Summer's Heat

Some of us love the heat and can bask in the sunshine for hours (Vata people in Ayurveda terms). Some of us get cranky and irritated by the heat and duck into shade whenever possible (pitta people in Ayurveda terms). If you identify with the latter here are a few tips to stay cool and collected this summer.

  • Take cool showers
  • Mid day, dunk your feet into cool water or splash cold water on the face and in the eyes
  • mist your face and your eyeballs with organic rose water, especially if you sit in front of a computer screen all day
  • Drink lime, mint, peppermint or cucumber water (just soak your desired flavor in a canister of water overnight to infuse the flavor) or coconut water from the store is also a great option
  • Rub coconut oil on the skin, coconut is cooling so it will help cool the body
  • Eat things like cucumber, avocado, coconut, fennel, fresh basil, dill, mint, cardamon, coriander/cilantro, cumin, saffron, lime, leafy greens and fresh fruit
  • If you are going to treat yourself to ice cream, enjoy it in the afternoon
  • Eat lighter meals 
  • Do not put ice in your drinks. Room temperature drinks actually help your body to cool off quicker
  • If you drink alcohol remember this, beer is cooling and wine is warming. Red wine is more warming than white so in the summer, maybe switch to white wine if you don't drink beer. However, all alcohol turns warming to the body once your body starts to digest it so watch out in the hot sun.
  • Keep hydrated with mostly water 
  • Enjoy the lakes, rivers, ocean and pools whenever possible and get in some relaxing time :)
Have a wonderful, refreshing, summer!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Home Made Nut Butter Cups

My husband loves peanut butter. I love peanut butter (or any nut butter) and chocolate. But I have been trying to stay away from sugar on a daily basis. Every now and then I allow myself a sweet treat, but most of the time I still try to make it somewhat healthy. So I decided to make my own nut butter cups. Instead of just chocolate and peanut butter, I made a crust that added a little more chew and a whole lot more satisfaction!

3/4 shredded organic unsweetened coconut
1/2 cups organic almonds or cashews
3 tablespoons organic cacao powder
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup pitted dates

Mix all together in a food processor until a gritty texture.
Press into an 8x8 pan or press into muffin baking cups if you want to make your own individual "PB cups"
Freeze for 10 minutes

Take out of freezer and layer on favorite nut butter: My favorite is almond. But cashew or peanut butter tastes fantastic too. Make the layer about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Freeze for 5 minutes.
Melt 1.5 - 88% organic dark chocolate bars (or whatever your favorite chocolate is) with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, over low heat until completely melted. Stir often.
Pull pan out of the freezer and pour melted chocolate and coconut oil mix over the nut butter.
Freeze for another 10 minutes. Pull out and serve immediately. Do lot let these treats sit out too long or they will melt.
Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Grow Something Edible, Anything!

Our back yard with experimental pallet gardening. Hint: strawberry pallet garden was the most successful, or using it for creeping vines or flowers. Large vegetables did not have enough root space.

Grow Something Edible

You don't need to start planning an acre garden or tell your significant other you are going to dig up the entire back yard. How about starting slow with the few things that you like to eat on a regular basis at home. Maybe you decide you want lettuce, kale, collard greens or spinach. Maybe you like sugar snap peas or beets or cucumbers. Or maybe herbs are less intimidating and you start with some basil, thyme and/or oregano. Whatever it may be, plant something that is edible this summer, and then eat it! You will be amazed at the pride that you feel when you grow your own food. You will also learn to appreciate food in a whole different way.
For me, the biggest things about creating a garden is that I feel a deep connection with the earth, the sun, the rain, the wind....the universe. Each one of the elements effects the food that I am growing and I am thankful for each one in their own way. It also has allowed me to deepen the understanding of life in how there is a beginning, middle, end and back to a beginning that leads into another middle and another end, the circle of life. Seeds become a plant, become a fruit or vegetable, become food and scraps (food becomes part of me and scraps become compost, which becomes dirt) and I am fueled to become something even greater and the dirt is made so that I can plant and nourish my next round of food. The cycle keeps rolling on. And so does life. How we take care of ourselves directly effects our health and well being. By lovingly growing food for us and our family we harvest so much more than just food, we are able to serve up edible love. So go ahead, try it, it is not that complicated. I promise you will smile ear to ear next time you pick up that salad or eat that cucumber or strawberry that was grown by you! Plus, your grocery bill will thank you.

Need some inspiration once you have home grown lettuce, here is a recipe that a dear friend from Growing Places Indy gave me. It is my go to salad dressing. I also use it as a dip or a dressing for grain salad mixes:

6 TBL Olive oil
3 TBL Balsamic vinegar
1 TBL Honey or maple syrup
1 TBL Soy sauce
1 TBL Mustard
2 cloves crushed or chopped garlic
1-2 inch ginger shredded
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw all ingredients into a glass jar and shake until well combined. Pour desired amount over salad. Keeps in refrigerator up to 2 weeks....but I doubt it will last that long :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Make Allergy Season Enjoyable

Many people love the fact that the weather is turning the corner and spring is in the air! Many people also experience allergies this time of year that can leave them feeling drowsy, stuffy, itchy, congested and irritated. A suggestion to help keep your nasal passage way clean and clear is neti pot irrigation. This is a simple and quick self care regimen that you can incorporate into your morning and/or evening routine that can help manage the severity of the symptoms that you may normally experience. If you have asthma or severe allergies, please talk with your doctor first about adding this to your routine.

You can purchase a neti pot at most local convenience or drug stores or online at places like Banyan Botanicals. When you use the neti pot make sure you use filtered, sterile water that is room temp or slightly warm to touch. Fill the neti pot about 3/4 full of water then mix 1/4 teaspoon non- iodized salt into the water in order to make your saline solution. Follow directions on your neti pot box or check out this link here for more instruction:

After your neti pot experience make sure to use some nasaya oil. Or plain, organic sesame seed oil in your nose. This oil will prevent your nostrils from drying out, which makes you more susceptible to allergens and infections. Just place a few drops on your pinky or ring finger and gently wipe the inside of the nostril with a thin layer of oil. Dab the tip of your nose with a napkin to wipe up any excess oil from the face. To learn more about this technique and to take it a step further visit Banyan Botanicals for a video and product information.

Enjoy easier breathing this season and take time to actually stop and smell the fresh rain, flowers and spring air. 

Breathe easy!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Oil Pulling Leads to Total Body Detox

I have been seeing a lot of chatter about oil pulling on social media and have been seeing it pop up on the web as an alternative health suggestion for many health issues. It is something that I tried a few years back but then discontinued because my morning routine was growing to large, to fast. But I have recently picked it up again because a few of my clients have been asking about it and I want to be able to speak from experience as I regurgitate information from ayurvedic and medical texts.

Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic method of healing for the gums and teeth, as well as detoxifying the entire body.
The benefits of this practice are quite expansive and worth the 20 minutes of your time in the morning. You may do it while you focus on other things like cleaning the house, washing dishes, folding laundry, taking the dog for a walk, or my favorite, getting some morning reading in before my day gets crazy.

What it Does:

  • Brightens and whitens teeth, reduced plaque and bad breath
  • Reduces stiffness and pain in joints 
  • Relieves nasal and sinus congestion
  • May help with migraine headaches
  • Regulates menstrual cycle and provides relief from PMS
  • Helps with clearing skin
  • Boosts energy
  • Benifits the throat, voice and eyes
  • Improves the lymphatic system
  • May help to alleviate allergies
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Helps with insomnia
  • Possible remedy for jaw soreness and TMJ

How it is Done:

  • Wake up
  • Splash your face with cool water and rinse out your eyes
  • Drink a large glass of warm water
  • Try for your morning evacuation 
  • Before you brush your teeth and on an empty stomach, take 1/2 up to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, sesame oil or sunflower oil and swish it in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Ultimately you are going for 1 tablespoon of oil for 20 minutes, but if you need to work up to that, start with less oil for less amount of time and give yourself a few days to get used to it.
  • Make sure to move the oil around slowly in the mouth and swish it through the teeth. Try to get the oil in all the nooks of the mouth. Lightly, lightly gargle a few times before you spit it out. 
  • DO NOT SWALLOW any of the oil, it is absorbing and pulling toxins from your body that you do not want to reabsorb. 
  • When your 20 minutes is up spit out the oil in your toilet or trash, you do not want to spit it into the sinks, as it will clog your pipes. 
  • Rinse out your mouth with warm water and then brush your teeth and scrape your tongue.
NOTE: Do not do this for more or less than 20 minutes (after you have worked up to your 20 minutes). More than 20 gives chance to reabsorbing the toxins through the mouth that you are trying to get rid of. Less than 20 is not nearly as effective. Definitely brush your teeth afterwards. It takes about 15-20 days of doing it every day, to see results. If every day is not possible try for every other day, shoot for at least 4 days a week, which is better than not doing it at all!

Friday, February 28, 2014

How You Eat Is Just As Important As What You Eat

Here are 11 healthful tips on how to eat so that you may digest your food optimally. If you have digestive issues and/or feel super tiered after you eat, these tips will help your digestive system come back into balance. How you eat is just as important as what you eat.

  1. Eat in a quiet, settled atmosphere
  2. Offer some sort of blessing or thought of gratitude towards your food before you eat
  3. Only eat when you are hungry
  4. Wait until previous meal is digested before you put anything else in your mouth (besides water). Usually give your stomach 4-5 hours in between meals 
  5. Chew your food thoroughly and eat at a moderate pace
  6. Sip 4-6 oz of warm water with a meal. Stay away from iced and carbonated beverages with your meal
  7. Eat to a point of comfort. Eat to satisfaction, not full. 
  8. Postpose eating if you are upset 
  9. Always sit down to eat (sitting in the car does NOT count) 
  10. Eat around the same time every day
  11. Rest for a few minutes after each meal, laying on your left side will also help with digestion after a meal.
Try a handful of these recommendations until they become habit and then layer on a few more. Your digestion should get better and stronger by following these tips.  


Friday, February 14, 2014

Serve Yourself a Bowl of Health

Making your own food is not only an act of labor, it is an act of deep love, for you and those you are cooking for. Yes, it can be time consuming sometimes, but in the end the act of creating can bring to you more than you expect. 
Here is a quick recipe that is packed with all kinds of great warming spices, cooling coconut, grounding root vegetables, protein packed lentils and chickpeas and digestive kraut. 

1/2 cup lentils (soak in warm water in the morning so they are ready to use when you get home from work) 
1/2 cup dry chickpeas or 1 cup canned (if using dry, soak in warm water in the morning as well)
1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch chunks and roasted
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup diced onion
2 inches fresh minced ginger
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder (if you want/like more spice)
2 teaspoon cumin seed
4 small -medium carrots
1 cup broccoli
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup full fat coconut cream or thick coconut milk
2 cups spinach or kale
kraut of choice
Fresh lime cut into quarters

Soak your lentils and chickpeas in the morning. Set aside in a bowl. When you get home and are ready to cook, rinse the lentils and chickpeas separately, and then put them in separate sauce pans. Cover both with 2 inches of water, typically 2-3 cups. Add a sprinkle of ginger powder and black pepper to the water, this will help with the bloating feeling that some people get from these two foods. Turn on medium high and bring to boil, then bring to simmer for 20-30 minutes, until tender. 

While the beans and lentils are cooking, clean and chop your sweet potato. Toss it in olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a dutch-oven or large soup pot melt coconut oil and then add in the onion, stir for about 2 minutes then add the garlic and ginger, sauté for about 1 minute all together. Then add the spices and cumin seeds, mix well until fragrant. Add the carrots and broccoli and stir until they are coated in the spices. 

Pour in the broth/water and coconut cream/milk, bring mix to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. 

Toss in the sweet potatoes, lentils (with their cooking water if any is left) and chickpeas (drain if using canned, if using freshly cooked, add the cooking water too). Then toss in the kale or spinach. Stir and simmer for 5 more minutes. 

Serve alone or over rice or quinoa. Top off with your favorite kraut and a squeeze of lime juice. Share with those that you love!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Nourish Yourself with Hot Chocolate

It has been a bit cold here in the midwest. And that means that it is perfect weather for hot chocolate!
Cold weather has an effect on the body by leaving it cold, dry, light, creaky and stiff. We can start to balance out those reducing qualities, by adding things into our daily routine and lifestyle that is rich, sweet, nurturing and grounding. One of these things is hot chocolate. Here is my favorite recipe that I have been playing around with this winter. Enjoy a guilt free cup with those that you love (young and old) and feel the love rush in!

Hot Chocolate Recipe
Serves 2

2 cup milk (coconut, almond, cow)
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 TBL almond butter
2 Medjool dates
4 TBL organic 100% pure cacao (cacao powder is high in anti-oxidants)
1 teaspoon *Ashwagandha powder
Optional: if you love coconut you can also add 2 teaspoons of coconut butter

Instructions: Measure and stir all ingredients into a pot, heat until it starts to simmer. Pour into a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. Pour and sip hot with someone you love!

*Ashwagandha is an herb that is highly used in ayurvedic medicine:

  • Increases energy and vitality
  • General adaptogen for combating stress
  • Assists in calming the mind and promotes restful sleep
  • Supports proper function of the adrenals
  • Helps calm anxiety and soothes the nervous system
  • Will adapt to helping with rest in the evening or giving energy in the morning/mid-day
  • Purchase here:
Obviously you can make the hot chocolate without this herb, but I highly suggest you order it and give it a try. 

Addition by a reader (that I fully appreciate): When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from its "antioxidant" power. Chocolate being an antioxidant, is believed to help the body's cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke. Awesome right?

Cheers to a cozy night in!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ginger - eat it, drink it, smell it

Ginger is becoming very popular these days and the tea isles are brimming with ginger tea claiming to help digestion, bloating and even the common cold. I am happy to say that the hype about this root is true and that if you have not incorporated this herb into your diet, now is as good of time as any!

Ginger is a medicinal plant that has many positive effects on the body. Here are a few ways that you can start to incorporate it into your daily life.
  • Drinking ginger tea after a meal can help with digestion.
  • Chew the root to help sooth a sore throat.
  • Breath in ginger essential oils when you feel a headache coming on. 
  • Apply the fresh root as a rouge, as it stimulates circulation.
  • Grate ginger root into stews, sauces, oatmeal, and teas in order to help with the digestive process. When added to the cooking process of beans, mung beans or lentils it will help with flatulence (add turmeric and black pepper as well as grated or powdered ginger to help with bloating that may come from these foods). 
  • Bake with ground ginger root for a warming spice. Great for cold weather foods to help the body feel warm.
  • Ginger is great for nausea, so bring some with you when you travel if you are one who gets motion sickness easily.
  • Ginger helps with spasms or cramps, so those of you who have painful cramps during your menstrual cycle should try to consume ginger at least 1-2 times a day, 2 weeks leading up to your period. 
  • Eating a coin size piece of raw ginger before you eat a meal, squeeze some fresh lemon juice and add a dash of salt to the ginger and chew mindfully. Once you swallow you will feel your stomach start to warm up, this is your digestive fire burning at a higher level so that it can metabolize what you are about to feed it.
  • Ginger essential oil will help relieve and clear out a head cold. Breath in a combination of 3 drops of each: basil, eucalyptus and ginger essential oils. Add these to a pot of steaming hot water and cover your head with a towel as you bend over the pot and breath deeply.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREATH IN TOO HOT OF STEAM. Wait for the water to cool slightly so that you can breath in the steam comfortably.

IMPORTANT: Ginger is heating and for some, may cause stomach distress. If you experience diarrhea or stomach pain after using ginger for a few days, back off. Not all herbs work for every-body, so it is important to make note and use your best judgement. There is always an alternative, although trying powdered ginger over fresh is also a good experiment, as fresh vs dry ginger is used differently by the body and might make a difference for those people who cannot handle fresh ginger.