Ayurveda 101: Bringing Your Body Into Balance

I recently shared with you why I’m a big believer of a NO-DIET plan and a balanced lifestyle. (If you haven’t checked out, READ HERE).

That being said, there are some dietary theories and lifestyles that I believe have good backing, lots of positive research showing their benefits, and are good for you to know more about. It doesn’t mean you have to follow their “rules” 100%, BUT their principles are extremely beneficial in achieving and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle that can help you reach (and sustain) your health goals.

I wanted to share a bit about the principles of AYURVEDA, which I personally apply a lot in my personal life and with my health coaching clients.

READ MORE to learn the basics of Ayurveda, and how you can use it to bring more balance in your life (and that includes reaching your ideal weight, improving your digestion, skin, destressing, and more!). 

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February Love Food: Beets

Many times people fear beets because of their sweetness and high sugar content, but by cutting them out of your diet, you’re missing out on all their awesome, healthy-boosting properties.

And actually, beets can help you stay slim, have balanced hormones, balanced energy, and more.

READ MORE to learn more about the awesome benefits, HOW to eat beets, and get my super easy hormone-balancing juice recipe.

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10 Ways to be Healthier in 2019

 I wanted to share some of my best tips to help you have a healthier year in a DOABLE and SUSTAINABLE way.

The key lies in finding your happiness, destressing, and learning to enjoy more healthy foods and healthy habits that sit well with you. The idea is NOT to stress about what you haven’t done, or to do something that will cause more stress in your life. Instead, be kind with yourself this year, and know that any little steps you take will be making you healthier and deepening your sense of wellness.

Here are 10 key ways you can start improving your Health and overall Wellness this year. Choose one or two steps to start, then build your way up!

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HEALTHY COOKWARE. TOSS THAT TEFLON & PLASTIC!

Apart from watching WHAT you eat, it’s just as important to monitor 1) the QUALITY of your food (are you getting organic where possible, avoiding excess pesticides, GMO ingredients, harmful ingredients, etc?) 2) how and when you’re eating, AND 3) what you use to COOK AND STORE YOUR FOOD.

Did you know that your favorite nonstick pans and plastic tupperware are hurting your health??

Exposure to harmful chemicals that are present in your everyday cookware can have hormone-disrupting and organ-damaging effects, which sets the stage for serious health issues including cancer, heart disease and more.

So it’s important to start NOW to clean up your kitchen, swapping your toxic cookware for “cleaner” options,  which ultimately can make a huge difference for your future health.

pots and pans.jpeg

Here is my mini-guide on how to get started cleaning up your kitchen and choosing safer cookware (and food storage ware):

1.      Get rid of Teflon

Sadly Teflon is toxic and must be avoided! YES Teflon pots, pans and non-stick skillets are VERY convenient. Food doesn’t stick and clean-up of these pans is super easy. Problem is, when the heat gets high on Teflon, it releases toxins, sending particles through the air, onto kitchen surfaces and into anyone who happens to be in the immediate vicinity. Plus, teflon has been linked to cholesterol, fertility and thyroid problems. Read more here: http://www.ewg.org/research/pfc-dictionary

2.      Rethink your Plastic containers.

Most people are aware that heating food in plastic containers is a major safety no-no. But even us more health-conscious guys and gals are using plastic wrap, bags and containers for our meal prep, and it comes at a cost. Plastic containers are packed with hormone-disrupting chemicals that leach into food, not to mention poisoning land and sea – with a host of toxins. So next time you’re storing your leftovers or prepping food for the week, use clear, stackable GLASS containers instead. Read more HERE for a bit more ideas for how to avoid plastic and choose nontoxic containers.

3.      Toss the Plastic Wrap (and if possible, almost any plastic that is touching food).

Plastic wrap may seem extremely useful, BUT it’s made of a type of plastic that contains endocrine (hormone) disruptors, takes hundreds of years to decompose, dumps chemicals into the ground, poisoning the environment and sickening or even killing creatures who are unlucky enough to ingest it. Instead (again) use glass containers, mason jars and glass bottles with metal lids, even silicone containers are better, and/or wrap with parchment paper. I recently bought these silicone adaptable lids that easily replace plastic wrap and are great for putting on to of any bowl/plate/cup/baking dish etc that you need to store in the fridge and doesn’t have its own cover.

4.      Increase your Glass, Cast-Iron and Stainless Steel.

  • GLASS: Glass is great for storage, taking meals on-the-go, kitchen prep and baking. Glass bakeware and mixing bowls stand up to heat, whisking and even some chopping. It’s durable, relatively low-cost, sustainable and easy to clean, making it my #1 pick. Just note: after removing from a hot oven always place on a dry, heat-safe surface, towel, cutting board or cooling rack to prevent cracking.

  • CAST-IRON: Cast iron cookware is a classic safe cookware option that’s been used for generations. A well-seasoned skillet or pan can act similarly to non-stick versions, and provide even heat throughout the cooking process, both for the stovetop and oven. They do however require specific clean-up and seasoning after each use, plus they’re heavy. If you want a nicer-looking version that doesn’t require so much clean-up/seasoning, go for high-quality, porcelain-enameled cast iron cookware such as Le Creuset, which is an easier-care alternative. They’re my personal favorite. I love them and use them more than any other brand.

  • STAINLESS STEEL: Stainless steel is a great, more eco-friendly option, that resists stains and corrosion, and is relatively easy to clean. However yes it requires cooking with oil, but that’s ok as long as you use the right kind. And when things start to stick you can always add some water to avoid it. It just takes some getting used to. I also recently learned that there are different levels, and buying the right quality of stainless steel helps. Look for pieces marked 18/8; 18/10; ‘300 series’ or ‘304 grade’ which I’ve read indicates higher quality and less corrosion. Another great (more expensive) option is titanium cookware.

    Some good “cleaner” cookware brands include: All-Clad, Calphalon and again Le Crueset (for stainless steel as well as their traditional cast-iron)

 

What else to AVOID?

  • Plastic cooking utensils. Aim for stainless steel (but beware of scratching your pans), wooden utensils and silicone.

  • Aluminum pots and pans -  as it may cause aluminum to leach into food

  • Most nonstick pots and pans – as they can release toxic gasses when exposed to high heat (even if they say they’re free of Teflon)

  • Any chipped ceramic dishware or bakeware. The glazes used in ceramic dishware often contain lead and cracked or chipping glazes may be more likely to leach lead into foods and liquids.

  • Dish racks made of plastic-coated wire. If possible, substitute with stainless steel dish racks.

Healthy Fats 101: The bad, the good, and the best

Fat is necessary for your health, and a great long-lasting FUEL. (Of course, how much you need varies person by person).

Healthy fats can help with weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease and decrease inflammation (as long as you’re eating the right ones!). They’re also necessary for absorption of many nutrients (you’ve probably heard of fat-soluble vitamins which means we need fat in our meals to absorb these vitamins), and they’re essential for your brain, balanced hormones, healthy skin/hair, reducing stress, and so much more.

If you eat more healthy fats - and cut out unhealthy carbs - you can burn more fat, have less cravings, boost your brain, age better and have less inflammation!

But like most everything, there are good options, bad options, and amazing options. READ MORE to learn which healthy fats I recommend and why.

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A Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving: 5 healthy tips for a guilt-free holiday + Pumpkin Pie recipe

Thanksgiving is about GIVING THANKS; a time to be with loved ones and celebrate all the awesome things in life. AND it's about delicious comforting food. Who doesn't love Thanksgiving food, pumpkins (or ayote), wine, and family time?

Problem is, many of us health-conscious people simultaneously dread the aftermath of waking up bloated and feeling heavy the next day, and possibly even gaining weight in just one weekend.

Luckily I've discovered that doesn't need to be the case. IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE TO ENJOY A HEALTHY THANKSGIVING, while staying guilt-free. Of course indulging a bit (because indulging is OK once in a while), but if you balance it out with some healthier (and even more delicious) recipes, and a few more tips (that I share with you today and in other past blogs), you can fully enjoy the holiday without any negative consequences.

HERE ARE 5 TIPS THAT I PERSONALLY PRACTICE, then check out my blogs for more tips and recipes for a Healthy Thanksgiving

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Coconut Yogurt Chia Pudding Parfait with Papaya Jam

The combo of gut-friendly probiotics and healthy fats from the Coconut Yogurt, together with the omega-3’s, protein, fiber, iron and magnesium from Chia Seeds, makes this Papaya Coconut Chia Pudding an extremely nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest, metabolism-boosting and filling breakfast. This will keep you full more than any cereal, breakfast bar, oatmeal and more than most smoothies!

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5 Diet and Health Myths - Debunked

All of us read stuff on the internet, and hear things from friends and family that convince us that this food is bad for our health, or that food makes us gain weight.

We end up listening more to outside noise instead of listening to our own bodies. Not only that, we often go to extremes.

For example, we hear everywhere that carbs make us gain weight, so then we go cut out all carbs and next thing we know, we’re faced with constipation and a horrible hormonal imbalance.

So before you go to extremes, check out these common mistakes that many of us are making nowadays.

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GREEN SUPERFOODS 101: BENEFITS & TIPS

You’ve probably heard of some of these green superfoods like Moringa and Spirulina and maybe seen them in your local health store. But with so many “superfoods” these days, it can get confusing. What are the different kinds? What are their benefits? What are the differences / which do you need? How/when should you take them?

Today I’ll go through the differences/benefits of these TOP 5 GREEN SUPERFOODS (and some additional tips):

  1. Moringa

  2. Chlorella

  3. Spirulina

  4. Wheatgrass

  5. Barley grass

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Did you know…? Benefits of COCONUT YOGURT (+ bonus recipe!)

Focusing on gut health can help prevent (even help eliminate) many diseases at their root, and is part of the foundation for a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. To support your gut, it’s key to add PROBIOTICS to our diet, via fermented foods and/or supplements.

One easy and delicious way to get your probiotics is with yogurt, BUT most traditional store-bought yogurts are highly processed, filled with sugar, and your common dairy-milk version can be irritating to the gut for many people, therefore canceling out the positive effects of the probiotics!

So instead, I suggest trying dairy-free (unsweetened) Coconut Yogurt!

Read more to learn BENEFITS of Coconut Yogurt, easy ways to use it, and a delicious recipe that you’ll LOVE!

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I Just Finished the Whole30 Challenge - Here are my 10 Takeaways

I am a believer in avoiding fad diets. Instead, I believe in finding the eating style that works for you longer-term. One that helps you reach and maintain your health goals.

But on top of that, when you feel you need a short-term boost to your health (and waistline), food-based detoxes are optimal.

In the toxic world we live in, we can all benefit from a light cleanse here and there. While they may not be necessary if you already eat a very clean diet, I find that the benefits outweigh any negatives, for almost everyone.

And, if you do have a particular health concern, doing a longer-term detox – like a 30 day elimination diet – can be EXTREMELY beneficial. And that’s what led me to trying the Whole30.

READ MORE to learn more about the Whole30, my takeaways, recommendations, and lessons learned!

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A Digestive-Friendly Hormone Balancing, Energy Boosting Smoothie (+ Ayurvedic Smoothie Tips)

Today I’m sharing my DELICIOUS, hormone-balancing, digestive-friendly, energy-boosting smoothie - which takes into consideration Ayurvedic wisdom to make it extra healthy, balancing, warming and easy-to-digest. This smoothie is filled with superfoods, and is vegan, paleo-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, grain-free, contains no added sugars, is filled with fiber and plant-based protein, and is super yummy and easy to make.

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12 Holistic Tips for Healing Anemia

Its crazy how many women suffer from Anemia, and how unaware most people are of what their particular cause is, and what natural tools they can apply to bring their body back into balance – beyond taking iron supplements (which is just a “band-aid” that might not address the root cause and often has side effects).

While my number one recommendation would be to eat more iron-rich foods, there are many other influencing factors to consider. There are many things that may be inhibiting your ability to absorb iron and other nutrients you need to sustain healthy iron-levels and red blood cell count/flow. 

Read more to better understand all the likely causes of your anemia (and/or iron-deficiency and/or low hemoglobin) and 12 Holistic Remedies you can begin to apply now. 

 

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A Valentine's Day Libido-Boosting Smoothie

A healthy, balanced diet will not only help you LOOK better and FEEL more confident (important for sex drive), but also delivers key nutrients to keep your libido high.

In the past Valentine Days, I’ve shared a red beet smoothie, as well as healthy chocolate recipes. This Valentines, I’m giving you a recipe to BOOST YOUR LIBIDO (for both you and your partner)!

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Did You Know….? Antibiotics in Your FOOD Are Hurting Your Health

DId you know that 80% of the antibiotics sold in the US are for food-producing animals?!

It seems that livestock conditions are so bad that they commonly lead to the rapid spreading of infections, and by injecting low doses of antibiotics into the animals, they can avoid disease (plus they grow faster, and you get more meat in less time for less money). 

The problem is that this overuse of antibiotics can harm both our health and that of our environment. 

READ MORE to find out why we need to be careful, and what I suggest to help improve your overall health.

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How to Stay REGULAR While Traveling

When traveling, its very common for our internal systems to get a bit out whack. Its normal – we eat slightly differently, maybe we’re on a different time zone, we don’t have our regular exercise routine, we often stay up later, ETC. All of these little changes can impact our digestion and bowel movements. Even the fact that we’re not using our own toilet can affect us.

When our bowel movements are off/sluggish, that can mean we get bloated, gassy, possibly stomach aches, and even gain a bit of weight.

To avoid this from happening on your next trip, I want to share 6 tricks that WORK to help keep your body's digestion and elimination process as regular as possible when traveling.

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16 Healthiest Carbs

While everyone knows that too much carbs, especially refined carbs, can make you gain weight, completely removing carbs can also have a negative effect on your body, leading to higher stress levels, sugar cravings, imbalanced blood sugar levels, imbalanced hormones and more. Some healthy carbs are (in most cases) an essential part of a healthy BALANCED diet.

Of course, the QUALITY of those carbs is important, as is the quantity (which will depend on your health goals, activity levels and more).

SO WHICH ARE THE BEST CARBS?

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Did you know? Benefits & Uses of TAHINI

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds (basically, the sesame seed version of peanut or almond butter) and is full of copper, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, B1, selenium, fiber, and protein. You’ve probably read about it as an ingredient in hummus, but didn’t realize that, not only is it awesome for your health, but it’s delicious in so many more recipes.  

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Did You Know...? Benefits of Hemp Seeds (+ Recipes!)

Did you know that Hemp Seeds are one of nature's most perfect and nutritious foods? 

These tiny seeds have a concentrated balance of proteins, essential fats, vitamins and enzymes, combined with almost no sugar, sodium, starches nor saturated fats. They’re super easy to digest and contain about 13 grams of protein in just 3 tablespoons. Plus, like most other seeds, they can be used almost anywhere – from sprinkling on your smoothies/salads/soups to a key ingredient in many yummy plant-based recipes. And personally, I LOVE them!

READ MORE to learn nutritional benefits of hemp seeds, and 4 delicious recipes of mine using hemp seeds.

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4 “Healthy” Breakfasts that are Affecting your Health (and what to eat instead)

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast helps to stabilize you, as you face the day ahead. When your blood sugar is balanced after a balanced and nutritious breakfast, you’ll feel more focused and energized. It also helps to rev up your metabolism to more effectively burn off fat and calories throughout your day. A healthy breakfast isn’t just about being low in calories; a well-balanced breakfast will provide protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats in order to give you lasting energy without spiking up your blood sugar.

Here are 4 COMMON "HEALTHY" BREAKFASTS that may be spiking your blood sugar and contributing to an afternoon energy slump, lack of concentration and more, and EASY WAYS TO FIX THEM in order for them to help you reach your health goals.

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