Now that the Holidays are over, now what? Back to the program is what..
I just came back from an unbelievable getaway to Thailand which consisted of savory, tasty and fresh Thailand food x 3 meals everyday, snorkeling and swimming alongside wildly-neon fish, riding motos, basking in age-old and mirror-tiled palaces, reading for leisure (!), swimming through an emerald cave, falling in love with an elephant, gawking at bats (I know), and getting massaged...
I crawled my way to a yoga class last night for the first time in weeks and I kind of fell asleep in child's pose. The process of getting my groove back has been trying, but at least it's begun. "Letting go" and keeping up with healthy habits during the winter months are always more difficult to sludge through. But here I am, being my best cheerleader and yours too. You can do it! Get back on it and find your groove again. A bunch of friends and coworkers are embarking on juice cleanses this week, which is a splendid idea and a great kickstart. Juicing
has tons of benefits and is great to implement as a regimen, not to mention extremely popular these days. Honorable mentions include Living Greens
, Can Can
, Organic Avenue
, for starters.But what happens post-juicing?
How to maintain that glow, lightness of being, clearer eyes, bloat-free belly and improved energy? It's easier than you think to change your food and get on a path that's not necessarily FREE of gluten, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, meat and dairy, but one that contains a lot LESS of these categories which are taxing on the body. I can show you how!
I usually lead a nourishing food cleanse and detox seasonally both with private clients and at Yoga Garden
. Stay tuned on the next group cleanse, btdubs. The point of my cleanse program is not to convert people to veganism, but more about providing the tools to help people make good food choices that ultimately make them feel way, way better. Besides, you are what you eat, so what you eat should be clean, nourishing, nutrient-rich, delicious food that is ideally prepared with love.
Stock up on these yummy Detox foods:
(Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Beets to puree for soups or for roasting)
*Broccoli & Cauliflower
(also perfect as soups and as a roasted side dish)
(Kale and Arugula top my charts; mixed greens =less boring)
*Nuts and Seeds
(an unsalted variety for snacking or pureeing as dressing!)
(for soups and salad dressings)
(red, white, navy, mung, garbanzo, black- for dips and salads)
*Gluten-free whole grains
: millet, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth (for nutrient-dense salads and morning porridges)
Big diff between eating and feeding. Don't eat just to eat. Feed yourself. Nourish, enjoy and take care.
Happy New Year indeed.
Peas and love,
Tis the season for lots of cooking... Try these super easy sides for the next Holiday dinner you throw or go to!
While we did have a bird, the sides are as always (well mostly) vegan/gluten/dairy-free, delish, quick and won't leave you with that sinking feeling afterward.
Glazed and Roasted Brussel Sprouts
1 lb. Brussel Sprouts (optional to halve them; they cook faster and more even that way.. I did not halve them this time and liked the toasty exterior/ fresh and crunchy interior)
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Leftover Bacon Grease (optional; if you happen to've cooked some bacon that morning and have leftover grease that you didn't throw out yet, use it for a smokier flavor... the guys will thank you)
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
Huge handful golden Hunza Raisins and crushed Almonds
Salt to taste
On a baking sheet, lay down the sprouts, drizzle oil over and massage well until well coated. Pour on maple syrup and add in raisins, almonds and salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until edges start to get toasty looking.
Simply Mashed Potatoes
Quite simply the easiest thing on the menu and the hardest thing to mess up!
3 lbs Medium Potatoes (15 or so)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance (Vegan Butter) or Regular Butter
2 Tbsp Coconut Butter
1/4 cup Almond Milk
Salt to Taste
Boil Potatoes for 30 minutes, or until soft when pierced with fork. Drain, let cool, and peel off skin. Start mashing with a large wooden spoon or spatula and add in Milk, Butter, Coconut Butter, Chives, Rosemary and Salt. For creamier potatoes, take all ingredients into a food processor.
Roasted String Beans
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Red Pepper
On a baking sheet, lay down beans and pour over oil, salt, pepper, Paprika and Ground Pepper- and sprinkle over garlic Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until roasted and toasted looking. Optionally, squeeze over a small lemon wedge when cooled off.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes + Cran-Orange Sauce
4 Large Sweet Potatoes
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Coconut Butter
2 Tbsp Earth Balance (Vegan Butter) or Regular Butter
1 tsp Salt
Bake Potatoes at 350 degrees on center rack for 20-25 minutes, until soft when pierced with fork. Let cool, then peel off skin. In a bowl, mash potatoes with wooden spoon or spatula, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Easy as that..
1 package Organic Cranberries
1/2 cup Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup
1 cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 orange peeled and cut into 1/2" bits
In a pot, boil cranberries in OJ over medium heat until cranberries start to pop and absorb all liquid. Start mashing with a wooden spoon or spatula, then add in syrup or nectar and orange bits. Turn down heat to low and mix it all up until thick sauce forms. Serve with everything!
Glazed and Herbed Hormone/Antibiotic-Free Bird
We were blessed with a giant bird that I glazed, stuffed and over-herbed. Try this simple glaze to pour over the whole thing...
2/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2/3 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 cup OJ
Bring all ingredients in a pot until boiling and mix until sort of thick (3-5 minutes). Pour it over!
1/2 old baguette or 5 slices of toasted bread, cut into small pieces
1 cup Veggie Stock (or Chicken stock if desired)
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 cup Chestnuts (roasted in oven for 20 minutes, skin peeled off)
Fresh Thyme and Sage
Mix it all up and stuff it!
Sharing a laugh with my mom (left) and my aunt (right)...
A wonderful Thanksgiving was had indeed... Happy Holidays!
The makings of homemade pies... recipes to come!
Being grateful is not only good for you but good for the others
around you when you flex that grateful muscle. A little gratitude goes a long way, and everyone's better off..
Today I'm feeling grateful for the lucky and loveliest things: wonderful friends, jobs I love, a cozy nest, a neato partner, my sissy, and all the nourishing food I get to constantly make and indulge in; speaking of which, off to do more meal-prep (and house-straightening) in anticipation of my parents' arrival!
Nothing happier than baking on a cold wintry day to A Charlie Brown Christmas... Happy Thanksgiving!
Carrots, Purple Pepper and Candy-striped Beets: makings of something yummy and cozy for tonite...
Amazing Fall Amarettas... I left the Farmers Market--- penniless!
I had the great fortune of spending one of the most memorable weekends ever tucked away in no cell-phone-zone, celebrating Autumn on a wonderful farm in Capay Valley and then jetting off to soak in magical sulpherous springs in Wilbur (more on that later!). The Fall Hoes-Down Festival
at Fully Belly Farm is a celebration of the end of harvest for which farmers put down their hoes and pretty much party. It's one of my favorite events ever
and look forward to it with anticipation each year. The beautiful site of 300 acres is filled with all sorts of activity (like corn husking, salsa-making, sheep shearing, goat-petting, gourd painting), workshops (like cheese making, fermenting food, blacksmithing, how to use herbs), pumpkin patches and fields of sprouting crops, and informative farm tours that allow one to learn about their sustainable farming practices; not to mention tons of amazing organic food, yummy desserts, drinks, and fun, live music; we literally couldn't get enough, and I didn't want to leave. Some highlights below...
Precious, two week old baby piglets who slept in a line up; I love the rebel in the middle faced the opposite direction!
A wonderful little workshop on fermentation... Can't wait to start pickling!
Fresh and delish salads of sorts, and local brews of kombucha and beer...
Plus, gorgeous fall bounty; can't wait to go crazy with the heirloom avocados I picked up!
Hay forts, corn husking, grain-to-bread- pizza making and sheep-to-shawl wool weaving--- love that loom!
No farm, no food.
The air was mild and the sky was unbelievable...
Fall is off to a magical start. Happy Autumn!
Nightshades have a bad rep: there are a lot of anecdotal references which claim that nightshade veggies such as eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes exacerbate joint inflammation due to their levels of alkaloids- which are naturally occurring chemicals produced by plants as primarily a means of self-defense from insects. There are a lot of members in the nightshade family but the most popular ones are the 3 noted above...
Generally, nightshades should probably be avoided by those who suffer from Gout- which is a type of Arthritis where uric acid builds up in the joints and causes pain, swelling and inflammation. However there is not an exact science; everybody is built differently and needless to say, some are more sensitive to certain food than others. The best way to test this is to add or remove items from his/her diet and be vigilantly observant of what changes ensue or not. There is such a thing as eating something every once in a while; that's generally the approach I regularly implement.
Here's what you don't know about this particular nightshade that I'm so intrigued by: Eggplant provides a rich source of folic acid and potassium- nutrients that are incidentally necessary for pregnant women. They contain a multitude of vitamins and phytonutrients, and are a major source of cardio-protective fiber, Vitamin C/K/B6 and folate- not to mention big time antioxidants which naturalize free radical activity in the body. All this to say that eggplant in all its nutrient-dense properties helps keep blood sugar in check, helps lower cholesterol levels, improves the flexibility of blood vessels, and aids in digestive function.
The makings of a saucy saute!
Here's what I whipped up with early-fall CSA bounty!
1/2 an Eggplant, sliced (reference 1st photo), then cut into bite size pieces
2 Organic Tomatoes, chopped
1 Organic Zucchini, chopped or spiralized (I did the latter and loved its noodly flair in this dish)
1/4 cup Fennel leaves
1 Shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Gluten-free Soy Sauce
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Sprinkles of Black Pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup Brown Rice OR 1- 8oz. Package of Quinoa Pasta (I mixed in some tri-color Quinoa Fusili into the mix last minute and loved it)
In a skillet, heat up 3 tablespoons of Grapeseed or Olive Oil for 3 minutes and throw in garlic and shallot/onion till onions are translucent. Throw in eggplant and tomatoes (AND zucchini- only if using them chopped; if using them as spiralized, throw in later); cover and let cook over low heat for 7-10 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients: fennel leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne and soy sauce. Now is when you toss in spiralized zucchini (like I did above). Stop right here if you want to enjoy this as a saute- it's smoking good looking and yummy. To add a little more heartiness, serve with a side of cooked Brown Rice or throw in cooked pasta noodles like I did above; whether served with gluten-free carbo's or just alone, this is such a warm and winning Fall dish.
A bouquet of Basil arrived in my CSA and I was floored to get the rare and beautiful purple variety. I can't get enough of this plant: not only does its unique aroma and flavor enhance all pasta dishes, but the health benefits are tremendous. A super anti-bacterial herb, Basil provides protection at the cellular level, protecting cell structure and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. It also contains a bunch of cool "volatile" oils that qualify the plant as an anti-inflammatory food, protect against unwanted bacterial growth, and is a great source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene (a powerful anti-oxidant which prevents free-radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in your blood stream), Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium. Now that's quite a mighty plant looking out for you!
If you can't tell, we eat a lot of (Quinoa) Spaghetti
in our household, mainly because it's simple (and quick and healthy and always delicious and exciting every time). The Basil bouquet inspired me for this version and bam, along came this very simple, homemade pasta sauce:Tomato-Basil sauce with Summer Squash and Fennel
4 Organic Tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup Basil leaves (green OR purple-- if you're ever so lucky)
2 Yellow Summer Squash, sliced
2 small Fennel stalks, chopped (use leaves as well)
1 small Shallot, chopped
1 big Garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. Sea Salt
2 tsp. Oregano
1 8oz. package of Quinoa Spaghetti
, cooked and drained
2 Tbsp Oil (Olive or Grapeseed)
In a skillet, cook Garlic and Shallot in Oil for 3 minutes, till the smell just gets you. Add in chopped Tomatoes, stir and let cook over low heat for 10-12 minutes, till tomatoes are soft and can be crushed with your wooden stirring spoon. Add in Squash and Fennel, stir and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Lastly throw in Basil, salt, Oregano and generous Black Pepper. Let sit over low heat for another 10 minutes. Throw in cooked noodles to skillet of sauce, stir and serve.. Enjoy!
'Kitchen Sink' Dinner, by Gautham Hegde
Detoxing isn't just about stripping away stuff that no longer serve you- nor is it about just eating raw broccoli or leaves of lettuce. Rather, it's about filling up on a ton of delicious and nutriient-dense food.
The photo above was taken by a MALE Spring Detox participant! Yes, you men. You too can take charge of your health without compromising good food. Gautham calls this the "Kitchen Sink" Quinoa Dish. He sauteed garlic, shallots, and a bunch of veggies he received from his CSA like broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, chard, asparagus and celery with some oil, threw in some energy-packed quinoa- and bam: a beautiful and delish medley full of good stuff he can subsist on.
Try your own saute tonight, using fresh and seasonal produce. Only eating what's available keeps you in sync with nature.. Here's a list of good Spring bounty available now (in California):
Get some Spring in your step!
Hello, brand new year! I'm so grateful for all the blessings of 2010 and look forward to a new year full of good cheer.
I spent most of Christmas break nestled in my parents' home in Los Angeles, mainly photo journaling and documenting a lot of my mom's great recipes, including 4 different types of homemade kimchi! Stay tuned for a classic Korean recipe coming soon...
New Year's Eve was pretty cozy and special as it was spent alongside some of my favorite friends in our home in San Francisco. Finger foods were definitely in order, which included among others, goat cheese-stuffed figs, macaroons (which I did not make as I'm not much of a confectioner yet), and these easy baked sweet potato chips:
To make these, a dehydrator would be ideal. But baking works too:
2 medium sweet potatoes, mandolined or sliced thinly.
Lay potato slices on a baking sheet, drizzle over very evenly Olive Oil, and sprinkle over some sea salt.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until browning occurs. Careful not to burn, although some of the really well done ones are crispy good...
I'd like to thank all my wonderful readers, clients and friends for all your support of Prana Wellness these past 6 months, for all your kind words, thoughtful questions, comments and emails that have and continue to help me carry out my mission as a Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach.
Look forward to more exciting recipes, more features on eco-products, an herbal guide for weight loss and skincare, a post on organic DIY home remedies for bodycare, and much more!
Hope your new year is off to a radical start and that the rest is happy happy happy. A great quote that struck me recently was something along the lines of "Happiness isn't a station that you get off at; it's a manner by which to travel"...