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,
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!
Cook- more often than not.
Cook with love always, and whenever possible cook with the ones you love
The best thing about my job as a Health Coach is that I help people change their food and eat more responsibly by way of respecting their bodies and our earth. The best thing about my other job as an Interior Designer is to promote using sustainable materials in order to build beautiful spaces conducive to wellness and happiness. Here's my list of Top 5 products that I'd recommend for your home which are earth-friendly, cost efficient and ultimately better for our health and well-being.
No- not panda food, bamboo
is a super durable, tough, high-quality and commercial-grade material suitable for residential spaces as they have low formaldehyde emissions; is perfect for allergy-sufferers as they don't promote dust or harbor dust mites; easy to clean; an inexpensive alternative to hardwood, costing 25-50% less; looks great!
ZERO Voc Paint
A LOT of building materials, carpets, paints, floors, solvents, composites, upholstery and personal care products off-gas or emit Volatile Organic Compounds- carbon based chemicals that evaporate at room temp, which can harm our health a great deal
. Yolo Colorhouse
paint comes in a ridiculous range of colors and are tried and true: no carcinogens, toxins, mutagens, hazardous air pollutants, formaldehyde, ozone depleting compounds, VOCs or funky odors. Check out this nifty color selection
tool on their site!
100% Organic Cotton Sheets
Gentle on our skin and the earth, organic cotton is hypoallergenic, soft and safe. Did you know it takes about 1 lb of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to grow the cotton needed to create ONE bath towel? Planted on only 3 percent of arable land, traditional cotton crops account for 25% of the total pesticides and herbicides used annually - about 350 million pounds per year. Ouch. Turning cotton into fabric without the use of chemicals allows the cotton fibers to retain strength, softness and durability. Get bedded with the best
Cradle-to-cradle TextilesReally nice
, green fabrics and rugs have come a long way using the cradle 2 cradle
method- a new approach to industrial design that promotes the regeneration/reincarnation of a material to give birth to a new form/function post its life cycle as opposed to the conventional method of cradle to grave
design- which sees the product at the end of its life in landfill. C2C textiles come from renewable sources, is recyclable and safe for human health and the earth. Some of my favorite green textiles: Sina Pearson
, and Mod Green Pod
, just to name a few- all which are only available to the trade so hire me as your Interior Designer and I'll grant you access to beautiful, earth-friendly textiles.
Most recycled glass products remind me of the unwanted jelly nougat candy from childhood found at the bottom of my trick or treat vessel. But I love the icy smooth look of bio glass
- made from crushed, recycled bottles and such using a process of heat and pressure with NO chemicals, dyes, resins or epoxies. Would look smashing in a contemporary bathroom and as kitchen counters
Change your food AND change your home for a healthier, happier you. A great way to support change is by the consumer choices you make.
Happy Green Living!
I'm always on the lookout for a great moisturizing mask that is gentle, made of organic ingredients and sensitive-skin friendly. I found it, right in the kitchen cupboard. (The kitchen cupboard has been coming in handy for me lately- see post on Herbs below). Really- I shall look no further. The raw honey sitting in my cupboard is getting even more usage than usual nowadays, as it's been a wonderful face mask!
The use of masks to purify, clean and beautify the skin dates way back to ancient civilizations. Honey is a delicious, sweet way to soften, deeply hydrate and moisturize the skin. Its benefits are tremendous, as it contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids, and therefore acts as a beauty aid that nourishes the skin. Honey also acts as an antibacterial/anti-fungal agent and disinfectant- thereby speeding the process of healing wounds, scars and burns.
This treatment will leave you with a rosy glow resulting from increased circulation:
2-3 teaspoons of raw honey at room temperature (raw honey means unprocessed and unfiltered and sometimes appears creamy/opaque).
Pull hair back, and apply honey with fingertips onto face, massaging gently until evenly spread. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. It should feel warm and relaxing. Rinse using a wet towel or wash off. Follow with moisturizer.
Repeat every week!
(FYI: This treatment is recommended for women AND men alike, and all skin types, especially dry, dehydrated, sunburned, windburned, mature or environmentally damaged skin).
One of the highlights of last fall was attending the Hoes-Down Fall Festival
at Full Belly Farm in Capay Valley- where my CSA comes from. It was there that I encountered the amazing herbalist Kami McBride
, as I heard her give a talk on various common herbs that could really enhance our health and wellness if used as they were meant to. Herbs and spices are a great gift from nature and are a wonderful way to not only heighten the flavor of our food but to supplement our intake of nutrients, as they are abundant with medicinal qualities that help keep us from getting sick. Below are some of the most common herbs that I bet lurk behind your kitchen cupboard. Read on to find out about their amazing healing properties:
One of the most popular and well-loved herbs, basil's warming and aromatic qualities calm the nervous system, settles the stomach and digestive issues, clears the mind, and wards off colds, coughs and allergies as it destroys phlegm. Have more of it during the late summer/early fall to prevent wintery sinuses and bronchial congestion. It is great as pesto
, or in a cup of tea. It's also so easy to grow. Buy a plant and be sure to pinch off the flower heads, as doing so encourages larger growth (which I haven't been good about doing)!
This photo was taken on an amazing hike in Point Reyes
along the Tule Elk Trail. This plant is unlike anything I've come across in nature. Certainly unique, the root of the burdock plant is rich in nutrients and minerals and has multi-healing properties. It is high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, chromium and magnesium, regenerates cells, and resolves skin ailments like eczema, psoriasis, boils, and other inflammatory conditions. Burdock root is also helpful in supporting sluggish digestion. This root is great in teas, soups, and even baths!
This jagged-edged green weed is a powerhouse of healing and full of nutrients. These leaves love parks and lawns and thrives in moist, dried or disturbed soil. They're bitter in taste- a flavor we need more in our diet, and make such great spring salads. Bitters increase salivation, which is beneficial for nutrient assimilation and the breakdown of food. Dandelions are a tonic to the liver and kidneys, contains high amounts of Vitamins A, C, and E, and stimulates the flow of digestive substances.
This antibacterial root helps fight colds and flu's, relieves nausea and motion sickness, increases circulation, prevents mucus congestion, soothes sore throats and upset stomachs, lessens menstrual cramps, constipation and inflammation, and stimulates digestion. Best in tea, stir fry's, morning porridge, salads, and even baths! It certainly is one the main ingredients in my flu-be-gone tonic that I whip up for myself (and household) whenever the ickies come along...
This wise plant can be found in most Thanksgiving turkey stuffing around the world. It is used in heavy meat feasts because it is an antidote to many digestive problems associated with eating meat, as it helps facilitate easy digestion and the breakdown of bacterial pathogens commonly present in meat. Like many herbs, sage fights colds and coughs, and aids in deep sleep. Its aroma kills airborne bacteria: pick some for your dining table's centerpiece! Perfect in tea and like others- in a bath to keep sickness away...
One of my favorite spices, Cayenne is well known for its pain-relieving properties, as it contains Capsaicin- found in many topical pain reliever creams. Apply cayenne-infused oils to arthritic joints, sore muscles and any nerve pain (including shingles). This medicinal herb stimulates blood circulation and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and increases the blood supply to the brain- thereby clearing the head, drowning out congestions, and lessening headaches and mental fog. Cayenne adds a wonderful touch sprinkled into salads, stir-fry's, grain salads, lemon ginger teas, and even in the bath
Try this Gentle Detox Bath Tea (from Kami McBride's book, The Herbal Kitchen)
8 quarts water
1 cup fresh Basil or 1 cup dried Basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh Burdock pieces or 1/2 cup dried Burdock
1/4 cup sliced fresh Ginger
Let the herbs help your body do its job of letting go of what it no longer needs.
Lately, I've been groggy, enervated, and just plain tired-- and it's not for lack of nutrients, exercise, or happiness in my life. I've never dealt with this problem before, but alas--- I'm not sleeping well- nor enough! Apparently, sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days and most people don't know they're suffering from it. Science can back it up: a deficit of sleep has far reaching and serious effects on our health that can't be remedied no matter how much we pay the coffee industry.
Constant interrupted or impaired sleep can:
*Dramatically weaken your immune system and make you feel run-down and sick more often than usual.
*Seriously impair your memory and impact your ability to think clearly the next day (not good for my line of work!).
*Cause a pre-diabetic state- leaving you feeling hungry after you've eaten which leads to stomach problems and weight gain.
*Bring on mood disorders like anxiety, listlessness, and depression.
*Interrupt glucose metabolism- leaving you feeling a lack of energy, as we derive energy from stored glucose.
*Make you look older. Sleep deprivation interrupts growth hormone production- which is normally released by your pituitary gland while you sleep and consequently makes you look refreshed and younger.
My sweet/concerned bf sent me this article
which includes some fun factoids about the topic, like:"A single night of sleep can more than double our ability to come up with novel solutions to difficult problems";
"One night without sleep leaves you performing like you were legally drunk at a blood alcohol content of 0.08";
and this: "If you are sleep deprived you are more likely to be dead in 20 years"
There are numerous before-bedtime rules that we've all heard of before, and the following are ones I try to abide by most:
*Take a hot bath or shower (the rise and fall of body temp facilitates sleep).
*Don't drink fluids 2 hours before bed.
*Wear an eye mask to block out light (to sleep in utter darkness; even the tiniest glow from your alarm clock can disrupt your sleep).
*Listen to relaxation CD's (consider a sound machine
or a CD of ocean waves)- and with that- don't watch TV right before bed (brain stimuli will keep you up).
*Write in a journal and/or read something uplifting (no Stieg Larsson).
*Don't sleep with pets or teeth grinding boyfriends, no matter how cute (unfortunately, this will never happen).
Take care when waking as well; getting up to a loud alarm is stressful on the body. Consider a Zen alarm clock
or a Sun alarm clock
. I have a great one on my phone
which sounds the loveliest gongs.
It's ironic that I'm sacrificing sleep as I write this post about the detriments of sleep debt. And with that, I'm off to bed.
Ben and I did some major Spring Cleaning this past weekend. I know, it's only January, and there are feet of snow in some areas of this country. I sure don't miss the biting cold, frozen slippery sidewalks, or 5-layers-of-clothing-and-still-freezing wintry January dread that I've endured in New York in prior winters.
This California girl loves her sunshine. In fact, Spring came early here in San Francisco, and I couldn't be happier. But it's also brought about allergic-y sneezing, sniffling and congestions that are unfun. Sweeping up cobwebs and dustballs (and dog hair) has made a major difference, however. Allergy-proof your home by maintaining an even-keeled temp between 68-72 degrees indoors, allowing for good ventilation, and wiping down surfaces! It's easier than you realize to whip up your own household cleaners. Store aisles are loaded with overpriced cleaning agents that are nothing short of baking soda, vinegar and water solutions and a bunch of unneeded, harmful chemicals and fragrance added in. Ditch the pricey stuff and reach into your cupboard. Try these efficient, non-toxic, AND environmentally friendly cleaning products that are simple, unfussy, and inexpensive- that can be found right in your own home!
A natural disinfectant and deodorizer, white vinegar can be used as an all-purpose cleaner on most surfaces around your home. Try mixing a solution of one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle, and use it to cut grease and remove mildew and other stains from all your bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Vinegar can also be used as an effective and hypoallergenic fabric softener; add 1/2 cup to every load during the rinse cycle. And no, your clothes (nor your walls) will smell of vinegar.
This natural disinfectant and bleaching agent has a variety of uses both in and out of the kitchen. To sterilize wooden cutting boards, rub the cut side of a lemon half over the entire surface of the board, then rinse with hot water. To get a stain out from clothing and other surfaces, try mixing lemon juice with soda to make a paste and apply it to the spot; wipe away after 10 minutes. Due to its highly acidic nature, lemon juice can even be used to dissolve soap scum, hard water deposits, mold and mildew. Plus, even the peel can be put to good use; grinding the peel of an entire lemon through a garbage disposal will freshen its blades and the drain below.
We all know the trick of sticking a box of this great natural deodorizer in the back of our fridge, but did you know it can also be used as a gentle and effective household scouring agent? For instance, to treat hardened stains on easily scratched surfaces like stovetops or refrigerator shelves, try sprinkling baking powder directly on top of the stain and scrub with a damp sponge until clean. You can also use baking soda to deodorize and remove some of the buildup in a dishwasher; simply pour a cup of it into the machine and run the rinse cycle. To make an all-purpose cleaning paste that you can stow away, mix 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 cups water and use it for that occasional tub scrub.
Tea Tree Oil.
A highly effective anti-bacterial agent, tea tree oil is great for treating most household bacteria. Prevent mold and mildew by spraying down your walls once a week with a solution of 1 cup water and 2 drops of organic tea tree essential oil, then wipe dry.
Unscented Liquid Soap.
Remember my post about the magical Dr. Bronner's
? Unless it contains sodium lauryl sulfate, phosphates, fragrance, or petroleum distillates, a solution of unscented liquid soap distilled with water makes for a great multi-purpose cleaning solution, which can just about clean anything- from surfaces, floors and even pets.
See how easy- and even fun? Try these out for your next spring cleaning!
Eh hem. This is what I'm saying people. The NY Times just released an article about the importance of eating well to be well. It's all in the title. But it expounds on the importance of doctors prescribing a healthy lifestyle (not just drugs) to clients and harping on good nutrition. Not to mention, they must walk the talk and practice healthful eating as well, as a lot of doctors do not because it's easy for them not to.
Read about this Bay Area- Father/Son- Doctor Duo who are bringing healthy food-related initiatives to the hospital scene.
Did you know that the skin is the largest eliminatory organ in/of the body? More than one pound of waste is detoxed through the skin each day! Therefore it is essential to keep the skin's pores active so that impurities don't get caught beneath the skin's surface, leading to a variety of skin conditions, irritations and infections. This also leads to an overworked kidney and liver- the two other eliminatory organs- thus causing disease.
So how to keep the skin's pores active in eliminating waste products from beneath the skin? Dry brush! Taking a dry brush to your skin (not in the bath or in the shower!) will stimulate your blood circulation and lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of toxins. Skin brushing improves the skin's surface circulation, removes dead skin cells and cellulite, strengthens the immune system, and overall, allows your skin to look and feel healthier, softer, and more resilient!
How To Dry Skin Brush:
Start at the soles of the feet and work your way up your legs, your front and your back, brushing as vigorously as you feel able. Then brush your hands and up your arms. Focus the brush strokes- when doing your chest and upper back- towards your heart (see diagram). Don't do your face, but brush the back of your neck and your scalp. For hygiene reasons you'll need a separate brush for each member of the family. And of course, wash the brush itself every couple of weeks.
Make this a daily habit and see improved skin conditions almost immediately.
What's your experience with the Dry Brush? Do tell!