SEASONAL EATS

August Eats

augusteats.jpg

Enjoy more of what the summer season has to offer us. At this point in the year we have an abundance of fresh, colorful, sweet and bitter fruits and vegetables.

Seasonal Fruits Harvested in August

Apples, Avocados, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Fig, Grapes, Honeydew, Lemons, Oranges, Nectarines, Peaches, Pluots, Plums (stone fruit), Pears, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelons

Seasonal Veggies Harvested in August

Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cardoons, Cauliflower, Celery, Chile Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Endive, Fava Beans, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Nopales, Onions, Potatoes, Snap Beans, Spinach, Squash, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Zucchini

Seasonal Spices + Herbs Harvested in August

Basil, Burdock, Chives, Lambsquarters, Lemongrass, Mint, Purslane, Sage, Sorrel, Sprouts

Meal Ideas:

  1. Watermelon + mint salad with extra-virgin olive oil drizzle

  2. Crunchy vegetable crudite with Beet hummus

  3. Tomato gazpacho

  4. Cucumber green juice with celery and mint

  5. Nopale and tomato salad with creamy guacamole tacos

  6. Corn salad with grape tomatoes, eggplant and fresh basil

  7. Cabbage and apple slaw accompanied by a tempeh or grass-fed beef burger

  8. Baked pears with cinnamon and coconut butter

  9. Melon chunks with torn mint and broccoli seed sprouts

  10. Avocado boats filled with sprouts and lemon preserve

Preserve, ferment, and pickle these favorites!


July's Eats

July Eats

I love summer because I feel so inspired to cook everything that's in season... there's an abundance of reds, oranges, blues, greens, leafy, soft, firm, squishy and crispy fruits + vegetables. Here’s the list for this month, it’s a long one!

FRUITS:

Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Pluots, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Melons, Cherries, Loquats

VEGETABLES:

Beets, Carrots, Celery, Fennel, Potatoes, Turnips, Eggplant, Endive, Green Beans, Cactus pads, Garlic, Leeks, Radish, Peppers sweet & chile, Corn, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Tomatoes

LEAFY GREENS:

Purslane, Endive, Nettles, Arugula, Chard, Kale, Lambsquarters, Cress

MEAL IDEAS:

  1. Beet slaw with pistachios + raisins

  2. Pan roasted carrots with carrot top salsa verde, avocado + seared salmon

  3. Celery, apple + peanut salad

  4. Chilled seafood salad with fennel, radish, basil + creme fraiche

  5. Potato & roasted cauliflower salad, olives, feta + arugula

  6. Turnip salad with yogurt, herbs + poppy seeds

  7. Roasted eggplant + corn with fresh tomatoes and torn mint

  8. Cactus and tomato picadillo with fresh cilantro and chilies

  9. Nectarine + blueberry salad with torn mint, bee pollen + tahini drizzle

  10. Baked peaches with cinnamon, topped with chilled whipped coconut cream

Recipes for #1-6 from the book Six Seasons. For other recipes, please connect with me directly.

June's Eats

Seasonal Berries

Summer has arrived and along with summer comes some of our most favorite fruits and vegetables. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and the artichoke help stimulate our liver’s capacity to metabolize and detoxify our nutrients and toxins. The antioxidants and phytonutrients from stone fruit, berries, and melon help cleanse our digestive tract, combat free radicals and can lead to cancer and feed our healthy glow.

Apricots, nectarines, peaches  (stone fruit)

Artichokes

Berries (blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries)

Broccoli

Cherries

Cauliflower

Corn

Fava beans

Greens (collard greens, kale, swiss chard)

Loquats

Melons

Peas

Meal Ideas?

Corn and Fava Bean salad with heirloom baby tomatoes, avocado, and mint

Artichokes and Kale Pesto for an appetizer

Roasted Curried Cauliflower cooked with raisins and red onions, topped with fresh dill and mint yogurt

Baked Stone Fruit with cold coconut cream and cinnamon

May's Eats

Radishes

It’s that time again…new fruits and vegetables are coming in as we get deeper into Spring in the West. What’s on the table today?

Lettuces, turnip greens, kale, and possibly some root vegetables like fennel and onions are signatures of Spring.

Asparagus 
Cabbage 
Bitter greens: Collards, kale, mustard, turnip 
Leafy greens and lettuce 
Radishes 
Rhubarb 
Spinach 
Strawberries

I suggest light saute’s, shaved on salads, mixed into juices and smoothies….salted, rubbed, pickled and eaten with love.

April Eats

Citrus

Spring is here and thanks to all the rainfall we’ve had this past winter, we have a bountiful and colorful array of spring seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Fruits

  • Avocados

  • Grapefruits

  • Guava (pineapple guava)

  • Kumquats

  • Meyer lemons

  • Rhubarb!

  • Strawberries

  • Tangerines

Vegetables

  • Asparagus

  • Broccoli rabe

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Fava beans

  • Fennel

  • Green garlic

  • Nettles

  • Peas

  • Spinach

Here are some delicious dish ideas:

·      Raddichio with sliced kumquats, avocado, and red onion, plus lemon vinaigrette dressing.

·      Fava bean salad with shaved fennel, feta and fresh dill

·     Za-atar spiced roasted cauliflower and carrots with green garlic

·      Broccoli rabe saute with green garlic and extra virgin olive oil drizzle

February Eats

cauliflower

We are getting close to the end of winter, which means it’s a wonderful time to begin introducing some of our friendly cleansing vegetables to help us get rid of our accumulated winter toxins. At the end of the month we will begin to see brighter detoxing greens like dandelion, so keep your eyes peeled out.

Enjoy these…

Beetroot, broccoli, artichoke, cardoon, catalogna chicory, carrot, cauliflower, white cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Brussels sprout, chicory, sauerkraut, beet tops, fennel, endive, lettuce, leek, red radicchio, turnip, spinach, and Jerusalem artichoke, 

A lovely easy breakfast … slightly steamed broccoli and turnip with shaved fennel and leeks with extra virgin olive oil and, sea salt, pepper, and chili flake. Poached egg optional.

A grounding snack of beet hummus sans the beans in endive leaves.

Eat well.

New Year Reset Button

Kale

Alright, I think the holidays are finally over for most. Here’s what to do to feel less heavy and sluggish...

  • Drink warm lemon water first thing in the AM. dash of cayenne optional

  • Eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime to allow digestion the you live to do it’s thing in peace and eat breakfast (make it green and clean) only if you are hungry. It’s ok to wait a couple hours after waking

  • Eat more greens. greens have fiber. fiber cleanses the colon of toxic waste. which greens? arugula, massaged or cooked kale and collards…any and all the greens that catch your eye

  • Reduce meat intake, eat more wild-caught fish, if you eat fish. plant eater only? fill up on quinoa, chickpeas and lentils. Make sure to add fragrant spices and fresh herbs like dill, cilantro, and parsley

  • Reduce the bread + cheese… by at least half or more

  • No more refined sugar … Focus on natural sugars instead like 1 -2 medjool dates.

  • Fill in the gaps and take your pills… some big hitters? magnesium, omega 3s, chlorophyll, vitamin Bs + vitamin C to name a few…

    Want a specialized reset with specific foods that will give you energy and specific supplementation that your body will thrive on? Let's set up a session.

    Year of vitality and change 2019 🌱✨

Navigating the holidays without sabotaging your health

holiday meals

Let the holiday parties begin!  I love them, they are rich (in love and food!), indulgent and cheerful. This year I want to help you navigate the holidays parties without sabotaging your health – I want you to help you choose the healthiest food options without deprivation. I want you to feel rich, indulgent yet balanced, and cheerful all the way to the new year.

Take on these tips to achieve harmony this season...

Don’t wait to eat until you hit the party…

Skipping meals to save calories for the party is not healthy for your mental or your physical health. Having low blood sugar levels and feeling over-stimulated will actually make you OVER- eat. Then, add alcohol to the picture and you will either eat more of the unhealthy dishes or not eat at all…either way this is not positive for your metabolism, digestion, or detoxification.

Instead, eat before you arrive. Have protein-rich smoothies, soup, or a salad with raw nuts, fish, or avocado.

Think ahead. Usually, parties have appetizers along with a meal. Negotiate with yourself… if there is a cheese platter at the appetizer table, it may be smart move to not add extra cheese to the baked potato or to go for  the mac and cheese, twice. Likewise, if you know there will be lots of homemade pumpkin pie, it may be smart move to lay off that extra glass of wine, or two.

Instead, choose to eat the raw veggies and fruits that do tend to be at the appetizer table. This way you enrich yourself with fresh antioxidants.

Pro-tip: Bring a plate of medjool dates sprinkled with vanilla sea salt to satisfy your sweet tooth.

No need to sample it all.  Listening to your gut and you’ll know that going for the heavy dishes might not make you feel very good in the end. Stick to plant based items and one meat option.

Portion control. Just because a dish is deemed as a healthier option… grain salads, mashed potatoes (it’s a vegetable, right?), gluten-free desserts, nuts (roasted nuts tend to be roasted in GMO oils or are candied) … they are still caloric and laden with extra sugars. You want to feel satisfied, not so full you feel sick.  

Take a 20-minute break after your first plate, drink a glass of water and then check to see if you’re still hungry.

When it comes to booze… booze contains lots of sugar, preservatives, chemicals and sometimes high fructose corn syrup. This is hard on the liver, as the liver is the main fat-burning and detoxifying organ. Too  much alcohol affects your sleep, weight, brain health, and energy levels. If you love to socialize with a drink in hand, stay classy and choose wisely…. natural wine or vodka, gin or tequila with sparkling water, fresh torn mint and a lime wedge. If you don’t drink, sparkling water with herbs and fruit is beautiful and refreshing.

Take digestive enzymes… a full spectrum like Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes with HCL to help break down fats, protein, and complex carbs to reduce gas and bloat, and smoother bowels. Take 2 pills at the start of your meal.

Socialize more and snack less may increase connection and laughter with others. Building relationships during this time is emotionally satisfying. The holidays can be a hard time for some often triggering anxiety and depression that gravitates people towards food. Fill yourself with love and joy and you will fill your energetic being.


Mashed Potato Hacks

mashedpotatoes

Everyone loves mashed potatoes. In fact, everyone loves potatoes! However, potatoes in excess can cause blood sugar and insulin to surge and then drop, which is why they are considered a high-glycemic vegetable.

Every once and a while it’s nice to have the traditional dish, especially as the holidays approach and it’s an easy-go and must-have at the dinner table.

Luckily, there are delicious new twists to making the old-style dish into a healthier one. Choose ti get creative with 1 or more of the “mashed-hacks” below:

  • Blend cauliflower with the potatoes to get a buttery flavor with fewer carbs

  • Add Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream to get a creamy consistency

  • Add bone or vegetable mineral broth to get a creamy texture when you mash potatoes

  • Add creative seasonings like garlic, sumac, or nutritional yeast to give your mashed potatoes more zest or cheesy flavor.

  • Roast an entire garlic bulb in foil and add to the mashed potatoes for a creamy and rich flavor.

  • Use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter for creamy potatoes (note: the calorie count will still be high but butter is a source of saturated fat and olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fat which is considered to be a healthier fat. Ghee, however is insanely healing to the gut so this option is wonderful too).

  • Use cashew milk instead of cream to whip the potatoes. Cashew milk still is high in fat but it’s less congestive and perfect for those who don't want to use dairy products. 

Bon Appétit.

October's Fruits + Vegetables

fall vegetables

Every season has specific fruits and vegetables that are grown in abundance depending on growing conditions and weather.

As we approach autumn, we’ll continue to see some fruits and veggies from summer but overall, you’ll be seeing more green and hearty vegetables starting this October. Find these guys at your farmer’s market or favorite healthy supermarket.

Fruits

Apples: bake slices with coconut oil, cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom
Avocados: guacamole – add nutritional yeast and hemp seeds for protein and fat
Dates: stuff with ghee and vanilla salt for a decadent dessert
Figs: deliciously fresh is quite alright
Grapefruits: wedged with a sprinkle of salt, chili flake, and fresh rosemary
Pears: sliced in an arugula salad with walnuts and goat cheese

Vegetables

Greens: (Arugula, Kale, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard): eat raw, lightly sautéed, massaged, use them for as a “wrap”
Bok Choy: lightly sauté with coconut aminos and other veggies
Brussel Sprouts: roast with garlic and fresh rosemary
Broccoli: eat steamed with melted ghee, sprinkle with a pinch of salt
Cauliflower: make mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes
Eggplant: roast and add to your favorite pasta sauce
Fennel: thinly shaved and added to your salad
Okra: oven-roasted. It can be simply flavored with olive oil, salt and pepper, or smothered with spices. Snap Peas: raw and used as dip sticks
Tomatoes: fresh in a salad with torn basil or cooked in your favorite soup or sauté
Winter Squash: roasted with ghee and sea salt and black pepper. Topped with hemp seeds, arugula and extra-virgin olive oil drizzle.

Allow your body to flow with the seasonal changes of food.

Welcome autumn, let’s cleanse

Fall

Autumn is here, can you feel it? Now we can look forward to having an excuse to stay in, watch movies, and cook delicious meals. I always think of the autumn months as a time to re-ground and nurture what we have.

Let’s rewind and talk about summer real quick. It’s awesome, right? The weather is just right, the sun bronzes your skin, we wear lighter more colorful clothing, we’re surrounded by an abundance of bright fresh antioxidant-rich foods, the bqqing, the socializing …

Although these are all fun and cool aspects of summer, we also tend to pick up some unhealthy habits that tend to get drawn out over those few months … late night dinners, decreased amounts of sleep, over-stimulating socializing, spontaneous meals, lots of chips and guac, rose, ice cream desserts, and then some. Delicious times, of course but doing so more than usual can cause rise to tummy troubles, weight gain, lethargy, and brain fog.

Typically by the time mid/late September hits, the body is feels how summer indulgences have taken on an energetic weight that is ready to shed off. Tuning in and you’ll notice the body wanting to slow. And if you really tune in, you’ll feel the body wanting to detox to get ready for the colder seasons. Most people think of detoxing from the winter months but I think it’s important to stimulate and cleanse your liver (not only daily) after every season.

The liver is always detoxing, that’s its job 24/7. However, the liver needs support and stimulation from herbs, food, and exercise so that it performs optimally. Here’s what you can do for the next 2-3 weeks to cleanse the body and mind so that you begin the fall season feeling grounded and solid.

Reduce/Avoid:

If you’re a meat eater reduce intake to 1-2x a week while increasing fish 2-3x a week, and adding more vegetable protein.

Reduce/avoid intake of dairy, including cheese - dairy tends to cause digestive upset, congestion, hormonal imbalances, and weight gain

Reduce/avoid intake of grains - grains can be inflammatory, cause digestive upset, and brain fog. You can opt for gluten-free grains like amaranth, rice, quinoa, and buckwheat.

Increase:

Warm lemon water with 1 tsp of ginger powder every AM

Seasonal veggies, especially broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, garlic, and onion

Eat warm, cooked meals along with raw fresh greens like dandelion greens

Add spices to your repertoire

Drink herbal teas like dandelion tea with is wonderful for simulating the liver and removing toxins from the body quickly and nettles tea which is tonifying, bone-building, kidney and urinary tract cleansing, and even helps with skin issues like eczema.

Add more brisk walking and cardio. Shoot for at least 30 minutes a day. Tip: listening to an engaging podcast can keep you walking for a long time!

The sun sets earlier, so try to eat dinner around the sunset time or at least 3 hours before bedtime. This will help your digestion function optimally and allows your liver to perform best at it’s prime working hour 1-3am.

You receive energy and grounding when you get in touch with nature and it’s life cycles. So, sit at a park and listen to the birds and listen to trees and watch their leaves begin to change their color.

Honor your body’s need for Rest n’ Relaxation… sleep, nap, and decompress...

EASY post-holiday cleanse tips

parsleycabbage.JPG

Welcome 2018!

Here are some simple and effective ways to ease into health this year. As always, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of pure water and herbal teas. 

  1. Eat your greens, especially the cruciferous kinds like broccoli, arugula, kale, cauliflower, and radishes– these guys stimulate the detoxification.

  2. Lose the gas and bloat, ease constipation, and other general gut problems by eating more raw or steamed plant foods, add more fiber and fermented foods.

  3. Reduce stress by taking Epsom salt baths, clean and organize your home, get a facial or massage, and get plenty of rest will help center and refocus yourself.

  4. Get sweaty – eliminate toxins from poor-quality foods, alcohol, and salt. Increasing cardiovascular exercise through exercise, saunas, or steam rooms helps remove these toxic chemicals and pollutants from your body making you feel lighter and improves skin glow. Plus, this makes your brains feel-good chemicals kick-in.

Eat Your Autumn Colors

Eat the rainbow, eat the rainbow... 

You may hear that hundreds of times, but it’s critical to really eat foods that represent the colors of the rainbow. I’m talking about functional foods that have potent aspects beyond basic nutrition. I’m talking about food in its natural state.
 
At this time of the season, the leaves of trees aren’t quite dead. I’m noticing a lot of oranges, yellows, and reds on the leaves. There’s something warm and supportive about these colors, perhaps because they emanate boldness and density.
 
Fruits and veggies in blazing oranges, yellows, and red contain important plant compounds called carotenoids that convert to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin in which most people are familiar with for helping with eyesight and night vision. However, vitamin A also strengthens the immune system, promotes bone growth, reduces inflammation, naturally slows down the aging process, and makes skin glow.
 
Fruits and vegetables like carrots, butternut squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, orange and yellow bell peppers, passion fruit, and grapefruit all contain carotenoids (dark leafy greens have them too!).  Three of the most common carotenoids – alpha-carotene, beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin – can be converted from foods into vitamin A in the body. This nutrient is needed for good vision in dim light, normal growth and development, a strong immune system and to keep the skin and cells that line the airways, digestive tract and urinary tract healthy. But thanks to their antioxidant activity, there’s also evidence to suggest that carotenoids – and especially beta carotene, found in orange and yellow food – might help to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, especially lung cancer. 
 
For red foods like pomegranates, cranberries, and beets, which contain the potent antioxidant lycopene, prostate health is maintained.
 
The zest of yellow and orange citrus fruits is also a good source of limonene, a phytochemical that helps keep lungs healthy and may prevent cancer.
 
A little fat helps the body to absorb ingredients like beta-carotene, lycopene, and limonene from foods so don’t be afraid to add a little fat, whether that’s roasting sweet potatoes with a little olive oil or serving pepper and carrot slices with hummus. Puréeing and cooking also makes it easier for our bodies to absorb and use phytochemicals such as beta-carotene.
 
How to eat more autumn colors:

  • Bake sweet potatoes and melt coconut oil, ghee, or butter

  • Make carrot ginger soup

  • Swap your regular roasted potatoes for roasted sweet potato and butternut squash

  • Add carrots to winter stews and casseroles

  • Make your own homemade butternut squash soup

  • Add grated carrot and yellow and orange peppers to salads

  • Top porridge with dried apricots

  • Make a fruit salad using cantaloupe, pineapple, mango and oranges

  • Make your favorite pasta dish out of spaghetti squash instead of regular pasta

  • Top squash curry’s with lemon zest

  • Make beet burgers from the pulp of beet juice

  • Add pomegranate seeds to your salads or roasted vegetables

 
Although vitamin A deficiency is less common, if you find that your immunity is very low and/or you are experiencing trouble seeing in dim light, connect with me to set up a nutrient and supplement analysis.

Getting grounded this summer

Cherries

Nope, you didn’t do anything bad, but you might get into some trouble if you don’t stay grounded with your ambitions and intentions this summer.

Today is the summer solstice – the longest day of the year and a thematic time for light, power, and love and with it comes the masculine energy – best time to seek action and to show off some personal integrity that you have developed so far this year… in other words, a time to start walking your talk.

All sounds great and we say “yes, yes, yes, I’m on board”.  However, summer brings heat, sun, travels, lots of socializing, wine spritzers, and extra handfuls of tortilla chips. Trust me, I get it, friends come into town, the days are longer and we just don’t want to tackle our responsibilities.

But real-talk, staying grounded with your daily practical affairs and self-care will be essential if you want to achieve your work, relationship and personal growth desires.

How are you going to do this?

Set clear intentions. What absolutely needs to get done? If you have a project in mind or a deadline for something, then create a personal deadline to finish it. Then, break it down into smaller chunks and spread it out throughout the week (s) so that you stay on an even-paced track.

Save time for yourself to regroup. Write, meditate, deep breathing, clean your house, take a bath, etc. These moments of calm will help reset your clarity and nervous system so that you can stay on track with your intentions.

Move. This is the perfect time to catch some sun rays as you sweat. Go for run, walk, hike, swim, roller skate, skateboard, yoga, whatever. Movement pumps up your heart and triggers feel-good-brain-chemicals. Plus, if you are sidetracking from your normal healthy eats, chances are your liver wants you to sweat it out. Plus, your booty shorts will thank you.

Eat to nourish and replenish. Simple foods like salads, warm & cold veggie soups, fresh juices and smoothies that stimulate the liver and digestive system will be your best supporters.

Along with the lighter foods, add veggies like sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, radishes, and tomatoes, which are highly grounding. Lean proteins like salmon, chicken, beans and legumes will keep you feeling full too.

I also recommend taking a yoga class or practicing a sequence at home at least twice a week to help center you, move energy throughout your chakras, and to increase mental and physical awareness.

Another grounding idea is to carry a blended essential oil spray like Ground Meditation Spray from Species by the Thousands, to help restore energy and balance you. Spray anytime, anywhere, and if you ask nicely anyone else who seems ungrounded. 

Spring out on these vegetables

Spring vegetables

If you haven't noticed, we're in spring! Spring in the Bay Area is so predictably unpredictable. One day it's hot and sunny and the next its drab and windy. It can be hard to gauge what to wear and how to feel sometimes since our moods are so connected to the weather.

One thing is for sure, your body's wisdom knows that these present moments are about renewal. Renewing the body with new thoughts and ideas and fresh, lighter foods. 

Spring vegetables and fruits will get your body to gently purge and cleanse of fat build-up and toxins from heavy foods like sugars, starches, animal products and comfort foods. If you’ve been naturally experiencing wanting to be physically active and eat fresher, lighter foods than you’re experiencing your body follow its natural circadian rhythms to be in and eat within the spring season. 
 
While we head into spring it’s best to avoid refined grains, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods and to add antioxidant-rich plant foods that are supportive to the liver and digestive system.

Add these to your spring repertoire:

1.     Dandelion greens and root are rich in minerals and antioxidants, which support cleansing of the digestive tract and the liver. The bitter quality of dandelion greens increases the production of bile, which breaks down fats, aids in digestion and eliminates toxins from the liver. Add dandelion greens to your arugula salad or sip on dandelion root tea throughout the day.

2.     Artichokes also stimulate bile to protect the liver and also purify the blood. Artichokes are mildly diuretic, meaning that any toxins that the liver breaks down will most certainly get flushed out properly.

3.     Asparagus contains a powerful antioxidant called glutathione, well known for its detoxifying properties. Like artichokes, it also is a diuretic, assisting in fully removing toxins from your body. Asparagus contains inulin – a prebiotic that helps support the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut.

4.     Radishes aid in bile production, cleanse the liver, prevent constipation, offer sinus congestion relief (peace out seasonal allergies!) and even reduce fat deposits in the body.

5.     Grapefruit juice and its pith flush out toxins by helping to remove waste from the colon. Grapefruits strengthen immunity and speed up the cleansing process to repair any damage done from poor foods, drinks and pollution. They also contain compounds that can help prevent fatty liver disease, a condition caused by heavy drinking, excess weight, and diabetes.

It is the perfect time to give your organs a break and honor it with high vibrational nutrient rich plants and lean protein to ease your nervous system and adrenals.

It’s also best to reduce exposure to pollution and heaters and dust your homes, bring in new air-loving plants, and open the windows for natural air and sunshine.  Look here for more toxin-busting vegetables.

Essential winter vegetables

citrus

After the holidays our minds begin to settle down from all the chaos yet at the same time we are so motivated to hit the ground running, especially when it comes to dieting and “starting fresh”. Yes, I believe that eliminating sweet and acidic foods we indulged is a great idea. Yes, I believe that adding more greens to your current nutrition is a wise choice. But a heavy-duty juice or raw vegetable cleanse may not be what your body needs in the middle of winter.

Winter is still a time for your body to rest and renew itself for springtime. With the change in weather, your body becomes vulnerable to colds and flus so it’s important to have a pantry equipped with natural foods that will fortify your well-being.

One thing that I love about winter is that I can load up on hearty vegetables that will keep for a days. So when there’s a storm a-brewin’ and you don’t want to leave your home, you can feel confident that you will be nourished.

List of winter vegetable staples:

The cabbage or cruciferous family -- cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, radishes, and turnips are vast with healing properties. Their anti-inflammatory behavior strengthens the immune system while also helping to balance blood sugar and estrogen levels.

The chicory family – radicchio, escarole, and endives have small amounts of nearly every essential vitamin. Their bitter leaves stimulate digestion and detoxification. They make delicious and well-balanced salads when adding roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Root vegetables like parsnips, sweet potato, beets, carrots and winter squashes like spaghetti squash, acorn, butternut, & delicate squash is the dearest part of my winter. These vegetables can be made sweet or savory, pleasing everyone’s style. These vegetables can often fulfill your not-so-dearest carb-cravings like grains and breads. They are rich in vitamin A and C, both important from keeping your skin dry from the harsh winter winds and from staving off colds. 

Alliums --onions & garlic have potent healing effects on immunity due to their immense doses of antioxidants and antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial healing properties. To maximize the health benefits of garlic, you should crush the cloves and allow them to sit for about 15 minutes. This triggers an enzyme reaction that increases the potency of its compounds. To preserve the antimicrobial activity of garlic mix into cooked foods at the last minute.

Kale and collards are part of the cabbage family and the heartiest of the dark greens. Their meaty leaves provide fiber and vast amounts of antioxidants and vitamins like A, B and C.  Its deep green hue tells me that it is full of chlorophyll -- a green pigment that promotes cleansing, protect from free radical damage, encourages healing and controls hunger and cravings.

Fennel is another immune strengthening plant that aids in digestion and in the relief of upset stomach, such as gas and bloat.

Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges raises the pH of body tissue to become more alkaline. Eating alkaline foods helps your body to function at its best, increase energy, reduces the risk of cancer, and slows down the aging process.

Dried beans, legumes & grains are excellent sources of plant protein. They are low in fat and high in fiber, thus helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, making you feel fuller for longer. There are abundant varieties in these groups, choose to your liking. If you are gluten-free you have the choice of brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth. Always rinse and soak for at least 8 hours before cooking to ease  digestibility.

For the sweet tooth: medjool and deglet noor dates are naturally sweet fruits that lift your energy levels energy. Their high-fiber content decreases bad cholesterol and supports healthy digestion.

The wonderful aspect of these winter staples is their versatility. –stews, soups, dips, spreads, homemade vegetable chips, juices, and smoothies. 

 

The 3 C's: Chocolate, Cookies, and Champagne

chocolate

We shouldn't have to completely avoid some of the foods that make us feel happy. The beauty of food is there are always healthier and higher quality versions of the food we love but are damaging to our bodies. Whether you’re celebrating an occasion or laying low at home, make sure your 3 C's contain powerful antioxidants and do something nourishing to your body. 

Chocolate: The darker the better. Aim for 75% cacao or higher. Dark chocolate contains flavonols (a type of antioxidant) that improve cognitive function and even provide UV protection for your skin. Choosing quality chocolate feels more like a treat, which allows you to appreciate it more and prevent eating it. Say no to “dutch” chocolate as it contains less flavonols and look for cocoa butter as the first ingredient, not sugar.

Cookies: Opt for homemade cookies from a beloved source or make them yourself. This way you know exactly what ingredients are in them so you avoid triggering any food sensitivity symptoms. When making cookies, choose the highest quality ingredients to nurture your body, you deserve it.  Check out this tummy loving cookie recipe

Champagne: The real stuff? From Champagne, France. The benefits? Drinking moderate (no over-indulging here) amounts improves short term memory and like chocolate, also contains flavonols that are helpful for cognitive function. Champagne contains the antioxidant, resveratrol which strengthens heart health by reducing bad cholesterol and reducing damage to blood vessels. In terms of calories and sugar…champagne has less than wine and beer and its bubbles seem to help you drink slower and feel more full. Best alternatives to champagne is Crémant, which is a sparkling wine that often has the same consistent quality as champagne but more affordable. Champagne alternatives also have the above beneficial antioxidants. 

Don't drink champagne? Dazzle a mocktail with sparkling mineral water, shrubs, herbs, and fruit. 

**Special note** The antioxidants in champagne are actually good for your face! Cheers to making a champagne detox mask. 

 

Champagne Detox Face Mask from hello glow

You'll need:

  • 1/4 cup champagne

  • 4 ounces powdered clay such as bentonite or red clay

  • 1.5 - 2 tablespoons of plain, full-fat yogurt

Start with the powdered clay in a mixing bowl and slowly pour in the yogurt. Start with 1.5 tbsp. of yogurt and gently mix the cream and clay as you pour. Then add in the champagne, mixing the mask the entire time. Apply to face and neck before it starts to dry. The mask should take about 20 minutes to dry. Then rinse with warm water and a washcloth.

xo

Two Healthy Holiday Secret Weapons

activated charcoal

Activated Charcoal + Digestive Bitters

These are two simple and effective tools to keep handy during this time of the year that is filled with food you don't eat on the daily. 

Bitters stimulate your digestive system to break down your food, balance appetite, curb sugar cravings, soothe gas & bloat. They help your body’s ability to absorb and assimilate vitamins, all while supporting your liver to detox optimally.

Look for bitters that contain digestive and detoxifying effects like gentian root, burdock root, yellow dock, fennel seed, or ginger. Add a few drops on your tongue or in a small glass of water before or after a meal. 

Activated charcoal dates back to 1550 B.C. when it was used as an antidote for poison. Nowadays, it is been medicinally used as a detoxifier and to relieve stomach troubles. Activated charcoal moves through the gastrointestinal tract absorbing toxins, trapped gas, and hydrogen sulphide, that rotten egg smell. 

It can also help prevent hangovers, by absorbing chemicals and toxins that alcohol contains. It can stop a case of food poisoning from progressing if taken immediately after feeling ill.

For the common case of gas, take a 500 mg capsule an hour and half after each meal away from food or an hour before a meal, meds or supplements as it will stop their absorption and with lots of water. It’s great to use occasionally but not recommended to become reliant on it.

xo