Your Body: Whispers or Screams?

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Source: Pixabay

You push back from the computer and yawn, eyes falling upon a clock which reminds you of the many hours left until you can leave work. You notice your bladder is full, shoulders are tense, and stomach is rumbling. Then you detect the hint of a headache starting on your right temple.

In today’s unceasingly racing world, our bodies often fall to the bottom of our priorities list, stuck behind a mountainous back-log of seemingly insurmountable tiny, and big, to-dos. Its little signals are often drowned out by the noise of our work deadlines and chores. Yet, these little symptoms are the body’s attempt to communicate with you. Like a baby, its little whimpers can become melt-downs if its needs – to eat, sleep, play, and eliminate (or the clean-up thereafter) – are ignored. As adults, what starts as a slight, pulsing tension headache can grow into a full-blown migraine.

How do you develop a satisfying relationship with anyone? You start by listening. The same goes for developing a genuine connection with your body.

By tuning into your body at regular, short intervals during the day, you can prevent a lot of the strain and stress placed upon it. Just stop, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Another tip is to look in the mirror and pretend to be your own parent or health-care provider as you check-in with yourself. Do you have dark circles under your eyes? Stomachache or bloating? Brittle hair? Ridged fingernails? Is constipation or diarrhea an issue?

If you notice dark under-eye circles, can you make a connection to fatigue and being under stress? In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this can show a deficiency of kidney Qi (energy that flows through the acupuncture meridians. When Qi is strong and moves smoothly through the meridians, our health is said to be good).  Prioritizing sleep, exercising for stress reduction, good nutrition and even acupuncture can help re-balance the body here. Also consider that the dark circles can signal anemia and may require a visit to your doctor for a blood test.

Perhaps your hairdresser has mentioned it, or you notice on your own that your hair has gotten drier and more brittle recently. The simplest explanation could be a reaction to your hair care products; however, it could also be a signal of low thyroid function (which slows down metabolism and can lead to depression, PMS, anxiety and depression, constipation, and migraines). In TCM, this is often associated with our very yang (active, masculine) culture and not enough yin (passive, feminine) energy. To address the hair issue, you may want to have your doctor check your thyroid function or eating more ‘yin’-nourishing foods such as apples, broccoli, celery, cucumber, spinach, sweet potatoes, and healthy fats.

Peeling or ridged fingernails can be caused to low mineral absorption relating to a deficiency of stomach (hydrochloric) acid. When we are under stress, for example, our body is prepped to run from danger or fight; the body’s priority is to increase our heart rate and breathing (and release glucose from the liver into the bloodstream for energy) while it shunts energy away from digestion (imagine the body yelling, “No time to digest now! We have to run from a tiger!”). Low hormone levels during menopause can also relate to ridged fingernails. Consider getting evaluated for stomach acid production and, for menopause, remember to support your adrenal glands (they play an important role in boosting estrogen levels).

Constipation a constant companion? If you’re not having a bowel movement everyday, there could be a lot of factors to look into. A simple reason for this issue could be dehydration or not enough fiber in the diet; even supplement and medication side-effects can cause constipation. For women, hormonal changes can cause slow transit of the gastro-intestinal tract a few days before menstruation starts.

Diarrhea can signal abnormal intestinal flora or yeast (especially if you were recently on antibiotics) and can also signal a food sensitivity or allergy. Let’s not forget stress and anxiety, which can also manifest as diarrhea. If you’ve had a round of antibiotics recently, consider taking a probiotic supplement (including acidolphilus, lactobacillus, and bifidobacterium) to help re-establish the ‘good guys’ in your gut. To help identify a food sensitivity or allergy, reach out to a registered dietitian to help you make an effective food elimination plan. Common triggers can include dairy, eggs, fish, nuts, soy, and shellfish; however, other foods and even food chemicals can also be at play. This is where a food sensitivity test and certified LEAP therapist can help pinpoint the foods contributing to the increased transit time of your gut. To help reduce stress levels, consider joining a yoga class, prayer/meditation, listening to music, getting a massage, or spending some time alone to unwind.

Next time you get a minute at work or stop by a mirror, do a quick check-up on yourself, beyond lipstick application or ensuring hands are clean. By addressing health issues and symptoms while they are mild and quiet, you can help avoid the more intense, painful symptoms later on.

Read more: Quiz! Body Mindfulness & Straight Poop on Stool

 

Recipe: Spicy Gazpacho Shooters

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Gazpacho is a quick, raw, and delicious soup that hails from southern Spain. It typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic but unique versions include pickles, avocados, cucumbers and watermelon.

Did you know that gazpacho can also be used as a salad dressing or with pasta as a sauce?

This gazpacho recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and good for the body. It’s a healthy snack that can also be served at lunch or dinner. Watch the video segment here.

Spicy Gazpacho

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, sliced into chunks
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette or red wine vinegar
1 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Your Sustainable Dietary Change: 2019

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*This was originally written for 614 Magazine and is here to guide you into 2019.

Perhaps you’ve crafted your long scroll of resolutions including the popular “hit the gym everyday, never eat junk food again, be more organized” intentions. However, the first domino to create a cascading health effect hasn’t been set up. The single most important item missing from that 2019 to-do list is changing your mindset.

The first decision, the beginning domino, is key to making every other decision infinitely easier. Ready? Here it is.

Make the decision to be a healthy person. Once you do, whether presented with a restaurant menu or a choice between hitting the gym and skipping it, you’ll make the decision through a filter that ultimately leads to a result aligned with your new values. By adopting the desired identity, the behaviors naturally follow. For example, when reading over the restaurant menu, you’re now doing it through the eyes of your new identity; what would a healthy person eat? Then you choose such a dish. If you’re trying to decide between a workout and binge-watching a favorite show, the choice is already made for you (and after the gym, you can still partake).

This is not to say that you can never indulge in favorite foods. A guideline I share with clients is to go 80/20 or 90/10, meaning if 80-90% of your choices are favorable to reaching your health goals, then don’t sweat the cheesecake at your friend’s birthday party. Ultimately, you can avoid guilt, fear, and shame by having this ‘allowance’ set up. It’s more about trajectory than perfectionism.

When it comes to fad diets, they are novel and intensely followed for a short time. Some become longer-lasting, influential trends. We’ll share some pros/cons of popular diets:

Continue reading

Vegan Banana Pudding

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In honor of National Vegan AND National Banana Pudding Month, we recently did a segment where we combined the two into a demo for Vegan Banana Pudding. Not only are you getting the benefit of the potassium, vitamin C and B6 from the banana but also the creamy texture it lends to this dessert! It’s a quick, no-added sugar dessert to eat when you have a craving and is perfect to share with others. If you are fans of chocolate like we are, you’ll notice how the cacao powder and nibs elevate this dessert to make it feel like a true treat. Top with your favorite fruit (our seasonal favorite is juicy pomegranate) and chopped nuts and enjoy!

Ingredients
1 cup cashews
2 frozen bananas
1 fresh banana
2 medjool dates
1/2 cup coconut cream
1.5 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Enjoy!

How to Handle Holiday Eating

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During a recent interview for an AARP article we were asked quite a few questions and here’s a full scoop of answers to help you handle your holiday eating.

How to handle buffets and cocktail parties:

When it comes to holiday parties where buffets are a feature, it’s best to eat a sensible snack beforehand so you’re not ravenous when you arrive.

At cocktail parties, where cheese cubes, salty snacks, and sweet treats are ubiquitous, it’s a good idea to grab a small plate and find the veggie tray first before choosing one or two favorite treats to add. Also, have a game plan with alcohol- perhaps you limit yourself to one drink and two treats. Without this guideline, or with extra alcohol involved, the intake of calories can go haywire.

Healthy ways to handle sit-down dinners:

Some ideas for smart side dish swaps include having roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed rutabaga, or mashed cauliflower. All of these have fiber and are great source of antioxidants.

Generally, fasting earlier in the day leads to over-eating later when the large meal is served. I always suggest eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, and to treat Thanksgiving dinner as you would most dinners. Enjoy one plate and focus on the conversation. There’s no requirement to eat all you can and overly stuff yourself.

Smart holiday drinking:

Q: Is it true that drinking alcohol can stimulate your appetite?
A: The main problem with drinking alcohol is its well-known effect of impairing our judgment. After a few drinks, we find it easier to ‘justify’ having more cheese cubes, salty or sweet treats. Think of the number or holiday parties you’ll be attending this year and how much this could impact your health goals or weight loss/maintenance.

General nutrition for the holiday season:

Q: Can you offer some healthy foods that are at their peak in November/December for people to take advantage of?
A: When it comes to seasonal produce, it depends on which region of the United States you are in. California has a lot of fantastic offerings during November and December, including avocados. In the midwest, Brussels sprouts, garlic, rapini, and horseradish are seasonal in late November.

Q: Is it true that stress can cause cravings?
A: Stress in general – and especially during the holidays – can trigger more emotional eating. More than foods that help reduce stress, lifestyle factors are very key in keeping  on track. Ensuring that you get enough sleep, keep up with exercise, take a bath or participating other self-care activities, is particularly effective in reducing stress-related cravings.

Shopping at the mall:

Q: Are there any tricks for surviving a day at the mall, where temptations—from food courts, to Godiva shops, to “gotta buy” seasonal goodies at Williams-Sonoma—abound?
A: For keeping on track when it comes to shopping malls and their abundance of food court options and other temptations, the same tip applies as for going grocery shopping. It’s best to go shopping after you’ve recently eaten a meal, such as lunch, and to carry snacks that are high in protein and fiber because they will fill you up. 

So often we focus on what to do during a particular holiday meal, when what we’re doing the other 99% of the year with our food choices and behaviors actually matters more. Going a bit overboard, once or twice, during the holiday season is not going to dramatically throw you off your goals. On the other hand, working with your nutritionist to improve the other 99% of the year can show dramatic benefit.

Burgers & Frittatas: Five Star Foodies

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A couple of months ago, as you may remember, we spoke about vegan grilling options. To our delight, the quest for finding a darn-near-perfect veggie burger was achieved when we found Five Star Foodies in the Kroger frozen food section.

In the past decade or so, food companies have been stepping up their game when it comes to their veggie burgers. No longer is the only option a frozen gray disc made of soy protein, gluten, and questionable flavorings.

We’ve been to local restaurants with great veggie burger options and made recipes from scratch; however, if you just want to run into your grocery store and secure yourself a delicious, easy dinner, this might be for you.

vegan burger

Why you might like the Five Star Foodie products:

You’re vegan or plant-based and want a delicious burger

A great variety of artichoke burgers beyond the original recipe include French Herb, Indian Tandoori, Thai Coconut, and Italian Herb. We recommend doubling the deliciousness by topping with one or more of these options: guacamole, mustard, crunchy lettuce, fresh parsley or cilantro, and salsa.

You’d like to secure your 3 burgers for less than $6

Beyond burgers, they have vegan frittatas that are soy & nut free, gluten-free, 70% organic and non-GMO. Our personal favorite is the Potato Parsley one and we recommend adding some salsa or hot sauce on top.

You have friends or family members who are vegan or gluten-free

You like an ingredients list that is pronounceable and easily identifiable as food items

Why you may NOT like these products:

You still believe that the word ‘vegan’ means tasteless or ‘only for vegans’

You’re a vampire.

Your name is Gaston; you’ve eaten between 4 and 5 dozen eggs a day for years now and stubbornly refuse to switch things up and try a vegan frittata.

We’re stretching our creativity here :D. There’s only one thing to do, try a food item and see if you like it!

Want to learn more? Check out Five Star Foodies products and more.

*This post was not sponsored (but we’d certainly not mind if it were *nom nom nom*).

Fiesta Egg Frittata

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Aaah, the freshness and promise of the back-to-school season. Even those of us not in school still seem to embody the spirit of excitement of learning and accomplishing goals. As every probably knows by now, a healthy breakfast is a key part in providing us with proper energy and focus. Enter the Fiesta Egg Frittata – these little muffins are colorful, easy to make, nutritious AND delicious. So many wins in such a small package!

Fiesta Egg Frittatas
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
10 organic eggs
1 cups chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped spinach (or baby kale)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped onion
I cup diced mushrooms
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat (12-compartment) muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use baking cups. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan and add onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers; sauté for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes. Place about 2 Tbsp of veggies into each muffin cup. Whisk eggs in medium-size bowl with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over veggies in the muffin tin until about 80% full. Cook for about 25 minutes, until inserted butter knife comes out clean. If not using baking cups, take knife around the edges of the muffin tin to remove egg frittatas.

These breakfast treats are best enjoyed hot but can be kept in air-tight container in fridge for up to 5 days. Grab 1 or 2 on your way to school or work!

10 Ways to Increase Body Love

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A recent interview with a journalist brought more to light about the importance of body positivity and how to practice accepting and loving our bodies. Part of the work we do here is not about nutrition at all. It’s about helping people see themselves, first as they really are, in that moment, and helping to change their mindset on the way to advancing to a more whole life. What does this involve? It involves treating yourself kindly and learning to be your own best friend. It involves respecting yourself and your body – in self-talk, with exercise & sleep, and how you feed it.

Here are 10 tips to increase love for you body; perhaps it will provide an ‘aha’ moment for you too, or at least encourage you to take a small moment and express gratitude for your earthly body.

  1. You’re in good company if the first thing you do in the mornings is hurl an insult at yourself. Many clients have shared the thoughts that run through their heads and there’s a similar thread of “oh great, I have bags under my eyes,” “ugh, my thighs are so fat! How did I let this happen?! Okay, now I really need to buckle down with my diet this week.” What kind of tone does this set for the day and your week? One of disappointment, temporary resolve, and self-loathing. Solution: 2 put-ups for every put-down. Every time you have negative self-talk, you have to say two good things about your body or personality.
  2. Remember that your body is the temple of your spirit; your body is also like a fancy car. How would you treat such objects? Surely any dirt in a temple would be cleaned up; surely you’d not put 87-grade fuel into a Porsche, right? Perhaps consider how you could show your body respect and reverence.
  3. Focus on how you Feel in your body, not just your appearance.
  4. Ask yourself why you are grateful for your body today. Were you blessed with the ability to dance to music? What about the ability to walk (remembering that not everyone can)? Are you grateful for your curly hair? Can you be glad you have strong thighs, even if they aren’t the size you’d like? Do you appreciate the beauty your eyes feast upon everyday; or merely appreciate that you Can see?
  5. Clothe yourself comfortably and in a way that shows your self-respect. Wearing a giant tent of a t-shirt and stretchy gym pants can be part of a ‘depression uniform.’ By wearing a fashionable dress and highlighting your attractive features, you start feeling better about yourself…and that often leads to wanting to DO better for yourself (i.e. making a healthier choice)…which can lead to looking better.
  6. Treat your body like a baby. Honor your body’s needs and act accordingly. Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. Don’t always push yourself so hard.
  7.  Write a love note. You’ve likely done it for others; now it’s time to catalog some of those qualities you adore about yourself. Keep them handy for days when you’re feeling less-than-stellar.
  8. Forgive yourself everyday for one thing you didn’t do perfectly (i.e. eating a cookie or two, or a sleeve of them).
  9. Remember: hindsight is 20/20. When you’re 70 or 80, you’ll probably look at photos of yourself and think you were hot stuff. Why don’t we try on that perspective now?
  10. Besides your physical appearance, do you have certain attributes or character traits that you admire about yourself? Perhaps you make others laugh easily, are a great leader or writer, are an expert paddle-boarder or French cook. Sometimes appreciating the beauty inside helps us connect with it on the outside.

BONUS: Your body LOVES you. Every cell in your body is working to keep you alive and well. It’s your ally, not enemy. Why be at war with it?

You can check out the full article 20 Ways to Have a More Positive Body Image and a very fitting blog about this same topic from a couple of years back!

 

Vegan Grilling for Labor Day

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With Labor Day celebrations right around the corner, we have some delectable vegan options for your family and friends.  Shared last week with Karina Nova and Russ Caruso on WBNS 10TV, the video can be viewed here and we have the ideas below!

Veggie Kabobs

Such a simple and beautiful arrangement can be made with four simple ingredients, including zucchini, red onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Pop the pieces onto skewers and grill for a few minutes. You can brush some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette over them and your choice for herbs.

Five Star Foodies Burgers

These burgers work very well to satisfy your vegan, gluten-free crowd; top with guacamole, mustard, or salsa.

Vegan Potato Salad

Potato salad – full of potassium and fiber, can be made vegan simply by choosing a different mayonnaise (we used Fabanaise from Whole Foods). It’s an excellent side dish and the recipe can be found here.

Grilled fruit with ice cream

Pineapple, pear, and peaches have their sweetness brought forth with grilling. Serve with a vegan ice cream.

Let us know how you like the recipes; have a safe, enjoyable, and delicious upcoming Labor Day weekend!

 

Kinda Big ‘Dill’ Potato Salad

10tv national potato day

We recently celebrated National Potato Day by sharing this recipe, and the result, with Laura Borchers and Jeff Booth on WBNS 10TV. Now we’re sharing it with you and the rest of the world!

But first, some fun facts about potatoes: they were first cultivated by the Inca in South America about 7-10k years ago; the English word ‘potato’ comes from the Spanish ‘patata.’

Americans eat about 124 lbs of potatoes per year; Germans eat about twice that.

Potatoes are relatively low in calories yet they pack a nutritional punch in terms of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber!

kindofabigdillpotatosalad

Serves 4
Prep time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 lb potatoes (we used 4-5 red potatoes for a bit of color in the finished product)
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup plant-based mayo (the one we used included avocado oil and aquafaba as the first two ingredients)
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 tbsp dill
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp tumeric

Instructions
Boil potatoes until tender and easily pierced by fork (about 10 minutes). While the potatoes cool, mix the rest of the ingredients together well in a bowl. Once potatoes are cooled, combine with the mixture. Refrigerate and let the flavors meld for at least an hour (it’s best-tasting the next day).

As mentioned in the tv segment, these are recipe guidelines – have fun and try variations with bell pepper, parsley, and even hot sauce!