Recipe: Honey & Pistachio Rice Pudding ๐Ÿš

As we’ve established in previous articles, winter is not the time to go on a deprivation diet nor feed our bodies with cold salads or smoothies. Instead, what we want to do is ๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก our bodies with warming foods which will enable it to better perform its detoxifying duties.

This Honey & Pistachio Rice Pudding recipe is just one of many in the upcoming Express Detox: Winter Edition. The masterclass includes recipes and menu-planning for the 10 days. We use real food, no weird supplements or energy powders. Enjoy this pudding as a breakfast, snack or dessert during these cold winter days!

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup rice, cooked

1 can coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick (or buy in bulk like we did)

1/4 cup pistachios

1/2 tsp organic honey (optional)

Instructions

Cook the rice or use previously cooked rice (from package in link above or leftovers). In a sauce pan add the rice, along with the coconut milk and cinnamon stick. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until flavors have melded. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl with pistachios on top and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!

๐Ÿ’€ Don’t Diet in Winter: Why

It’s been at the top New Year’s Resolutions for at least the past 50 years: “lose weight” or “improve diet.”

At first glance, these goals seem health-promoting and socially acceptable. What usually follows though is a rather rigid set of rules around eating: what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, what to avoid. This is popularly referred to as a diet and, it’s the worst. Especially during winter. Here’s why:

What’s wrong with dieting?

Anyone who has followed these rule-bound ways of eating will probably tell you two things: yes, they are losing weight and how many days left until they can come off of the diet. This points to a few problems with a restrictive diet:

1. The most popular diets are built primarily on deprivation. And absolutes. There is solemnity to the rules, as if divinely written onto tablets like the 10 Commandments rather than one person’s opinion written on paper. As long as you follow the rules of the diet, you’re a saint. Otherwise, you are one of them, the sinners and failures of the world.

2. Diets are often crazy-making in all their rules and even choosing the right diet (as many are contradictory). Is it okay to eat 1/2 cup of brown rice per day or should you be grain-free? Is the paleo diet better than a vegan one? Confusion abounds before even starting.

3. It’s not intuitive or customized at all. For example, most diet books will tell you to eat something specific, like half of grapefruit with a piece of whole-wheat toast and peanut butter for breakfast. It completely ignores the fact that you might be on a medication with which grapefruit interferes, that one of your kids is allergic to peanut butter, and that you are gluten-sensitive. So, is that a “healthy” breakfast? Maybe for someone else, but not for you. Following the diet’s recommendations might just cause more issues than it solves. Also, it usually encourages using willpower to deal with cravings rather than learning how to sate them.

4. We are often dieting for the wrong reasons. We think being thinner or leaner will automatically improve our lives, but we haven’t even addressed our thoughts or the areas of life we want to improve and how to get ourselves to step into the next version of ourselves. Confidence can, and does, come from many other aspects of life that don’t involve squeezing yourself into a smaller size.

5. Lastly, they are not sustainable. Diets don’t work. Once our days of waiting for the 3-day raw juice cleanse or 30-day paleo diet have come to an end, we often slip right back into our bad habits of late-night snacking, sweet treats, having “cheat meals”, or rationalizing stress-induced overeating.

What’s wrong with dieting during winter?

This has got to be one of the absolute worst times to introduce a cold, low-fat, crash diet.

Among the many mistakes of dieting discussed above, the added the layer of this season can cause things to go south pretty quickly.

From an Ayurvedic perspective (here’s a primer), there’s an ancient, time-tested and rather intuitive way of eating and caring for your body in each season.

If we look at what the earth produces in each season, it gives us a clue as to what we should be eating to maximize our health. Spring is a wonderful time to have salads, greens, berries and sprouts. Summer is when we can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables being offered by our gardens and farmers markets. Fall and winter is when the squashes of the season, nuts, meat or plant-based proteins, hearty grains, and root vegetables are best. Cooked, warming foods are key during this cold and dry season.

People generally, in their quest to cut calories, often decimate the fat in the diet. On the face of it, this change makes sense – fat has more than twice the amount of calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein. However, what is often not taken into account is that during the winter season, our bodies need healthy fats to help protect our skin and lubricate our joints.

This is simultaneously an old and new way of looking at how best to fuel our bodies with nutrition. Though we all often act like every day of the year is the same, especially with foods being available year-round in grocery stores and our with temperature-controlled environments, the fact is that we need to live in concert with winter.

The antidote to winter’s cold and dryness is eating warm, nourishing, oily foods. That’s why you’ll find you’ll find the recipes for meals and beverages that support your body’s detoxification processes in our Express Detox: Winter Edition masterclass.

The Organized Closet: 5 Steps ๐Ÿ‘—

The state of your home does have an impact on your outlook, thoughts and feelings. Clutter and chaos often cause sense of overwhelm, oppression, and a lack of control. These feelings can spill over from our homes into our careers and lives.

Unlike a colossally stressful goal of “clean the house this year”, let’s get a specific result that might just fuel you on the rest of your quest. The goal is not to do everything at once – luckily, closet organization can be completed in just a couple hours. Here’s how:

1. Assess the situation. We’ve had tiny closets, long ones, and walk-ins. Your space can help dictate the amount of clothes that can comfortably fit. It might also inform you of the need for a dresser or to store out-of-season clothing elsewhere. Also, evaluate the amount of clothing and shoes you have. Do you need your formal business attire if your working-from-home situation allows for business casual? Is having 40 t-shirts from every club or run you participated in during your college years necessary or might 20 shirts be enough? Do you live in the same clothes week-by-week and ignore all the stuff in your closet because it doesn’t fit or otherwise makes you feel depressed or guilty? Conversely, do you see some of your favorite items – those that always make you feel sophisticated and composed – hidden among the “great deals” that weren’t or clothing with tags still on them? Release your self-judgement for a minute. We’re not going to focus on our sartorial mistakes or weight gain; we’re focusing on the future.

2. Envision who you’d like to be and how your space might be more welcoming to you. If you take a moment and close your eyes, try to conjure an image of yourself a year from now. What activities are you engaged in? What new, healthy behaviors and thoughts do you have? Then do the same for your closet. You’ve assessed the space and the wardrobe you have at-a-glance. Can you imagine how you’d feel walking into a cleared-out, organized, and colorful closet everyday? How might that influence the start of your day and how you show up at work and in life?

3. Declutter and edit. If you’ve seen our other closet organization articles, you’ll see that we agree with Marie Kondo’s method of pulling *everything* out of your wardrobe. Yes, part of it is the shock and perhaps horror involved as we realize the true need for editing down. The other part is that you can see all of your coats, pants, socks, dresses in one place; this makes it easier to decided how many sweaters are truly needed…or to see that dress we’ve always not liked for some reason *still* hanging out in the closet. It’s time to go!

Use your rational mind and your intuition as you comb through the mountain of clothes. Create three piles: yes, no, and maybe. Pull your most obvious favorites and put them into your “yes” or keep section. The clothing that annoys you, doesn’t fit, or has holes you know you won’t fix goes into the “no” pile. Thank it for its service Konmari-style if you want. The tricky part is that the “maybe” pile might get rather large. Rather than allow ourselves to be confused and indecisive for a majority of our clothing, we limit this pile to 10 pieces. Once the 11th item is thrown in there, we have to move another piece to the “yes” or “no” pile. Give it a try. Depending on how many clothes you are dealing with, this process can take 45 minutes or 2 hours.

4. Organize. As you place items back in your closet, organize by type of clothing (e.g. pants, dresses, shirts), length (shorter dresses to longer ones), and color. This will help you find what you are looking for faster and create a beautiful composition of your clothing. Having the same hangers throughout the closet also help. Or you can do what we did and have separate hanger colors for you and your partner’s sections.

5. Think of this as a continuous process of refinement. As you rotate through the outfits in your closet, you might find that you don’t actually like the way the green sweater looks on your anymore. You notice how you’re tired of fighting the pilling of fabric. Whatever the case may be, you don’t have to wait until the next closet clean-out to make a change. Keep a box in your garage for donations and every time you encounter a pair of shoes that gives you blisters or pants that don’t look or feel right, release it immediately. Use your hangers to keep you accountable in your shopping. If you don’t have more than 2 free hangers, don’t buy 6 items. Or release another 4 things to accommodate your new and improved clothing purchases. This will prevent your closet from accumulating too much clutter like before.

Want to see our before and after videos? Use it for inspiration to see how you can create a functional, welcoming wardrobe for yourself!

Recipe: DIY Divine Vanilla Sugar โ„๏ธ

Maybe you know the kind of Italian nonna whose recipe doesn’t include the secret ingredient that takes the dish from “bravo” to “bellisimo!” Though we could keep this up our sleeves as well, we wouldn’t do that to you. This DIY vanilla sugar recipe is divine; it ‘blesses’ pretty much any baked good with a delicate, fruit-floral aroma and taste. Beyond making your taste buds sing, some properties of vanilla can help calm and protect your nervous system – which make it perfect for hectic holidays! Just like the DIY 2-ingredient Vanilla Extract recipe, this one is supremely simple. We recommend doing both at once since you’ll get the most out of the vanilla beans.

We might sprinkle this highly-valuable vanilla sugar into our gluten-free cinnamon bun recipe, Banana Nut Bread, or on top of the Anytime Warm Apple Crisp. Use it as a substitute for regular white sugar and your coffee, tea, cookies, brownies, and other holiday baked goods will have everyone asking for your secret ingredient. It’s up to you whether you tell them ๐Ÿ˜‰

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Prep: 5 minutes

Yields: 6 cups

Ingredients

6 vanilla bean pods

6 cups organic granulated sugar

Instructions

Using a knife, carefully slice a vanilla bean pod length-wise. Scrape the inside seeds of the bean into a small glass container. Remember, you can reuse the beans to make vanilla extract so put them aside to save them if that’s your plan. Put the granulated sugar into the blender/food processor/coffee grinder to blend the vanilla bean with it. When the seeds have broken down and dispersed in the mixture, your job is basically done! You can enjoy the sugar immediately or reap the reward of getting the best flavor by waiting for a few weeks.

You can store the sugar in any container youโ€™d like. We use hinged, glass Mason jars to store the sugar, making sure it’s tightly sealed to keep it fresh. These containers also make it easy to gift some divine vanilla sugar to anyone who likes to bake or add sweetness to their coffee or tea.

๐Ÿ’ My Precious: Pomegranate

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably got the movie reference from the title and ring emoji alone. Gollum, a rather unfortunate-looking character, is so completely obsessed with the Ring that he calls it “my precious”.

Unlike Gollum, we are less passionate about rings than we are about the ruby-red pomegranate seeds that become available this time of year. The fruit is supremely scrumptious and it offers a whole host of benefits to your body. Let’s explore:

When are Pomegranates available?

The pomegranates in the United States tend to come from the warmer parts, such as California. The fruits need the hot, hot heat (not the band) in order to grow well. The delectable fruit becomes available to us starting in late September and extends through November. Fortunately, because pomegranates do well in storage, you should still seem them available in December and possibly into early January. In summary, it’s available now so run and get yourself some!

Nutritional aspects of Pomegranates

These juicy fruits pack a flavor and nutritional punch! They are a great source of fiber, which can help with constipation, weight loss, and balancing blood sugar.

Pomegranates have vitamins and minerals, including: calcium, phosphorus, folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. This fruit also has antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties which can help the brain and urinary tract, boost physical performance, benefit the cardiovascular and digestive systems, and assist in disease prevention.

What ice cream can’t do, pomegranates can!

How to use and eat Pomegranate

You could eat the seeds themselves as a meal or a snack. We like to have it as a breakfast on its own, with nondairy yogurt, or with the Amaranth for Breakfast recipe (subbing the fruit in for the strawberries).

Pomegranate pancakes are also really good and they have a bit more crunch than blueberry pancakes.

For lunch or dinner, some like pomegranate in their salads or in a rice pilaf.

For dessert, we’ve even put pomegranate seeds on vegan cheesecake and made a syrup out of it.

You are only limited by your imagination.

Let us know – after having fresh pomegranate seeds are you too calling them “my precious”? How do you like to eat yours?

4 Beverages for Cozy Weather

The weather here in the Midwest likes to engage in a bit of trickery. Last week, it was sunny and in the 70s and this week, well, it feels like winter. It’s time to pull out the hats and coats as well as the ingredients for making some warming, cozy beverages. Here are some recipes to fit the season:

  • Our Dairy-free Hot Chocolate was a staple recipe nearly every evening last winter. Whether we were reading a favorite book or magazine or watching holiday movies and the Great British Baking Show, hot chocolate was by our side.
  • For those who don’t want to have to choose between hot chocolate and coffee, we have a most excellent collaboration between the two: 5-spice Hot Choffee (choffee being a portmanteau of hot chocolate and coffee)
  • Celebrate with some Peppermint Eggnog! The egg-less, vegan version is included too.
  • Make yourself the Perfect Cup of Tea and head over to cuddle up on the couch. Increase your knowledge of teas and check in with yourself about which one you need.
  • Whichever beverage you choose to warm yourself up or celebrate with, enjoy!

    In the Client Spotlight with Teresa Curtiss! ๐ŸŽ‰

    How did this program change things for you?

    This program was a game changer for me. I knew I had food sensitivities and thought I had cut all of them out of my diet, but yet I was still sick. I learned that I had a reaction to some of the healthy things I was eating daily [emphasis added]. I finally have a list of foods to stay away from, no more guessing at what might be the issue. I stay clear of these, plus some additional food intolerances, and I feel great. 

    What surprises and new strengths have you gotten from this experience?

    I have my health back. Iโ€™m starting to enjoy food again instead of dreading eating and getting sick. I was just sticking with the same items that I thought were safe, not wanting to try new recipes.

    My diet has opened up to more options now that I know what to avoid. Iโ€™m surprised at how much more variety of foods I can eat now. Even though there are quite a few foods I need to steer clear of (for now), I still have more options than I did before. Iโ€™ve just recently gone back to recipes in my cookbooks that I loved in the past, but thought they were making me sick. I can eat them again with no issues.

    What is the thing you benefited from and/or enjoyed the most so far?

    Getting my health back!

    I had hoped to find out all the foods I had a food sensitivity to and to relieve my symptoms. I didnโ€™t know I could feel this good again! Itโ€™s wonderful to be able to consistently feel good and not have to worry about my symptoms interfering with my day and holding me back from the things I want to accomplish.

    I really appreciate our time together and definitely hope to stay in touch (I just referred someone to you last week).

    Thanks,

    Teresa Curtiss


    Imagine something ‘healthy’ you eat almost everyday – like a banana or maybe some kale – and it actually being the culprit behind your symptoms! This is one of the reasons why it’s important to assess for food sensitivities and intolerances – a problem food could be flying beneath the radar because it’s a ‘health food’. Luckily, Teresa has figured out some of the major ones and her symptoms have improved! Could identifying potential food sensitivities do the same for you? Find out here and schedule a complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started!

    3 Tips & The Summer Slowdown ๐ŸŒ

    Being more of a ‘pitta’ type, according to the ancient science of Ayurveda, our fiery, driven nature has often been amplified by the hot summer season. With the energy of a squirrel possessed, we would run around, overwork, explore and adventure, and constantly be Doing. This year has been different, even strange, in a way. We know something crucial: stacking heat – such as intense exertion in high temperatures – can lead to heat stroke or even burnout. With the latter, we’ve been there before and never want to go back. What to do? Instead of speeding up and pushing the speedometer to 120 mph without rest, we’ve challenged ourselves to exit off the highway of hustle culture and slow down.

    Has it been easy? Heck no. Resisting the urge to avoid our feelings and inner lives by salsa dancing, overwork or keeping endless social commitments has had rather dire consequences for our mental and emotional health (not to mention physical). If you too have been feeling a bit burned and frayed around the edges, join us in putting the brakes on. Here’s how:

    Increase Downtime & Rest

    Most mornings we have an intense exercise class and, though the kinetic energy can continue for hours, we tend to get sleepy in the early afternoon. In past years, we would have dosed up on some sugar, coffee, or chocolate to keep going. Not only that, but the critical voice in our head would have shoved us back into productivity. We’d hear: “You don’t have time – there’s too much to do! Rest later!” Luckily, age has come with wisdom as well as discernment of lies and truth. Now, we give ourselves permission to rest or nap for about 20 minutes. How might want more downtime look and fit into your life? Here are some ideas:

    • Take a break in the middle of the day for ‘tea time’ – even iced tea and a few moments to connect eye-to-eye with your kids, your partner or even your dog
    • Give yourself the gift of an earlier bedtime
    • Transition yourself from work to home life by taking a short walk or a few deep breaths with your eyes closed
    • Create a bedtime routine you enjoy
    • Read a favorite, relaxing book with some hot tea in the evening
    • Give even just 5 minutes of meditation a try, any time of the day, to get re-centered

    Monitor your Mental Health & Bring back Joy

    If recent news about mass shootings, gun and abortion laws have you rattled, maybe don’t add to it with local, constant news about burglaries or random acts of violence. Also, good news may not make the headlines the way fear does but there are many kind & thoughtful people in this world working for positive change. Consider the thought that there is no such thing as the ‘good old days’ because every period in history has had its positive advances and its social ills. We are all here now so let’s do the best we can to improve our environment and foster community & connection while we hurl through the galaxy together on spaceship Earth.

    Do you know what joy is? Where does it live in your life? So many of us are not sure how to answer that question these days. It’s worth exploring and pondering what brings you joy as it adds an element of ‘juice’ to your energy tank. Joy can put a bounce in your step as you run errands and be a buffer against the storms of life. Whether it’s playing soccer, baking, writing calligraphy, dancing, oil painting, playing with pets or children, see how it might be possible to add a little bit of joy-generating activities to your life.

    Inner Healing

    We saved the most challenging, and yet most rewarding, for last. It’s a fact: our past experiences can and do influence who & where we are in the present. While we needn’t spend all our time in what some would call the ‘basements of our minds’, visiting traumas and slights you’ve experienced can help explain how the old beliefs established back in the day are playing out today. Whether that’s numbing out with food or alcohol, acting out in anger or rage, distracting with ‘busy’ activities, or a myriad of other ways, we often have no clue where we picked up these deeply-embedded and unhelpful coping mechanisms. We love the title from Sarah Wilson’s book First, We Make the Beast Beautiful which comes from a Chinese proverb about conquering a beast (e.g. bad habit, anxiety, etc) by deeply engaging with it. The aphorism has been apt during the past month while we’ve been digging back into a self-healing therapy modality whose exercises have brought us into profound inner connection and understanding. Be forewarned: inner work can be mentally and emotionally exhausting & may require the assistance of a therapist.

    Before we all know it, autumn will be here – not just with its pumpkin spice everything, but with harried school preparations and planning for holidays. Take a moment, a few hours, days or a month to slow down in whatever way feels best for you. We promise that ‘productive’ rest (not laziness – here’s a refresher on the difference) and recovery will allow you to speed up once again, this time with a sense of rejuvenation.

    Build a Better Body Bootcamp

    You know your health and body image aren’t where you want them to be. You also realize that short-term resolutions and yo-yo dieting is not the answer.

    The Build a Better Body Bootcamp is a 6-week program designed to help you improve the elements of your diet that lead to sustainable changes in body composition and weight loss. During these 6 weeks, we will cut through the confusion and provide the tools you need to jumpstart your better body. Topics include:

    • Deceptive marketing and nutritional confusion
    • Navigating nutrition facts labels
    • Building better meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
    • MyPlate and portion sizes
    • Healthier snack and dessert options
    • Measuring and tracking your success
    • Sodium, sugar and fat
    • Navigating social events with ease
    • Better restaurant & fast food options
    • Styles of eating

    Many of us have been stuck in nutritional confusion for so long (“are eggs good for me? What about coffee? Am I eating too much fruit?”) without support to actually make the changes we desire.

    By using the tools and getting clarity and support from our private community, you’ll be able to take this dedicated time to springboard yourself into healthier habits. Benefits include:

    • Jump-starting your new eating protocol, not a fad ‘diet’
    • Learning how to feed yourself, and your family, better
    • Changing your body composition – feel stronger, leaner, and more toned
    • Feeling better
    • Having more energy
    • Better digestion and regular bowel movements
    • Improvement of chronic health issues

    Here are the details. The 6-week Build a Better Body Bootcamp starts on Wednesday, April 27th and ends Wednesday, June 8th.

    • Includes weekly live meeting with Integrative & Functional Dietitian-Nutritionist where we breakdown topics into bite-sized action steps
    • Tools and recipes
    • Private Facebook group for community support
    • Skills practice
    • Accountability and resources

    Ready to rock a better body? Let’s go!

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    2 monthly payments of $297

    Fast-action BONUS: for those who know they are ready to make the changes and sign up by Monday, April 18th you’ll be able to join our next Sugar Detox Challenge, beginning May 22nd, for FREE!  (Valued at $197)

    Questions? Schedule a complimentary 20-minute call.

    Recipe: Plant-based Taco Tuesday ๐ŸŒฎ

    You definitely don’t need it to be a Tuesday to enjoy these tasty tacos, but “Sunday Tacos” doesn’t exactly have the desired alliteration. We like to call these the Anytime Tacos – the ‘t’ sound is still in there and it’s much more freeing – but social convention is a powerful thing. Regardless, have this crunchy, delicious, and nutrient-dense meal whenever you’d like. Remember the “Got Milk” slogan? Well, this calcium-rich meal actually does a body good. Enjoy!

    Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

    Prep time: 10-15 minutes, depending on number of condiments offered

    Serves: 3-4 people

    Ingredients

    1 package of 12 hard taco shells (we used Siete grain-free ones)

    1 head of lettuce, romaine or green leaf, chopped

    1 can, 15oz of black beans and/or our cauliflower & walnut crumble recipe (if time allows)

    1 tsp taco seasoning

    2 tomatoes, diced

    2 avocados, sliced

    1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

    1 jar of salsa to share

    2 limes, sliced (optional)

    Instructions

    Rinse beans from a can and then put in a small pot over low heat. Add taco seasoning and stir; simmer for about 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the tacos. While waiting, prep lettuce, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and limes. Follow directions on hard taco shell box for how long to heat them up in the oven (about 2-3 minutes). Plate tacos and allow each dinner guest or family member to decorate their own tacos with the condiments provided. Lime juice provides a nice splash of flavor and acidity to the meal. Your taste buds might just shout ยกolรฉ!