Recipe: Just another Mochi Monday 🍡

*Reference to an 80s band, hints below!

What is mochi?

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from short-grain glutinous rice. Let’s take a moment to define the term glutinous; it sounds like it would have gluten in it, but it actually means having a gummy or glue-like quality. As long as your mochi is made from rice, without any added glutenous (which means gluten-containing) ingredients, this is a perfectly good dessert option for those who are gluten-free. In making mochi, the rice is pounded into paste and a desired shape.

Is mochi healthy?

For a treat, mochi is definitely a healthier option than most out there. It has carbohydrates from the rice and nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, niacin (B vitamin) and some potassium and iron.

What does it taste like?

Plain kiri (rectangular) mochi tastes like a sweet, chewy marshmallow-rice mix. It’s stretchy like bubblegum and has a soft texture.

How does one eat mochi?

A multitude of options await one who is eagerly staring down some puffed up mochi. You can choose to make it into a nori sandwich by placing the mochi in a sheet of nori and adding some tamari or soy sauce. Mochi can be cubed and added to soups as dumplings. It’s known as a cheese substitute that could be grated into lasagnas or quesadillas (we’ve not tried these yet). As a simple, salty snack just dip mochi into soy sauce or tamari. For those who prefer a sweeter version, try it with some maple syrup and nuts (recipe below).

When is the best time to enjoy some mochi? Pretty much anytime really. While walking down your street, like an Egyptian. When a hazy shade of winter falls around us. Though we’ve eaten it during every season, autumn is a perfect time to have this nice, warm treat

All we can say is that this treat will probably ignite an Eternal Flame of dessert desire in your heart. Get it?

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: about 13 minutes

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.

Ingredients

2 mochi, kiri type (we used the Eden brand, individually wrapped)

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

1/8 cup organic pecans

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and then the mochi on top. When oven reaches designated temperature, transfer baking sheet onto top rack. Bake for about 13 minutes or until mochi “puffs” out sufficiently (turn on oven light and watch the baking ‘magic’) and is nicely toasted.

*Did you figure out the 80s band? What do you think of mochi? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 11: One-minute Energy Boosters 🤣

Unless you have the exuberance of a young child, most of us could use more energy – whether to fulfill our dreams or even just our quotidian responsibilities. The good news: there’s no need to artificially jolt yourself into action with another coffee or energy drink. A few of these natural energy boosters can provide enjoyable, longer-lasting energy for you. Give them a try!

  1. Bouncing or jumping in place and shaking out your hands can be a nice way of shaking off a negative feeling or worries and giving you a bit more energy.

  2. As your shower comes to an end, turn the knob for cool or cold water and let it run over your head, each raised underarm and on your lower back.

  3. Drink a glass of water – this can boost your energy and your detoxification processes.

  4. A minute of laughing can be an excellent mental health and energy booster. Prepare for tears of laughter with this.

  5. For a little pep in the afternoon, place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in your palms, cupping hands over your face. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

  6. Sing the chorus of your favorite song, aloud if you can. Today’s pick was the oldie-but-goodie “More than a Feeling” by Boston.

  7. Go outside – stand in the sun (if it’s out) and notice the temperature, breeze, smells, the birds communicating, colors of leaves and whatever else your senses are picking up.

  8. Play with your pet. A laser pointer or dangly toy for your cat or hide-and-seek with your dog. We like to play ‘tag’ with our bunnies then ‘catch’ and provide cuddles.

  9. Squats. One minute of these will get your blood flowing to and from those large muscles (quads). This can be easily done during breaks from desk work.

  10. Have a small snack – perhaps DIY Hippie Granola with yogurt, a banana with nut butter, or a small handful of nuts.

  11. Engage with a friend or loved one who lifts your spirits. Even a quick text during the day can boost both of you.

Which ones worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Recipe: Blueberry & Peach Compote 🍑

Ooh wee! Have you seen the fresh peaches available at farmers markets and grocery stores? If you haven’t already, grab a few along with a pint of blueberries for this sweet, no-added sugar dessert. Compote usually involves fruit cooked in a syrup or with sugar but we just used water and a bit of cinnamon. It’s wonderful to have for breakfast or as a dessert. Life’s a peach!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: about 30-40 minutes

Servings: ~ 9

Ingredients

4-5 ripe, fresh peaches

1 pint blueberries

1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Dice peaches and put in medium saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom. Add blueberries and cinnamon. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for about 30-45 minutes or until fruit has softened. Enjoy on its own, with oatmeal in the mornings, or with vanilla ice cream in the evenings.

Sugar Detox Champion! 🥇

“This sugar detox challenge came at the perfect time for me, and my family. I had been noticing how the kids were asking for convenient (junk) snacks and fast food, cereals and frozen meals. Since they are teenage boys, they could eat with abandon and seemingly not gain weight. For awhile, I could ignore the voice in my head that said I had to make a change. After all, my husband and I work full-time and with the kids activities and daily life, we were busy and I had a hard time saying no to their requests. It was much easier to give in than try to figure out new food options or recipes. I wanted to be a better role model and I knew I had to address my own sugar consumption. Even though I considered myself a healthy eater, certainly better than average, and had removed a number of junk foods from my diet, I still had my soda dependency to work through. I told myself I needed it for a caffeine boost and that since I ‘only’ had 1-2 sodas a day, it wasn’t a big deal, but it was. I signed up and mentally prepared myself for the change.

The first few days were difficult to say the least. I had a headache and experienced fatigue to the point where I needed to take a nap in the middle of the day. By days 4 and 5, I felt like I was coming out of a fog. My brain felt like it was functioning better and I could think more clearly. My energy started to boost back up, without caffeine! I started noticing my skin tone improve. Things were looking good…

I relapsed over the weekend and felt sluggish, unfocused and foggy-headed. This was a valuable lesson because now I can definitely see the difference when I have less sugar. This makes me feel stronger and more committed to making it last.

I’m not a slave to sugary drinks anymore. I noticed that Coke is kind of a gateway drug for me and, if I had it at lunch, I’d end up ordering a specialty coffee drink (with more sugar) later on that afternoon. Along with this, my alcohol consumption has decreased because I’m no longer having mixed drinks.

Other benefits over the past 25 days include better bowel movements and a yeast infection clearing up, avoiding late-night ice cream and snacks, and having more energy. From my original measurements to the last day of the challenge, I’ve lost 3.5 lbs and a 1/2 inch from my waist. In just 25 days! My skin looks healthier too and though I’m in my late 40s, I’ve been told it’s ‘glowing’. I’ll take it!

My husband and my children still enjoy their frozen treats most evenings, but we’ve all started looking at labels and trying to find better options in the snack or frozen-food aisles. One of my sons has seen his acne clear up significantly and the other is now mixing his sports drinks with water to reduce sugar too.

The sugar detox challenge was full of information that helped me to change individual ingredients in my kitchen and make improvements to our meals. I appreciated the individual support to help me with my challenges with health issues and travel, which I often do for work. Even though I didn’t do it perfectly, Adrienne was always very encouraging and offered practical tips that fit my situation and I still had great results without pressuring myself to do it perfectly. It was totally worth doing. My family and I have learned valuable lessons that we will carry through the rest of our lives.”

Tara G.

———————–

The ’25’ Sugar Detox Challenge is aptly named because it really is a challenge to put effort into changing up the way we view and engage with added sugars. The first 3 days for most people is no joke as energy tends to dip and symptoms can worsen. Getting through that leads to the other side where you can start reaping benefits (which can show up differently for each individual but typically results in improvements with digestion, skin, energy and even body composition). If you have a dependent relationship with sugar, consider this challenge as a way to help break-up with it. Remember: you don’t have to do it perfectly to get results.

Ready to get started? Join today – we start August 14th!

Part Deuce: Stool Chart & Everyone’s Poop Questions 🚽

Believe it or not, this photo of our Bristol Stool Chart was inspired by a failed recipe (we’ll let you guess which :D) and it provides a visual representation of what types of poop humans can produce. There’s also so much more to cover but keep this image in mind as we answer some common questions.

Why should we care about our bowel movements? Why are poops important to learn about?

Paying attention to what we eat and drink is important for everything from athletic performance to increasing our natural energy levels, giving our bodies the nutrients it needs, and more. On the other ‘side’, feces can give clues to your doctor or dietitian about the quality of your diet and underlying health issues such as digestive problems (IBS, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and more), microbiome bacterial or viral infections, colon cancer, and more.

As Sir Francis Bacon said, knowledge is power. The more you identify, catalogue, and understand the difference between healthy poos and unhealthy poos, the quicker you can make necessary changes to improve your health. You might want to make adjustments to your diet to help with constipation or diarrhea, identify foods in your diet that cause your stool to be difficult to pass or to float, or to make a visit to see your doctor if there’s a problem.

What are the types of poop on the Bristol Stool Chart?

Poo Types
1: hard, rabbit-like pellets that are hard to expel
2: a contiguous piece but lumpy and still a bit hard
3: a smoother sausage-like poop with cracks
4: sausage or snake-like, smooth and soft with the texture or firmness of nut butter
5: soft pieces, clearly separated
6: mushy stool, ragged edges, not well-defined
7: entirely liquid stool

Do girls poop?

Yes, girls poop. So do the Kardashians and other celebrities, your parents, the pope and the president. No one is too important or special not to poop.

Why is my poop red/green/black?

You might have red poop because of something as innocuous as eating beets or even food coloring. The worst scenario is if your poop is red because of blood. This can be the result of a bleeding ulcer or hemorrhoids, for example.

Green poop, or yellowish-green stool, is usually associated with food moving too quickly through your intestines with the yellowish-green bile not being fully catalyzed by enzymes in the gut that turn it brown. Other causes of green stool are: infections, digestive issues (e.g. IBS, celiac disease), food coloring, or a diet high in dark-green leafy vegetable such as kale, spinach, or collard greens.

Black, tarry stools can signal a real issue in your body, including internal bleeding. You’ll likely need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are pregnant, stool changes can occur that have them looking very dark brown or nearly black. So can iron tablets and folic acid supplements. You’ll want check with your doctor to ensure your stool changes are safe. Remember that food dyes can also lead to black poop.

What if my stool is white or pale?

Pale poop can be a result of a liver or gallbladder issue. The liver might not be producing enough bile, there could be a blockage in the hepatic ducts or common bile ducts. Diseases of the liver (such as cirrhosis and hepatitis) and gallbladder (e.g. gallstones) are typically implicated. Other reasons for pale stool could include pancreatic issues, celiac disease, intestinal parasites, cystic fibrosis, and more.

How long should my poops be?

Continue reading

Recipe: Coconut Almond Smoothie 🥥

After chilly rain earlier this week, the Ohio weather gods have bestowed 60-degree weather upon us. Time to break out your blender and get some chocolate & spring greens in.

Join us in relishing this delicious, anti-inflammatory smoothie that is great for gut health!


Ingredients
2 cups almond milk
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs
2 tsp chia seeds
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup spinach
2 medjool dates
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp shredded coconut

Instructions
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well. Add additional non-dairy milk or water
to reach desired consistency. Enjoy!


The Green Smoothie Challenge eBook contains tips and tricks of the trade, 14
green smoothie recipes, ideas for substitutions, a food diary, superfood additions,
and the grocery lists for week 1 and 2 of your personal challenge. Armed with this
guide and your trusty blender, you’ll go far!


Start adding in these green smoothies so you can experience having more energy,
clearer skin, improved digestion, weight loss, or any number of benefts as yet
unforeseen.


Get ready to experience the easiest and most sustainable way to enjoy some
superfood-fueling smoothies; grab the guide and get started on the first week
today!

Choose your Water Wisely 🚰

Disclosure: this is not a sponsored post; products were provided by the manufacturer. 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.

Unless you live in Switzerland, New Zealand, or Norway, it’s time to pay attention to the water you drink. Why? Because those countries have high-quality tap water (rated by entities such as the World Health Organization). Switzerland, for example, has strict standards for water treatment and their drinking water tends to come from natural springs or groundwater. New Zealand has focused on meeting chemical and bacterial standards in its water. Since the early aughts, Norway has been working on its disintegrating, aging water infrastructure (a problem the US shares).

So, why are we talking about this today? Well, everyone is told to drink plenty of water, to stay hydrated. We would be remiss not to mention the importance of the quality of water alongside any recommendation to increase its consumption.

Having experienced tap water from both coasts, many states and countries too, we’re just glad to be alive. Kidding. Kind of. As you may remember from our other article Is your Water Safe? there are many issues with water, including: fluoride (especially when it comes to endocrine issues such as hypothyroidism), chlorination byproducts, agricultural runoff, lead, pharmaceutical compounds, chemicals and bacteria. Oh and ‘forever’ chemicals. This other article deals with the control certain companies have over our water and waterborne illness. And this one, Water: A Human Right or a (Paid) Privilege? is important as water is both a global and home-country issue (also, get to know the parent company of your bottled water!).

During our teenage years, our household had a reverse osmosis filter installed and the water, when we did drink it, was of better quality. But then came college and post-college years of way more tap, bottled water, or the carbon filter types (e.g. Brita and PUR). After many years of buying water by the gallons or carbon filters, we looked into systems that we didn’t have to install and found a couple of countertop options, including the RKIN Zero Installation Purifiers (we compared the AlcaPure and OnliPure versions here).

These have been great, but we as a household apparently drink a lot of water and were filling up the containers multiple times a day. When we moved into our more permanent dwelling, the fridge had a built-in, carbon filtration system (which we use now to water some of our non-edible plants) and so we still needed a reverse osmosis solution. The undersink reverse osmosis system made more sense as it provided quality water at the kitchen sink, on demand (and it refills itself). Another bonus was saving some countertop space. If you are a student or are renting, the countertop version might be best whereas the undersink version might serve you better if you’re in a long-term situation.

So we had the reverse osmosis system set up at our sink and everything was hunky dory for awhile, but we noticed mineral deposits around our bathroom faucets and other symptoms of hard water. Since our water comes from a well, we weren’t entirely surprised when the data we received from our water suppliers showed that yes, we do have hard water.

In comes the softener system. The set-up was a bit complicated but the result is worth it. You can see the difference between our tap water and filtered water, softened and unsoftened in this video (near the end).

As you might now see, this article builds on, and is complementary to the others we’ve written about water quality. We suggest you test your water and ask for the annual report. If you’re not feeling like tap is your best option, consider a carbon filter at the very minimum and a reverse osmosis system as one of the best options all of us currently have. A softener might come in handy too; again, learn about your water supply. Bottled water is fraught with issues – including plastics and our environment, supporting certain companies unwittingly, bottled ‘spring’ water containing tap or carbon filtered water, and more.

Unless you plan to move to Vienna, Austria (where tap water flows from water protection zones in the mountains into the city) or one of the other top tap water countries, we need to take personal action on our tap water here in the United States.

Bottom line: the human body is mostly water and we need plenty of it for proper hydration. It makes sense to put some time, attention, and effort into making sure yours is the best it can be. We may not be able to control our municipal water, but we can exert some control within our homes by further filtering our own water.

If you like what you see on the RKIN website, click here and get 10% off your order.

Go-go Goji Berries!

The goji berry, also known as wolfberry, is a sweet orange-red fruit native to Asia. It has been eaten for thousands of years and is a staple of some of the longest-living people on earth, including the Hunza in the Himalayas. With an impressive array of nutritional properties and health benefits, you might want to include it into your diet. We’ll show you how.

Background & Nutritional Properties

Goji berries have been used both as food and botanical medicine. Fortunately, with its sweet taste (it looks like a red raisin but tastes more like a cross between a cherry and a cranberry), it ‘helps the medicine go down’, as Mary Poppins would say.

What else do goji berries offer, nutritionally-speaking? Plenty – including 18 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), high antioxidant content, more protein by weight than other fruits (e.g. oranges, apples, berries), great source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, trace minerals, B vitamins and more.

Goji berries have been extensively studied for their health benefits and have been known to:

• Strengthen the immune system
• Increase longevity and protects from premature aging
Reduce skin cancer risk
• Promote cardiovascular health
• Support eye health and vision
• Maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar
• Improve fertility
• Strengthen muscles and bones
• Manage weight

Ready to include more of these delicious and nutritious berries into your diet? First, let’s talk about who should NOT eat goji berries without consulting their doctor or healthcare professional. Obviously, those allergic to the berries should avoid them. Goji berries may interact with certain drugs including blood thinners and diabetes medications as well as drugs for high blood pressure.

Choosing to partake in the nourishment and benefits of these red berries? Here are some ways to include them into your go-go, busy lifestyle:

• During breakfast with DIY Hippie Granola or a warming Great Goji Groatmeal recipe or even just as a topping to your cereal

• Brew in a tea ball with loose green tea

• As a snack on its own or in a trail mix

• In smoothies and yogurt

• Paired with dark chocolate for a satisfying dessert rich in antioxidants

…and more! Goji berries have been used to make soup, stew and wine as well as herbal formulas as a tonic for health.

This nutrient-dense superfood deserves a spot in your pantry with all it can offer to you and your family. Enjoy!

How to: Deep-clean the Whole Fridge 🧽

Ever since completing the pantry organization project, the fridge has practically been begging for a deep clean. With cold weather encouraging indoor activities – and with spring around the corner – we decided it was time to load up our favorite music as we worked towards the vision of a gleaming fridge.

Time: about 45 minutes total, including back of the fridge

Materials needed: paper towels, vinegar or cleaning spray, vacuum for back of fridge and floor, organizational bins (optional), your favorite music and beverage to hydrate

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.

Step 1: Pull everything out of your fridge. Keep a cooler nearby and fill it with the fresh meats and other temperature-sensitive perishables. Throw away any old, moldy ‘science experiments’ that have taken residence at the back of the fridge.

Step 2: Remove the shelves and clean them; wipe down the sides and doors inside of the fridge.

Step 3: Because the fridge is lighter without food inside of it, this could be a good time to carefully pull fridge out a few feet to gain access to the back (this took two people for us). Unless you’ve cleaned the area recently, there’s probably everything from dog hair to Nerf gun balls and crumbs. And that’s just the floor. We were surprised by what we found too, relics of previous inhabitants:

Unplug the refrigerator before doing any sort of maintenance or cleaning to avoid electrocution. Vacuum the floor and the coils. We used canned air to get ours clean too. You might also want to wipe down the area behind the fridge, including walls and floor. Ah, that’s better.

The coils help keep your fridge cold and when they are covered and dirty, the fridge has to work extra-hard to do its job. You’ll likely notice better-performing, quieter fridge operation. Your electricity bill might be lower too. All types of winning here! Now you can plug your fridge back in, roll it back into its proper place, and pat yourself on the back.

Step 4: Put bowl or box of baking soda inside, near the back fridge, to help absorb odors. Put fresh paper towels into drawers; use or obtain plastic bins for organization and easier clean-up in the future. We used Bino Stackable Storage Bins XL (4 pack).

Step 5: Quickly check expiration dates and wipe down bottles and jars of various food items as you add them back in.

Step 6: Wipe down the top, sides, and front of the fridge after removing any old coupons, save-the-dates, and magnets. Cut and curate, then place desired artwork or magnets back.

Now that you’re done, step back and admire your handiwork.

How long will the gleam last? Probably not long enough, but there are some ways to keep your fridge fresh between deep cleans. How often should a deep-clean be done? Quarterly. Put it in your calendar and start working on your energizing playlist now. You might want to check behind the fridge every quarter to every six months to ensure the coils aren’t covered in dust and dirt. In the meantime, here’s what to do monthly:

  • Keep up with your first-in, first-out system.
  • Consider replacing drawer linings with fresh, absorbant paper towels to help with moisture and any leaking from forgotten foods.

It’s not quite a heavenly experience, but opening the refrigerator doors and the seeing light bouncing off the clean surfaces and colorful foods might just make you smile.

Vitamin L for your Heart ❤️

There are all sorts of nutrients that your heart needs in order to be healthy, including: magnesium, polyphenols, omega-3s, fiber and folate. However nutritious your food choices, there is a nutrient of supreme importance – vitamin L.

How is this vitamin different from the A, B, C, D versions you’ve heard about? One, it’s not a physical nutrient. Two, it is among one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Three, when you have it, and share it, your heart beats with pure joy. Vitamin L is vitamin Love. Unlike a pill, you can’t just ‘take’ love. In fact, you have to give in order to receive it.

Could you use a little, or a lot more, of Vitamin L in your life? Let’s start with perhaps the hardest one.

Love for self. Does this surprise you? Most people get a bit flustered or even breakdown crying when asked if they love themselves. It’s such a simple question, but even we were perplexed the first time a holistic doctor asked the same question. Do you love yourself? How do you know if you do? Scrape off the first few layers of how you dress, the car you drive, what you buy for yourself, or the spa treatments you might get – do you truly and completely love and accept yourself? Don’t feel bad if the answer is “I don’t know” or even “no”. You’re certainly not alone. Many of our clients have hidden behind a form of ‘over-performing’ and strict eating and living principles. But really this wasn’t self-love or appreciation, it was a form of self-flagellation. It was shame or guilt that motivated their ‘healthy’ actions. Religious upbringing can play a part in this, but that’s a story for another time.

Imagine if we nourished ourselves with love, appreciation, and joyful experiences. It’s something a green smoothie can’t even touch, in terms of deeper nourishment. So then the question clients want to know the answer to is “how Do I love myself more?” As you might expect, it needs to be personalized, like knowing your own love language.

It might be helpful to image yourself as a separate human being. Would you tell this person, immediately upon seeing them, “boy you look horrible today, and damn girl, look at those thighs”? Probably not. Then why do you say that to yourself in the mornings, upon gazing into the mirror? Being kind to ourselves, in thought and in words, is a form of self- love. Take that vitamin daily. Maybe even double the dose.

Again, imagining yourself as a loved one, would you say “oh, you’re tired? Well, you can go to bed after you clean and organize the whole kitchen, eat the bag of chips and watch another episode, or finish your taxes” or would you say to her “you seem tired and you’ve accomplished a lot today; get some sleep and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to start again tomorrow”?

It’s possible that so many of us were given messages that our worth was in being “good” – as in pleasing others, never asking for what we needed, hiding unpleasant emotions from the public (and ourselves), warning against vanity (through Greek mythology and Narcissus, a man of unparalleled beauty, who fell in love with his own reflection and caused his own demise) and therefore never saying nice things to the person in our mirrors. These factors, and more, can play into how we speak, feel, and act towards ourselves.

Love for others and greater humanity. Aim for positive interaction which each member of your family, with your spouse or partner, your children and your friends. No one is perfect but we can extend kindness nonetheless and give a benefit of a doubt. The best part is that, if you’ve incorporated more vitamin Love for youself in your life, it will spill over into other areas more effortlessly. When you pour from an empty pitcher, you give to others but there is a sense of resentment and depletion. When you pour from a pitcher that is constantly being refilled by your own nourishment, there is plenty to go around, with more joy too.

When we care about our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we make choices about the clothes we buy, the companies we support, and money we donate. Though we will never solve all of humanity’s ills, we can start lessening them. Get into microlending to support small business abroad, say no to fast fashion and buy quality pieces from companies whose dyes don’t pollute waters, refuse to buy from companies who buy water rights and deny clean water to local communities, share information and knowledge to help people improve their own lives.

Share some vitamin L(ove) today and start a new, positive ‘pandemic’ in your own house, community, and perhaps a ripple effect throughout the world.