Curious about the Health at Every Size approach? I'm hosting a webinar on Wednesday Jun 14 at 7pm EST to explain what this paradigm means, how it is different than the typical health advice, and research that supports a HAES approach. Can't make it on June 14? The webinar will be recorded and sent to everyone who registers. Sign up here!
A roundup of all my articles, recipes, and social media posts from last monthRead More
Miss any posts on social media from last month? I've consolidated them all here! Lots of focus on seasonal veggies, like asparagus, ramps, and fiddleheads, along with articles and videos on foot and ankle mobility for Foot Health Awareness Month
Things I Wrote
How Important is Hydration to Your Health? I wrote this article for Zhou Nutrition focusing on one of the basics of nutrition: hydration. Right now, you may feel inundated with articles supporting the latest diet trend or fad food. While we are always learning new things in this field, it is so important to not leave the basics behind.
One Pot Meals
Paleo Moroccan Chicken Stew This stew makes great leftovers that you can take for lunch the next day
Spring Tuscan Quinoa Bake (vegetarian-friendly) Easy, colorful, and flavorful, this dish is a crowdpleaser
Lemon Chicken with Asparagus Simple, bright, and full of flavor
Vegan and Vegetarian
Vegan Parmesan Farro Risotto with Garlicky Greens Farro is a lot more forgiving than traditional Arborio rice, making this dish an easy weeknight option
Shaved Asparagus Frittata (contains dairy and eggs) Easy enough for a weeknight meal, fancy enough for company
Spring Celebration Salad (contains dairy) The butter vinaigrette is a game-changer; I've added it to veggies and salad at least once a week
Spring Onion Soup (contains dairy) My favorite soup I tried this month
Fiddlehead Frittata (contains dairy and eggs) Can't find fiddleheads? Swap asparagus or green beans
Tahini Chocolate Banana Soft Serve Tahini is a great substitute for nut butters if you are allergic to nuts
Matzo Ball Soup Simple and comforting, I like to make this soup on rainy spring days.
Roasted Potato, Sunchoke, and Asparagus Salad with Ramps Easter brunch is one of the meals that signifies spring to me, and I love including seasonal veggies only found this time of year, like ramps.
Yoga and Workout Videos
Stabilizing Foot and Ankle Exercises These exercises take up limited space so you can do them anywhere. Try while you're cooking or brushing your teeth
How to Fix Foot Pain and Improve Ankle Mobility I can't recommend this video enough, especially to runners and anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet (nurses, waiters, construction workers, I'm looking at you!)
Yoga for Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis This video is also a great post-run cool-down
21 Low-impact Workouts that are More Effective Than You Think All my favorites made the list. How about yours?
Three Foot Stretches to Help You Walk Without Pain You should be able to walk without pain. Try these stretches and see a healthcare professional if pain continues
Six Stretches to Relieve Your Morning Foot Pain I include several of these in my yoga classes. Most you can do while watching tv
Candy-free Easter Basket Ideas Helpful ideas for Easter or any gift-giving holiday
Feet are our Foundation: Five ways to strengthen them The earlier videos and articles stretched your feet. This one focuses on strengthening them
Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy: What's safe and what's not Herbs can be incredibly powerful but need to be used appropriately. Send this one to a mom- or dad-to-be!
What did you cook and read last month? Let me know in the comments!
Happy New Year! This is the time of year when we turn over a new leaf, making resolutions designed to transform us into the person we desire to be. How many times have you made a resolution only to go back to your old ways by Groundhog's Day? I have, many times over. The trick I have learned is to focus on creating healthy habits rather than focusing on changing something I don't like about myself.
So how do you make lasting habits? By starting with intention, identifying obstacles and support systems, and setting a plan in place. I use the following 9 questions both with myself and with nutrition clients to hone in on goals and plans to accomplish those goals. So grab a pen and paper and let's get started!
- What are your goals and aspirations for 2017?
- Why do you want to achieve these goals?
- What steps have you taken towards these goals already?
- What obstacles have prevented you from achieving these goals in the past? Circle the ones that are still relevant. List any current obstacles not already circled.
- What obstacles have prevented you from starting new habits in general in the past? Circle the ones that are still relevant. List any new obstacles not already circled.
- What obstacles have prevented you from sticking with new habits in the past? Which ones are still relevant? List any current obstacles not already circled.
- Looking at the current obstacles identified in questions 4-6, what steps can you take to prevent or mitigate these hurdles?
- Will your friends and family be supportive of you making the changes listed in question 7?
- Who will be most supportive?
You now have the basic outline for a plan to take your resolution and turn it into a lasting habit. What next? Identify monthly, weekly, and daily ways to incorporate steps towards your resolution, making it part of your life. Want to make a dietary change this year but not sure where to start? Schedule a free 15-minute introductory meeting with me to determine if I can help you meet your goals.
Looking for a sweet treat? This banana chia pudding will hit the spot! Chia seeds pack a boost of energy, along with fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. I am always looking for ways to include them in my diet because they are so nutritious and versatile. When added to water, they create a gel, making for a velvety pudding texture when added to coconut or almond milk. I like to eat this pudding as a light snack before a workout. It also works well as a light breakfast or after dinner treat.
What's your favorite way to use chia seeds?
I love salads this time of year. Not the wimpy all lettuce salads with one sad tomato. Hearty salads with all the toppings! This salad is great as a side but is satisfying enough to be a meal on its own. Enjoy!
Makes 2 meal-sized servings or 4 side servings
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 cucumber
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 14-oz cab chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Place the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemon into a large bowl. Add olive oil and whisk together to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Chop the cucumber into 1/4 inch thick slices, then chop the slices into quarters.
- Allow the quinoa to cool. Then add to the large bowl, along with the cucumbers, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Toss to cover thoroughly in dressing. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
Change it up!
- Add grilled chicken breast, ground turkey, or grilled sirloin to beef it up
- Swap the quinoa for leftover rice or minced cauliflower
- Add 1-2 tablespoons minced cilantro or basil to the dressing
- Add 1 minced clove of garlic to the dressing
- Add a thinly sliced red onion for a spicy crunch
- Add ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese. Yum!
Hi there! I recently wrote a guest post on hypothyroidism over at Zhou Nutrition. Check it out here!
Have you struggled with hypothyroidism? What strategies have helped you manage this condition? Let me know below in the comments
So you've got the basics of mindful eating down. You are making choices that make your body and mind feel its best. But what do you do when a craving strikes? The good news is that no foods are off-limits with mindful eating. We can enjoy indulgences mindfully; however, exploring our cravings can provide useful feedback and help us to maintain a mindful approach. I take a 3-step approach to cravings: notice, determine, and savor.
First, take a second to notice the craving. Where in your body do you feel the craving? Your mouth, stomach, heart, or mind? Become curious about the craving. Why are you craving this particular food? Perhaps you are craving chocolate chip cookies because they remind you of weekends baking with your mom. Maybe you are craving ice cream because you did not eat enough during the day, and your mind is giving you a signal to eat something with a substantial amount of calories. Are you craving a candy bar because you did not get enough sleep last night? Are you bored and eating chips will give your hands something to do? Dig deep to find the root cause of the craving. Don't discount the craving, simply explore. Sometimes there is not a deeper reason, we just want to eat something delicious!
Next determine how you will feel if you eat the food you are craving. Are you lactose-intolerant but you are craving cheese? Perhaps indulging will make you feel worse afterwards. Is there something you can eat or do instead that will satisfy the craving and make you feel good afterwards? If eating the food you are craving will make you feel good, examine why. Perhaps eating a few squares of dark chocolate at night satisfies your sweet tooth and can be routinely incorporated into your healthy routine.
If you choose to indulge, savor each bite. Examine the sight, smell, sound, texture, and of course taste of the food. Become aware of how your body and mind feel. If at any point your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the present. Re-engage with your five senses. You may notice that after a few bites the food no longer tastes as pleasant. Consider stopping at this point.
This process is longer than how we normally respond to cravings. However, the more we do it, the faster and more intuitive it becomes. What do you tend to do when a craving strikes? Let me know in the comments!
Stir frys (or is it fries?) are a fantastic way to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. I like to chop the veggies the night before to save even more time the day of. Fair warning, there are a few optional slightly harder-to-find ingredients. They make a noticeable difference in the taste, but you can make a good-tasting stir fry without them. Fish sauce, tamari, and coconut aminos are usually in the same aisle of the grocery store as soy sauce.
- 1 tablespoon fat of choice (I like coconut oil. Lard, butter or even olive oil would be super good too)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 lb ground pork
- 4 cups vegetables, chopped (I like to use a mixture of broccoli, sugar peas, red bell peppers & carrots. Water chestnuts, zucchini, broccoli slaw & green beans work great as well)
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (fresh ginger really makes a big difference, you can sub 1-2 teaspoons of dried ginger instead but definitely try fresh when you can)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- Heat the fat over medium-high heat
- Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring frequently
- Add the pork and cook until no longer pink
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-3 minutes
- Add the vegetables and allow to cook down, 3-7 minutes depending on the hardness of the veggies
- Add the spices, tamari or aminos, vinegar, and fish sauce. Cook down for several minutes, until the sauce reduces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, spinach, or on it's own!
Make it even easier: use a bag of frozen stir fry veggies. Defrost and drain before adding to the pan.
Variations: swap ground pork for ground turkey or beef
Make it vegetarian: swap ground pork for 2 zucchinis, cut into wedges. Add the zucchini after you cook the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Then continue with the rest of the recipe
Roasted sriracha chicken with potatoes and kale makes for an easy weeknight dinnerRead More
Think back to your most memorable meal. Imagine how the table was set, the color of the plate and tablecloth if there was one. Look at the plate and envision the meal. The colors, the aroma. Drink it in. Take a bite of that meal. Can you taste it? What does it taste like? What was the texture of the food- crunchy, smooth? Now picture the atmosphere of the meal. Were you eating it with anyone or by yourself? Was the meal at home, a restaurant, a friend or family member's home?
Now think back to your most recent meal. Can you recall the details as clearly? Many times, we can't. We go through the motions at each meal on auto-pilot, not connecting, seeing it as a gateway to something else rather than a stopping point. Mindful eating practices help us connect with food again.
Mindful eating combines the practice of mindfulness with eating habits. Mindful eating asks us to be present during all aspects of eating: deciding what to eat, preparing a meal, eating, and even after the meal is finished. When eating mindfully, we listen to our body's cues, noticing why we are drawn to certain foods, how we feel while eating, and how foods impact our bodies after a meal. There are no "yes" foods or "no" foods, no rules, no points, no calorie-counting. Mindful eating is not something that can be perfected. Just like a home mindfulness practice, mindful eating is a continuous, flexible process that we refine with over time.
There are four pillars of mindful eating:
- Awareness - Becoming aware of opportunities for mindfulness through food preparation and consumption
- Recognition - Learning to recognize physical cues of hunger and satiation
- Acknowledgment - Acknowledging responses to food without judgement
- Action - Choosing foods that both please and nourish you by using all senses to explore, savor and taste
First we must become aware of opportunities for mindfulness in our eating habits. When you go grocery shopping, notice if you are drawn to a certain store. Are there foods that catch your eye? Appreciate the colors and textures.
While preparing food, take in the smells and sounds. Note the different colors and textures of your food.
Before you next meal, take a note of the environment that you are eating in. Is it peaceful or distracting? Do you need to change anything to make the experience more mindful.
- Practical tip: Ask yourself, "can this activity be done mindfully?"
Next we must learn to recognize physical cues of hunger and satiation. Our body gives us physical and mental cues for hunger and satiation. Have you ever waited too long between meals and had an intense panicky feeling that you need to eat NOW? That was both a mental and emotional hunger cue from your body.
Often it is easier to recognize hunger than satiation, so start there. Note the physical cues - your stomach may grumble or feel empty. Next note the mental cues - energy dips or concentration becomes difficult. Cues will be specific to you, your hunger will not feel like anyone else's hunger.
Satiation is often where emotions begin to creep in. Food is enjoyable; it makes sense that we become emotional! When we eat to satisfy our emotions rather than our physical and mental hunger, we often cannot stop. Have you ever not been able to stop eating potato chips or ice cream? Suddenly, you've eaten the whole bag or carton. Often when we feel bored, stressed, nostalgic, or lonely, our emotions tell us to eat to get a quick joyful feeling. Because food doesn't solve the underlying issue, we do not feel satiated. Beginning to recognize physical and mental cues for hunger and satiation can help us recognize when we are eating because of emotional cues. Rather than resisting cravings, become curious about why.
- Practical tip: Rate your hunger before, during, and after a meal
Third, we need to acknowledge our physical, emotional, and mental responses to food without judgement. What foods make you feel energized and full of life? What foods make you feel sluggish, bloated, or achy? Start to notice how each meal and each food makes you feel, inside and out.
Are there some foods you aren't eating because you've been told they aren't healthy? Are there foods that you've been eating because you've been avoiding because they are "bad?" There is no one way to eat healthy, there's just the way that works best for you. If adding goat cheese to a salad makes you eat salad more often and you don't have negative reactions to dairy, cheese could be a beneficial food for you. If eating a few squares of dark chocolate satisfies your sweet craving, that could be a healthy part of your routine.
Mindful eating also encompasses respecting our bodies. Especially with friends and family, conversation can often shift to negative self-talk. How many times have you heard someone say "I gained so much weight" after a holiday? These kinds of thoughts and conversation can impact our eating habits, causing us to under- and over-eat. If a negative thought creeps into your mind, acknowledge it without judgement. Remember, a thought is just a thought, not a fact.
- Practical tip: Note foods that energize you and drag you down
Finally, we put it all together and act what we have learned from the other three pillars at a meal. Before a meal, take a few deep breaths. Sit down to eat. Avoid multitasking during meals, even if you're meal is only a 10 minute lunch break. Chew thoughtfully, noting how the food smells, tastes, looks, and sounds. Gauge your hunger level throughout, stopping when you are satiated.
It may take a while to eat each meal mindfully, and that is perfectly ok! Start slowly, taking a mindful bite at one meal each day. As you feel more comfortable, increase the number of mindful bites. Start to notice how eating mindfully impacts other aspects of your life. Do you feel more in touch, more energized, more alert?
Mindful eating does not mean depriving yourself of indulgences. If you crave something, investigate that craving. Will eating satisfy the craving? If so, indulge! Savor each bite mindfully, recognizing when the you have satisfied the craving.
- Practical tip: Note five things about each of the five senses during each mindful bite
Ultimately, mindful eating is about rekindling our relationship with our food and our bodies. It is a commitment to appreciating and enjoying our meals. It can be done anywhere, anytime, even with the first sip of your morning coffee. So I encourage you to slow down, eat mindfully, and enjoy your food!
In January, I went back to grad school after nearly 8 months off. Almost two months later, my plate is full. I love what I am learning, and I have made so many wonderful connections and reconnections with my classmates and professors. I do feel that if I add anything else into my life right now, my plate will go from wonderfully full to alarmingly overflowing. So I am suspending 21-Day Sugar Detox coaching for the time being. I will be doing (just not coaching) the 21DSD starting on 2/25, and I invite you to join me over on this Facebook group.
Looking to the future
Over the last year of coaching, I have become more intrigued by the post-21DSD process. What lessons do we learn from nutritional resets, like the 21-Day Sugar Detox? How do we implement those lessons back into our everyday lives? After all, most of life consists outside of the boundaries of a three-week challenge. As a practitioner, I feel it is important to address mindful eating in all aspects of life, not just during a nutritional reset. Going forward, I will be expanding my offerings accordingly. Currently, I offer corporate nutrition presentations and private grocery store tours in the Chicago-area. In the near future, I will be offering private nutrition coaching. Later this year, I will once again offer group coaching in an expanded format that will encompass mindful eating in all aspects of life.
Are you interested in another nutritional service that is not listed here? Please contact me. I am here to serve you!
This Valentine’s Day do you want to create a special meal for your loved ones? Here are some healthy options that you can make at home for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.
- Fig, Rose, and Almond Granola Parfaits by Two Red Bowls – A lovely breakfast to serve in bed
- Hearts in an Apple Sandwich by Happy Together – Super cute apple, nut butter, and granola sandwiches in the shape of a heart. Great for kids to make!
- Strawberries and Cream Crepes by GI 365 – A gluten-free take on a sweet classic
- Dark Cherry Smoothie Bowl by Downshiftology – Hop on the smoothie bowl trend with this gorgeous dark red bowl
- Roasted Heart Potatoes by Haniela’s – If you want a heartier breakfast, these adorable heart-shaped potatoes will hit the spot
- Cacio e Pepe by Inspiralized – A simple Italian dish – cheesy, peppery pasta. This version swaps pasta for julienned zucchini
- Carrot and Cardamom Soup by Nom Nom Paleo – Easy, refreshing, and soothing, this soup is perfect for curling up to on a cold winter day
- Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates by Cooking Divine – The perfect appetizer. Leave out the bacon to make these vegetarian
- Sriracha – Roasted Chili Sauce by 84th and 3rd – If you want to gift something spicy instead of sweet
- Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad by 101 Cookbooks – I love the hearty winter salad, the addition of herb flowers makes it extra-special
- Slow-cooker Boeuf Bourguignon by The Kitchn – There’s a reason this dish is a classic. Do the prep work in the morning to have a lovely savory stew at dinnertime
- Broiled Lobster with Brown Butter Sauce by Simply Recipes – The ultimate fancy dinner dish
- Ratatouille by Epicurious – A warm and spicy dinner full of tons of veggies
- A Healthy[er] Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box by Making Nice in the Midwest – Make your own chocolate box filled with chocolate-covered fruit for a sweet treat
- Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Pot de Crème by Primal Palate – Decadent but oh-so-easy dessert
- Love You Long Time Cupcakes by Health-Bent – Chocolaty and delicious!
- Coconut Snowballs by The Kitchn – A wonderful dessert for those who aren’t fond of chocolate
- Moroccan Orange Dessert by Simply Recipes – Lovely, simple and exotic, this dish takes advantage of winter citrus for a refreshing end to a great meal
Who’s excited for the Super Bowl?! I’ll admit, I’m not particularly invested in either team this year. But there are two things I am very excited about: halftime (fingers crossed, the Beyonce rumors are true) and the food.
If you are trying to eat healthfully and mindfully, Super Bowl parties can be intimidating. But a lot of the traditional party foods can be made healthfully without sacrificing flavor. Below is a roundup of 38 recipes that fit the bill. I focused on finger foods, dips, and dessert because those are what I gravitate towards when feeding a crowd. You could also make chili (for carnivores and vegans alike), enchiladas, or a taco bar if you prefer to have a more traditional entree. All recipes are gluten-free. Any labeled V are vegetarian, D are dairy-free, and VG are vegan. Add some veggies, chips (I like tortilla, veggie, and pita chips), and drinks and you are ready to party!
Chorizo Poppers (D) – These are always a hit
Pizza-Stuffed Peppers – Use mini bell peppers to make them bite-size
Pineapple Poppers (D) – The perfect combo of spicy and sweet
Stuffed Mushrooms (V) – This recipe takes under 30 minutes from start to finish and is super tasty
Pizza Roll-Ups (VG) – Very simple, flavorful pizza-flavored recipe
Gluten, Grain, and Garbage-Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets (D) – Better than the original
Buffalo Wings (D) – You can easily sub hot sauce, like Frank’s Red Hot, for the buffalo sauce
Chile Lime Chicken Wings (D) – If you prefer tangy and spicy to spicy hot
Pineapple Chicken Skewers (D) – Substitute the chicken for eggplant for a vegetarian version
Barbacoa Meatballs (D) – All the flavor of barbacoa without having to wait for it to simmer
Greek Meatballs – My absolute favorite meatball recipe
Eggplant Parm Bites (V) – Not the usual Super Bowl fare, but too delicious to leave off this list
Baked Parmesan Rosemary Chickpeas (V) – These need to made the same day. However, they only take 10 minutes to assemble and 40 minutes to bake. And they make your house smell delicious!
Parsnip Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce (VG) – Sriracha makes everything better
Sweet Potato Tater Tots (V) – A grown-up version of one of my favorite childhood foods
Southwestern Sweet Potato Fries (VG) – These are so good, I make them once a week
Cumin-roasted Carrots (VG) – Think of these as carrot fries; they pair well with the caramelized onion dip below
Parmesan Zucchini (V) – In a word, addictive
Baked Blooming Onion (VG) – Individual-sized blooming onion? Genius!
Spicy Popcorn (V) – If you have not tried popping your own popcorn, you’ll be surprised how simple it is
Rosemary Cashews (V, D) – Sweet, salty, and savory
Marinated Greek Olives (VG) – If you want to do a little more than pour the olives from a can into a dish
Caramelized Onion Dip (V) – A very simple, homemade version of onion dip packed with flavor
Guacamole (VG) – What’s a Super Bowl party without guac
Dairy-free Ranch Dressing (D, V) – Creamy, tangy, and seasoned with fresh herbs
Charred Tomatillo Salsa (VG) – So flavorful and easily made ahead of time
Spinach Artichoke Dip (VG) – A crowd-pleaser
Gaucamanoush (V) – A playful take on baba ganoush swaps mayo for avocado. It’s silky, smoky, and addicting!
Roasted Red Pepper Dip (V) – Good with chips, veggies, or even on top of grilled chicken
Lemony White Bean Dip (V) – Similar to hummus, but with cannellini beans instead of chickpeas. That swap makes this dip just as smooth as store-bought hummus
Dairy-free Veggie Dip (V) – A tasty way to sneak in more veggies
Sour Strawberry Gummies (V) – I usually make these with thawed frozen strawberries; they remind me of Sour Patch Kids
Sweet Potato Brownies (V) – So, so good!
No-bake Brownies (VG) – If you want to save time, leave out the frosting. They still taste amazing
Chocolate Covered Strawberries (D, V) – Too darn cute
Chunk Monkey Muffins (V) – Banana, walnuts, chocolate… what’s not to love
Salted Chocolate Pears (D, V) – Almost too simple to call a recipe
Coconut Macaroons (D, V) – Sub maple syrup for honey to make these vegan
What are you making for the Super Bowl? Share your recipes in the comments below!
It seems like everyone is hating on New Year's resolutions lately. Personally, I love setting goals, and I think setting resolutions can be a healthy exercise if they 1) come from a place of love and 2) are solely your goals for yourself, not what you think you should be doing based on outside expectations. Here are my six goals for 2016:
- Stay hydrated (Confession: I am not one of those people that loves drinking water. I hate it. I would much rather sip on coffee and tea all day. Sadly, my body does not love more than a cup of coffee a day, so water it is)
- Run or walk a mile each day during the winter (I'm usually pretty good about this during the week, but I get couch-potato-itis on the weekends, especially when it's cold out)
- Teach a yoga class each week
- Incorporate herbal support into my routine (first up to try is ashwaganda)
- Reset with a 21-DSD (join me!)
- Notice when I am trying to be right and choose to be content instead (Yes, I am a smarty-pants, and you know what, I am totally ok with it. It drives me to search for answers and research my opinions. But it's not always appropriate or necessary, and I am excited to learn more about myself through this goal)
Are you still searching for goals? Here are some to consider to help you have a healthier 2016:
- Start your day with hot water with lemon
- Turn off the tv during meals
- Try a new vegetable each week
- Pick a book that you've always wanted to read and finish it
- Roll out your feet with a tennis ball when you come home from work
- Take a day off from social media
- Start a meditation habit (Sattva and Insight Timer are helpful apps)
- Make your own broth each week
- Bust sugar cravings with a 21-Day Sugar Detox
- Give up criticizing your body (Seriously, stop! When you feel yourself think something negative about any part of your body, say or think the opposite... "My body looks great in these pants," "I am having a great hair day," "My pores are the perfect size," "My cellulite is beautiful" See how your attitude towards your body changes the more you do this exercise)
- Try the Quieting Response when you feel stressed
- Accept compliments!
- Try a new spice (I added turmeric to my spice rack last year. Next on my list is marjoram)
- Go to bed earlier (even if it's just 15 minutes)
- Try a new activity (rock climbing, trail running, aerial yoga, SoulCycle, and adult coloring books are on my list)
- Go through your house and try to get rid of 10 items in each room (if still usable, donate them!)
- Ferment something (I use this super simple sauerkraut recipe)
- Set a budget (I am a visual person, and the Mint app really helped see how I was spending money. If spreadsheets aren't your thing, try it out)
- Call a friend or relative you haven't spoken to in a while
- Learn a useful skill (take a CPR class, learn to swim, learn to hunt, learn to change a tire, learn to cook... think about that task that has been haunting you and learn to do it!)
Do you set New Year's resolutions? Why or why not? Let me know your thoughts below in the comments
Waited until the last minute to do your holiday shopping? Avoid the mall and make gifts from your kitchen instead! Here are some of my favorites along with gift wrapping ideas to make them extra special:
- Gluten-Free Gingerbread Granola from The Kitchn - A tasty gift! Wrap in a festive gift bag or mason jar with a cute ribbon & include the recipe
- Flavored Salts from Country Living - Perfect for your foodie friend. Place each salt in a small jam jar and use address labels to make custom labels
- Cumin-Spiced Almonds from Uproot from Oregon - These would be great for the friend who is always the perfect hostess. Wrap in a mason jar and gift with a tea towel
- Lemon-Pepper Roasted Chickpeas from The Healthy Maven - A great gift for the vegetarian in your life. Place in a tin along with the recipe
- Magic Mushroom Powder from Nom Nom Paleo - This umami-packed powder is a good salt alternative and packs a ton of flavor into every bite. I love it sprinkled on eggs, roasted veggies, and mixed into mayo. Gift in an airtight container topped with a homemade gift tag
- Marinated Goat Cheese - Take 5 oz of goat cheese and slice into thick rounds. Place into an airtight container and add 1 teaspoon of fresh herbs (I like 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon thyme), 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 bay leaf, zest from half a lemon, and enough olive oil to cover. Store in the fridge until ready to gift. Tastes best 1 week after marinating
- Dairy-free Trail Mix Fudge - Heat 1/2 cup coconut oil over low heat. Add 1 cup cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture becomes glossy. Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons honey, 1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. Stir to combine. Place plastic wrap over a baking dish (8"x8" for thinner fudge or 5"x4" for thicker pieces). Let the ends of the plastic wrap come over the edges of the dish to form handles. Pour the chocolate mixture into the dish. Place in the fridge and allow to set. Once set, remove from the fridge and use the plastic wrap handles to lift the fudge out of the dish. Remove the plastic wrap and place the fudge into a gallon plastic bag. Gently break into large pieces, using the edge of a frying pan if necessary. Place the fudge pieces into an airtight container and store until ready to gift
- Salted Caramel Tahini Cups from Running On Real Food- This vegan take on a candy favorite is delicious. It's perfect for anyone with nut or dairy allergies, as well as strict vegetarians or vegans. I like to wrap these in wax paper and then place in a tin
- Ginger Turmeric Dark Chocolate Cups from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition - This dessert is one you can feel good about giving. It's full of anti-inflammatory ingredients and low in sugar. And the taste is incredible! These clear-top storage tins are a great container when gifting these chocolates
- Raw Peppermint Truffles from A Clean Bake - I love the combination of chocolate and mint, so refreshing! These truffles are impossibly simple, require no baking, and only use 4 ingredients. What's not to love! Wrap in wax paper and gift in a treat box
- Pecan Pie Brittle from PaleOMG - Normally, I am much too impatient for candy-making. However, this pecan pie brittle was surprisingly simple and super delicious. Wrap in wax paper and gift in a festive tin for a nostalgic treat
- Chocolate Peppermint No-Bake Macaroons from Vibrant Life Army Wife - Yes, more chocolate and mint; I can't help myself. These macaroons add a coconut flavor to the mix and can easily be adapted to be AIP (Autoimmune Protocol)-friendly. These are the perfect size to gift in a re-purposed egg carton. Cut the top off of the carton, and line each egg cup with muffin liners. Place a macaroon in each cup, and wrap with cellophane and a bow on each end.
- Homemade Chai Tea from Crunchy Betty - A great gift for the tea lover in your life. You can make a dry mix and gift it in a muslin bag along with a teaball and tea cup. Alternatively, make chai tea concentrate and gift in a large mason jar along with a mug
- Ginger-Lime Infused Vodka from Brit + Co - Place the vodka in a mason jar and gift with moscow mule mugs and ginger beer for a ready-to-drink Moscow Mule kit
What are you favorite treats to gift? Share below in the comments!
This gift guide is for the yogi in your life.
- Yoga mat - There are a ton of great options out there at all different price points. My favorites are Hugger Mugger's Original Tapas Yoga Mat and Jade Yoga's Harmony Mat. For a more affordable option, Gaiam makes a great lightweight mat. For hot yoga, I like Lululemon's The Mat. For home practice, Manduka Pro Yoga Mat is considered the holy grail of mats.
- Yoga blocks - Yoga blocks can be really useful for both beginner and advanced yogis. Blocks can help make poses more comfortable or help with alignment when flexibility or mobility isn't quite there yet. I just bought Hugger Mugger's cork blocks last month and they are amazing. A little pricey for yoga blocks, but definitely worth it. They are durable and solid; they don't slip around on the ground so I know I can put my weight into them. Hugger Mugger also makes the Big Blue Block, which is great for taller, curvier, or less flexible yogis. This block is taller and wider than other blocks, creating more stability. These blocks would make a great gift since many yogis won't necessarily buy them for themselves.
- Fierce tank - I love this tank. It's super soft and has just a touch of sparkle. It comes in sizes S-2XL and can be special ordered in XS, 3XL, and 4XL, making it a good gift for nearly everyone.
- Leggings - What's yoga without yoga pants! I love the colorful leggings pictured from Ela Steel. For women, my favorite brands are Lolë (this is a great brand if you want a tight fit without the squeezing feeling of compression) , Zella (the Live In Leggings are super comfortable), and Alo Yoga (the Goddess Legging is a classic and I love the look of the Curvature Capri). For men, Prana is a great brand. These shorts are simple and comfortable.
- Headband - Headbands make a great stocking stuffer! The headband pictured from True North Collection is really fun and colorful and has a great wide width. I also love Halo headbands. They have just about every color you can imagine. They are the only headbands I have found that don't slide around AND aren't too tight. My dad even wears them under his bike helmet! You might want to buy a two-pack and keep one for yourself :)
- Living Your Yoga - this book made me realize that yoga is more than a way to stretch. It shows how we can incorporate the practice of yoga into our lives every single day. It's written in a really friendly and practical tone and was surprisingly fun to read. This book would be a great gift for any yogi, new or experienced.
- Jewelry - Jewelry serve as a daily reminder of your yoga practice. Soul Mantras creates handmade jewelry with a story behind each piece. This lotus necklace (pictured) serves as a reminder that goodness comes from going through the hard stuff, just like a lotus cannot bloom without mud.
- Yoga mat bag - The bag pictured from Verada Shop is so beautiful. It would make a gorgeous gift. The bag ships from Thailand so order soon to receive in time for Christmas. My good friend Melissa actually made my bag, and I love it! It has a pocket big enough for my wallet and giant phone and a key ring. I never knew how great it was not to go digging for my keys until I got this bag. She currently has a green yoga bag and poppy yoga bag in stock and also makes custom bags, in addition to aprons and kid's activity totes.
- Yogi cookie cutters - these cookie cutters from Yummi Yogi are adorable! They would be a great gift for the baker in the family or even a white elephant gift for a co-worker
- Hair bands - BLAX elastics are wonderful. They don't snag your hair, even when you take them off. They offer a lot of a couple of different color options, including black, brown, pink, and clear. These would make a great stocking stuffer.
What are your favorite yoga-related gifts? Share below in the comments!
Christmas shopping is in full swing. I tend to give a lot of food-related gifts, chocolate being my favorite both to give and receive. Here are some of my favorite brands when you are looking for an indulgence.
I found Liberty Chocolates at a Whole Foods in Boston. What immediately stuck out to me was their chosen sweetener: honey. I was intrigued by this unusual combination. I bought a few bars and tried one as soon as I got home. It had a rich and complex taste, unlike any chocolate I've ever had. All of their bars are dairy- and soy-free with no fillers or refined sugar, making for an incredibly dense chocolate taste and crispy, airy texture. Liberty Chocolates uses organic Peruvian cocoa beans and local Vermont honey. The owner, Katrina, studied nutrition in school and takes great care to source high-quality ingredients in an ethical manner.
My favorites are the Dark Chocolate, Chai Espresso, and Cherry Pomegranate bars. If you have any friends or family supporting Bernie Sanders, I recommend the Feel the Bern bar, a maple chipotle chocolate bar created specifically to support Bernie Sanders.
I was given Bedré dark chocolate coffee as a gift several years ago and have been hooked ever since. Based in Oklahoma, Bedré Fine Chocolates is a Chicksaw Nation-owned company that crafts traditional chocolates with a twist. They have classics, like chocolate bars filled with caramel and chocolate-covered preztels. Bedré also has some modern options, including chocolate-covered potato chips and both dark and milk chocolate flavored coffee. All of their chocolates are rich with a wonderful velvety texture.
My favorites are the Dark Chocolate Coffee (pictured), Sensations (pecans and caramel covered in chocolate... so good!), and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Meltaways.
I first encountered Taza Chocolate in, where else, a Whole Foods in Boston. The round shape and assortment of flavors caught my eye. The flavor was so bold and intense, I instantly loved it. If you are ever in Boston, I definitely recommend taking a tour of their factory. It's only $6, you get lots of samples, and you smell like chocolate the rest of the day! Taza Chocolate is stone ground, so it has a rustic texture and big bold chocolate flavor. Taza is a pioneer in direct trade cacao beans, sourcing cacao directly from the grower. They were even one of the first chocolate companies to offer single source bars. Taza uses organic cane sugar to sweeten most of their chocolates and has many dairy-free and soy-free options.
My favorites are the Mexicano discs (pictured), especially Salted Almond, Coffee, and Cinnamon.
You can't mention Fair Trade without mentioning Equal Exchange. What stands out to me about Equal Exchange is that their quality is consistently high and they continue to come up with unique flavors. Lemon Ginger Chocolate with Black Pepper? Yes, please! Their chocolates are incredibly rich and creamy smooth, all are soy-free, and there are many dairy-free options for your vegan and Paleo friends alike.
My favorites are the Dark Hot Chocolate Mix, Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, and Lemon Ginger Chocolate with Black Pepper (trust me on this one, it's really good)
What are your favorite treats to give as gifts? Comment and let me know!
Last week one of my original detoxers asked if I would be interested in doing a 10-day reset with her. I thought it was such a great idea that I wanted to share it with the whole community. I also wanted to make this particular detox about more than just food. December can be a really stressful month. There is holiday shopping to do and parties to attend, not to mention the wrapping, baking, and traveling that goes along with it. It is easy to let our health, wellness, and personal time take a backseat. I designed this free reset to take time for ourselves and be grateful everything we've done this year.
There are four areas of the detox: food, movement, stretching, and reflecting. Each area has one or more guideline, for a total of seven. The guidelines are very general so that you can adapt them to suit your specific needs.
Here are the seven general guidelines:
- Focus on eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, quality protein, nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy, quality fats, and gluten-free grains (for example: rice, oats, quinoa, and buckwheat)
- Minimize heavily-processed and sugary foods
- Drink mainly water
- Pick a physical activity that you like and do it for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week.
- At least once, try a new activity that you have never done or haven't done in a while. A few ideas:
- Hike or go snowshoeing
- Dance (in public or at home)
- Rock climb
- Go ice skating
- Go sledding or skiing
- Play on a playground
- Join a rec league
- Window shop
- Stretch for 10 minutes each day. It does not need to be 10 consecutive minutes; you can do various stretches throughout the day. Some ideas:
- Sit on the floor instead of the couch and stretch while you watch tv
- Lunge and stretch your calves while you brush your teeth or make coffee
- Grab a tennis ball and roll it under your feet while you cook or bring it to work and use it on your back at your desk
- Squat or lunge while you wait for the bus or the elevator
- Try yoga or tai chi. I’ll be posting short yoga sequences every other day on Facebook. YouTube is a great source for sequences too
- Take time to reflect on the season and the year daily. Pick one of the following activities:
- Start a gratitude journal. Write down something you are grateful for each day
- Meditate for 5 minutes daily, focusing on the blessings in your life and on giving thanks for the negative things in your life
- Send thank you notes to 5 people who brought joy to your life this year
- Each day, take a picture of a person, place, or thing that makes you feel grateful. Share it on your social media
- Refrain from complaining or criticizing yourself and others during the 10 days. Write about your experience each night
Join the free holiday reset over on Facebook for daily recipes and encouragement!
Got a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers and tried of turkey sandwiches? All of those leftovers are the perfect ingredients to make a frittata. Frittatas are great for any meal of the day, and they are one of my favorite ways to use leftovers. As an added bonus, they taste great hot or cold, making them an ideal option to make extra to take for lunch the next day.Read More