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Ever start an exercise program and 4 weeks in feel like you are suddenly in a rut? Everything started out so strong; your eating was on track, you were getting up earlier and exercising everyday then BAM you hit a wall. You are not alone. Whether you are in my Shape Up Program or starting a new routine of your own here are a few of my tips to help you get over the slump and stay on track.
Track Your Progress
In my Shape Up Program I suggest taking pictures and measurements every 3 weeks. Doing this keeps you accountable and also gives you a benchmark to measure against. When you look at yourself day in and day out you may not see changes. It is only when you compare these numbers and pictures that you get a true view of your progress.
Try not to get obsessed with watching the numbers on the scale. An exercise and diet program will help you lose fat and build lean muscle. It is a fact that muscle weighs more than fat. Use the pictures, the way you feel and the way your clothes fit to be your best guide to your progress.
Consistency and Planning
I love the phrase "Fail to prepare then prepare to fail". It is so true in every aspect of life and I find it especially true when it comes to diet and exercise. Plan out the time of day that works best for you to exercise and stick to it. It is when you don't have a clear plan of your attack that things can go awry. The excuse of "I can't find the time" isn't a good one - you need to make the time.
When it comes to diet planning out a weekly menu really helps. I like to take Sunday to do my food shopping and prepping. I cut all the veggies, marinate and cook the meat, hardboil eggs and measure out oats for overnight oats. With this stuff done in advance I never let myself get into a situation where I am going to make a bad decision when it comes to food.
Wipe the Slate Clean
Maybe you are already at the point where you hit that slump and feel like its too late BUT its never too late to start fresh. I urge you just wipe the slate clean. Do not dwell on how you fell off track but think of the rewards of jumping back in. You have probably heard "You can't out exercise a bad diet" and this is very true. Also you can't make up for what you have done by cutting calories and over exercising. This leads to issues with your metabolism and the risk of overtraining. Just re-commit yourself to your program and follow it. If it is Shape Up you are on IT WORKS! Get the fire back again and don't let that feeling go.
Get Your Friends and Family Involved
I always find if I tell family and friends my goals it helps me stay accountable. Who wants to hear their mother say "I thought you were eating clean?" as they stuff a cookie in their mouth?? If people know your goals they can help motivate and support you along the way. They may even get involved and what is more fun than exercising in a group? Excitement is contagious so talk openly about your new fitness goals!
If you are in my Shape Up Program and need a little extra motivation you can always reach out to me! I am here to answer your questions, give you motivation and hold you accountable.
With so many oils lining the shelves of the grocery store, from Olive OIl to Coconut Oil, how do you know which to choose?
First you should probably know that oils have different characteristics that make each one good for some cooking techniques and not so much for others. Choosing the right oil can add more flavor to a dish and also help you control cooking time.
One of the most important elements in an oil is its "smoking point". This is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down, smoke and the flavor even changes. This is also the point that the chemical make up changes and what started as a healhty fat can be turned into something thats not good for you at all. For these reasons it is important to know which oils to choose for the cooking method you are using.
For Low Temperature Cooking and Baking
Use Flaxseed Oil, Olive Oil and Butter when you are baking, low-heat pan frying or simmering; dishes that you want to taste the flavor of the oil you are using. Make sure you choose high quality and unrefined oils.
For Medium Temperature Cooking
Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Grapeseed Oil when medium-heat cooking and pan frying. Again make sure the to choose high quality oils especially when it comes to olive oil and cooking at this temperature.
For High Temperature Cooking
Use Peanut Oil, Avocado Oil and Ghee when cooking at very high temperatures.
From a health angle and definitely what I suggest to my Shape Up members is to vary your oils and sources of Healthy Fats.
Below is a chart from MyFitnessPal.com that I found to a usefull guide:
A lot of oils can be expensive and you don't need to invest in a lot of different oils to add flavor to your dishes. The 4 oils I keep on hand for everyday cooking are: Olive OIl, Coconut Oil, Canola OIl and Sesame OIl.
How many times do you start a diet, get to the 4th day of eating salads and want to die of boredom?? This is what I like to refer to as the Salad Slump! It doesn't have to be this way. There are so many ways you can get creative with your meals so that you don't feel like a rabbit!
Here are items I keep on hand to keep it fresh:
I buy a variety of different greens: arugula, spinach, romaine, kale or baby greens
I mix it up with colorful veggies: tomatoes, peppers, corn, peas, carrots, zucchini, red onion, celery
For morning salads I add some fruit: blueberries, grapes, strawberries, apples, watermelon, oranges or grapefruit or dried fruit
I never forget the Healthy Fat: olives, seeds, nuts, avocado, oils or cheeses
I keep yummy flavored vinegars or condiments in the house to make dressings: strawberry balsamic, coconut vinegar, rice vinegar, dijon mustard
Spice it up with fresh herbs and spices: mint, cilantro, rosemary, oregano and thyme
NOW don't think that salads have to be just lettuce. Try my Cajun Shrimp Salad with Corn Salsa recipe.
I always keep a few different homemade salad dressings in the fridge.
Here are 3 of my favorite recipes:
Maple Mustard Dressing
Serving Size= 2T
1/2 C Canola Oil
1/4 C Maple Syrup
1/4 C Cider Vinegar
2 T Dijon Mustard
2 T Braggs Liquid Aminos
Pinch of Sea Salt
Mix it all up in the blender! If you are in my Shape Up program this is one Healthy Fat!
Serving Size= 3T
14 oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Garlic Clove
1 T Olive Oil
1 t Sea Salt
2 T Red Wine Vinegar
Mix it in the blender! If you are in my Shape Up program this is FREE!
Lime Avocado Cilantro
Serving Size= 2T
1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 1/2 limes)
1 teaspoon grated lime zest (from 1 lime)
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Mix it in the blender! If you are in my Shape Up program this is one Healhty Fat!
Like the Shape Up page on Facebook! I will be posting 2 of my favorite salad recipes there this week!
Ever pick up a box of cookies at the store and read "All Natural" and think: "oh, this is a healthy cookie"?
You are not alone! There are several phrases that food manufacturers use to market their products but the Food and Drug Administration has not created strict definitions for these phrases.
Below are some of the most common ones seen.
Most people believe this to mean food that has not been processed and is free of preservatives and is non-GMO. This phrase just means that there isn't any added colors, flavors or chemical substances. This is very vague. Food can have a lot of added sodium and preservatives and still fall in to this category. It can also have high-fructose corn syrup and be argued that because it comes from corn it is natural. Also, just because it says "All-Natural" doesn't necessarily mean its good for you either, it could have a lot of extra calories.
In the Shape Up program I recommend a diet consisting of whole foods. When it comes to grains, breads and cereals you should look for ones that are wholegrain. But what about multigrain? That sounds good too, right? Multigrain just simply means that more than one type of grain was used to make the product, but doesn't necessarily mean that any of them are a whole grain.
The difference is this: wholegrain is the use of the entire grain (the bran, the germ and the endosperm which is where the nutrients are) and non-wholegrain is a grain that has been processed or refined (stripped of the bran, germ and endosperm) and may even have substances added to make it look more appealing.
"No Sugar Added"
Just because a product say "No Sugar Added" doesn't mean there isn't any sugar in it at all. Food items like milk, cereal, fruit and even vegetables have naturally occuring sugars. Of course this is better than products with added sugar but don't be mislead thinking its a lower calorie/carbohydrate food item.
There was a time that this label didn't really mean that much but the FDA has cracked down a bit and made a clearer defintion. In order for a product to bear the label "Organic" 95% of the all ingredients it contanins must be without synthetic fertalizers or pesticides. When a product says "Made with Organic Ingredients" 70% of all the ingredients must be without synthetic fertalizers or pesticides.
"Cage-free or Free-range"
These terms refer to how an animal was kept prior to being slaughter (or while they were producing eggs when referring to chickens). Cage-free- The animals were not kept in cages and allowed to roam around in a barn to stretch their little legs. Free-range- These animals were also not kept in cages and given the additional freedom to go outside. But neither of these terms actually speak to the treatment of the animals so it can be misleading.
My advice to my Shape Up members is always to choose whole foods that are unprocessed. I understand that in the fast paced lives that we all lead that this is sometimes not that easy. Just be sure you are reading the labels and not getting mislead by some of these phrases.
I took a Barre Core Fusion class at Balance at Urbanity, a cute little studio in the historic South End of Boston. Tucked away in a little back alley, this studio is warm and welcoming.
Wisty, our instructor, told us this class is a combination of all her favorite things: cardio, toning, yoga and some deep stretching. She was so right! We got right down to business with plies, squats, burpees and floor booty work. At the end, we took a good amount of time stretching, which was much needed. I take a lot of spin and cardio classes at the end of which we do a rushed 5 minute stretch. My body has been feeling tight an knotty, so it felt great to stretch it out. I always say to myself that I'll do some foam rolling when I get home but I never do. Having this 10-15 time slotted out at Balance to really stretch was perfect.
If you're looking for an intimate workout with some really sweet people, I highly recommend stopping in to Balance! Also, ask one of the instructors about using Jennifer Lawrence's old yoga mat. It's not Kulae (but we're working on it!) but it's kind of a lucky charm.
Happy Downward Dogging :)
How many of you pop a handful of almonds in your mouth and think "protein=CHECK"? Or throw some avocado on your salad and count it as the protein serving??
I think this is a very common thought process. Nuts and avocados (naming just these because they are the ones I most commonly hear people talk about as a protein source) have amazing health benefits. They are a great source of "Healthy Fats".
Below is a list of what is in each category:
Eat a variety of different foods so that you are getting all of your nutritional needs!!
Last week I posted for my Shape Up groups some of my favorite smoothie recipes. They are not only delicious but a perfect blend of protein, carbs and healthy fats.
When I first start working with clients often times they say
"I eat very clean: I have a smoothie for breakfast......" WOAH, stop right there! "What's in it?"
is my next question and the list gets SOOOO long: honey, agave nectar, chia, flax, coconut oil, TONS of fruit, milk, yogurt. Basically its a mish-mosh of whatever was in house without really understanding how to create a balanace. None of the above ingredients are bad, it is just the quantity of these items that really is important.
What I generally find is that most people have a mason jar (because it is so hip to drink your smoothie out of a mason jar) full of carbs and fats.
If your goal is weightloss you may want to consider to add more veggies instead of fruit. As much as fruit has amazing phytonutrients in it, it is also high in sugar. (Have you read my blog post on CARBS?) Also, add some good quality protein in there: greek yogurt, egg whites or a protein powder. (Have you read my blog post on PROTEIN?)
Here are my favorite smoothie recipes:
(1 Lean Protein, 1 Fruit, 1 Healthy Fat)
2 C baby spinach
(1 Lean Protein, 1 Fruit, 1/2 Starchy Carb)
1 C kale
(1 Lean Protein, 1 Fruit, 1 Healthy Fat, 1/2 Starchy Carb)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Banana-Coconut-Green Tea Smoothie
(1 Lean Protein, 1 Fuit, 1 Healthy Fat)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
(1 Lean Protein, 1 Fruit, 1 Starchy Carb)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Directions: Place ingredients in your blender and turn it on! I LOVE my Cuisinart Blender. Because I am clearly not hip, I pour it into a tumbler. I am obsessed with these Aladdin Tumblers right now because not only do they have fun straws, but they have a leak proof top and you can unscrew the whole thing and actually get your hand inside there to clean it!
For my Shape Up group members you will see what each smoothie counts towards for your Food Log.
Want to try Shape Up for FREE? Download my 2 week Start Up>>>>> CLICK HERE!
CARB.....it was at one point one of "those" 4 letter words.
When most people hear this word they think only about Starchy Carbs: crackers, pastas and bread. BUT all veggies, fruits and even legumes fall into the carb category. AND carbs are our friends!! There was a huge low carb fad for a while where people ate very carb restricted diets in hopes to lose weight. I am not saying this type of diet is not good for some people, but when you are participating in an exercise program such as Shape Up you want to be sure you have ample energy.
Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. What's most important is the quality of the carbohydrate.
Good quality sources of carbohydrates are unprocessed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.
This type of carbohydrate promotes good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. If you are in my Shape Up program refer to the Fruits, Veggies and Starchy Carbs list for more good quality options.
You may be wondering why the timing of the Starchy Carbs is important. In my Shape Up program I suggest the first meal of the day and post workout meals include Starchy Carbs:
For the morning meal you have just spent 6-8 hours (hopefully you are all getting your beauty sleep) fasting while you were asleep. You need this portion of Starchy Carb to help satiate you, help you feel full and at this point your glucose tolerance is at its highest.
For the post workout meal your body is primed and ready to absorb these nutrients back in for recovery and energy replenishment.
WHY fruits only in the am?? I suggest fruit in the morning only because fruit is made up of both glucose and fructose. The glucose portion is great, it helps fuel the body, its the fructose portion that can be problematic if consumed in a high volume. It can actually lead to increased cravings, increased bacterial growth in your gut and can lead to inflammation among other things. Also, because it is higher in sugar, eating it earlier in the day gives you the time to use it as energy as opposed to storing it as fat.
I'm Kate, the Marketing Director here at Kulae! I'm excited to announce a new blog segment, "Kate does Chatarunga" where I'll be going around to Boston studios trying out their yoga and fitness classes and talking about them here on the blog. Here at Kulae, we want to bring some exposure to all the wonderful boutique studios around Boston in the spirit of our #KarmasReal mantra. I hope you enjoy the posts and are inspired to go out and try some new locations yourself!
First up, Core Fusion Yoga accompanied by the Grass Gypsys at Exhale Spa in the Back Bay.
Last week was a bit of a doozy. I had gotten back from my bachelorette party in Ann Arbor (my alma mater was U of M so we decided to go to a football game and re-live the good ol days) and was feeling a little under the weather because, well, my body just can't handle college extracurricular activities like it used to. I decided to give myself a little break from my daily pre-wedding workouts and took a few days off. Going to Exhale on Thursday snapped me back into my routine.
In my work as a health coach, the biggest challenge I see people have when it comes to making healthy food choices, is being prepared. What do I mean by that? Being prepared means carving out a little time each week to make sure you have all of your healthy meals and snacks, not only on hand, but prepared and ready to grab when you are pressed for time. Last night, I made a lovely quinoa salad. The salad itself only has 5 ingredients, took less then 20 minutes to make, and is enough food to make sure that I have at least three lunches covered for the week. I also made a large garden salad, some chicken cutlets and some summer berry chia jam so that I had a little variety to chose from during the week. All of this prep work took about an hour, and I’m set for the week. I won’t have to cook again until Friday! As usual, everything I made is gluten, dairy and sugar free. The quinoa salad also happens to be vegan. This is clean eating at it’s prepared best ;)
I sure do, but I am always hesitant to order this dish because it is so high in carbs and fat. Some versions have anywhere between 25 gms to 55 gms of fat per serving and (if noodels or rice are used) anywhere between 40 gms to 97 gms of carbohydrates.
I am always trying to find ways to clean up recipes especially since members of my Shape Up group constantly are looking for new clean dishes. I came up with the following recipe where I substituted regular peanut butter for Powdered Peanut Butter. If you haven't tried this yet its a MUST! It is dry roasted peanuts that all the oils and fats are pressed out of. You can add water to it and make it back into peanut butter or add it to smoothies or pancakes, but back to the matter at hand! I also substituted Shirataki Noodles for regular rice, noodles or pasta. Shirataki noodles are gluten and soy free, they have very low carb content (some brands even have less than 1 gm per serving). Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!
Makes 4 servings.
I got this gem from one of my favorite food activists/bloggers, the Food Babe. This smoothie has only five ingredients, is super refreshing and is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants. Did you know that celery aids in digestive health by reducing inflammation in the digestive tract? Celery is also high in vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting and bone health. This smoothie also contains dark leafy greens and anti-oxidant rich berries. The protein source in this smoothie is hemp seeds or powder-whichever you have on hand. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, including 3, 6 and GLA, are a very digestible vegan source of a complete protein, and are rich in vitamin E. With all of this goodness in 5 ingredients, why not try this smoothie out? It works really well with helping to cool down in this summer heat!
Some of my Shape Up members have asked me "why so much protein?".
Here are the top 5 reasons that increasing protein during the Shape Up 12 week program or any new fitness regime is so important.
1. Protein is very satiating. Protein helps you feel fuller for a lot longer and it helps to slow digestion making you less likely to go for round two.
Make sure you get your protein from local, organic farms or wild caught fish. When your intake of protein increases you want to be sure you have a good quality source.
I am a huge promoter of eating whole foods, but that doesn't mean that I am opposed to protein powders/supplements.
With so many protein powders on the market how do you know which one is right for you? The types you will see most often are whey, soy and casein. Whey is the most commonly used because it easily dissolves in water and it is a complete protein having all 9 essential amino acids. Whey is a milk protein, if you can not tolerate dairy well there are other options out there for you. My favorite non-milk protein powder is Jay Robb's Egg White Protein.
When looking for a protein check out the ingredients list, if its a mile long then choose another. You want a protein powder that is clean with out a lot of fillers or added sugar. I always aim for one that has at least 20 gms of protein per serving, with low carbs coming from sugar.
When starting Shape Up you may have a hard time getting all the protein servings in from whole foods. A smoothie made with protein powder is a great option. If you are on my Shape Up program and have a protein powder that you are unsure about whether or not it fits in with your goals send me a picture of the nutrition label and I will help guide you!
This week, I thought I’d share with you a recipe that my boyfriend’s mother forwarded to me. It is a simple, yet delicious way to use those fresh summer berries that are in season right now, as well as finding another way to incorporate omega-3 rich chia seeds into your diet. I thought this would be an appropriate time to review just some of the amazing health benefits of including berries in your diet.
The Incredible Edible Egg
I eat A LOT of eggs. I often times get asked if I am worried about cholesterol content in eggs. My answer is always "NO". I know that in years past eggs have gotten a bad rap due to their high dietary cholesterol. Many people opted just for the whites and also for liquid egg substitutes. High blood cholesterol is associated with heart disease, so blaming this on food high in dietary cholesterol seemed only natural. But now after 25 years of study it is shown that saturated fat has a much bigger effect on blood cholesterol than does dietary cholesterol.
With this news lets all eat some eggs again! This little powerhouse has 75 calories -7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and zeaxanthin for eye health.
Here is a little breakdown of the words you will see on your egg carton and what they mean:
Grade- Eggs are given a gread by the U.S Agriculture Department. There are 3 grades depending on the quality. Grade AA- these are the highest quality with thick and firm whites and round clean yolks. Grade A- these are close to AA but just not as firm whites. Grade B- these are rarely sold in stores and are used for mostly egg products or commercial baked goods.
Cage-free or Free-range- This give you some information on how the hens who laid these eggs were treated. Cage-free- The hens were not kept in cages and allowed to roam around in a barn to stretch their little legs. Free-range- These hens were also not kept in cages and given the additional freedom to go outside.
Vegetarian-fed- These hens were fed no animal biproducts.
Organic- The carton must have the USDA Organic seal. These eggs came from hens that were Free-range and fed organic food.
Pasteurized- Eggs that have been heated to a point to kill any Salmonella bacteria which makes them suitable for recipes that require raw eggs such as Caesar Salad Dressing and Eggnog.
Hormone-free or Antibiotic-free- These are claims that don't mean anything since hormones and antibiotics are not used in egg production.
Farm-fresh or All-natural- These are marketing terms that really have no relevance to the way hens are treated and fed or the way the eggs are produced.
So don't just boil eggs for Easter; eat them as a snack, put them on your salad or make an egg salad sandwich!
As someone who needs to be dairy free, but loves cheese, it has truly been a struggle. I have tried every dairy-free version of cheese on the market, and to be honest, I have not been able to find one that actually tastes like cheese, satiates my craving, is free of all allergens, and feel that I could serve to company… until now that is! Most dairy-free cheese alternatives taste bland, actually contain lactose, and are comparable to eating melted plastic. That’s just my humble opinion. That is why I was so happy when I stumbled upon this new cheese alternative. The company’s name is Tree Line Tree Nut Cheese. So far, I have tried the herb-garlic and also the scallion , French-style, creamy soft flavors. They are absolutely delicious.
As someone who lives a clean lifestyle, has a sweet tooth, and doesn’t like to bake, I am always looking for quick, healthy and sugar free recipes to help satiate my sweet tooth. This recipe meets all of the above requirements. It is gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and vegan, and takes about 10 minutes to put together. Next time you are looking for a healthy treat, consider throwing some of these cuties together. You might even have all of the ingredients on hand! On top of being addictively delicious, these guys have the added nutritional benefits of anti-oxidents, protein, fiber, potassium and vitamin E.
Food Prep 101
Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail!
When it comes to eating clean a good habit to get into is taking one day to cook in bulk. Having things cooked and chopped ahead of time helps make your daily meal prep a breeze!
I usually reserve Sunday morning for this ritual. The first thing I do is prepare a menu for the week, then write my grocery list and do the shopping.
Items always on my list are:
ground grass fed beef*
When I return back home with all my goodies I immediately start the preparation process:
-hard boil the eggs
-wash and chop the veggies and fruit
-marinate the chicken breast, grill it and chop it
-make salad dressings and salsas to top my salads
-roast the spaghetti squash
-brown the ground turkey
-cook the brown rice or quinoa
I make sure I have plenty of food storage containers on hand.
Doing all this ahead of time makes my mornings really quick and easy (especially since I make all my husband's meals too). In the morning I can just assemble the meals and be on my merry way!!
*If you are in my Shape Up program there is a recipe included which will utilize this prepped food!! If you would like to join Shape Up CLICK HERE.
ROASTED CARROT AND ALMOND SPREAD
I came across this super easy and quick recipe for a Roasted Carrot and Almond Spread in one of my favorite clean eating newsletters, Clean Eats. Having this on hand is excellent for when you are craving a mid-day snack. It is gluten, dairy and sugar free, and is packed full of healthy fats and protein, so it is sure to keep you satiated for hours. It also packs a strong beta-carotene punch, due to the carrots. Beta-caroten is a great and safe source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for normal growth and development, good vision and eye health, a strong immune system and healthy skin. Beta-caroten is also an anti-oxidant, which helps to maintain good heart and bone health, and can help prevent certain types of cancers.
EATING CLEAN WHILE DINING OUT
Eating clean doesn't mean every meal you eat has to be homemade, out of Tupperware and sitting in solitude like a weirdo. Whether you are in the Shape Up program or just made the decision to create a healthier lifestyle, you can still enjoy a night out with friends and family.
Most restaurants these days are very accomodating to many different dietary restrictions. Some even offer special menus for people with such needs. But when restaurants create their everyday menus they do so with the typcial customer in mind. Some of these dishes can be heavy in sauces and carbohydrates and lower in vegetables. But that doesn't mean you can't order off this menu.
When I go out for a meal there are a few key words I look for when choosing a dish: grilled, steamed, baked and poached. These types of dishes generally are lighter and easier to make subsitutions in. I also look for dishes that have lots of veggies and ones that don't have sauces -since this can drive up the calorie count.
Don't be afraid to ask your server specifics about the dish: "is it cooked with butter?" "is there cheese on top?" "is it breaded?". You are, after all, the one eating it. If the answer is "yes" to these questions then ask for these items to be omitted, substituted or put on the side so you can be the one to control the quantity that you ingest.
If you are in my Shape Up program and have an outing planned please feel free to email me at Meredith@meredithevangelisti.com. These days most menus are online, so together we can pick some dishes that are suitable for you. You can always refer back to the Healthy Habits Eating Guide as well to help guide you in your decision.
POTASSIUM BALANCE SOUP
Here’s a delicious recipe for a potassium balancing soup. This is a vegetable tonic that provides an ideal combination for restoring the acid-alkaline and sodium-potassium balance to the body’s organs and glands. This is also the perfect recipe for assisting your body’s natural detoxification system. It is easy to prepare, and takes 30 minutes to cook. It is surprisingly refreshing, yet grounding, all at the same time! And… as usual, this recipe is gluten, dairy and sugar free. It is also vegan, if you use water instead of chicken stock. I like to use chicken stock to help keep my immune system strong, and help to heal my leaky gut. I usually have some home-made stock on hand in the fridge or freezer, but a low sodium, store bought stock will do just fine.
*Potassium Balance Soup
4 cups spring water or stock of your choice
4 medium zucchinis, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, leaves removed, then finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped green string beans
1 large bunch fresh parsley, stems and leaves roughly chopped
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp unrefined sea salt
1 tbsp organic miso paste
2 tsp dried oregano
Put all of the ingredients in a large stock or saute pot, except the miso. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Spoon out a half a cup or so of some liquid from the soup and place in a small bowl. Add the miso to the warm liquid and stir until the miso paste has dissolved. Add the miso liquid into the soup and give it a final stir. Serve warm.
This soup will stay good in the fridge for up to a week, or you can freeze it for longer storage.
*Adapted from the Food Matters 2015 Inspirational Desk Calendar
Yours in health,
Certified Holistic Health Coach
My new favorite kitchen gadget is my spiralizer. If you don't have one, or don't know what one is, it's a nifty contraption that makes pasta-like ribbons out of harder fruits and veggies. Some ideas for fruits or veggies you could use with a spiralizer are zucchini, carrots, beets, apples, etc... Last night, I decided to make not only a vegan, but raw veggie pasta, topped with a delicious "Alfredo" sauce that I made out of cashews and nutritional yeast. I fed it to my italian boyfriend, who was, to his surprise, impressed! I, myself, thought it was delicious! I love this recipe because you get to use fresh, local and seasonal ingredients (for the most part), and it's completely raw, so you are accessing the most amount of vitamins and nutrients out of the veggies. You also get a ton of protein, between the cashew cream sauce and the spinach. On top of that, you get a healthy dose of vitamin B12 from the nutritional yeast. Most vegans and vegetarians are low in this essential vitamin. A deficiency in B12 can lead to anemia, depression Alzheimer's disease, infertility, sleep issues, asthma, allergies, and IBS. This recipe is also gluten and sugar free!
Raw Vegan Spaghetti with "Alfredo" Cream Sauce
1 bunch fresh raw spinach, cleaned
2 zucchinis made into noodles using a spiralizer, or you can use a vegetable peeler to make thin ribbons out of the zucchini
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
For the cashew cream sauce
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes, rinsed and drained
1 large garlic clove
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons salt
water, as needed
1. Create the zucchini noodles, using a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to make thin ribbons out of the zucchini. Set aside. 2. Make the cashew "Alfredo" sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a blender. I use about 12-3/4 cups water to make a nice creamy consistency. 3. Place the rinsed and dried spinach on a plate. 4. Next put the noodles on top of the spinach. 5. Pour some cashew cream sauce over the noodles. A little goes a long way. You should have some left over. 6. Sprinkle some fresh chopped thyme over the top and season with freshly grated black pepper, to taste.
Let me know what you guys think!
Yours in health,
This week I thought I would share with you my version of a Buddha bowl. What IS a Buddha bowl? Simply put, a Buddha bowl is a meal-sized bowl filled with simple pure food and enjoyed with deep gratitude. I like to use a large sized bowl, one with which I have become accustomed to associating as a symbol of gratitude and nourishment. You can really use any combination of fresh raw and steamed veggies. Some of my favorites include kale, spinach and arugula. Combining flavor and texture, i.e. sweet, crunchy, soft, bitter, can be a fun, creative and relaxing process. Next, add some carbs like cooked brown rice or quinoa and some sort of protein. In this recipe, I used a fried egg as my protein source, but you could use tofu, tempeh, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or even an animal protein, such as chicken or beef. I know for me, the first few times I make a dish, it's nice to follow a recipe, so here is my version of a nourishing, healthy and clean Buddha bowl.
Every year for the past 10 years or so, I have invited my mother over for Mother's day for a nutritious, healthy, home-cooked meal. It is my way of thanking her for all of the love and nurturing she has given me over the years. This year was no exception. I am always conscious of not only my own dietary restrictions and needs, but my mother's as well. This recipe for a wonderfully refreshing Hibiscus Pomegranate Cooler fits the bill. It is gluten, dairy, alcohol, and added sugar free. It is not only refreshing, but loaded with antioxidants as well. As an added bonus, the Hibiscus tea is not only energetically cooling (great for the hot day we had yesterday!), but it has been shown to help in the reduction of cholesterol!
I am a big fan of changing my eating habits along with the seasons. This is a good habit to develop for a few different reasons. For me, it helps to keep me out of a food rut. You know what I mean by that. When you find yourself rotating between the same three dishes? This can cause boredom, which can lead to binging. It can also lead to food sensitivities. If you over expose yourself to really anything, you can develop a sensitivity to it. That can be food, body products, chemicals, etc.. Another reason to eat seasonally is because if you are eating with the seasons, you are probably eating locally sourced food, which means you are getting the food into your body sooner after picking, then if it was shipped clear across the country to get to you. This means a higher rate of access to vitamins and minerals. You are also supporting local farmers, and helping to reduce environmental pollution by not contributing to the fossil fuels that it takes to get your exotic food to your local grocery store. But most importantly, local, seasonal food just tastes better!
Below is a simple, yet refreshing salad that I found in the book, The Longevity Kitchen Cookbook by Rebecca Katz. It has 3 main ingredients, 6 ingredients total, including the salad dressing - which is delicious as a marinade, and is super easy to make. A few health bonuses to this salad's ingredients include anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties to the strawberries, the fennel helps aid in digestion and arugula is high in calcium, vitamins A, C and K, and is also a good source of iron.
Summer is in the air! It gives me a little bounce in my step and lightness in my body to breathe the fresh air. To smell the life and new growth. Summer is a great time to re-evaluate what you are eating. As we leave the colder winter months behind us, so should we step away from the heavier, more warming, comforting foods. This is the time to re-introduce fresh greens into your diet.
By now, we have all heard about how good kale is for you. This is true, but I wanted to bring some attention to a green that many of us know, but probably find annoying when they pop up in your grass. Dandelion greens. These guys are on the bitter and some what peppery side of the flavor profile. This means they are great for digestion. They help the liver stimulate bile, which aids in digestion and helps your body in the removal of toxins. Below is a list of the some of the health benefits of eating dandelion greens.
As I was thinking about what to write about this week, it occurred to me that the many different uses of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar have come up a bunch with colleagues and clients lately. If you are not familiar with the stuff, it is made by exposing crushed apples to yeast and letting the apples ferment. This turns the apple/yeast mixture into alcohol. The second step in making apple cider vinegar is to then expose the apple alcohol to bacteria, which further ferments the alcohol and turns it into acetic acid... the main active compound in apple cider vinegar. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg's) also contains "mother," strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the vinegar a murky, cob web-like appearance. This is the good stuff. It is the "mother" in the vinegar, that I believe, enables it to have so many healthy benefits.
Do you have questions for our resident yoga expert Gwen Lawrence? Send us an email and she'll shoot a video in response!
Recipe of the Week: Salmon en Papillote with Arugula PestoI came across this recipe in the 2015 issue of Nourish and Heal Magazine. For those of you that are unfamiliar with what "en Papillote" means, it is French for "in paper". In the culinary arts, the term refers to a moist heat cooking method where the food is enclosed in a packet of parchment paper or foil and then cooked in the oven. When cooking en papillote, there are usually some vegetables, herbs and seasonings included in the packet along with the main item. These additional ingredients, along with the main item, give off steam, which is what actually cooks the food. Therefore, en papillote cooking is basically a technique for cooking with stream, which is an extremely healthy way to cook your food. Because salmon is delicate and cooks quickly, it is a good choice for cooking this way.
Water is so important, but it is one of the most neglected aspects of our health and our diets. Below are some facts about water that I thought were important enough to share with you guys.
Fire Cider is a great winter immune tonic and digestive aid. Its potent taste and smell help to clear up sinus and respiratory congestion. It stimulates circulation, improving the immune response and helping to keep you warm! It can be taken regularly as a dietary supplement or as prevention or treatment for cold and flu.
1/4 C Horseradish, freshly grated
1/8 C garlic, chopped
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/4 C ginger, freshly grated
Cayenne to taste
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, enough to cover all ingredients.
Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk with Asparagus Spears
2 free-range chicken thighs, with skin on
2-3 tbls coconut oil
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 tsp fresh sage
2 tsp fresh oregano
zest of 1 lemon, cut into thin half moons
1 handfull of asparagus per person
sea salt to taste
Here is a recipe that I came up with the other day. With the warmer, longer days, I find myself craving bright, refreshing, green tasting things. This smoothie hits the spot. With the inclusion of food power-houses, such as chia seeds, maca and wheatgrass, not to mention coconut oil and cilantro, you'll be happily energized for the morning or afternoon, without the crash that caffeine or sugar can cause.
We had a fan on Facebook ask for our recommendations on bras. She's a D cup and hates the dreaded uni-boob that generic sports bras tend to give (don't we all) . We hear your cry and have listed above some of the office favorites here at Kulae. Not only are these bras great for support, but they are also sexy and stylish. Below are the links to get your own:
Here is a fun, fast, delicious and different way to cook zucchini. This recipe shows how you can take the healthiest of vegetables, and make it into a comfort food. These are best hot, right out of the oven. Serve these as a healthy snack, or as a side dish. They take less then 30 minutes to make, and as usual are gluten, dairy and sugar free. These guys are vegan as well. Not only are these low calorie and satiating, they are high in anti-inflammatory Omega 3's, due to the walnuts and a vegetarian source of vitamin B-12, due to the addition of nutritional yeast.
As we're gearing up for the warmer months ahead, there are a few things on our mind: cleaning our homes, refining our closet, donating things we don't use and kicking up our workout routines a notch. The ladies in the Kulae office have agreed to a correlation between having cute workout outfits and an increased frequency of working out. Even if it just means picking up a new sports bra in a bright color or a great hoodie to wear to and fro, we've found that a little refresh in our workout gear makes us that much more excited to get to that yoga session or pilates reformer class.