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Archive for September, 2011

Fabulous Fritatta

Fritatta is one of those staples in this house. It can be made with just about anything you have lying around. It’s healthy. And best of all, no one complains about eating their vegetables!

My favorite is Asparagus and Mushroom Fritatta

  • 1 cup chopped asparagus
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped crimini mushroom

Saute in 1-2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil until tender in a cast iron skillet- seasoned with-

  • a pinch of rosemary
  • a pinch of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • grated nutmeg

Mix 8 eggs with 2 tablespoons cream or soy milk and a bit of grated cheese- about 1/4 cup or so. Again, I rarely measure so use as much or as little as you like. You can even eliminate it all together if you are really trying to go low-fat, but we all need a bit of fat in our diets. I always have lots of cheese in the cheese drawer. Yes, I have a drawer in my fridge for cheese. We love, love, love cheese. This time it was a sharp aged cheddar. You can even go super crazy and use egg whites, but studies have shown that all the hype about egg yolks being so bad for you, isn’t exactly as it use to appear! Yay.

Add the egg mixture to the pan and gently move things around to fully incorporate the ingredients. Then place the pan in a 375 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Take it out, top it with some grated cheese and put it back until the cheese is melted and the fritatta is fully set.

You can add any veggies you like. Play with the seasonings. I really like using nutmeg in many different dishes in the fall. You don’t end up with food tasting like pie and cookies like you might expect if you haven’t experimented with nutmeg. It is really amazing with eggs! …it’s also a secret ingredient in many of my sauces too. Shhh…..

This one is also very heavy on veggies. You can add a bit less veg and a bit more eggs if you like. Generally 8-10 large eggs will fill the skillet. Remember, they expand. I serve this with some fresh fruit or a salad or even as a side dish. It’s great for breakfast, lunch or dinner! And leftovers never last!!

Live Well!
~S

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What better way to get inspired for a morning of writing than with a gorgeously colorful, delectably mouth-watering, healthy breakfast!

 

 

 

 

I really must stop using my phone for photos….

 

I rarely measure anything so let’s just say a handful of the following-

  • Onion
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Kale
  • Spinach

And-

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • A pinch of Rosemary
  • Fresh Grated Nutmeg

Saute onion, mushroom and pepper in 1 tablespoon coconut oil (you can use olive oil if you don’t have coconut, but I suggest you get some) for 2-3 minutes or until near desired tenderness. I like my veggies still with a bit of bite. Add garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add kale and nutmeg (layering flavors rather than adding all at the same time adds depth of flavor) saute for another 2 minutes. Add spinach. Saute until just wilted.

Remove from pan. Add water to the pan with  2T apple cider vinegar to poach eggs. I do not clean the pan after. This adds flavor to the eggs. I am also an utter failure at creating a “pretty” poached egg. I have tried it all, watched how to videos and tried again. I have resigned myself to taste over aesthetic in this case.

Top the veggies with the poached eggs and sprinkle with a bit more sea salt and pepper. This would be great with sea vegetable flakes too, but alas, I am out. You can cut time by using fried or hard boiled eggs and cutting veggies the night before. I often chop a day or two’s worth while making dinner, often without knowing just what I’ll be using them for. This really made enough for two servings. Guess what I’ll be enjoying for my morning snack?

Live Well!
~S

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Push Up Challenge

I have been asked repeatedly to continue… or do better at… adding great exercises for inspiration and to help those unfamiliar with exercise perform better. My first Fall Goal is to add these on a very regular basis. Let’s start with one of my favorites and jump in head first with a challenge! Shall we?

You’ve heard them before. Terms like “Back to Basics” and “Stick with what works”. Well, when it comes to exercise these terms also apply.  Ever witness Marine Corp Bootcamp? These are the toughest men on the planet. (And I say this knowing first hand, being married to one) How do they train? Not with giant gyms full of  strange machines. Not with shake weights and carb counters. Nor any other fad piece of equipment driven down our throats by some expensive marketing campaign. They use body weight and basic strength exercises. Sure, holding a 7.9 pound M16 over your head for hours upon hours everyday is not considered body weight. And obstacle courses that would kill your average American being part of the routine add to this elite toughness, but my point is the same. Start with and always include these basics and you will never go wrong.

There are a handful of these basics– Pull Ups, Sit Ups, Squats, Push Ups

Most requiring no equipment at all. Given that, they can be done at any time, in just about any place. This is why I feel they are so crucial. There are no excuses! There are also a handful of weight training basics that I feel just as strongly about, but we will start with those that require nothing but you and your will to be better.

Today we start with the Push Up.
Time and time again I hear “there is no way I can do a push up!” Client after client cringes or looks at me with a bewilder, are-you-kidding-me expression when I say now for push ups. I even had one say “I’m a girl. I don’t do push ups!”

The push up uses nearly every muscle in your body. The chest, arms, back and shoulders are fully engaged, however, the core and legs are also activated in stabilizing your body in the prone position.

Keys to the proper Push Up-

  • Abs tight – Body straight
  • Head stays neutral – eyes on the floor in front of you
  • Arms straight down in front of your chest. There are other variations, but to begin you want your body straight and arms at a 90 degree angle slightly wider than shoulder width. Do not drop your body so your hands are up under your face.
  • Keep your shoulders back and stable
  • Get a good range of motion- you should be bringing your chest nearly to the floor
  • Control! Keep your body locked on at all times and move with slow controlled movement. Fast, sharp movements use momentum rather than strength and risk serious injury.
  • If you are a beginner by all means start on your knees, but keep that butt down and body straight from your knees to your shoulders.

So here’s our challenge!
Every day this week, starting today, do as many push ups as you can. It may only be two today. Perhaps even just two tomorrow. But before you know it, it will be 3, 5, 10, 50! We will take the weekend off and begin again next week. This will give your muscles time to rest and recover. If you find you are very sore in a day or two, take a day off and begin again.

And post your scores here or on my facebook page. Watching your growth will be encouraging to you and others.

Are you up for the Challenge?

Live Well!
~S

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It’s no secret the world is a crazy place. Our lives a whirlwind. Our minds racing to keep up.

Suddenly you find yourself lying awake at night, unable to stop the to-do list racing through your mind. At your desk, unable to focus on the task at hand, do to the onslaught of messages your feeble mind is throwing at you. Or nothing at all. You are filled with anxiety, your head is spinning but nothing sticks long enough to make any sense. Your brain hurts. You can’t seem to find your breath. You want nothing more than to crawl under the warm soft covers and shut out the world.

But you know it won’t help. In fact, it will only produce even more problems, more reason for anxiety, more troubles to bombard your mind. So you continue as you are. Troubled. Frustrated. A puppet in someone else’s world, controlled not by your own will. And then some bubbly trainer says “just meditate”. And you want to take that dumbbell and bash her over her little blonde head!  Meditate. How in the bloody hell is that supposed to make my life easier? My to-do list shorter? Meditate.

But wait. Hear me out.

Our brains run at 100 miles per hour all day long. Day after day. You can’t drive your car day after day after day without having to stop to let it cool down, fuel up. You need to allow your brain to cool down and recharge too.

I touched on this a bit in Good Morning – Finding focus, stillness, and the effects it has on your life. When we quiet our minds we allow for increased concentration, we become present in the moment and become more relaxed. The ability to control your thoughts is the ability to change your life.

By taking time out to simply quiet your mind you are able to see more clearly, think more rationally and handle your troubles more thoroughly. You can change the way you respond. You can find true happiness.

What is happiness?
A state of mind, is it not? Therefore, when we control our mind we control our happiness.

Imagine being able to stop the noise, take back your unruly mind.

So how do you meditate?
I hear it over and over. But how? I try, but can never get beyond a moment or two. I get bored. My thoughts race even more than before. I get more anxious. I can’t stop the noise.

That’s ok! Really. Let the thoughts come into your mind and then consciously agree to address them later, believe that the answer, the solution will present itself. Then move on. Focus only on your breathing.

Ok, let’s start from the beginning.
Find a quiet spot where you will not be interrupted. Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Many try this in the cross-legged position and it works wonderfully, but let’s start here. Place your hands in your lap. Don’t worry about which finger touches which or just where they should be facing. Just sit. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose. Exhale through your mouth, leaving it just slightly open so there is no movement between breaths. If you have trouble breathing through your nose this position should work just fine. Now just breath. In. Out. Long, deep, slow breathes. When thoughts enter, respect, address and refocus on your breath. Slowly become aware of your body and relax each area.

That’s it. There is no alternate state you are looking for. Not right away anyway. Just a quiet mind. A quiet body. Many get this impression proper meditation requires some spiritual awakening, deeply altered state of mind. No wonder they have such a hard time. Yes, over time you will get better and perhaps you will find yourself somewhere very different from where you are now, but that takes practice.

But how does it work?
Meditation works by simply allowing yourself a moment’s peace! Allowing yourself to cool down.

Picture yourself in a fight with someone you love. You know you love this person, yet you keep fighting. The more they say the more you fight. The harder they yell, the louder you yell back. The angrier they get, the angrier you get. It just goes round and round. But when you consciously stop, walk away and have time to cool down you are able to come back and be rational. You are able to see things differently. In your daily life, YOU are the other person. The problems, the intrusions, the troubles, they are not the real issue. You are. How you respond to a situation dictates everything. You control your feelings. You may not be able to control the things that happen in life, but you absolutely can  control how you let them effect you.

Try just 5 minutes of meditation daily and work your way up to 20. There are many guided meditations that can help make things easier as a beginner and  take your practice deeper as you become more advanced, as well as very soothing music that can help you relax. Here are a couple –

Later we will delve further into deeper practice and discuss different types of meditation. And please keep in mind, this not of a particular religious teaching. Nearly all forms of religion have meditation practices of their own, however you need not be of any particular belief to meditate, nor should you be betraying your particular belief by doing so.

Live Well!
~S

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Many are fully aware of issues of the “gut” or digestive system, such as heartburn, constipation, diarrhea and food allergies like Celiac and lactose intolerance, but did you know an unhealthy gut can also lead to poor immune response, weight gain, eczema, asthma, fybromyalgia and depression? But that is not all. Studies have shown a direct correlation between an unhealthy gut and emotional and behavioral issues such as ADD/ADHD and even autism. The list also includes chronic ear infections, chronic fatigue, dyslexia, rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes and lupus.

Poor bacterial flora and digestion are at the heart of serious health problems. Research has determined a distinct correlation between unhealthy intestinal flora, poor digestion and toxicity from chemicals created by undigested foods, which can severely affect brain chemistry.

The digestive system contains bacteria. Some good and some bad. When the bad take over or there are too few good bacteria problems occur. The reason for allergies and food intolerance is often a result of damage to the gut lining by unhealthy micro flora, or bacteria. When this occurs food is not properly digested, nor properly absorbed. It also leads to a build up of toxins created by this improperly digested food.

Substances such as sugars, grains, trans fat and toxins in the form of chemicals and pesticides also wreak havoc on your digestive system. As do antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria, including healthy, necessary bacteria. It is essential these bacteria be properly replaced.

So how do you heal your gut?
There are many ways to help heal the digestive system. It is very important however, to start slow. A sudden and drastic change can create even more problems such as severe diarrhea or constipation and pain. Over the course of the next few weeks I will offer many options to taking a slow approach to healing your damaged, toxin-ridden gut. Here is a list of a number of things you can start with-

  • Remove grains and pasta from your diet- often reintroduced after healing
  • Reduce or eliminate sugars- this can be difficult. Start by switching to better options like agave nectar
  • Eat a cleaner diet full of raw and cooked vegetables, grass-fed meats and fish
  • Add fermented foods high in probiotics like sauerkraut and kombucha
  • Take a probiotic supplement
  • Add Cod Liver Oil for Omega 3’s and vitamins A & D
  • Use less chemicals by switching to cleaners made from vinegar & lemon
  • Switch to chemical free cosmetics, shampoos and deodorants
  • Start your day with a Morning Tonic
  • Reduce or eliminate dairy products- these are often reintroduced after healing
  • Add Coconut Oil to your diet

But don’t take my word for it.
There are many great sources of information out there. Here are a few-

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The health of our digestive system is crucial. It affects every area of our being including weight, emotions and brain function. Currently, I am working on an entire series- Heal the Gut – Heal You. Let’s start at the beginning of our day… Morning.

This Morning Tonic offers your digestive system a gentle start by preparing it for the consumption ahead. Consider, you have been asleep for the past 8 hours (hopefully). Suddenly adding very warm or cold substances to your system is very jarring, as is suddenly adding large amounts of solids. By offering yourself a gentle start you are setting yourself up for better digestion and better health.

Morning Tonic

1 large mason jar of clean water
2 tablespoons Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Mix the contents in the jar and leave at room temperature. Drink a glass of this tonic each morning before consuming anything else. Drinking warm or room temperature beverages is gentler on the digestive system. You can dilute this a bit if it is too strong for you.

Other benefits of this tonic-

  • Apple Cider Vinegar helps treat allergies, colds, maintain healthy skin and weight, rids the body of toxins and much more.
  • Benefits of Lemon include healthy oral care, hair and skin care, supports healthy blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, weight control and more.

Start your day off right! And keep an eye out for my Heal the Gut- Heal You series.

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Gah! It’s inevitable. Oil Method. Honey Method. Baking Soda. How ever you choose to wash your face, it will happen. You will wake one morning to find it. A giant, horrendous, gross zit. Most likely at the worst possible time, on the worst possible day.

Well, I can’t tell you I know how to make it disappear before you have to head out for that big day, but I can help you get rid of it for tomorrow’s big day.
For the most part.

Here’s what you need-

Dry Active Yeast
Tea Tree Oil
Bandage

Saturate the bandage with tea tree oil
Pour the yeast over the bandage and tap down
Do not mix the oil and the yeast.
Allow the yeast and oil to mix overnight, creating a reaction that draws out the impurity

Place it on the bandage, then place the bandage on your blemish over night.

In the morning remove the bandage and wash with baking soda and lemon.

The yeast draws out the crud causing the blemish.

The tea tree oil is an antiseptic, healing the skin.

The bandage holds it all in place.

This should be pretty.
Roll over, honey. And turn out the light. You don’t want to see this.

Zzzzz……

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