Tips

Eve_Kessner_236

Eve_Kessner_236

More and more often these days I get asked questions about how to lose weight? Tighten up? Stay healthy? Keep my energy up to work, chase kids, and still cook dinners? Maintain balance?

The answer is: there are no easy answers! But there are definitely tips I’ve picked up along the way and incorporated into my daily life that help the process. Lots of the “crazy” things I do seem strange to friends, were strange to me at the beginning, but have become easy, normal, regular.

I do my best to keep it natural and whole, so looking to other cultures’ traditional ways are often what I guide myself towards. For this list (and I’ll post more in the future!) I’m going to avoid what I believe to be obvious (drink lots of water, avoid processed foods, keep away from sugar…) and focus on what may feel a bit more obscure.

Incorporate any of these, maybe one at a time to see if they are working for you, and definitely let me know how they make you feel!

With a new season upon us, my favorite season of the year!, it’s the perfect time to clean up shop starting from the inside out.

So, with no further adieu:

Chia seeds. Packed with omegas and fiber, they are an easy addition to almost any baked goods, pudding, salad, drink! I add them to my water or tea whenever I can remember to. They give a burst of energy and nutrition without adding any taste.

Turmeric. I add it to my cooking whenever I can. It’s amazing for your immune system and brain! Highly anti-inflammatory, it is also a great compliment to any fitness regime.

Essential oils. Now these deserve a whole post of their own, but I diffuse these in the house, use them in my kids baths, take them internally as remedies. Here are a few ways: lavender is amazingly calming for bath time or diffusing in the house before bed time. It is also a powerful wound healer! I use tea tree for skin conditions of any sort (think rashes, pimples, itchy sun burn). Peppermint is amazing used internally as a digestive aid or in a bath to invigorate tired muscles. Eucalyptus clears stuffy noses and sinuses. Orange is our happy scent. Lemon goes down the drain to make the kitchen smell good! I could go on…

Lemon. I squeeze it into and onto anything appropriate. Water, salad, avocado. It is detoxifying and purifying and also delicious.

Apple cider vinegar. I swig it in the morning and a couple times throughout the day when I’m trying to cleanse or boost my metabolism. It’s probiotic and detoxifying and invigorating! Wakes me right up!

Eat and drink greens. Duh.

When I do eat poorly (cause we all do once in a while), I take digestive enzymes to help my body break down what its not used to eating. This just help the body’s natural processes.

Saurkraut (or anything naturally fermented). Naturally fermented foods contain probiotics which help our digestive system do what it needs to do. Our gut is also the hub for the first stop in our immune system, so keeping your gut healthy keeps you healthy!

Avoid the bread. This one is simple. I avoid bread unless it is really worth it. Don’t all or nothing anything, but in my opinion, bread should be worth it! Wait for what’s good and hold back on the empty calories whenever you can.

Eat enough! Too many people that come to me for help are simply not eating enough. By eating too little we are tricking our metabolism into actually hurting our weight loss goals instead of helping us. This deserves a much longer post, but the short end is this: by eating too little our bodies hold onto calories instead of burning them due to what we call fight or flight mode. Basically our body gets nervous about not knowing when our next meal is coming since we are feeding it so little and it conserves what it’s got instead of burning it off. Got me??! Don’t starve yourself! Ever!

The Cold and Colds

Wellness Shot

Wellness Shot It's been freezing in these parts.  Dead of winter.  And it's no secret that little kids carry lots of little germs.  And those little germs create runny noses and sore throats and all that is evil.

On Sunday Avital puked into my hands while Richie sped to try to get us home.  Yesterday I came home to Ellie's poop everywhere.  Tonight Bar vomited all over me while cuddling on the couch.

I AM SURROUNDED!  And I cannot afford to get sick.

This season is just tough.  Period.

Almost every day I get a text or call from a friend or family member asking what are my remedies for x, y, or z.  Soooooooo...I figured I'd post my cure-all, preventative, germ killing wellness shot for all of you.

You can make it in a juicer to in a blender.  I used my mini-prep Cuisinart thingy then strained it all through a hand strainer and glugged it down.  It's spicy and sweet.  It may burn a bit going down, but I promise it works wonders!  Boost that immunity y'all!

Here are the ingredients (no exact measurements necessary):

1-2 inches of fresh ginger

2-3 cloves of garlic

lemon juice

apple juice

raw honey

cinnamon

What To Expect Article

Hey you guys, I know I owe you all more posts.  I've been taking my time with it...  Seems tough to post on anything other than Jonny right now.

That said, life has been going on.  I have tons of recipes to share with you guys, anecdotes, lessons learned through my journeys in the school system realm.

I've also been doing some writing around the blogosphere!  This was published today.  So check me out over at What To Expect.

WhatToExpectArticle

xoxo

Making My Babies Food: a First Step to Great Nutrition

(Avital's first bites) My journey towards veganism and a healthy, sustainable, and holistic lifestyle has been a long and twisty one. The more I learn and live, the deeper I fall in love with living life cleanly for myself and my family. It may sound silly simple, but what it all boils down to for me is that it feels good to feel good! The cleaner I eat, the more I work out, the deeper I sleep, each of my experiences feels a bit more fulfilling, and even a bit more spiritual.

And while my children are not yet old enough to understand the depth of those decisions or feelings, I’m doing my best to start them off in a place where they can only experience that fullness of life, never having the opportunity to be dulled down by processed foods, excess sugars, and chemical preservatives. I want my children to be able to taste the gorgeous sweetness of strawberries instead of deciding that they’re inferior to the gummy versions they come across in candy stores. I want them to stretch their legs and twist their bodies on a regular basis to know what it feels like to have the strength and flexibility to play hard and long. I want them to be free of any additives or sugars that will keep them antsy and up at night. I want them to sleep deeply (and long;)) so that their tiny bodies get the opportunity to heal and repair themselves each night for the coming day.

The most significant way I can affect these outcomes is by making sure the foods my children eat on a daily basis are whole, rounded, and fresh. So from day one I knew that I wanted to make as much of their food as possible. It’s a serious challenge. Although as they get older it becomes more complicated, when they were babies it took little more than diligence, a creativity, and a couple of hours each week.

So many of my friends have come to me for baby food recipes over the years. It’s so easy to get caught in the plain Jane smashed peas and pureed carrots routine. I was always curious about why people wanted to give their babies bland foods. I wanted to expose my children to new flavors and spices, to get them used to eating foods from around the world, and to allow them to experience the healing effects of botanicals, spices, and veggies.

Here are a few recipes for baby foods packed with flavor, protein, antioxidants, and so much other good stuff:

Green Lentils with Carrots and Onions

• In a heavy-bottomed pot sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 carrots in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

• Once the vegetables are soft, add the cinnamon and turmeric and cook together for about a minute.

• Add 4 cups of water and 1 cup of green lentils.

• Bring it to a boil and then down to a simmer.

• Cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils are starting to disintegrate.

• Blend with an immersion blender to the desired consistency. If you have the time, you can let it cook for a couple hours. As it cooks, the lentils will break down into a dahl consistency which I find perfect for baby food.

Carrot Hummus

• In a pot bring the following to a boil: o 1 can of garbanzo beans (always use organic beans in bpa free cans. I like Eden brand), 2 carrots, 1 teaspoon sea salt, enough water to cover.

• Once the carrots are a bit soft (10-15 minutes) drain and set aside to cool

• Once cool, place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend with enough olive oil to move the contents through the blade.

• Blend to desired consistency.

Green Mashed Everything

• Steam together sweet green peas, edamame, broccoli, asparagus for 2-4 minutes until soft, but still bright.

• Stop the cooking in an ice bath and strain.

• Place all the veggies in a blender with enough olive oil to move the veggies through the blade and add sea salt to taste.

Balance Throughout

image via http://teachmelife.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/teach-me-balance/ My sister-in-law, Rachel, threw her back out.  She thinks it was too much intense spin class (she's my Soul partner).

Back pain is the worst!  I am prone to getting it (thank mom!) and it's totally debilitating.

So it got me thinking, my back was pretty achy for a while since I have been spinning like crazy these days.  And because of the summer and being off schedule, I'd gotten out of the habit of regular yoga.  And you know I love me some yoga!

But there's only so much one can fit into a day, right?  NO!  Without even thinking too much into it, I fell back into the habit of morning sun salutations.  I'd wake up achy, get Avi off to school, the baby napping, and sneak in some 15-20 minutes of yoga (ok, sometimes it's only 10, but still...).

It immediately transforms me.  I feel lighter, brighter, more energetic.  Less pain, aches, tightness.

Moral of the story: I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, since it's what I preach to all of my nutrition clients: balance!

Nothing is entirely good or bad for you.  But too much of anything can wear you down.  And without the right counterbalance, you'll fall off track!

So...balance your spin with yoga,  your vegan pizza binge with a fresh salad, too much wine with umeboshi plums, lack of sleep with a hot aromatherapeutic bath...

Take care of yourself!  So push yourself, but allow yourself to relax too, fix what needs fixing and soften where those edges get too rough;)  We can all squeeze a little self-care into our day, even if we don't think we can find the time, it's surprising where we can find it when we need it.

Fridge Staples

Love Life and Lollipops- Better Than Roasted Cashew Butter

Last week, over a recuperating lunch after spin, my friend Ali and I got to talking about my blog and how I want to work on expanding it and yada yada.  Long story short, she said she wanted more direct info, i.e. products to buy, snacks to eat, etc.  So I figured I'd start with my refrigerator staples.  Things I keep stocked all the time, that we can't live without, that make being vegan and healthy, delicious. Here are some of my favorite things (that need to be kept cool):

 

 

image via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lemon.jpg

Hope this is good for you Ali;)

And I'll be doing a series of these types of posts, so if any of you have any requests, email me or comment here:)

 

Dry Goods Are Gorgeous

Love Life and Lollipops- Dry Goods

When we moved into this apartment, as much as I was in love with the open, newly renovated kitchen, I knew immediately we'd fill it in seconds leaving boxes and boxes of dishes, serving plates, foods, utensils, electronics without any proper place.  So I decided to have some large shelves built to act as an open pantry type thing.

For a long time it was filled with our glasses and plates and some dutch ovens.  But recently I decided to take my mason jar filled cabinets and empty them onto the shelves.  They look great if I do say so myself.  And others have said so too actually.  So many people have complimented me on it.  I'm loving the rainbow of beans and rice and dried fruits and how they promote natural eating and cooking to all those inquisitive minds peering over.

Some of the glass jars I bought, but most of them were from jars of foods I bought at the market, cleaned, and reused!

Seaweed: Delicious, Healthy, Healing

Love Life and Lollipops- Wakame

image via http://food.3yen.com/wp-content/images/wakame.jpg By now, I'm sure you've all heard how healthy seaweed is.  It's high in B vitamins (which help us with energy, metabolism, healthy hair and skin, reproductive health, among other things), minerals, and antioxidants.  It is superlow in calories and high in nutrients.

So there's no question that you should have more of it in your diet, right?!?  That said, most people I talk to have no clue how to include it.  So I thought I'd include some of the ways seaweeds are part of my daily diet and regimen:

  1. Kombu- I pop 2-3" on kombu seaweed into the soaking water with my beans every time I make them regardless of the recipe.  When I drain the beans I take the kombu (now soft) and cut it up into little pieces and cook it together with the beans.  It helps the digestibility of the beans!
  2. Wakame- I use wakame in my miso soup.  In the pre-miso stage of cooking, I boil it in with the onions and other veggies.  It gives the soup a fabulous flavor and ups the healing quality exponentially.
  3. Nori- I sprinkle nori on top of my miso soup as a garnish, but we all also snack on it at home.  You can eat it plain and it's delicious.  It's pretty easy to find the roasted seaweed snacks around these days too. They're Avi's favorite (mine too).
  4. Kelp and Dulse- I have shakers of each of these that I use as condiments.  They're fabulous over some avocado toast;)

Ok, so time to get to it!  Include some seaweed into your diet today and feel good on the inside and outside too;)

Flax it up

Love Life and Lollipops- Flax it up

Image via http://www.gourmetnut.com/flaxseed.html There's so much talk about flax health that it's already old news!  That said, when I suggest adding more of it to the diet of my clients they often look at me confused and skeptic.  Everyone kinda knows it's good for you, but how to get it into their diets is an entirely different issue.

I figured I'd break it down quickly and hope to motivate some of you to flax it up a bit and creep your way closer to optimal health!

Benefits:

  • Omega 3's- it's chock full of them- Read: Heart Health
  • Dietary fiber- it'll move things along- Read: Lower Cholesterol
  • Prebiotic- it'll create a good environment for the colonization of good bacteria, a.k.a. probiotics- Read: Digestive and Immune Health

Since you're now, obviously, convinced, here are a few ways to incorporate it into your daily diet (FYI, you should grind the seeds for more easy digestibility...you can also buy it pre-milled and it's often called flax meal.  Oh also, keep it in the fridge so it doesn't go rancid...rancid oil/seeds is a big no no.)

  • Sprinkle some on top of your morning oatmeal or cereal
  • Add it to smoothies
  • Bake it into your desserts, breads, muffins
  • Sprinkle it on top of fruit as breakfast or dessert
  • Sprinkle it on top of your salad or stir-fry
  • Use it as an egg substitute in your baking

Now get to it!  Flax up your day and feel the benefits in no time!

Turmeric, Yellow Rice, The Ultimate Anti-inflammatory

Love Life and Lollipops- Yellow Garlic Rice

More and more, the information functional medicine is putting out there is becoming increasingly public.  One big issue talked about in regard to most Western disease is how low lying inflammation is undoubtedly related.  Basically the SAD (standard American diet) is a wasteland of inflammatory foods.  And that inflammation can linger on our insides and we can be entirely unaware of it while it wreaks havoc on our systems.

By eating foods that balance our pH and are anti-inflammatory, we can counteract this deadly inflammation on a daily basis.  One of these strong anti-inflammatory foods is a spice called turmeric.  It is often used in Indian cooking (which I love and eat often, though many of us don't).  Unfortunately, since it's foreign to so many of us, we can't figure out how to incorporate it into our daily diet.  That said, it doesn't have a superstrong taste and gives food great color!

I often add it to my rice.  A perfect compliment to spanish beans is a yellow, garlic rice.  Just add a tablespoon of turmeric, a couple pinches of sea salt, and 5-7 cloves of garlic to the cooking water and cook as usual (click here for the perfect recipe), and voila!