How to choose the best blender

As a professional raw food chef and teacher for 20 years,  I have used many types of blenders over the years. I have had some blenders that I have really liked using and some that I would not recommend purchasing. In a nutshell, you get what you pay for. Here is what I have found through extensive hands-on research:

  1. Single or a traveler: Are you making food for just yourself and are mostly interested in smoothies and salad dressings?
    • Magic Bullet– Price $40. Super easy to make single servings to take on the go. Not the most powerful and just good for quick smoothies and simple dressings. You can use the blending canister as a travel mug.  Easy to travel with. I own a Magic bullet, but honestly, I don’t use it too much. It’s good for grinding flax seeds or coffee beans but even that can be done in a larger blender.  I would use it if I was traveling and didn’t have space for a large blender, but usually, since I am preparing food for others or teaching I pack my Vitamix in my luggage.magic-bullet
    • Nutribullet Pro or beyond- Prices $80-$160. More powerful than the magic bullet and has a larger canister capacity (up to 48 oz) which is great not only for soups and smoothies but for grinding nuts and seeds into a flour, making nut and seed cheeses and blending thicker items. It’s also easy to throw in your luggage or car. I do not own one, but know many people who do, and love it.nutribullet
  2.  Family or multiple people:
    • Vitamix- After more than 20 years or more of blender experimentation, the Vitamix is my favorite blender ever. It has a large blending capacity (up to 8 cups) and the variable speed lets me control how fast or slow my food gets blended. When making thick things like cheeses and pates, I like that I can put it on low and easily add more water through the top until it gets to the desired consistency. I also don’t have to worry about it changing speeds suddenly or the lid popping off. I use it most days for just blending smoothies, juices and hot drinks at home, but when it comes to doing raw food recipes, it is irreplaceable. Price range: $300-$700. The 5500 (variable speed with the tall 8 cup canister) is still my favorite one and is around $500. I also love the power of the Vitamix. One more note is that although the shorter canister has just as much capacity as the taller canister (6500 vs. 5500) it doesn’t vortex as well. So when in doubt, buy the taller canister and you won’t be disappointed. You may also wish to spend the extra $100 to buy the 32 or 48 oz. sized canister for when you are making small batches of things such as sauces or syrups. What I love about the Vitamix: Easy to use, easy to blend and I can use the tamper to push down the produce onto the blade when making smoothies or juices.
    • Blendtec- I just used this for 2 1/2 weeks when catering a retreat in Ecuador, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the new model. They have finally made variable speed for this and it was super easy to use. What do I like about this blender? It’s easy to clean the wide canister and easy to clean the base of the blender. What don’t I like? I can never walk away and I always have to hold my hand on the lid or it may pop off creating a huge mess of green all over the walls (yes it even happened to us 2-3 times in Ecuador). So this would be my second choice for blenders as it’s just as powerful as the Vitamix, but doesn’t have the tamper and I don’t like the lid.Blendtec.jpg
  3. Chef- Vitamix. Get multiple canisters for different uses. I recommend at least 3 canisters: 32 oz., 64 oz. wide size and 64 oz. narrow size.
  4. Raw Food- Vitamix (see Chef). Don’t waste your money on the dry canister as it’s only for grinding grains to make bread, etc.
  5. Don’t be fooled by Vitamix knockoffs such as the Kriss or the Omni blender. I’ve used them in other countries such as Indonesia and they are a poor substitute for the power of the Vitamix or Blendtec.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR STUFF: Most of all, enjoy whatever equipment you have! Wipe it and clean it daily with a white vinegar and water combination (1 to 10) and take good care of it. Don’t use the scratchy scrubber to clean it or you will scratch it up and it’ won’t be clear anymore. You can buy non-scratch sponges. My favorite tool to clean my blender by far is this: https://www.drbrownsbaby.com/bottle-feeding/cleaning-accessories/bottle-brushes blender sponge.jpg


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7 ways to say YES to raw food this month

With all of the colds, flu, viruses, stress-induced sleep disorders, hormone imbalance and low energy that people experience this time of year, our nutrition really matters! If you want to stay healthy, you need to be eating organic, plant-based, enzyme rich, alkalizing foods now more than ever!kale-salad

It’s cold outside as I’m typing this, and I’m sitting here eating a big marinated kale salad packed with spirulina, tiny wild blueberries and cilantro leaves. It’s absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious! We all need what these healing superfoods have to offer. These ingredients help balance our emotions and a give us a heightened sense of well-being. While kale salad is served cold, it’s okay because I have some tricks to keep you warm. Here is what I do: Make raw/cooked combos.

Sounds so simple right? If you start eating only hot, cooked foods, you will be crowding out the healing, alkalizing raw vegetables, and you are going to miss out on some of the most amazing foods the planet is growing just for you, right now! It’s important to keep getting the leafy greens in your body. I paired my raw kale salad with a bowl of hot pumpkin soup topped with a raw green pesto sauce. I am alternating bites, and it’s making my belly feel so warm inside.  I have found a perfect, harmonious balance.

There are lots of ways you can eat more raw foods this winter so you can stay healthy and get all of your nutrition and emotional needs met. Right now, I can’t seem to get enough apples, winter kale, seaweed, fresh turmeric and ginger. I’m drinking wellness shots every day. It’s a raw, fresh beverage, and it’s very warming because it’s loaded with digestive firing ginger and anti-inflammatory turmeric. I’m also eating big seasonal salads which are packed with superfoods, and I’m making sure I make hearty, warm dishes in the evening to keep my body feeling warm and balanced.

. Here are some ideas on how to eat raw and stay warm:

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Wellness Shots

  1. Warm green juice: Drink a big celery, ginger, green apple and  lemon juice in the morning on an empty stomach. Make sure you add plenty of ginger and sprinkle it with a little cayenne to warm you to your toes. You can make your juice the night before so it’s waiting for you when you get up. If you want it to be warm out of the fridge, add some hot water to it so that it’s warm enough to feel good going down. Follow your green juice with a hot beverage like coffee, tea or a healthy hot chocolate elixir.
  2. Steamed Veggies with Kale, Chard or Collard Salads: Winter greens can seem cooked if you marinate and squeeze them with some lemon and salt then mix in some tahini, olive oil or coconut butter for creaminess. I like to sprinkle wild blueberries, sprouted pumpkin seeds, coconut chips and dulse flakes on top for added texture and nutrition. On the bottom of the bowl, add hot, steamed cubes of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or beets.  They will warm up the entire dish.
  3. Creamy Raw Sauces: My favorite warming dish is a coconut-curry sauce over steamed veggies. But you can make any kind of raw sauce you want and use it in your hot soups, over steamed veggies, and on cooked quinoa. Ideas for sauces: Pick a nut or seed butter such as coconut, pumpkin seed, tahini or almond butter. Then add one or two of your favorite spices like cumin, curry, Italian, onion powder, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger and/or lemon. I like the addition of a chopped tomato or bell pepper to the sauce to sweeten it up a bit. Salt to taste after blending, then pour this over your hot veggies or quinoa. Keep the rest of the sauce in the fridge for up to 1 week.sauce
  4. Hot Bowls: A hot bowl is a base of something hot and steamed like quinoa or brown rice with sauteed onions and winter greens. Pour some raw sauce over the top and finish if off with some radish sprouts, arugula and crunchy raw toppings (see #5)
  5. Crunchy Raw Toppings: Chopped crunchy veggies like carrots,  bell peppers, cucumbers and Romaine. Sprouted and dehydrated pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds or walnuts, dehydrated, seasoned coconut chips and dehydrated crackers all make flavorful, crunchy additions to the top of your meals.  They are both warming and nutritionally dense.coconut-chips-2
  6. Seasonal Fruits: orange-pomegranate-fruit-saladOranges, apples, pomegranates, and pears are wonderful foods to add to your daily routine during the colder months. They can be eaten as snacks to keep you from eating too many sweets. In fact, I find that eating a couple pieces of fruit a day such as apples and oranges during the holidays keeps my cravings for sweets and chocolate at bay.
  7. Superfoods to the rescue: Superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that are small in size but make a big impact on our health. Green powders, ginger, garlic, hemp seeds, sun-dried olives, spirulina, seaweed (dulse, nori, and kelp), Ho Shou Wu,  bee pollen, chia seeds, goji berries, astragalus, and coconut oil or butter to name just a few are easy to put into your morning breakfast porridge, in your smoothie and on top of your salads and soups. These foods will keep your energy flying high during the cold months and are super immune boosting power houses.post-workout-smoothie

We need our friends, the raw, enzyme rich, freshly grown fruits and veggies and their seeds to be with us all year round. They help us balance our emotions, keep our nervous systems calm, invite good, friendly bacteria into our guts and help fight off all the bad guys. Don’t leave them out in the cold, they are the best friends you’ve got this season!


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Holiday Healing

The holidays can be the best time to connect with family and friends you haven’t seen all year and to celebrate life and each other. With all the family time and connection we must also remember to re-connect with ourselves and our own needs. The holidays should be about celebrating, not stressing.  Often times we focus on the long list of “to-do’s” such as shopping for food, gift shopping, cooking and making the house perfect. Or maybe you have a mix of emotions around the holidays? Anything ranging from grief over a death or breakup, loneliness, or not feeling understood or accepted?  At times the feelings of overwhelm can be enough to make us want to give up the holidays altogether.  But I’ve noticed a few things along my journey and I’m learning that it does not have to be an all or nothing choice to participate.

Here are some ideas on how to have stay present with your emotions and still enjoy the holidays:

  1. Your happiness and well-being matter- Sometimes we forget that we need to make an extra effort for self-care during the holidays and when spending time with family. Make some foods for yourself that will act as your support system when the dinner rolls get passed around. Never underestimate the power of a healthy treat in your bag when the temptations are everywhere. Things I’ve brought to past family dinners: Green Juice (it’s a lifesaver at breakfast time), herbal tea bags, kale salad with juicy pomegranates (make enough to share), gluten-free almond bread, honey butter, gluten free scones and chocolate chip cookies.  By making healthy food choices, you will come out the other side still feeling good about yourself. Take some time out for walking or hiking (with or without your family). I like to go to the beach and spend at least an hour walking on the sand or riding my bike along the beach path when I visit my family in California. It grounds me, and nourishes my soul to the core!kale salad hero.jpg
  2. Non-Judgement-The worst thing you can do is to try and convince your family that your way of eating or living is better than theirs. The way it usually goes is that they feel made wrong and that their way of life is somehow not up to your standards. That just sets them up for defensiveness and a loss of affinity for you. I love the words by Byron Katie: “Defensiveness is the first act of war.”   Another way to practice non-judgement (and it really begins here) is to practice self-acceptance. You already are thin enough, good enough and loveable enough to be included in everything that matters in life.
  3. Family matters! If I’ve learned anything as I get older, is that family members die, age, get cranky, get married, get divorced and have babies. There is nothing we can do to change it!  Even if we don’t see eye to eye on religion, food choices or politics, it’s just a distraction from what is important.  On our death beds, most of us will wish we had been more loving, allowing, spontaneous, or giving.  Our family is always there for us, even when we get a little crazy from time to time. Just love them for who they are and don’t expect them to “get” you. When I made the choice to not try to change anyone in my family, and to not feel that they needed to understand me or even know what I believe in, my love for my family grew much deeper. Do I still work on it? Yes, it’s an ongoing practice.
  4. Eat, Drink and be Merry! While it’s important to focus on staying healthy and eating well over the holidays, sometimes being too strict can get in the way of deeper connections. Make an effort to  share in something together. Perhaps you can find a recipe that you can make with your family members. Or try just a couple bites of mom’s food made with love. Maybe it’s not food, but a game that you all can play together. Here is a link to some ideas.  Sitting down and watching a football game with your brother or dad may be a nice moment for bonding and connecting. Suggest going on a walk together after the meal. You will feel better after moving in the fresh air.superfood-cookies

I hope that you enjoy your time as you navigate the holidays, and remember, every day is a good day to make new choices that serve you and your future self’s well being!


How to make lasting changes to get and stay fit once and for all!

 

good-health-signHave you ever wondered how you can actually have long-term success at changing your diet and fitness routine? The answer is:

Make it a way of life, not just a diet or quick fix to solve a problem. It’s great to do a one-week fitness camp that’s really hard and kicks your butt, but as great as it is in the moment, it will not create lasting success. Success in anything lies in persistence. I started my plant-based healing and cleansing journey 20 years ago, and I had my ups and downs over the years. Even with the few small set backs of eating food that didn’t serve me or getting lazy about exercise, I persisted in keeping it alive in my life by surrounding myself with like minded people and continuing to read and research things that support health and longevity. I’ve noticed that the people who stay healthy and succeed long term have made health and fitness the thing they do every day. Sure there are days for splurging and “going off the wagon” but the biggest key is to stick to your plan 95% of the time. Humans need to fully immerse themselves into a new habit for at least 30 days to make a lasting change. In fact, that is just the beginning. After that, having ongoing SMART goals is the way to keep and stay motivated, fit and healhty.

Where do you start with getting healthy and feeling  great? Here is a list of things you can start with. If you’ve already succeeded at all of these, congratulations! See list 2 below that.

sugar drug

List #1 For beginners: 

  • Go off sugar: This includes white sugar, brown sugar, agave and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
  • Give up the gluten: No, it’s not a trend…it’s real! Breads, tortillas, waffles, muffins, soy sauce, licorice and so many more things contain gluten. After 1 week off gluten your mind will be clearer and you will have more energy! Not convinced? Read or listen to Grain Brain.
  • Go 95-100% Plant-Based: You don’t necessarily need to go all or nothing, but by significantly lowering the amount of animal products you consume, you will notice better skin, better liver function, and improved heart related conditions to name a few. An article published in Food Technology in October 2012 explained that plant-based diets either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
  • Make your own food: Who knows what is actually going into the food at restaurants? Is the chef and he or she’s assitants happy? Is there any love in that food? Most places use the cheapest ingredients and oils in order to turn a profit. When you make food at home, you know exactly what you are getting plus, you can fill both you and your families bellies with loving goodness.
  • Eat the right oils, if at all: Oils have their place in moderation, but it’s better to use whole fats from nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. If you need oil from time to time, use extra-virgin organic olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil and cold-pressed hemp seed oils. Also, never heat your oils! Avoid corn, vegetable, cottonseed, safflower or any oil that is not cold pressed and in a dark bottle, as these oils are usually rancid and contain GMO’s.
  • Stock your pantry with good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff: Go through and throw out old grains, packaged crackers and cookies and anything that may sabotage your health. This includes soy sauce! Replace it with gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos, healthy flax crackers and home made healthy treats. Throw out all the halloween candy too!Coconut-Wraps-2Pack
  • Have a grateful attitude: What can you be grateful for every day? List 3 things every day that make you grateful for your life. It could be as small as a warm bed or the ability to drive to work. Every small thank you makes you happier and healthier.
  • Do it Now! When you diverge from your plan, get back on track immediately (don’t procrastinate!): The major pitfall I’ve seen people fall into is the “Oh Well” trap. “I already had one cookie, I may as well eat some crackers, more cookies and toast too!” What? Where is the logic in that? If you lost $10 in a bet would you then give them another $100 and say “oh well?’ No! Get back in your body, be smart and get back on track ASAP.

List #2: Advanced:

  • Excersise for 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. Weights, walking, running, biking, rebounding, yoga, etc. It doesn’t matter, just move! Weight lifting is for everyone! Studies show that weight lifting is extremely good for bone health and having a strong, lean body.
  • Drink 2-3 liters/quarts of water a day. Start your day with warm lemon water to cleanse your liver.

    lemon water

    Mineral water with lemon

  • Go low glycemic! In addition to processed sugars, start looking at lowering your consumption of dates, coconut sugar, maple syrup, most grains and anything that has a medium to high glycemic index. Low glycemic foods include all nuts, seeds and vegetables, plus berries, stevia and Lakanto sweetener.
  • Do a 20 minute mindfulness practice daily. Studies show that meditation lowers stress, creates less reactiveness, reduces food cravings, and can ease depression.

Make SMART GOALS

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In his 2003 book, “Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond.” Paul J. Meyer explains how to make something acheivable.  Below is a synopsis:

1. Be Specific

Pick one or two things you want to change and be clear about it . Examples: What exact weight do you want to acheive? Do you have a fitness goal?  How about your skin? Is it as clear or ageless as you want it to be? Do you have a personal growth goal such as meditating 20 minutes a day or being more grateful?

Example- Visualize your ideal body and how you want it to look and feel. How do you want to feel every day? Lots of energy, good sleep, clothes fit perfectly? What about your fitness levels?  Perhaps being able to do a hard  3-mile hike/climb in 40 minutes? How much water do you drink everyday? Do you need to increase it? Is there something you want  to eliminate from your diet such as sugar, wheat or gluten? Maybe if you have been eating well for a while it can be a new goal such as not complaining or gossiping for a whole week or month.

2. Measurable

It’s important to have measurable goals, so that you can stay motivated. Writing down and tracking your progress helps you to stay focused and on on track, meet your deadlines, and get excited about achieving your goal.

A measurable goal should address questions such as:

  • How much or many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

Example: I will be at my ideal weight (fill in the blank) and fitness level  (_____ miles, _____push ups, ____ minutes of planks)  by this date _________.

3. Attainable

Your health goals need to be realistic and do-able. Be willing to stretch yourself, but still remain within the attainable realm.

Example- You might need to ask yourself if going off of gluten, sugar, alcohol and losing 20 pounds in 3 months is realistic.   For example, did you give yourself enough time to complete the required training effectively? Are there too many things all at once? Are there any obstacles that might be seen or unseen that could discourage you such as a spouse,  other family members or friends? If so you will want to get everyone on board before you start or find a friend who is supportive. 

4. Relevant

This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it is in alignment with your other goals. You may need support and assistance in achieving your goals, and it’s also important to retain control over them. So, make sure that if you are asking for help and support from others, that you are still ultimately responsible for achieving your own goals (dont’ give your power away or blame someone else for not getting things done). Don’t let anyone else tell you it’s not possible either.

Example: Does this goal fit into my lifes right now? Is this something doable now? If you are going on vacation, it might not be the best time to start a cleanse, but it’s a great time to add more water and get more exercise. 

5. Time-bound

Set a specific date to be at your goal. Once you have achieved that goal at the set date, celebrate, then create a weekly or monthly check in to make sure you continue to stay fit and healthy.

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

  • When?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?
  • How can I keep my new healthy body once I acheive my goal?

Example: Set your weight and fitness goal for 1-month from now with something that is achievable and realistic. Once you have reached that goal, celebrate, then create a new date with the continued goal of staying fit and healthy.

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Now get out your journal or calendar and start writing down your new, acheivable goals!

P.S. The holidays are coming, so instead of waiting until they are over, make the goal of losing instead of gaining weight this season. That way in January you will be ahead of the game and feeling great about yourself! 

Join our Plant-based and fitness Bootcamp this November (and 4 times a year in 2017 and beyond) to get yourself in the best shape ever!

 


Are you ready for a big change?

As the season changes, we also go through a physical change as our bodies adapt to new temperatures. But what about our minds? Have you changed your mind lately? When you look back on your life, how many times have you thought something was a certain way, only to realize the exact opposite was true. Did you do a flip-flop? Is there anything in your life where you are now doing the opposite of what you used to do? If not, maybe it’s time to take a look at some of  your habits and beliefs…

I just got back from David Wolfe‘s Longevity Now Conference in Anaheim CA. It was a 3-day weekend adventure and road trip which I took with Kate and Nicole. We did the weekend right by bringing all of our own premade salad dressings, salad greens and sprouts, our delicious homemade granolacrackers, wraps, and dips. We even brought a  vitamix to use in the hotel room for smoothies and longevity coffee. It was super easy to pack for the trip and didn’t take much effort because we do this a lot (practice makes it easy). We even made late night hot medicinal elixirs in our room during a dance party with our good friend, Ben from Seeds of Life Cafe in Bali.

I love hanging out with Kate and Nicole and finding new ways to make every moment a celebration no matter what we are doing. We even stopped on the 7 -hour drive from Tucson to Anaheim to do 4 minutes of plank pose at a rest stop. Every moment counts, and every moment can be the best ever!

Over the Longevity Weekend, we heard excellent speakers who are experts in their fields. That is where I learned more, new and exciting ways of looking at things. Here are some of my top takeaways:

  1. David Wolfe spoke about activated charcoal and how taking it can extend your lifespan.  Making every day the best day ever is do-able by claiming it out loud. Saying “This is the best day ever” can give it up to a power beyond ourselves and we don’t need to try and make it happen, it just does. Goal setting and dream work is a key to success. Medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga and Reishi in large amounts are super immune boosters. Vitamin B3 (niacin) can work to heal depression and schizophrenia.  My takeaway: Detoxification is more important than nutrition. For longevity, make a morning elixir of 1 quart (liter) of water, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (such as Celtic), and between 500-1500 mg of activated charcoal (start with 500 and work up) for a 43% increase in lifespan. That’s the difference between living to be 100 and living to be 143!
  2. Jim Qwik spoke about speed reading and the art of remembering names. How often do you get introduced to someone only to forget their name a few minutes later? I know for me, I choose to be present and take the time to remember everyone I am interacting with. That starts with remembering their name. For speed reading, if you use a  visual pacer such as a finger or pen under the words while you read, it will increase your reading speed by 25-50% (try it without for a minute and then with your finger for 1 minute and see the difference in speed). Jim said journaling is the routine to genius. Read more biographies to learn how great people lived. He read a book a day for a year! Your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk so make sure you are being positive in your mind. Get rid of ANTS- automatic negative talk. Self-awareness is a super power! Have a to-do list and keep your brain active through lifelong learning and longevity practices. My takeaways: Read 1 book a week and use a visual pacer. Remember people’s names with  MOM: be Motivated to remember by asking yourself, why it’s important to remember, be Observant by paying attention at the moment and use Mechanics such as picturing Jim working out in a Gym.  
  3. Dr. Joel Fuhrman spoke about lowering our IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) through eating low glycemic food, eating more greens, eliminating ALL grains (this includes corn and sugar cane) and heavy animal protein. He said that a study of people aged 50-65 for 18 years showed that people who ate less than 10% animal protein by weight had a 75% decrease in death. Too much protein is actually more harmful to the body than too much fat. Protein increases inflammation and oxidative stress. People who ate more than 10% animal protein had a 4-fold increase in cancer.  My takeaway: Remember to supplement with DHA and EPA by taking 200 mg. a day for optimal lifespan and brain function. 
  4. Dr. Mercola spoke about peak fasting (also known as intermittent fasting). Stop eating 3 hours before bed , do not eat for 13-18 hours 3 days a week (that means a 6-8 hour eating window), fast 1 day a week for optimal longevity and to create more ketosis which extends lifespan. He said to avoid high amounts of protein, although he does advocate eating some fish.  He mentioned that the Cronometer has the most accurate data for people who want to track their food intake. He talked about cycling. That means interchanging both fasting and eating. If you fast too much you go into low metabolism, and if you eat too much….well we all know what happens. The body needs cycles as it did before we were domesticated. Best vegetable fats for fuel: Avocados (he eats 3 a day), real olive oil (watch out for food fraud), coconut oil, MCT oil (especially the octane 8 which increases ketosis), raw cacao butter, macadamia nuts, pecans and seeds. DHA is the most important fat and it’s better from seafood. Avoid at all costs if you still eat seafood: Shrimp because it’s loaded with chemicals and antibiotics. My takeaway: Get at least 1-hour in the sun with your feet planted on the earth (earthing) for optimal vitamin B production and overall health. 
  5. John Gray talked about the different hormones of men and women. High testosterone is characterized by our flight or fight response, the feelings of achievement and independence. This is why men lower stress by not thinking. Going into overwhelm, as so many women do, actually takes us out of our feminine and into our masculine. Small doses of Lithium Orotate can balance moods and hormones. My takeaway: If a woman is overwhelmed, she is not in her feminine side, so I will remember to dance or move my body when I feel overwhelmed. wim-hofWim Hof- I love this guy! He is the master of cold. He’s set world records for withstanding cold temperatures, swimming in ice water and climbing Mt. Everest in shorts. His message is that deep breathing coupled with holding the breath out for as long as possible (up to 2 minutes) and following up with an ice bath can give you huge amounts of energy and
    • Increases Alertness
    • Refines Hair and Skin
    • Improves Immunity and Circulation
    • Stimulates Weight Loss
    • Speeds Up Muscle Soreness and Recovery
    • Eases Stress
    • Relieves Depression.  I for one am a believer because I’ve been practicing his breathing techniques for the last 10 weeks. It’s a bit hard to take a cold shower in Tucson but I am looking into getting a big freezer to make my own ice baths. My takeaway: “Just breathe man and embrace the cold!”

Getting a dose of Community.  One reason I continue to go to festivals, expos, conferences and retreats is to experience the feeling of connection and community with my fellow health seekers. It’s so satisfying to be a part of something bigger than my everyday life. I love meeting people who are choosing to upgrade and expand their current understanding of their bodies, minds, and spirits. I want to keep that feeling going all the time. I know it’s not possible for most of us (including me) to attend something like this every weekend. This is why Pure Joy Planet will continue to grown our Pure Joy Family so we can connect, learn, grow and evolve together in whatever capacity our students can show up for.

As a way of continuing this feeling, I invite you to join our Pure Joy Family by being part of our 1-month Plant-Based Bootcamp coming up in November 2016. It’s not just about the food. We will be incorporating a lot of what I spoke about in this blog too. You will get daily video calls with me and our Team, daily recipe demonstrations and lessons, meditation tools and life techniques to get you feeling your best. Plus, the connections and interactions you get with everyone else in the group can be transformational.

At the end of our 4 weeks together we plan to create an immersion weekend for all of our inspired participants who would like to attend a retreat setting and connect even deeper. Our goal is to eventually host educational weekends like the Longevity Conference so everyone can have access to transformational information about upgrading their life and their health.  Sign up for our Bootcamp today and get ready to transform your own life!

 

 

 


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Is Raw Food Still Relevant?

Pure Joy Planet was created from a passion for sharing the amazing healing benefits of raw, unprocessed foods. Raw foods have been our heart and soul for almost 20 years, and recently my team and I have begun to ask , “Is raw food still relevant? Are people still interested in raw food in 2016?”  Buzz words like,”Plant-Based” seem to be the new “Raw” and are popping up everywhere. Cafes, restaurants, and even festivals are picking up on the demand for more veggies. The problem is, the vegan and plant-based buzz words don’t necessarily mean healthy or unprocessed.  Did you know that oreo cookies and gram crackers are vegan?! I recently stumbled upon a meat-free processed food company that is claiming to be ‘vegan’ and ‘healthy’ yet the main ingredients listed on one of their top selling products include soy protein isolate*, vital wheat gluten*, expeller pressed canola oil*, methylcellulose,  yeast extract, potato starch, enriched wheat flour, modified corn starch. Seriously? This is what companies are claiming to be healthy?

Packaged foods are not cool and not healthy! When we eat Frankenfoods (like the food referenced above), too many sweets and moldy grains such as corn and wheat, we can end up worse off than we were before starting a plant-based diet.

Eating clean, Plant-Based foods is more important than ever!  With scientific studies pointing to how sugar and grains are compromising our brain and gut health, and how plastic and packaged foods are contributing to hormone chaos, there is no better time than now to start making your own food and eating it as whole, raw and local as possible. We don’t believe in diet dogmas; we do believe in the benefits of adding more plant foods into your diet.

Here are 6 easy ways to merge raw and cooked food and make your own raw-cooked (Rawked) fusion meals:

  1. Follow the 80-20 Rule– Fill your blender, bowl or plate with 80% raw fruits and vegetables, and the other 20% can be something cooked and warm.  You  can either use a measuring device and recipe or your body’s knowing to guestimate how much to pour into your bowl or blender. My favorite raw items are leafy greens, some kind of fat (seeds, coconut butter or avocado), seasonings (Himalayan salt, onion powder, cumin, cayenne), veggies (lettuce, red bell pepper, tomato, zucchini, carrots, etc.). My favorite cooked items are artichoke hearts, hummus, jars of salsa, steamed beets, onions, garlic, winter greens, squash and sweet potatoes. See # 3 below for Rawked Fusion ideas.salad-copy-2
  2. Be a Locavore- Start by shopping for local foods at Farmers Market, and if you can, buy most of your produce for the week while there. You will be getting the freshest and most locally grown items. Eating locally will help you stay in tune with the seasons, which means fewer colds, fewer food allergies, more variety in the long run and lower food costs. Also, when you are buying food from countries that are not regulated, you don’t always know what you are getting. Some countries pick under-ripe fruits and vegetables and die them richer colors before shipping them to us! Watch this Indian Vegetable Scam
  3. Quick and Easy – Buy lemons, garlic, and onions in large amounts so you can use them all month. Pre-juice all the lemons and store them in a jar in the fridge for drizzling over salads and pouring into sauces. Order your grains, beans, nuts and seeds from companies that sell in bulk online. Store the extra food in your fridge or freezer if you have space or use a vacuum sealing system. We use Terra Soul Superfoods for our bulk orders.
  4. Get Creative!– Now that you have stocked your kitchen with veggies, decide which ones to cook and which ones to eat raw. I always cook my onions and garlic for easier digestion. What else should you cook? Chard, kale, collards, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and quinoa. These can be your base food (your 20%). Now top those cooked items with fresh leafy greens, herbs, fresh tomatoes, spiralized zucchinis, etc. Mix them all together and have a warm bowl full of veggies. Make a raw sauce or red pepper dressing for the top, then pour over your bowl.  If a bowl sounds too heavy, try a light soup. You can steam up some kale and squash, add sauteed onion, then blend it all together with a raw avocado or 2 Tbsp. coconut butter, a handful of spinach or basil, a tomato, and a carrot. Voila! Soup! Eat a 100% raw at breakfast by making a green smoothie filled with leafy greens such as spinach or parsley, hemp seeds, frozen berries and a scoop of green powder such as Vitamineral Greens, or a chia porridge:  1/4 cup chia soaked overnight in 2 cups sweetened almond milk. Top either one with bee pollen, dehydrated pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, or some goji berries.Chia Pudding 3.jpg
    This is a coconut milk chia pudding topped with fresh seasonal berries and local bee pollen
  5. Have Fun!– Are you still confused about whether you should be raw, vegan, paleo, 80-10-10, high carb, high fat or bulletproof? Relax! Dogma and stress are not your friends! You really can’t get this wrong. Follow your healthy cravings, eat what’s local and fresh, and remember that whatever you make at home is going to be 100 times healthier than anything you can buy at a restaurant or store. Plus you get to make it exactly the way you like it. Check in with your body often by journaling to see what is working and what is making you feel bad. Cravings for junk? Snacking is my favorite way to beat cravings. A little organic pumpkin seed butter or hummus with some celery sticks, apple slices, snap peas or red bell pepper slices are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
  6. Worried About Protein? – This is a common concern. Funnily enough, most people eat a lot more protein than the human body requires. Consumption of more than 5% animal protein has been linked directly to tumor growth in animals.  Plant-Based amino acids (proteins) are in all vegetables but are highest in hemp seeds, vegan protein powder, and Spirulina.berry-smoothie-2

 

Motivated to start adding more plant-based recipes into your diet but need a little more help?  Check out our 4-week Plant-Based Bootcamp! Join our team and other participants on November 7 through December 5, 2016. Learn how to  immerse yourself in the lifestyle, make simple and easy recipes for daily living and get fit! Indulge in some of the best recipes on the planet while nourishing you and your family. Get the download on the most cutting edge nutrition and diet information and personal lifestyle guidance from Elaina Love. Learn all about superfoods and herbs and how to concoct your own medicinal teas and smoothies. Get the best plant-strong fitness tips, workouts and meal plans from our award winning fitness model, Ali Stringer.

All recipes from the recipe book and video demonstrations are completely free of gluten, dairy, processed, and soy, so you can truly feel what it’s like to eat clean and be full of energy. Find out what it’s like to live in a healthy, vibrant body. Get more information and join our healthy family here.


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Can Being Outdoors Make You Superhuman?

I just got back from camping in Sedona over Labor Day weekend. To say it was Epic is an understatement. The first night, I camped with a group of beautiful people near a river. It was deeply gratifying to sleep on the earth in a sleeping bag and to stand around the campfire chatting under the stars. I spent most of the next day sitting in a chair staring at the trees in a deep state of relaxation. My mind felt very still and I was content to just be and not do.  By the end of the day, I crawled into my tent with the sound of crickets to keep me company and drifted off to a peaceful sleep. The last night was by far the most epic! I hiked out to meet my friends in a remote canyon. It was a 6-mile hike into the wilderness and I tracked through deep water and swampy grasses. Our sensational, private, camping spot was nestled up on a canyon wall in the red rocks of Sedona. It had an overhang that was almost like being half inside and half outside of a cave. The campsite was pristine, had it’s own fire ring, rock lounge chairs that someone before us had created, and even a secret ledge that overlooked the water below. It was our favorite spot for early morning river viewing and late night star gazing. Peace, Victory, and Bliss are just a few words I can use to describe the experience. We made lovely warm meals over the campfire from the food we packed in, but our food was not the main source of nourishment. It was the air, the earth, the water, and fire. I began to remember that The Elements feed us on a core level. Connecting and blending with them without the distraction of technology of any kind was the best gift I’ve had in a long time. After a day and night out in the river, basking in the sun, swimming in the streams and swimming holes, getting up close and personal with the flowers, plants, and rocks, I felt full and satisfied. I’m sure I could have spent many more days out there and definitely will go back again, but even just the weekend getaway was enough to rejuvenate and replenish me.

Here are some ways in which nature provides:

  1. LOWER STRESS HORMONES AND FEEL HAPPIER-Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks. City dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside. Source: NY Times.  Walking in nature can make you feel happier and reduce your anxiety and negative thinking. According to Gregory Bratman, a graduate student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, participants in a study who walked in nature vs. in traffic showed that the participants who walked in nature had improved quieting of the mind and improved moods. Meanwhile, the participants who walked on a busy street had no mental improvement and they still felt negative upon their return
  2. VITAMIN D– Did  you know that Vitamin D is a hormone not a vitamin? It plays an important role in balancing our moods and creating a healthy immune system. Those who don’t get enough Vitamin D have higher risk of cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease. Spending just 20 minutes a day in sunlight  (nature) can increase your vitamin D levels.tumamoc-sunrise
  3. IMPROVED EYE SIGHT-If you work a lot on a computer or watch TV or Netflix most evenings, you’re at risk of developing blurred vision, double vision, dry/red eyes, eye irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain.  Getting outside and focusing on objects farther than two feet in front of your face can greatly help to prevent and even reverse these symptoms. Natural light is healing for the eyes. Contrary to popular belief, one should not wear sunglasses while in the sun. Exposing the eyes to natural light can recalibrate your brain and help improve your eyesight. So take a break from reading this right now and go outside and breathe for a moment!
  4. LUNG HEALTH– Speaking of breathing, filtered air through air conditioners or heaters is not ideal for the lungs or the mind. Getting fresh, unfiltered air is ideal. The lungs are our main source of detoxification so breathing in clean fresh air is so important! That is one of the main reasons I moved out of a downtown area in Tucson and into the hills of Marana. I get to wake up every morning, walk a couple miles, and breathe in the freshness of the day. Even if I only have 20 minutes, an outside walk can make a huge difference in how the day unfolds.
  5. GET GROUNDED– Go barefoot whenever possible. Have you heard of earthing or grounding? This is an ancient remedy. You can’t see the Earth’s energy but it can be felt. You may experience it as a pleasant sensation rising up through your body as you walk on the beach or on hard, cool dirt in the forest. Books on Earthing give excellent facts on how sleeping, walking and immersing ourselves in earthly substances can completely change our sleep patterns, mood, outlook, and create a new sweet spot in life. We have evolved away from sitting on rocks and squatting on dirt, we have replaced our earth with rubber shoes and synthetic flooring. This has completely messed up our connection with Mother Earth. Getting outside and going barefoot will reconnect you with nature, help you to feel more balanced and peaceful and may even make you want to garden or give back to the earth in some way.feet-tumamoc
  6. BEST SLEEP EVER!-The best part about camping is sleeping on the Earth, staring up at the stars and hearing nature sounds. You may wake up early, eager and refreshed. There is no better remedy for insomnia or sleep problems than a night out in nature. As a matter of fact, even though I love the luxury of sleeping in, I don’t feel the need to do so when I’m sleeping outside.

Do you need more proof that we need nature, and we need to spend more time outside?  If you live in a city, make it a point to go on nature hikes during your down time. Go out to a park during your lunch break and just sit or lay on a blanket on the grass for 20 minutes. You can also meditate outside in your backyard or in a quiet spot. Being in nature may become one of your new favorite ways to feel Super Human!

Want a nature rejuvenating experience like mine? Inspired by my new found passion for getting outside and helping others do the same, I have teamed up with Eden Hot Springs Return to Eden Retreat to give my students a chance to get earthed, re-energized and connect with other like-minded souls while eating the best food ever. Check out my upgraded Level 3 plant-based chef certification and join me for an Epic adventure into the healing hot springs of Eden.

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