4 Superfoods to make you stronger, smarter, faster!

  1. Green Grass Powdersgreener grasses

    One of the most important things you can do for your health is to eat a diet rich in alkaline minerals to neutralize excess acidity such as ripe fruits and leafy greens. Grass powders are a quick way to buffer acidity and quickly increase your alkalinity. A result of consuming too many acid-forming foods (like processed and fried foods, meat, dairy, sugar, and grains)  our bones are robbed of their precious minerals which can lead to illness and degenerative bone disease. When you are making your smoothies and blended soups grass powders are a quick and easy addition. Start with a teaspoon and work your way up to a tablespoon. Read the labels to make sure the green powder doesn’t contain fillers or dairy.  Of course, I still love my green juice every morning, but green powders are quick and easy and can be thrown into a smoothie or even stirred into a glass of water for a quick energy boost before heading out the door. Grasses are the number one way to increase mood and alkalinity. I call Greens the “Pure Joy Factor” because they enhance and increase my mood quicker than any other food. Favorite brands include Greener Grasses, Wheatgrass powder, and Barley Grass powder. Try them one at a time and find out which ones work best for you.  Check out this smoothie recipe with Green Powde

  2. Mucuna Pruriensmucuna

    You may not have heard of this supplement before. It comes in powdered form and is also known as the dopamine bean. It’s well known for its mood-enhancing qualities. It boosts my energy when I take it in a morning hot beverage with a tsp. of coconut oil. Start with a small dose (like 1/8 tsp.) and work your way up. You will most likely feel very happy and energized. Try Sun Potion brand. Side effects can include increased thirst.  Check out this tonic recipe. Just add 1/8 tsp. of Mucuna to it. 

    • Supports a healthy central & peripheral nervous system*
    • Supports the body’s ability to handle stress*
    • Is a natural source of levodopa (L-dopa)*
    • Supports physical balance & posture*
    • Promotes healthy motor skills & coordination*
    • Improves energy & endurance*
    • Supports the intellect*
    • Bolsters libido*
    • Revitalizes both the male & female reproductive systems*
  3. Virgin Coconut Oil (cold-pressed is best)

    coconut oilCoconut oil is well known as an anti-fungal and antiviral oil. It is a fat that does not need to be processed through the liver and acts as an energy booster before a workout. It can help you burn fat more efficiently and actually clean out old undigested fats. Coconut oil also has brain boosting effects. I like to use coconut oil on my steamed veggies and even as the oil in my salad dressings. It’s my go-to oil when I am using oils. It also makes a great fat for refrigerated chocolates.

  4. Turmeric
    Turmeric

    Turmeric is the most well known for being an anti-inflammatory herb, helping to ease joint pain. Turmeric is also proven to help boost memory and enhance brain function.

    • Promotes a balanced mood
    • Helps wounds heal quickly
    • Eases aches and discomfort
    • Encourages balanced blood sugar
    • Soothes irritated tissue

These 4 Superfoods are all fairly easy to find and can be used in many recipes. I use these on a daily basis as part of my healthy eating program.

For more recipes, fitness, and performance enhancing information, check out our 4-week Guided Love Camp Program!


Quit dieting and find your perfect weight!

How many times have we heard that dieting is not the solution? Yet every new year, hundreds of thousands of us jump on the bandwagon once again saying this time it’s going to work!

Well, I can tell you from years upon years of experience and trial and error, that the best diet is no diet. The best way to be fit and healthy (not stick skinny) is to do what you love, and stop focusing so hard on your weight. When you eat a Healthy  Plant-based diet, eliminate gluten and keep the sweet stuff to a minimum, your body will naturally find it’s balance.  If this has not been your experience even after eating a Plant-based (vegan) diet, you may still be eating too many grains, sweets or fried foods.

coffee-photoDo you enjoy waking up early and making a blended cup of steaming organic coffee packed with superfood ingredients like Chaga mushroom powder, stevia, and coconut oil? I do!  I find it to be a soul soothing, mind activating and blissful way to start my day. Maybe you like baked goods? You can still have them by following some of my recipes. Do you enjoy cooking for others? Great there are plenty of awesome recipes that fit that bill too. It’s not about getting away from food, it’s about creating the right foods. Stop eating at restaurants and make your own delicious creations at home.

The idea is to find out what works for you and do that. Don’t limit and restrict, open and enhance. Do you love baked goods but don’t love all the sugar and carbs? Me too! Well, now you can make delicious gluten-free nut butter cookies that taste so amazing and delicious and won’t make you feel guilty or shameful. There is just something about getting in the kitchen and making something delicious and nourishing that lights me up. It is my creative outlet, much like painting or crafts are for others. What is your creative outlet? No surprisingly, when we engage in activities we love, food and eating become less of a focus.

So don’t shame yourself for loving food, just find the right foods that make you feel satisfied and energized while nourishing you at the same time.Then after feeling nourished, go do something you love to do like writing, art, walking, dancing at home, listening to a guided meditation or put on some good music and clean the house.

Here are some more ideas of foods you can make to feel fit and healthy without dieting:

These are just a few, out of the many ideas and recipes I have. To dive deeper into the subject, be sure to read my blog on how to eat well on a Plant-Based Diet, and check out my recipes page on my website for hundreds of free recipes!

If you want to go even further into expanding your entire outlook on food dive into one of my online courses! 

 

 


The health risk of mold in nuts, corn, and grains

Would you love to know that the food bringing home and feeding to your family is free from mold, yeast, and fungus?  Me too! That’s why I’ve been doing some digging and found out that not all foods are safe!

knowledge-is-powerI know that most people don’t want to hear this. In fact,  I have had people physically cover their ears when I talk about this subject because according to
some, “ignorance is bliss!” According to me “Knowledge is Power!” You need to know what is causing your auto-immune, candida, respiratory problems, Epstein bar virus, MS, asthma, allergies, hormone imbalances, blurry vision, brain fog, and weight gain so you can easily and painlessly remedy the situation while watching your health improve daily!

The answer to a lot of your health problems could be mold, and knowing where it lives! moldy peanuts.jpgMost of us know that mold can hide under the floorboards or in the walls of a house or office. This is a big problem and takes some serious work to clean up. Did you know that a seemingly harmless nut, seed, or grain can also be at the root of your health issues? If you are not properly soaking and cleaning them, you are swallowing toxins! These food toxins are also known as mycotoxins.

moldy-corn

Mycotoxins are toxic chemical products that are produced from molds which grow on agricultural crops. In general, high moisture content, high relative humidity, and warm temperatures enhance mold growth and toxin production. Mycotoxins are natural and inevitable. No bean or crop is without some percentage of them but finding the companies that actively test for mycotoxin content is best. Mycotoxins are relatively harmless to the body on a micro level. It is only when we consume them on a daily basis that they become a problem. That means daily ingestion of poor ‘Starbucks’ quality coffee could have long-term effects on your brain health and increase free radicals which leads to radical premature aging!

How are mycotoxins harmful? 

When you consume foods with mycotoxins, they make their way to the digestive system & sit there for your entire lifetime! Once they’re ingested, they can leach through the intestinal wall and can be absorbed into the bloodstream.  Once your system has incorporated the mycotoxin, they can cause systemic yeast or mold. This can lead to inflammation and disease.

Where are they found? 

Mycotoxins are found in nuts, seeds, beans, and grains. They are dormant and live on whole and especially broken nuts, seeds, and grains. They can cause harm to your immune system when they are swallowed, but since they are dormant, they can easily be cleaned and killed without much effort. Here’s the lowdown:

Top nuts and grains containing the most fungus and mycotoxins:

  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Stored grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats
  • Nut and seed butter (store bought):

What to avoid (unfixable)

  • Corn-Give it your very best effort to stop eating all forms of corn. I know that it is a staple food in America, especially for the gluten-free crowd. But corn is a stored grain and is very high in molds. It is more often than not, a GMO! How about the well-known fact that corn is used to fatten cattle before they are slaughtered. Need another reason to quit? Corn is acid forming and overconsumption leads to illness, weight gain, and disease.
  • Peanuts-These are the moldiest legumes on the planet! Do you wonder why so many people are allergic? It’s the mold and fungus hiding in every crevice. Peanut butter is even worse. What do you think they do with all the ugly broken bits not suitable for bags? That’s right! It gets ground into butter. Same goes for every nut butter on the market. The safe bet? Make your own!
  • Gluten grains-Includes all stored grains.

What to clean and consume at your own risk:

  • Cashews-never eat these if you have not soaked them for at least 20 minutes in 3% hydrogen peroxide. Rinse well after soaking. Pay attention to how you feel after consuming them for a few days. Do you have mucus, stuffy nose, scratchy throat? These are all symptoms of cashew toxicity. Never, ever eat them straight from the bag (especially from the bulk bin)! I personally eschew cashews and will never eat them again. It’s up to you, but with so many choices of non-mycotoxin foods (like macadamia nuts and so many others), why take the risk?
  • Pistachios– can have higher mycotoxins so just be sure to soak & rinse them well.
  • Oats  Groats (not rolled)- can be an exception for a lot of people because they can be gluten free, but most of the time, people feel better when they stop eating grains altogether! I know…crazy right?  Rolled oats are not clean and are higher in dust mites, mold and bacteria than the groats which you can soak and rinse easily. Beware of bulk bin granolas which are high in contaminants, sugar, heated oils and salt.It’s better to make your own at home or try our toasted (mycotoxin free) coconut chips!
  • Store bought nut butter: What kinds of nuts become butter? The nasty, dirty broken pieces at the bottom of the barrel which cannot be sold in a nice little package. That’s right! That awesome almond butter you love to spread on your apple could be harboring some serious bad guys! The answer…make your own easily at home.

What to clean, sprout, dehydrate and consume as desired:

notella

  • Almonds- soak for 8 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 24 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Brazil nuts- these only need a quick 20-minute soak in a bowl of water with a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide. They don’t contain much bacteria or phytates.
  • Hazelnuts (filberts)- see almonds for how to clean.
  • Macadamia nuts-Depending on where you source your macadamia nuts, these nuts usually don’t need to be soaked very long or at all because they don’t contain enzyme inhibitors. They also lose a lot of fat and flavor if they are soaked too long. I do recommend soaking them at least 20 minutes with a capful of 3% food grade H2O2 and then rinsing well if you are getting them from a non-organic source, or from the bulk bin.  If you are not sure about your source, get them from us! We source premium organic Hawaiian Macadam Nuts which makes the best nut cheese, vegan cheesecakes and nut butter fillings for chocolates and more.
  • Sesame seeds- soak for 2 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and blend into a hummus or sauce, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer (preferably for up to 6 months.
  • Sunflower seeds- Soak for 4 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Pumpkin seeds– soak for 2-4 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Walnuts-soak for 24 hours in a big bowl of water, rinsing every 8 hours. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Quinoa and brown rice-when properly soaked these can be a great alternative to the gluten grains. Soak for just 20 minutes and rinse well before cooking. If you want to actually sprout the quinoa, you can do this by letting the quinoa sit in a colander and rinse it every 8 hours until tails grow. If the holes in your colander are too large, try sprouting in The Amazing Nut Milk Bag
  • Beans- black, pinto, red, adzuki, etc.- I don’t even recommend eating beans as they are high in lectins which can exacerbate autoimmune and leaky gut symptoms, and beans can be hard to digest, so be sure to sprout them until they get a 1/4 inch tail before cooking. Always cook them! Never eat them raw, even if they are sprouted as you need to cook them to make them digestible.
  • Smaller legumessprouts(such as mung beans and lentils)- Soak, sprout and eat. They are usually better if cooked to greatly reduce the lectins. A lot of people who cannot tolerate nuts and beans can digest sprouted lentils more easily. I enjoy sprouted lentils and mung beans on rare occasions eaten raw with some avocado, lemon and cumin. Or cooked into a dahl or curry.

Some other things to take note of:

I am one of those “canaries in a coal mine” so if something is moldy, I’m the first to react. The usual reactions for me are itchy eyes, an itchy nose, itchy arms, or an irritating tingle up my spine. If I don’t stop eating after the initial signal, then the skin around my eyes and on my fingers will start to break out in an itchy rash which can take days to go away. Coffee and cacao are two products that are also known to be high in mold and mycotoxins. Batches can vary so you cannot always be sure if they are moldy are not. Now there are many companies selling certified mold-free coffee such as Kicking Horse. As for cacao beans, again, each batch is different. I have found Big Tree Farms to be safe for me to eat.

The takeaway here is to be aware, stay informed and stick with me! I’ll continue to expose the truth, on this blog, no matter how painful it may seem at the time. If you start following my program of avoiding mycotoxins, yeast, and mold, your attitude and mood and health will greatly improve in a very short amount of time.

Want to learn more? Join our next 4-week mycotoxin-free Love Camp with lessons and recipes for a month!

Watch this video to learn how to soak walnuts and other nuts, seeds and grains.


10 Ways to Become Super Human

How would you feel if you knew you never have to take prescription medication again? Or that you would never get the dreaded seasonal flu every year? Is it possible?

Yes, it is! I have discovered some simple lifestyle habits that are easy to do and can completely transform your health. Since I started eating a high raw food, vegan diet, I have learned many things about how not to get sick. I have not been hospitalized for illnesses since adopting these lifestyle habits. I  have not taken any form of medication or prescription drugs, nor have I been down with the flu for years! My blood tests show that I am fully mineralized am in great health.

Do our genes decide whether or not we are prone to dis-ease or illness? Was I born with ‘good genes’? Quite the opposite actually. I was born with thrush (systemic candida), yeast overgrowth, and severe digestive problems. I struggled throughout my teens and early twenties with arthritis before I discovered the power of plant-based foods, cleansing, and fasting. I have completely healed and overcome these is ailments through a swift change in my diet and lifestyle habits.

Below, I share things that have worked well for me and how I outsmart sicknesses, disease, or even a cold or flu:

  1. Morning water: Keep a 32 oz. glass jar of water next to your bed and drink it as soon as you wake up. Try adding 1 tsp. of lemon juice and a pinch of salt for optimal absorption and extra alkalizing boost. Drink as much of it as you can before leaving your bedroom. This will help flush out any toxins your liver accumulated during sleep and the day before. It will also dramatically help get your bowels moving for the day and decrease sluggishness.
  2. Daily Juice: IMG_2641Yes, it’s as simple as drinking a 16 oz. green juice every day (or most days) Make 2 or 3 days worth of celery or green juice at one time in your juicer (I like the Greenstar juicer) and store it in 16 oz. glass jars in your refrigerator. That way you can just grab one first thing in the morning before consuming food or beverages (other than water).
  3. Sleep! At least 7-8 hours a night: Elaina Sleeping.jpgYou’ve already heard this over and over, but it bears repeating. A good nights sleep is more important than any supplement you can take. Sleeping is when the most healing and reconstruction occurs. It’s the time when your body balances hormones, detoxes your liver,  and re-energizes your entire system. It is a time of rejuvenation which cannot be achieved any other way. Getting enough sleep also keeps your appetite in check. Appetite is stimulated by a certain hormone and when that hormone is out of balance because of lack of sleep, your appetite can be firing on overdrive. This leads to false hunger cues, over-eating and sugar cravings!
  4. Regular Cleansing: Every change of season (4 times a year) do a 3-day juice fast, a liver flush or an elimination diet to help your body flush and dump extra heavy metals, toxins and accumulated hormones, undigested proteins and more. This is the fastest way to gain more energy, clarity, and happiness in your life, guaranteed! Do you think you are addicted to coffee or stimulants? Try a 3 days juice cleanse and discover just how much energy you can have just from green juice!
  5. Avoid grains, especially gluten and corn: Grains like wheat, rice, barley, and rye can be highly acidic to the body. The more acidic foods we eat, the more energy is being drained from the body as the body try to reverse the acidity in the food you eat.   The more alkalizing foods you eat in the form of greens, fruits and veggies, the more fiber and alkaline minerals you have to nourish your body and keep the toxins moving out. Fact: Disease cannot live in an alkaline environment, so if you eat a highly alkalizing diet, you will be on the fast track to health. Watch my video on GMO corn and the dangers here.
  6. Avoid meat and dairy: Meat and dairy (red meat, chicken, pork, milk, yogurt, and cheese) are also very acid forming. When you consume meat and dairy, your body accumulates uric acid and excess proteins which can lead to bacteria growth and disease. Despite popular belief, science has proved over and over that consuming over 5% animal protein leads to cancer, osteoporosis, liver degeneration and more.
  7. Eat a High Alkaline Diet: Tahini Salad HERO 2.jpgEat lots of leafy green vegetables by adding them into raw salads, smoothies or other cooked dishes. A high raw diet is beneficial for most people because raw foods are full of life-enhancing enzymes, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats which your body requires to function efficiently. It’s easy to get enough raw food daily in the form of green juices, salads, dehydrated bread, wraps and crackers and sprouted nuts and seeds. Make your diet 90% raw in the warm months and at least 75% raw in the cold months. It’s easy to warm your food without cooking it by placing it in your dehydrator at 118 degrees F, gently warm raw soups and sauces in a pot or put hot water in your blender with your green smoothies or raw soups.  By eating mostly raw, you will be avoiding all processed and packaged foods and your health will improve exponentially. You will also drastically reverse aging! How? Raw foods contain all their natural enzymes which mean your body does not have to use it’s own enzymes to digestive the food. Enzymes=life. When your enzymes banks are used up by eating a SAD cooked, processed food diet, your life span drastically reduces.
  8. Add in Superfoods: IMG_3344.JPGChaga Mushroom, Reishi Mushroom, tinctures and herbs like astragalus, ashwagandha, and powders like spirulina will offer you the most immune boosting support for your health.  Other adaptogenic herbs such as licorice, ginseng and he shou wu can greatly increase your nutrition while balancing your adrenals and hormones. Take some time to research all of these natural medicines and incorporate some of them into your daily routine. I like Wild Harvest tinctures for all of their adaptogenic formulas (you can find one that is right for you). My favorite at the moment is Count to Zen to keep myself feeling grounded and harmonious in my daily interactions.
  9. Acupuncture: Doing regular acupuncture helps to keep your hormones balanced. It can do wonders for keeping all of your channels open, keeping you healthy. It has worked wonders for me with hormone balancing, menopause and keeping my immune system firing during high-stress periods.
  10. Meditation: Diet is so important when it comes to maintaining good health but it is only half the piece to staying juicy. Believe it or not, our minds and emotions play just as big of a role in keeping us from getting sick. A happy heart and soul make a healthy and energized body. That’s why I love meditating. Meditating for 20 minutes a day can greatly improve your peace of mind and actually boost your immunity by lowering your cortisol levels. I use an app called Meditator or Insight Timer right on my phone. It’s as easy as committing to 1-5 minutes per day, especially in high-stress times during the day. Even just taking 5-10 deep breathes throughout the day will bring down stress hormones and keep you feeling balanced!I choose love

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


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:

wellness-shot

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!


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!