Category Archives: Health

{Gentle Powerful Souls} April Landes & Making Chocolate Healthy!

{Gentle Powerful Souls} April Landes & Making Chocolate Healthy!

Chocolate Covered Everything_________________________________________________
I get so inspired whenever I meet women following their heart and doing brave things to help the world. Women who are living their lives according to their own rules with a dream of leaving an impact. Their stories amaze me and they may inspire you as well.

I met April after my husband ordered some of her healthy chocolates for his mom for Mother’s Day. They were a huge hit and somewhere along the way April and I made a loving connection. April’s chocolates aren’t your everyday chocolates. April believes that the best chocolate indulgences are those that are healthy and all natural. April likes to “sneak the healthy” into all of her treats! April is just as sweet as her chocolates and I was so happy to interview her!
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How did you get into chocolate? Where did this passion come from? 

My love affair with chocolate began when I was just nine years old. Someone taught me how to make chocolate covered strawberries at an after school event and I’ve been making them ever since. When I was growing up I constantly tried to make new desserts, but I had no clue how to make anything! My parents would laugh at all of my “interesting” creations, but I just kept trying.
Chocolate Covered Everything

Why is it important that your chocolates be healthy? What do you do to make them healthy? Do you have vegan chocolates?

I’ve always been athletic and health conscious and I’ve always believed that I can make almost anything myself. When I was in my 20′s I started getting frustrated that I couldn’t find candy bars that were healthy or health bars that tasted good so I created the health cluster, which is high fiber and high protein. A little while later, I wanted something with more protein so I created innards. At the time, no one was using natural peanut butter in anything and I didn’t want high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, so I made my innards with simple ingredients — natural peanut butter and chocolate — that’s it! I try to eat only whole grains so all the cookies I bake are made with organic whole wheat flour, something that’s nearly impossible to find anywhere! My goal with Chocolate Covered Everything has always been to create truly delicious desserts that never taste “healthy,” so I sneak the “healthy” into everyone’s favorite treats. I do have vegan chocolates! My young cousins have Crohn’s, Colitis and lactose allergies, so I purposely choose chocolates that don’t contain milk proteins, which are great for vegans! 
Chocolate Covered Everything
What made you decide to start a business around your passion? 

Starting at that very young age when I learned how to make those chocolate covered strawberries, I always said I would open a chocolate covered everything shop. At one point I experienced some big life changes and needed a new direction. I went on a long trip to Europe and when I got back I decided it was time to see if I could really create Chocolate Covered Everything!

Did you have any fears about following your passion? How did you push past them?

Typically, I’m someone who gets an idea in my head and you can’t tell me that it won’t work. Starting a food business from scratch without an education in the industry is not easy! I had to teach myself EVERYTHING! It’s also extremely difficult to grow a business without outside funding, but the world needs what I make so I just work hard and push through. And nothing feels better than knowing how happy people get when they eat my products!
Chocolate Covered Everything 
What impact do you hope to leave on the world? What would be your greatest dream come true? 

I want people to understand that what they put in their body is important to their health. I don’t think you need to deny yourself things you want to eat, but everyone needs to get the chemicals and processed foods out of their primary diet as much as possible.
I think my greatest dream come true would be to just live the happiest life I can and help others live the happiest, healthiest lives they can. I wish more people would think about what would truly make them happy and pursue it. In a perfect world, I would love to start a foundation that brings happiness to people’s lives, whether it’s giving them everything they need to pursue their dreams or doing something small that just puts a smile on their face. For now, a healthy decadent treat seems to do the trick.
Chocolate Covered Everything
Do the words “gentle but powerful” resonate with you or your business in any way? If so, how?
 
I think allowing people to indulge in chocolate while keeping it healthy is gentle but powerful. It’s being gentle to our bodies and minds by having the healthy indulgence without the need to feel guilty because it’s natural ingredients.  Creating a healthier way to eat what we love is a small step towards making a huge difference for our bodies. In general, I think mindful eating is always gentle but powerful.
Chocolate Covered Everything

What important life lesson can you share that has helped you get to where you are today?

Don’t believe people when they tell you that you can’t do things. Everyone has fears and they tend to push them on others, but you need to pursue what you believe in or you’ll never know what could’ve been… And never give up!
Chocolate Covered Everything

April LandesApril Landes has been a health enthusiast and fitness buff her entire life. She created Chocolate Covered Everything, based on her philosophy that you can eat anything in the world as long as your primary diet is all natural, everything is eaten in moderation, and you exercise. After many years of countless individuals turning to April for advice, she realized that trying to get everyone to eat and live healthier lives would be a lot easier if she could give people what they want and just sneak the “healthy” into it. That’s exactly what she does with Chocolate Covered Everything!

Driven by the desire to help people live happier, healthier lives — April also helps people avoid skin cancer through her spray tanning studio, Bronze 365. Of course, each client is handed a healthy, decadent chocolate treat to enjoy as they depart into the world with their sexy glow! 


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{Gentle Powerful Souls} How Lisa Consiglio-Ryan Can Renew Your Health this Spring (& a giveaway!)

{Gentle Powerful Souls} How Lisa Consiglio-Ryan Can Renew Your Health this Spring (& a giveaway!)

How Lisa Consiglio-Ryan Can Renew Your Health this Spring (& a giveaway!)____________________________________________________________________

I get so inspired whenever I meet women following their heart and doing brave things to help the world. Women who are living their lives according to their own rules with a dream of leaving an impact. Their stories amaze me and they may inspire you as well.

I met health coach Lisa at a networking event and our bond grew quickly and deeply. Lisa has the most beautiful soul, full of powerful sensitivity and gifted grace. Lisa is a sweetheart whose mere presence & voice feels like a warm comforting hug! Lisa devotes her life to helping hundreds of women live and eat healthier through her programs including her celebrated 10 day detoxes. Read below to learn about the amazing work Lisa is doing and how you can benefit!

GIVEAWAY! Lisa is giving away a free 10-Day Detox to a lucky Gentle Living Reader ($99 value). Her group detox starts on Monday 4/16. You’ll receive a ton of guidance, endless recipes and support from over 100 women. Lose weight, get the “glow”, gain tons of energy, and create new healthy eating habits! Simply CLICK HERE and say you want the free detox, that’s it! A winner will be chosen on Friday at random. 

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Lisa, where did this passion for helping women to live and eat healthier come from? Why is this so important to you? 

I guess it all started with me. I have always been on a diet, not eating this, only eating that. I ended up with a lot of autoimmune issues by the time I was 30 years old. Not good! I was too young to be so tired, weak, and sick. Plus I just didn’t feel good in my body. It wasn’t until after I had my kids that I really hit rock bottom with my health and eating. I had to do something fast, so I got more education in nutrition, on ways to really feed my body and my soul. I know with my whole being that if one eats and lives healthy, this can really change your life. I’ve seen so many women change their lives around once they began eating more whole foods, greens, exercising, and getting some sort of spiritual practice in place. Remarkable! This is so important to me…this ripple effect of healthy living.

What are the biggest health challenges you see your clients facing? How do you help them overcome those challenges? 

I don’t typically work with those who have a chronic illness. So it’s more about getting a jump start with clean eating and living. The biggest health challenge my clients face is getting started with a plan. They know to eat certain foods, exercise, etc… but they just don’t know the tools for implementation. I provide food based detoxes plus juice cleanses for my clients. That way I can give them the tools they need to get a jump start. I guide them through 10 days with food or 5 days with juices in order to reset their bodies. I give them support and coaching while they are cleansing. I also help them with follow up by showing them how to incorporate clean foods into their lifestyle. This is all a 80/20 ideal. We can’t be perfect. We’re human! So trying to eat clean 100% of the time will end in failure. So I help them design a plan to work with in “real life.”

So many women struggle with body image and yo-yo dieting to try and reach their ideal body weight. What do you say to these women?

I’ve been there, sister. Oh, have I! As a former yo-yo dieter, I can totally relate. The main thing to keep in mind is that the more one stresses or tries to achieve this “ideal” body weight, the more your body goes into high alert and instead of shedding pounds, the body holds on for dear life… especially the fat. The yo-yo dieting is so hard on the body, and diets just don’t work. No matter what the claims are, just listen to your body. What works? What doesn’t? And then go from there.

Hundreds of women have been participating in your group detox programs, why is detoxing so important? 

Since our soil has been depleted of nutrients due to factory farming and harmed by toxins with pesticides the past 60 or so years, it is important to cleanse at least every season. That way you can achieve more balance with nature, seasonal foods, within your body, and even among your interactions with others. Our bodies strive for balance in the blood, so when we become very acidic due to stress, eating processed foods and sugars, caffeine, and other substances, our bodies tend to break down causing inflammation. Inflammation leads to chronic illness. Detoxing is a way to help your body recover and to also get you into healthier habits because you end up feeling so amazing.

You are clearly doing work that is your life’s passion. Did you have any fears around following your passion? How did you move past those fears? 

Oh yes! Fears! This comes up a lot because it is a go-to feeling I’ve had since I was young. Whenever I have to change or do something I’m not comfortable with, that fear makes a visit. I usually take in the fear, feel it, let it consume me, and then let it go.  For me, instead of fighting it, I’ve noticed that I’m able to move past any “I can’t do this. I don’t know what I’m doing? Am I good enough?” when I just acknowledge and feel it. Once I let go, it is a relief and I notice that it wasn’t so bad and I’m ready to be on to the next step.

Do the words “gentle but powerful” resonate with you or your work in any way?

Absolutely. In fact, these two words reflect the core values of my company and even my own life.  One can be gentle, but that doesn’t have to mean meek, scared, and timid. Being gentle can rock the world. Think of Mother Nature. She is so gentle, gives us all we need to survive. So powerful. But she can also cause destruction, for our own good. Gentle but powerful. In my work, I believe that as you eat more real foods, whole foods, and feed your body green plants that your cells start to change. You become so connected with nature, with others. You become more compassionate and understanding. This can change the world. 

What important life lesson can you share that has helped you to pursue your passion for health counseling?  

Do not judge. Don’t judge others. AND most importantly, don’t judge yourself. Be gentle with yourself. The Universe is here to help so I’ve learned to trust that, fully trust that I’m supposed to be doing this work. My dream is already done. I just have to fight the fear, celebrate my hard work and bravery for pushing through, and know that I can serve others with love.

Lisa Consiglio RyanLisa Consiglio Ryan is the founder of Whole Health Designs.  She provides detox programs for women who desire to embrace clean living. Lisa is also developing her own line of raw juices. 

Join Lisa for her popular Spring Renewal 10 Day Detox

Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter

 

spring detox badge photo

GIVEAWAY! Simply CLICK HERE if you’d like the chance to win a free 10 Day Detox (group program starts Monday 4/16) –  $99 value. Just say you want the detox (or something similar)! A winner will be chosen on Friday at random. You’ll receive a ton of guidance, endless recipes and support from over 100 women. Lose weight, get the “glow”, gain tons of energy, and create new healthy eating habits! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breast Cancer Scare & Taking Ownership of Your Health

Breast Cancer Scare & Taking Ownership of Your Health

This is a guest post by Gina Kelly.
Breast Cancer Scare and Taking Ownership of Your Health

As my husband and I sat in my doctor’s office anxiously awaiting a weekend trip to visit some friends, I told him I didn’t understand why women even needed annual checkups with the ObGyn. About 30 minutes later, I got my answer.

My doctor found a lump in my breast.  

My immediate reaction wasn’t shock or fear but to go into “survival” mode. I listened to my doctor’s advice, got the prescription for an ultrasound and biopsy, spoke with my insurance company and made an appointment with a radiologist for first thing Monday morning all within the hour. I actually surprised myself because I’ve never been so quick to act on anything.

It was only after I made the radiologist appointment that I realized I could have cancer. Oddly, I wasn’t afraid I wouldn’t survive; I was more upset by the idea of losing certain things – my career, having children, even attending my cousin’s wedding this summer – all to battle cancer.  

I also felt this overwhelming guilt. For years I had abused my body with cigarettes, stress and unhealthy foods, and I dreaded that it finally caught up with me. I was lucky enough to have a busy weekend so I wasn’t overly obsessed by my thoughts but they sat in the back of my mind, nagging me every time I felt a little relaxed.

At the radiology center Monday morning, three different technicians checked the ultrasound and all agreed they couldn’t see anything even though they could feel a lump. I was told it was probably just rigid tissue. After I left I did some research and learned that even if something can’t be identified on an ultrasound or mammogram doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be concerned about. They could have biopsied the lump without seeing it on an ultrasound.  

I understand how easy it is for someone who is fearful of hearing the news that they have cancer to just accept what a doctor or radiologist says as fact and ignore the warning signs. When I first left the radiology center I had no intention of pushing for a biopsy.  After researching though, I called my doctor and told her I still wanted a biopsy  She told me to see a breast surgeon.  I knew in my gut that the lump wasn’t cancer but I didn’t want to risk it.  No one ever should.  

There are many reports about misdiagnosis of breast cancer through mammogram or ultrasound. Some articles report 5% of breast cancer cases are misdiagnosed through ultrasounds and mammograms while others state that as many as 30% of cases are misdiagnosed each year. Despite which report is correct, any percentage is too high. It is vital to go to your annual checkups but also do your own research and don’t just accept what a doctor tells you, especially if it doesn’t feel right.

Early detection of breast cancer is key for high survival rates, so it is crucial to perform monthly self-exams on yourself even if you’re in your 20’s. It’s never too early to start. There are guides online to teach you how to perform a self-examination. The one on breastcancer.org is a great resource – click here – but you can also ask your doctor for some tips. Women are directed to start getting mammograms at age 40 but if you have a family history of breast cancer, you may qualify to receive these exams at an earlier age.

The breast surgeon gave me a core needle biopsy, which isn’t as scary as I imagined. The doctor numbed the area so I didn’t feel a thing and it took just a couple of minutes. The wait period for the results is more painful than the biopsy itself. I felt as though I was going to be okay but I was concerned by my own peace of mind because everyone around me was so worried.

A few days later, my biopsy came back negative but I’m glad I asked for it and also glad I had this experience. I learned that you have to be your own advocate and always take your health into your own hands.

Breast Cancer Scare and Taking Responsibility for Your Own Health

Gina Kelly is a writer and is also studying holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Gina aspires to help others through her writing and nutrition counseling. She was previously an editorial writer for Xanga.com where she wrote for their health and food blogs.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing Exercises

Why You Need Breathing ExercisesWhy You Need Breathing TechniquesBreath Deep.
Find peace.  

Breathing exercises can help both our mental and physical well-being. While breathing may appear to be the most simple thing we could possibly do, somehow many of us are getting it wrong. First, a little story… 

When I was barely ten years old I started developing shortness of breath problems. I simply could not catch my breath. After asthma was ruled out the only remaining culprit was anxiety…  

This shortness of breath problem never left me as I went into adulthood. At any given moment of discomfort or stress, particularly social anxiety, I find myself not catching full breaths. I sometimes have to yawn repeatedly to feel as though I’m getting enough oxygen. Panic attacks used to be part of the unfortunate equation.

When I was working as a lawyer my breathing issues became so severe at times that I swore there was something wrong with my lungs that all previous doctors had missed. Surely I was diseased. So I went to a pulmonary specialist. He performed a stress test where they hook you up to heart and lung monitors as you peddle away on a stationary bike. My doctor’s diagnosis: “You have the heart and lungs of an athlete.” Would you believe I was devastated?

I hated the thought that my inability to breathe properly was totally me-made.  

As I grew older I learned more about the power of breathing to ease anxiety and that many people are breathing too shallowly throughout their everyday lives. Our most important source of energy is oxygen and yet as we go into adulthood we start taking shorter and shorter breaths which weakens our immune system and mental focus.

Women in particular often learn to “suck it in” to make sure their bellies appear as flat as possible but that very act is cutting off the proper circulation of oxygen when we breathe. Bellies out ladies.  

One of the healthiest and simplest things we can learn to do for both our physical and mental well-being is to practice healthy breathing techniques. 

Here are a few breathing techniques to help you reduce anxiety and improve your overall health:

Breathing with your Diaphragm

When you breathe you stomach should be expanding, not just your chest. This allows your lungs to take in more oxygen. You can practice this by either lying on your back or even incorporating it into your daily meditation. If you lie on your back, put your hands on your stomach, legs bent, and take deep long breaths. Inhale through your nose letting your stomach expand with each breath. As you breathe out through your mouth your stomach should sink in. Your chest should hardly be moving.

I recently started meditating in the morning and my meditation is all about focusing on my breathing (and clearing my mind in the process). I sit up straight with my legs in Indian style and I keep one hand on my stomach. I start by taking a few deep cleansing breaths. Then for the remainder of the time I keep my hand on my stomach to make sure I’m taking deep slow breaths into my diaphragm.  

The more you practice deep breathing exercises the more you will automatically breathe deep into your diaphragm. Whenever I’m feeling anxiety, particularly if I’m in public, I simply put my hand on my stomach and take deep long breaths. I started doing this years ago and it completely eliminated my panic attacks. 

Alternate Nostril Breathing for Stress

This technique further increases relaxation. You simply:

  • Hold your right nostril closed with the thumb of your right hand and slowly inhale through your left nostril.
  • Then close your left nostril with your pointer finger and exhale through your right nostril.
  • Then inhale through your right nostril.
  • Then close your right nostril with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril.
  • Then inhale through your left nostril.
  • Repeat

You can practice doing multiple rounds of this daily or whenever you’re feeling a lot of anxiety.

Breathing for an Abundant Mindset

This technique was taught to me by a dear friend and yogi and it’s more about teaching yourself self-worth (less about relaxation). I found it extremely interesting because my shortness of breath problems directly correlated with self-esteem issues. So learning to program my breathing to foster an abundant mindset resonated deeply with me.

You simply breath in deeply for 5 seconds and then breathe out for only 2 seconds. Try to repeat 4 or 5 times in a row. The goal with this technique is to teach yourself to accept an abundance of oxygen, and let that feeling of abundance carry into other areas of your life. 

There are many other breathing techniques out there but I’ve found these to be particularly helpful, effective, and easy to practice in your everyday life.  

Do you ever find that you’re breathing too shallowly? What do you do when you feel anxiety or short of breath?

 

 

 

 

A few useful links on breathing:
Dennis Lewis, Explorations into Breath…
Breathing Exercises for Living Life and Loving It
Dr. Weil Breathing: Three Exercises

Oprah.com: Is the Way You Breathe Bad for Your Health?
Anxiety Slayer: Anxiety Exercise 

 

 

The Best Tea Spot in New York (& Ginger Tea Recipe)

The Best Tea Spot in New York (& Ginger Tea Recipe)

This is a guest post by Gina Kelly.

Francia TeaI love tea. I’m always on the search for new flavors. I scan the health store shelves and get excited when I read about the health benefits of each leaf. Admittedly I’m a tea fanatic but I wasn’t always such an advocate. I used to shrink away when someone would offer me a cup. I just couldn’t handle the tannins and bitter flavor and much preferred to get my morning jolt from a cup of coffee.

My obsession with tea stated when I visited Franchia, a Korean vegan cafe in midtown Manhattan.  I was in awe all of their exotic concoctions. Their teas are filled with nuts, fruit pastes, juices, herbs and fruits and are unlike any teas I’ve tried to date

After a long and apprehensive analysis of the extensive Franchia tea menu, my curiosity got the best of my taste buds and I decided to try their Ginger Tea. When it was placed in front of me, I was overcome by the aroma and excited by the fresh ginger and pine nuts floating in my mug. One sip and I was hooked. The Ginger Tea was refreshing, spicy and sweet. 

Franchia uses 100% all natural Wild Korean Green Tea as the base for all of their teas. Korean Francia teagreen tea is lighter and has a more subtle flavor than the Japanese version most of us are familiar with. The health benefits of tea are well-known. Green tea is a potent antioxidant, which is believed to fight certain cancers, aging, obesity and quite possibly even heart disease. 

Some of my other Franchia tea favorites are Date Paste Tea, Korean Plum Tea, and Citron Paste Tea but their entire selection is worth trying. Franchia also serves delicious Asian fusion vegan food.  Their dishes are fresh and flavorful and loaded with tons of veggies.

I have yet to find a tea spot in New York that even comes close to Franchia’s unique teas but if you’re not in New York here’s how you can make your own version of their Ginger Tea (which remains my favorite!).

Ginger TeaRecipe for Ginger Tea
1 teaspoon of high quality Korean green tea leaves (you can find these on Amazon, i.e.: Korean Organic Green Tea & Strainer Set)
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Combine tea leaves and ground ginger in a tea strainer and steep in water for 3 to 5 minutes. Add fresh ginger and pine nuts straight to the cup and enjoy! 

If you aren’t a fan of ginger or want to try something different, you can use different nuts, juices, pastes, and even fresh fruit to customize your cup.

Francia’s inventive concoctions have opened up a whole new world of tea for me!

Francia is located at 12 Park Avenue (between 34th and 35th Street), New York, NY

Images: One & Three  via Gentle LivingTwo via Francia

Picture of guest blogger Gina

Gina Kelly is a writer and is also studying holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Gina aspires to help others through her writing and nutrition counseling.  She was previously an editorial writer for Xanga.com where she wrote for their health and food blogs.
The Gentle Detox

The Gentle Detox


This is a guest post by health and nutrition coach Lisa Consiglio Ryan. Lisa is one of the most admirable and gentle souls I’ve ever met. This is a woman who’s following her passion and changing the world, one healthy green juice at a time. I can’t wait to start her post-holdiay detox program (details below). Enjoy this inspirational post. Change your cells, change your life, change the world…

As we heal ourselves, we can heal the world.

I’m sure you have heard this before in some shape or form.

All I know is that I agree with this statement with all my heart.

I believe that it all starts with you.  Once you treat your body as a temple, a sacred home, your thoughts and actions will shift. This shift will ultimately change the world.  I totally believe it.

Detox can be the first step towards your healing and ultimately healing the world around you. What can detox do to stop wars, end hardships, get rid of the global financial crisis?

Everything.

As a health coach, I talk about detox a lot.  First you start with getting rid of things that don’t serve your body like fake processed foods, sugar, alcohol, coffee, dairy, and meat.  As you cleanse, your body is going through a transformation. Your cells are changing, breathing in the oxygen from all those leafy greens, feeding your blood.

While this is happening, over time, you will notice that your behavior and thoughts start to soften.

As you pump your body with whole foods, REAL foods, the more REAL you feel.  You start to feel more compassion for others.  You start to understand others.  You begin to lead a gentler life.

Imagine if we all did this.  What a beautiful, caring world this would be.

Many think that detox is all about the food. While the food is important, this is not so.  It’s a time to breathe, go within by meditation, connecting to your body, mind and soul.  It’s a time to take care of you and to listen to that gorgeous body of yours.

In the mist of busy life, running errands, work, family, etc…we can lose that sense of being with our bodies. During detox, you take time to connect and find simple pleasures. Gentle surprises.  You start to change.  Your family, friends, coworkers see this change and often times mirror you.  Others around you take on your gentle demeanor; your kindness and unconditional love. This ripple effect can happen. I’ve seen it firsthand in my own life.

The first step is healing yourself. Start with detox.  It changes your cells and your being which is a gentle way to connect with your body, soul, and others.  For the New Year, connect to a gentler, more compassionate you.  It’s contagious. Best of all it can heal the world.

If you want to begin the healing journey, read more about Winter Renewal 10 Day Detox. It’s a gentle detox for the New Year. 

Lisa Consiglio Ryan is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach for busy, active women and their families. Areas of expertise include weight loss, stress management, detox programs, and special diets such as vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Services include private consulting and group seminars. Lisa is also developing her own line of raw juices. 

Get your FREE guide to healthy living:  5 Shockingly Simple Steps to Getting Your Hot Body Back for Good.

Contact Lisa at Whole Health Designs for more information on detox programs: http://www.wholehealthdesigns.com

Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter

Banana Kale Smoothie (shown above) Serves 1

  • 1 bunch of kale (about 3-4 pieces; you can rip off the leaves and throw stems away)
  • 1 banana, sliced (can be frozen)
  • 3 ice cubes and ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup almond milk

Blend together and drink up.

My Comedian “Raw Foodie” Husband

My hubby & VP of Your Time Travels, Mr. Knish

I am a lucky girl… I am married to a sharp take no prisoners lawyer by day / total comedian supportive angel husband by night. While I was out to dinner last night my hubby decided to record his own personal video about his experience with our raw food month (I guess I interfered with his spotlight in yesterday’s video!).

Here’s his own personal roundup of the month. The “Knish S. Careathers” he keeps referring to, VP of Your Time Travels, is none other than our dog. I’m honestly not sure what the “S.” stands for…

Put your volume on full blast for this video because my hubby has technical issues without his super savy video recording wife home to guide him! Just kidding hunny, I HEART you big time

Enjoy 8-)

LATER VEG HEADS!

Raw Food Month: Final Day

Well, it’s the FINAL day of our raw food live-it month! I can’t believe it’s been a month already. On the other hand, this final stretch has probably been the toughest. We didn’t make it to Whole Foods last week so things got a little rough and we had to get really creative. I actually had our local Japanese restaurant invent a raw veggie roll just for me so I had that twice last week! I think knowing that the month was coming to a close made us a bit lazy…

All in all, I am SO proud of us. It hasn’t been without its challenges but overall I feel great, I’ve lost a few pounds and I am madly in love with our juicer. Starting everyday with a juice or green smoothie ROCKS MY CELLULAR ANATOMY!!

To celebrate the final night of our month I’ll be going out to big raw dinner with the 3 friends who joined us on our raw food journey. We’ll be heading to Quintessence because the food there is AMAZING (we also ordered take out from there last week!). I’m interested in hearing how the month went for them (the good and the bad…).

Below is a little interview with my hubby where we discuss how we veggie fared this month. We taped it late last night so excuse our exhaustion. Our pup makes a couple of cameos. I’m in the middle of reading Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet so below the video are some quotes that I found inspiring. Enjoy the video and I hope you are all having some healthy and humane adventures of your own!!

Quotes from Crazy Sexy Diet:

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we ate real food! Getting a good meal on the table wasn’t a multibillion-dollar industry driven by focus groups, slick advertisers, and government subsidies. Today chemical companies dominate the food business while their inbred cousins, the pharmaceuticals, are standing by ready to mop up the damage – and they’re laughing all the way to the bank.”

“… our genes are not our destiny…. Genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger… You are the seed and your diet and lifestyle are the fertilizer.”

“More than half of all Americans die of heart disease or cancer; two-thirds are overweight and stay that way for their whole lives.”

“In the United States we spend more on sickness than wellness. Young people are being diagnosed with catastrophic diseases common among their grandparents. Some medical researches say that the next generation will be the first generation to die younger than their parents.”

“For optimum health, we need to get additional enzymes from our food – especially as we age, because our bodies slow down enzyme production. Dang! Luckily, plant foods can supply the backup enzymes needed to keep us smart and sassy. Your body is a bank account, and food enzymes are the currency. Imagine making deposits instead of constant withdrawals. The more deposits you make, the more equity and interest you build. By eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, with an emphasis on raw and living foods – which are loaded with their own enzymes – you give your body a break from the wear and tear of dining on too much cooked and acidic foods.”

“… you don’t have to be perfect. Health is about keeping in an overall “right” direction…. Perfect is beige. I am red hot! So are you. Red and Wild.”

“Crazy = bold, out of the box, forward thinking, and status quo challenging.”

“Sexy = confident, in touch, whole, passionate, and conscious.”

Now go live Crazy & Sexy!! :)

Raw Food Month: Week 3 (cheating & my girls)

Cheating…

I’ll start with the cheating. Yup, my hubby and I cheated on our raw food ‘live-it’ month big time last weekend. We were at a wedding, I was staying at the bride’s house for part of the weekend, and it became a cheat or starve situation. We decided that this was not a starvation diet so we needed to take Friday night off for the rehearsal dinner and I pretty much took all of Saturday off while I was at her house and at the wedding. Before I knew it I was shoving pasta, bread and chips into my mouth, I totally fell off… On Sunday, we renewed our raw food vows and drove straight from the hotel to a raw food restaurant in Brooklyn to recharge.

Did I feel guilty for my indiscretions? Maybe for a bit, but not after I gave it some thought. This month was a challenge to make ourselves healthier but by no means are we perfect at it. Perfection was definitely not the point. So I’m okay with our little food scandalous weekend.

My Girls…

I’ve mentioned before that I have 3 lovely friends who’ve decided to join us on our little raw-donkulous journey this month. Instead of posting recipes this week I figured I’d give you a little info on them and why they signed up for this challenge.

My 3 friends, Glori, Angie and Kat, are bosom buddies from college. We lived together in the dorms of Boston College over 10 years ago (yikes!) and have stuck tight ever since. Like me, they represent your average everyday women yet they are oh so beautiful, unique and special. We are close friends but our lifestyles and eating habits do not mirror each other.

I asked them to answer 2 simple questions. I’d like to note that I had NO CLUE they’d be interested in doing anything like this. I brought it up and with ZERO PRESSURE from me they immediately signed up. I was a happy girl. You can see pictures of these lovely ladies at the bottom of my previous post.

Here are the 2 questions I asked them to answer (my hubby answered these questions already here):

1. Why did you decide to embark on a raw food month?
2. What do you hope to get out of doing this?

ANGIE: This gem of a woman is Dominican and she eats a mainly plant based diet but is not 100% committed to vegetarianism or veganism. She was diagnosed with lupus a few years ago and since then has amped up her healthy regimen. She tries to exercise every week and spends a lot of time chasing around her 2 year old daughter. She has at least one cup of coffee every day. She’s in marketing.

1. I decided to join the raw food month for overall health, natural cleansing and to lose a couple of holiday pounds.  As a person living with lupus, health is always my number one priority and I am always seeking ways to improve the quality of my life.  In general, I eat pretty healthy, but over the past 6 months, I have taking health to another level.  I first started to eliminate gluten 6 days a week.  Then I decided to eliminate meat, poultry and fish – but I am not a committed vegetarian (YET). In December, I juiced for two weeks and I felt absolutely amazing. So when Liz told me about raw food month, it only made sense to take it to the ultimate health food challenge.

2. I hope to continue to improve my health.  Slowly but surely I am eliminating products that are harmful to me and the environment (and animals of course).  I am not a vegetarian or a vegan but I admire those who make the commitment to practice such a lifestyle. I would love to be vegan one day but I am just not there yet. Eating raw for a month gets me a little closer to maybe changing my lifestyle permanently.

GLORI: This sassy Puerto Rican does not eat red meat but she does eat fish and poultry and loves cheese. She drinks one cup of coffee daily and tries to exercise weekly (she goes through phases). She’s a director in business and legal affairs for a cable network.

1. I wanted to participate in this for a few reasons. One being that I wanted to start off the new year by “being good to my body”. As general as that sounds, I am a lover of food… the richer, the creamier, the better! But I also know that all of my overindulgence, while being satisfying at the moment, was only bombarding my body with toxins… so it was time to restart and recharge. With the “misery loves company” mentality (sorry I must admit), I felt confident and ready to go for it! I’m also admittedly doing this as a test to myself… a challenge if you will… I mean, who doesn’t like a good challenge after all??

2. I want to expose myself to a wider variety of food choices that I’ve never considered before (like Kale shakes, which I never knew I’d LOVE!) and hopefully (cross my fingers) lose some weight and gain more natural energy without the need for caffeine.

Kat: This dreamy pisces is Vietnamese and Polish. She eats meat and dairy. She tries to eat healthy meals but she skips meals often when she’s busy. She’s a smoker and she exercises infrequently. She drinks one coffee every morning. She’s a real estate agent.

1. I embarked on this because I wanted to do a natural cleansing.  It was something I was thinking of doing, but somewhat hesitant about because I wasn’t sure I’d have the will power. It became more inviting knowing we would do it as a group and have somewhat of a support system.

2. I would like to give my body a nice internal “tune up”.  I do not want to lose weight by doing this. I just want to do a more intensive cleansing than through my normal diet and introduce different options and a healthy lifestyle into my routine.  I would like this to be more regular in my diet than just “raw food month”.  I am sure I will introduce this healthy eating more into my life than I had before. I like exploring the possibilities and trying the inventive meals that are out there and being okay with substituting with these once in a while. I know I won’t turn completely raw but I like mixing my diet with raw unprocessed natural goodness.

That’s all from the ladies for now! Here’s some of the juices and shakes my hubby and I made last week…

Carrot, blood orange, apple & ginger juice - YUM

Cucumber, mint, Asian pear, lime juice

Almond milk, banana, almond flakes, coconut oil smoothie

Almond milk, pineapple, coconut flakes, Raw Protein smoothie

Beet, apple, orange, carrot, celery juice

Grapefruit, lime, cucumber, parsley, kale smoothie


Raw Food Month: Week 2

Hey there,

If you’re new to my blog, I happen to be in the middle of a raw food month. It’s a little experiment on healthy living and taking things back to good ole Mama Nature (cause Mama knows best!) that my husband and I (and a few friends) have embarked upon.

Here’s how it’s going so far: The beginning of Week 1 was full of excitement, nerves, anticipation and… a bad cold. I had no idea if I’d actually be able to keep this up and my cold was definitely messing with me. The end of Week 1 was full of potato chip and pasta cravings.

Thankfully, I’ve moved past Week 1 and Week 2 has been pretty great. I no longer crave chips (other than kale chips), I’ve totally forgotten about coffee, and I’m feeling light and full of energy! It’s feeling like less of a struggle and more like a way of being. I think it helped that my husband came home with a dehydrator a few days ago. I didn’t even know what a dehydrator was before starting this raw food month but it basically sucks the moisture out of foods and even warms them up a bit (but at acceptable raw food temperatures). I’ve been making kale chips religiously ever since.

I’m also learning just how perfect raw “recipes” may be for someone like me who generally does not enjoy cooking! It’s a happy coincidence that all these super healthy alive raw recipes only ever really call for a blender, food processor or dehydrator. This kinda “cooking” is totally up my alley – less prep, less time, less risk, less stress! Hallelujah!

Below are some of our recipes from the week and here’s a NY Times article a friend sent me on the health benefits of a plant based diet: click here

SMOOTHIES

Cilantro-Pineapple Shake (from Living Raw Food)

2 cucumbers, peeled & chopped
½ pineapple, peeled & chopped
1 large bunch cilantro
½ cup coconut water or filtered water
2 tablespoons agave
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Puree all ingredients together in blender

 

 

JUICES

 

The Glow (from Living Raw Food)

2 large cucumbers
2 large carrots
3 cups chopped pineapple
3 limes, rind cut away
2 lemons, rind cut away
1 inch knob of ginger
Dash of cayenne pepper

Run all ingredients except for the cayenne through a juicer. Add the cayenne and serve as is or over ice.

LIZ COMBOS

To the left: 

4 carrots
1 beet
2 oranges
½ inch ginger
bunch of wheatgrass

To the right: 2 cucumbers, 1 pear
That’s it! Cucumbers are super healthy so you can even just enjoy cucumber juice alone!

To the left:

3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 orange
1 apple
1 beet

Delicious!!

Nutritious!! YUP!

KING OYSTER MUSHROOM “CALAMARI” (from Living Raw Food)

This dish was supposed to look like calamari but things didn’t go so smoothly for me… first my hubby came home with the wrong mushrooms, then we went out to try and find king oyster mushrooms, no easy task… we couldn’t find them anywhere, even at Whole Foods, so we settled with regular oyster mushrooms. The recipe actually said you could substitute with regular oyster mushrooms but I was not a huge fan of them or their texture. The recipe for this is really long because you also make tartar sauce and cocktail sauce so I won’t post everything here (unless asked!). I will say that the tartar sauce is SUPER delicious and the cocktail sauce is also really yummy, and the recipe made a huge amount so I’ll have condiments for weeks… fine by me!

My husband had great success with the recipes he made, unlike my above recipe, which is usually our dynamic in the kitchen so the raw food month hasn’t changed that! Here’s what he made…

SPAGHETTI AND TOMATO SAUCE (modified from various internet recipes)

Review: This was so delicious and so simple. It really felt like you were eating spaghetti because the zucchini gets very soft so it was a nice break from all the crunchy veggies. The sauce was amazing. And all so good for you!

Spaghetti:

2 zucchini (depending how much spaghetti you want)

Shred the zucchini into long strips (he used a thick cheese grater and slid the zucchini all the way down from one end to the other to make long strands)

Sauce:

1 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 clove – garlic
2 tablespoon – extra virgin olive oil
Tablespoon – salt
1/2 tablespoon – black pepper
1/2 tablespoon – red pepp flakes Tablespoon – oregano
Handful of fresh parsley
Handful of fresh basil
Dash of garlic powder

Throw everything in a blender and pulse until the thickness you prefer.

Note – If you get dry sun dried tomatoes, you must soak them in water for 30 minutes’s prior to blending (unless they’re soaking in oil already).

RAW VEGAN CHILI - Incredibleraw.com recipe

 

Review: This chili is AMAZING. One of the best things I’ve eaten since we started this raw food month. It doesn’t look so pretty but it is full of flavor and so darn hearty!! This recipe calls for a dehydrator.

 

Base:

  • 1/2 cup chopped organic celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic red pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped organic carrots (optional to add a crunch)

Sauce:

  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Finely chop all vegetables for the base and dehydrate them for about 2 hours to make them soft. Do not dehydrate them for more than 2 hours because they may get too dry and crispy.

Next, blend all sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until it has a creamy texture. Once the base vegetables are dehydrated, mix them into the sauce. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

KALE CHIPS:

 

 

And lastly, to satisfy my urge for chips, I made kale chips, multiple times. I massage coconut oil into them for a few minutes (or you can use extra virgin olive oil and lemon) with a little salt and then throw them into the dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can put them in the oven at the lowest temperature possible for almost raw kale chips! You can also put sunflower seeds into a coffee grinder and mix that with nutritional yeast and massage it into the kale for an even crunchier version (sadly our coffee grinder was broken so I couldn’t test this). Either way, they are crispy, delicious and so healthy!

DESSERT

Strawberry Shortcake (another Raw Foods Witch dessert!)

Review: This recipe is so healthy, fresh and delicious and so darn simple! It took me all of 12 minutes to make! You can make it with fresh or frozen strawberries.

Cake Base:

2 cups raw nuts of your choice (mix of almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.)
1 cup soaked raisins
Dash of stevia to your desired sweetness
Dash of vanilla
Dash of sea salt

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until nice and crumbly. Pour into a pie plate or bowl.

Strawberry Topping:

1 cup fresh strawberries (I used more)
Dash of stevia to your desired sweetness Place into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Put on top of your cake base. Done!

Lastly, best find of the week – RAW VEGAN ICE CREAM! YUM!

Hope you all had a happy, healthy and humane week!!