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Food & Nutrition

Food & Nutrition

Healthy Does Not Have To Be Hard!

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Here are some simple “throw together” dishes from last week… super tasty, super easy, super nutrient-dense. Clockwise from top left…

 1. Roasted Veggies over Quinoa/Brown Rice. (Zucchini and Yellow squash this time.)

2. A Hot / Cold Salad- Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Carrots, Chickpeas, and Avo- tossed in a bit of ACV and EVOO with seasalt and pepper- topped with roasted Zucchini and Yellow Squash.

3. Cabbage, Lentils, and other veggies. 

4. I ate half a mixed greens salad, while warming some leftover Sweet Potato and small piece of Salmon in the oven- then just threw it on top for another hot/cold salad. 

DELICIOUS! 

 I invite you to welcome ease into your kitchen.

Sure, there are times I take an hour or two and make delicious, “fancy,” healthy meals.

There are many more times where I do something like this…. in 20 minutes….

And you can too.

And that’s ok.  🙂

It’s not cheating. I promise.

 

Peace, Love, and Collard Greens, 

Amanda

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Food & Nutrition

Amanda’s Top 3 Go-To Smoothies!

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I get asked about smoothies all the time, so I want to share with you my top 3 go-to smoothies, and when I tend to use each of them!

Amanda’s Top 3 Go-To Smoothies!

Basic Green Smoothie

This smoothie is a great way to start the day! I start most days with a green smoothie, unless I swap it out for a green juice (or the off-day I really switch things up!) Some days, I may also choose to have it as a snack between lunch and dinner.

It’s super tasty and the fruit gives it a sweet zing. It keeps me full and energized all day long- no coffee needed. AND I get 2-3 veggie servings in right away in the morning without even trying! IE. PACKED with nutritional and health benefits!

This smoothie was a huge factor behind my energy levels sky-rocketing at the start of my health journey.

I’ve seen many people used to adding protein powder to a morning smoothie, but I like to stick with a lighter veggie and fruit based (still plenty of amino acids in those greens!) for breaking the fast, and then have a heavier one, more focused on protein later in the day.

This is loosely based on Kim Snyder’s glowing green smoothie, but basically I try almost anything in here- as evidenced by all the options- just shooting for 70% veggies (making sure to include green leafies) and 30% favorite fruit. But even 50/50 is a great start!

  • 1-2 cups water (can use coconut water, if preferred.)
  • 1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped (Sometimes I add broccoli stalks that need used up from a recipe, if I’m low on romaine)
  • 2 stalks organic celery or ½ washed organic cucumber, skin on for nutrients
  • 1/2 head of spinach or kale or collards (rotate weekly)
  • 1 organic apple, cored and chopped and/or 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
  • 1 banana OR berries (lower sugar) OR pineapple OR mango, pick your fave!
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon, sometimes a bit more – don’t forget as it neutralizes the grass taste
  • Optional: handful organic parsley
  • If adventurous, try some Moringa!

This recipe will make 2-3 servings, based on a serving size around 16-24 ounces.

 

 
Raspberry Treat

Oatmeal Protein Power Smoothie

I sometimes have this one as a meal replacement for lunch (larger portion) or as a snack between lunch and dinner (smaller portion), especially if I’m on the road and know I am going to need something filling to tide me over. See the 2 different versions below.

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk or water, or a 50/50 combination
  • ¼ cup hemp protein powder
  • 1-2 Tbs. chia seeds
  • 3-4 Dates or Liquid stevia to sweeten or tablespoon raw honey or a banana
  • ½ c Oats
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional- spoonful almond butter
  • Optional- tablespoon of cacao powder
  • Optional- blueberries or any favorite berry
  • ** For the options, go with either the almond butter OR the berries- the first feels like a chocolate and PB smoothie, while the latter, blueberry oatmeal smoothie. Experiment!

*Note that if you are using a branded protein powder blend, rather than isolated hemp or pea or rice protein, they usually have already added stevia and flavoring, so some of the above may not be necessary. I personally like to control the ratios and use pure hemp powder, this also keeps from unwanted ingredients sneaking in but many people find blends easy for on the go! Just make sure you check it out.

 

Berry “Cheesecake” Treat

Hellllooooo, anti-oxidants! I love this smoothie as a treat when I want something sweet, as it reminds me of a shake- really almost tastes like a berry cheesecake milkshake. Also, when I’m feeling like I need a break from either of the above, I’ll sub this one in!

  • 1-2 cups water or almond milk or a 50/50 blend
  • handful ice cubes
  • 1.5 cups Organic Berries (Rasp/Straw/Blue or a blend- fresh or frozen both fine)
  • 2/3 cup or more Raw Cashews
  • 2 TB Chia Seeds
  • ¼ cup Watermelon OR Gogi Berries
  • 1 Medium Lemon

 Be sure to get a high-quality organic cashew. Cashews, like peanuts, are a nut that are easily subject to having higher quantities of mold levels. It’s not one I have every day, but I will still enjoy it when I do. The Raspberry version is my favorite!

Voila! There are 3 smoothies that I make all the flippin’ time! Remember, recipes are just invitations and inspirations… feel free to experiment with what works for you and make it your own! Let us know how it goes! 

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Food & Nutrition

It’s never too late… Happy New Year! Again!

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Happy Ugadi!!

Do you celebrate Ugadi? Heard of Ugadi?

I am in a place called Sugar Land (I know!), in the metro-Houston area, visiting some dear friends. This past weekend, I went to a celebration with my BFF Uma, her hubby Dipu, and their two kids.

Up until the day of, I simply understood we were going to a potluck. That day, Uma told me that in their tradition, they have a festival each season. This one corresponded with Spring, but it was also the celebration of their New Year.

Now, for some context, back in my Michigan days, we were roommates, and I attended many family dinners, festivals, holidays, celebrations, stood in their wedding, the kids’ births and 1st year birthday celebrations, etc., but never had happened to have been around for Ugadi.

So, for the unacquainted:
“Ugadi is a festival of the Telugu-speaking populace in the states of South India. Ugadi is celebrated to welcome the Telugu New Year which ushers in a season of freshness and brightness before the colors of Holi entirely fade away. Nature brims with sprightliness when red flowers blossom and mango buds bloom heralding the arrival of New Year for South Indians. The festive ceremonies of Ugadi are observed in harmony with the joy and beauty of nature to mark the beginning of growth, affluence and prosperity for everyone.” *

I love that they celebrate the New Year at a time in Nature that corresponds with new life, new journeys, and new beginnings… buds are blossoming everywhere.

They celebrate with food and song, but the tradition that caught my attention was Ugadi Pachadi. This is a drink/chutney passed out that is made with six main ingredients that are very different and range in taste from sweet to bitter. This symbolizes the different experiences everyone goes through in life- from joy to sorrow. The story goes, the first flavor you taste, is how your year will go.  I took a deep breath, and then a taste, and yup… sweet! After a couple mostly “bitter” years, I am READY for the sweetness.

And I’m cultivating sweetness each day in my life.

Which brings me the other thing that struck me this weekend. Not so much the festival, but the cultivating what we want. So, Uma and Dipu and 3 other couples- who are their friends from college, some maybe even prior to college, growing up in South India- intentionally moved into the same neighborhood. I got to hear the whole story of how it worked out. They were spread across the country for many years after graduations- New Jersey, Michigan, Portland, Seattle, Virginia.

Some worked out deals to work remotely, others found brand new jobs, but a few years ago, as they were starting families, they moved into a newer subdivision in Sugar Land, bought houses, and boom- that’s it.

I was so amazed that it ACTUALLY happened. It sounded like the intentional community everyone talks with their college friends about doing, but never really does. Because, you know, LIFE. But they just did it. Because- why wouldn’t they? Of course they would!

Because we are powerful co-creators of our lives. Because we really can create our lives and realities exactly as we want them to be. The details really are just details. We can create what we want for ourselves. Period.

The energy is signaling a turning point right now, too. Many of us (myself included!) were so happy for a fresh start on January 1, and we got it, but we also still had quite a transitional phase going on during this first quarter.

We still had some letting go to do, some release, some forgiveness, some feeling to feel, some schtuffff to work through to really step forward in our own new way of BEing. To really line up frequentially and vibrationally with that which we say we believe, that which we say we want.  Not for the faint of heart! <3

And life is a process, and we will keep letting go, changing, growing, and moving through all its phases and flavors.

But… if right now, you are feeling a bit like- oh crap, where did 3 months go, and I’ve barely started anything I wanted to do!!!  Like you had all these big goals at the beginning of 2017 and your enthusiasm has waned… No worries. You don’t have to steal another culture’s holiday to start fresh and pursue new beginnings. It’s never too late to start the day over!
(week, month, year!)

You can create your life however you want it to be. Really. Do not forget to get a little support in the process of new beginnings, bringing your intentions to fruition, and creating this new health & happiness-filled life.

In the meantime, Happy Ugadi! Happy New Year! And Happy Creating!
… You Divine Creator, you! <3

On a side note, Mango is well-highlighted in this festival. YUM! Mangos are orange and will support your 2nd chakra and creative center. So, if you are feeling like you would like to create something or some change in your life, but aren’t sure WHAT to create or your creativity is blocked in some way…  eat some yummy mango!

*reference taken from Indian Eagle Travel Beats

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Food & Nutrition

How Quitting Sugar A Year Ago Has Impacted My Family

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A year ago my life I decided to do an annual Juice Feast…. one of about 3-4 I engage in. We were living in Tasmania, Australia and I had attempted a number of Juice Feasts the year before, but found, for the first time that I couldn’t sustain them longer than 10 days due to the climate of Tassie.

This particular Juice Feast lasted 12 days and I made a spontaneous decision after it, that has changed my life and the lives of my family.

I decided to try going Refined Sugar Free!

I’m not sure why I decided on this particular Life-Changing habit but boy….. it sure sparked a number of changes that I’ll be forever grateful for!

What Exactly Is The Sugar-Free Lifestyle?

There are actually a number of approaches to doing Sugar-Free, some more extreme than others.

When I decided to go Sugar-Free I:

  • Quit all use of Processed Sugar (White, Brown, Raw)
  • Replaced my Sweetener in baking with Rice Malt Syrup, Honey, Coconut Sugar or Maple Syrup.
  • Got serious and read labels to avoid products with Sugar in them (Wow! That was an eye-opener!)
  • Avoided all Artificial Sweetners and used natural sweeteners instead
  • Didnt go Nazi Crazy and avoid all Sugar in store-bought items! I like to do things in moderation and find being very strict can be limiting. I did have an amazing Korean BBQ that I discovered later probably had Sugar in the sauces…. #Headache! But it was delicious!

The amount of sugar that we are consuming as a nation is beyond staggering. Think about this; the average caveman was eating around 33 tablespoons of sugar in one year, today the average American school kid is eating 35 tablespoons of sugar a day! This is alarming considering that our bodies have not changed much since our early ancestors.

12 Things I Learned Going Refined Sugar Free

  • It was easier than I expected when I started using natural sweeteners…. and I’m a Sweet Tooth that loves my Mum’s Old Style Cake Recipes!
  • I got a rash across my tummy that lasted about 3 months which I put down to a major Sugar detox!
  • When I unknowingly had Refined Sugar (and I discovered later that I did) I got a major headache! That was when I discovered that Sugar, for me, is my Headache trigger!
  • My monthly headaches became almost non-existent!
  • There are quite a few delicious Natural Sweetened Treats that take a while to find, but are amazingly delicious!
My FAVE CHOCOLATE!
  • Eating out was really hard!
  • Sugar is blinkin EVERYWHERE!!!!!!
  • Baking became really creative! My children even started baking using our delicious Wholefood Recipes!
  • Sleep became deeper!
  • Skin became clearer!
  • Hiking became less strenuous…. and other exercise for that matter!
  • My children started to make better choices in their food that my teenage daughter has decided to avoid Refined Sugar!

So bottom line…. this decision has become my lifestyle!

It was never a diet! Diets don’t work!

It has become our life!

I even avoid Sugar whilst travelling with my family!

Feel Free to check out our Family Adventures here:

https://www.facebook.com/LiveALifeYouDontNeedAHolidayFrom/

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Food & Nutrition

Comfort food or is it?

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Comfort food, sounds like something that makes you feel good about yourself, like a hug or loving gesture, helping out a stranger or a friend in need perhaps. After all the meaning of “comfort” is “A state of feeling satisfied, pleasant relaxed, soothed, at ease, no pain..” right so now lets look at the typical comfort foods, you all know them I am sure, pizza, hamburgers, deep fries, ice cream, cakes, chocolate,soft drinks, and the list goes on. The cold hard truth is “comfort” food is far from “comforting”fact is that there are no “comfort” foods that are in least way beneficial to your mental, emotional health let alone gut,bones,blood health. They are laden in trans fats, sugar, preservatives, numbers, things you cant even pronounce, all myriads of cell damaging, disease causing rubbish.

So why is it called “comfort” food because it makes you feel good about the misery you are experiencing. It is a way of indulging your woes, feeling sorry for yourself and to use the words “comfort” is a psychological play on your state of mind.

Its a cop out for not honouring, respecting and caring for yourself but that’s OK isn’t it because everyone wants “comfort”,its good for you… right?

Indeed comfort, being comforted,feeling worthwhile,wanted,happy,loved is every persons right.

Food is nourishment,nourish your mind, heart and soul.

Before you seek “comfort” in some “food” take maybe 5 or 10  minutes to sit in a peaceful, loving place and ask yourself “What’s up?”

“What can I do to support my heart, mind and soul right now”?

Try a soothing drink like a smoothie laden with great tasting berries and cocao, maybe a walk in the fresh air, listen to some great music that gets you grooving, singing or toe tapping if that’s your thing, visit a friend who you  know is good for a laugh, even volunteer to help people or animals less fortunate than you . Now that’s true comfort right there!

Get a journal and write a letter to yourself about what ever is bothering you and be surprised with what you discover.

Honour yourself with food not punish yourself with “comfort” food because really that is what you are ding, punishing yourself for something that you are not happy about, so get to take action to fix what ever it is and be happy.

 

 

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Food & Nutrition

Start 2017 Feeling Cleansed and Nourished

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Did anyone else over indulged these summer holidays? This can often leave us feeling a bit sluggish, heavy and in need of a pick me up. If this sounds like you then these cleansing tips might be exactly what you need!

These tips are perfect to start incorporating into your daily routine this January, they will leave you feeling cleansed and nourished which is a perfect way to start 2017. 

  • Coconut Oil Pulling – Rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of coconut oil for 10-20 minutes each morning. This helps reduce bad breath, removes toxins and will leave your teeth sparkling clean, just make sure you don’t swallow the coconut oil. 
  • Start your day with a big glass of lemon water – Served either warm or cold there are so many benefits, including speeding up your natural detoxification system by cleansing your liver and kidneys and aiding with digestion and weight loss.
  • Drink plenty of water – Hydration is extremely important for increasing your energy levels and loosing weight, especially in these warmer months.
  • Avoid processed sugar and artificial sweeteners – Sometimes this is easier said than done, so I suggest starting out by substituting those sugary treats with a healthier and low sugar alternative; such as some protein balls, raw deserts or a piece of fruit.
  • Increase your green vegetables – Start including vegetables with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Another awesome way to increase you vegetable intake is to incorporate a green juice into your daily routine; celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger is my fav!
  • Support your gut health with fermented foods – Sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha are all really good options to increase the good bacteria in your gut. Improving your gut health is an extremely important step for anyone who is looking to loose weight, increase their energy levels or simply improve their health.  

I would love for you to share these tips with a friend or family member. Perhaps you could commit to following these tips this January and keep each other accountable.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Ashley xx

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Food & Nutrition

5 Ways To Naturally Increase Your Digestion

Good digestion is crucial for weight loss and optimal health. When our digestion system is weak our body doesn’t have the capacity to carry out its key functions such as absorption, assimilation and elimination efficiently.

I’m sure we have all struggled with some form of stomach bloating, burping, indigestion, farting, constipation or diarrhoea. These symptoms are definitely not fun to experience nor attractive for that matter! For many years I struggled with some of these symptoms and it wasn’t until I cleaned up my diet and started focusing on my digestion that these symptoms started to subside.

Unfortunately many people are still struggling with these symptoms on a daily basis, if that’s you I have some good news! There are some simple steps you can take today; these steps will help to improve your digestion and reduce those horrible symptoms listed above.

1) Stay hydrated

Water keeps our digestive system working smoothly, aiding with absorption, assimilation and flushing through the unwanted toxins.

For optimal digestion it’s important to keep hydrated throughout the day. Also avoid drinking too much liquid with your meal as this actually dilutes your stomach acid, which is needed for digestion.

        2) Chew your food

The majority of digestion occurs in the mouth so it’s extremely important to chew your food properly. This step is often overlooked as most people eat on the run, at their desks or while doing some form of multitasking.

My suggestion is to slow down at meal times, take your time and focus on chewing your food until its liquid. The more you chew your food the better. This instantly reduces the amount of work required by your digestive system, and in turn helps reduce those nasty symptoms.

        3) Breathing

Deep belly breathing increases the oxygen and blood flow to your organs and digestive tract.

Think about your breath as a little massage being sent through the body assisting with the digestion process and breakdown of your food. I encourage my clients to take 5-10 deep belly breathes before each meal.

        4) Reduce Stress

Digestion occurs in our parasympathetic nervous system, commonly referred to as rest & digest. Therefore optimal digestion occurs when we are in a relaxed state, something that is hard to accomplish when we are living a highly stressful lifestyle.

Along with taking some deep belly breathes before each meal I also recommend starting some daily stress management technics. My favourite is meditation, yoga, peaceful walking, listening to music and laughter.

        5) Exercise

Regular exercise gets your body moving including your digestive system, which aids in digestion and elimination. The key here is to get your body moving every day, even if only for a short walk at lunchtime.

On the other hand, too much exercise can result in stress on the body which can negatively impact digestion. So please don’t over do it.

 

Wishing you health and happiness,
Ashley xx

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Food & Nutrition

Raw Foods, Fruits & Veggies – Myths that we believe as real and true

Raw Foods, Fruits & Veggies – Myths that we believe as real and true

Raw foods are foods that are just as it sounds. Raw! Not cooked!  They are highly beneficial to the body due to the vibration of the plants and the nutritional value of not having all the vitamins cooked out. One of the myths about raw foods is that they are “hard to digest”. So truth, are they hard to digest, or is your digestive system in need of repair? Yes. Raw foods require more energy to chew and digest.

 

How often do you find yourself sitting down to eat and before you know it you have scarfed down a whole plate of food and don’t remember chewing it or tasting it? This was me years ago before I put myself on an anti-inflammatory eating plan. This was a combination of raw and cooked foods. By the end of day two, my jaws were sore from actually taking the time to chew my food. I didn’t realize until I started eating mostly raw foods that I never really would chew my food. This is what I call “Unconscious Eating”.

 

Chewing your food is important because the digestive process starts in the mouth, with chewing and saliva creation. It starts the process of waking up your digestive system so that when your chewed food goes through it can then actually be digested and your body can absorb the nutrients it requires. Actually chewing your food will also give you a very clear awareness as to when your body is full and you have eaten enough…thus preventing you from over eating.

 

Fruits and veggies are living foods.  When you ingest foods that require water and oxygen to grow it does several things for the body. Living foods raise your blood oxygen, so you are absorbing more oxygen on an internal level. They actually provide your body with real vitamins and minerals that are required to survive. They create a more alkaline environment internally, therefore the body is not as susceptible to infection, disease and other such things. Also, fruits and veggies naturally contain a certain amount of water which is essential for our bodies to survive. This will also prevent you from drinking too much water and flushing all the good things your body would like to absorb completely out of your system.

 

Now if at all possible, it is best to eat organic and non GMO fruits and veggies. The interesting thing with pesticides is this. They are designed to create the insects to literally explode from the inside out. When a human being consumes produce with pesticides sprayed on them, imbalances occur such as leaky gut syndrome and digestive issues. My suggestion is to only consume pesticides if you have no other option.

 

Another Myth is that fruits are full of sugar and veggies are full of carbs.

The truth is that the “sugar” in fruit is natural. It’s not an artificially manufactured sugar. It is a naturally occurring sugar. The truth is, your brain requires sugar to function. If you are a big thinker and work at the computer a lot your brain uses up the glucose in your body. Your body doesn’t have a point of view where it comes from…just that it gets it. Problems in the body come when you are doing an over consumption of one given thing. Your body requires a balance and without the sugar it requires, your brain does not function at its optimal level.

 

When the Atkins diet and other low carb diets became the next best thing for weight loss, there was a misunderstanding of what carbs are and what they aren’t. I had friends that weren’t eating certain fruits and veggies because they had too many carbs. What they actually meant when they created these eating plans was to cut back on processed foods, not the ones that actually create a healthy body. So instead of cutting out carbs with veggies and fruit, my suggestion is to start with decreasing bread, pasta, doughnuts, processed foods, etc.

 

I am Janie Lin Smith: The Energetic Health Coach

~ Changing lives one message at a time ~

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