Friday, January 18, 2013

Chocolate for Breakfast

Healthy is how I love myself!

(Chocolate for breakfast is how I love me too!)

So I'm on a chocolate kick... I went to FEM Talks (a woman-centered event modeled after TED talks) on Monday on "Banishing Stress, Depression and Irritability... w/Food." I LOVE going to hear other health coaches and practitioners talk about food and WHY they take such exquisite care of themselves. I'm feeling SO inspired to be good to myself!

Making healthy food choices and taking really good care of myself is about allowing myself to step into my full potential. It allows me to think clearly, to have tons of energy, to feel light and spontaneous, to put out energy that gets noticed and attracts other like-minded people, to build my business, to give other people the attention they deserve, to show up fully in my marriage, and to show up fully for myself and my own life.

Getting grounded back into that reason really revved me up. And I saw the ways in which I wasn't making the best choices, I saw the places where I wanted to be even better to myself, for myself, and for the world.

So I got up this morning and made this Superfood Chocolate Cream for breakfast in my blender! :) I deserve that kind of satisfaction and goodness!

1 ripe speckled banana
2 tbsp chia
1/4 cup cashews/nut of choice
3/4 cup almond/nut milk of choice and/or water (I blended)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder
sprinkle of cinnamon
splash of vanilla

Blend until smooth. If you like crunchy things, top with goji berries, cacao nibs and/or chopped nuts. This totally filled me up until lunchtime!
I was inspired to make this pudding after a wonderfully warm and sensual time with MyNewRoot's Superfood Haute Chocolate - check that out for something wonderfully warming and for more information on the health benefits of raw cacao and maca (which will blow your mind)!

Chia is the other superfood in this concoction. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds! And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. Chia seeds also provide complete protein (perfect for vegetarians!), lots of fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Total little miracle seed! And yes, the same seed as in the Chia Pets we all know, but make sure you're getting food-grade chia for your eating delights...

By the way, this is a great and stellar dessert too, one that won't spike your blood sugar, thanks to all the fiber, protein and good fats it contains! I'm all about throwing aside meal labels, though, and eating things when your body wants them most! You deserve to live satisfied.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fireside Chocolate PB Banana Bake

Here's a healthy treat to make the next time you're camping (or making a fire in your fireplace) and want something a little less sugar-packed than a s'more to feel giddy about.

To serve 2-3, you'll want:

1 banana
2 tbsp natural peanut (or other nut) butter
chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
shaved or chopped dark chocolate or cacao nibs
sprinkle of sea salt
drizzle of honey (optional)

 Slice your banana in half, but not all the way through. Spread with PB and sprinkle with goodies.

Wrap it up, folding banana halves together, and cook over hot coals until banana is soft and cooked. Time will depend on your coals. I had to rotate my banana (with tongs) and unwrap/re-wrap it a few times until it was just right.

Eat hot, with spoons (or pretzels!).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Start a Revolution: Start Loving Your Body

photo: smellysocks
by Corinne Casella

After another fight with my scale that ended in frustrated tears, I realized that I have been on a diet for almost 20 years.


The diets have taken on various forms of adaptations but the fact remains that I have been trying to change my shape for two decades. Ever since I was a child I have felt that there was something wrong with how I looked. Family, friends and media all played a part but at the end of the day it was me telling myself that I didn’t measure up. The more I put myself down the more I found solace in food, the more I found solace in food, well you can imagine.

I have never been skinny. I’ve never worn a bikini or been the smallest in the room.

Photo: David D
photo: David D.


A fact that has haunted me for years. Being the tallest of all my friends and the heaviest only added to my adolescent and adult insecurities. Suffice it to say my self-love wasn’t where it should be. The problem had come to a frightening head when I heard through mutual friends of an online self-sabotage workshop. I followed my intuition and signed up for Richelle Henry’s Kick Self-Sabotage Challenge. After only 8 days the program showed me something revolutionary. To change what you don’t like, you have to learn to love what you have.

Love myself as is?! How could I do that when every magazine cover, commercial, mirror was telling me something different? I realized it was time to make a different kind of change. This time I needed to change how I treated myself. According to Glamour’s The Secret Way People Are Judging You Based on Your Body, when it comes to weight, negative stereotypes are ingrained in our sub-conscious. For example, an overweight woman is often regarded as lazy, sloppy and jovial. 

While her thinner counterpart, is often categorized as vain, bitchy and conceited. Clearly an unfair assessment on both sides of the spectrum. It leads me to the heart of the matter. What does weight really have to do with anything? it’s not healthy to have an identity wrapped up in poundage. Perhaps a person’s merit should be based on something more substantial than their pant size. How revolutionary!


My inquiry led  me to Geneen Roth’s popular best-seller Women, Food & God. Ms. Roth’s approach is to stop dieting  and pay attention to what you’re eating and why. She believes that if you follow an addiction back to its source you will discover your beliefs in God, yourself and life itself. Basically she promotes stripping  all the bull-shit away and doing the real work, the hard stuff. And all of a sudden this makes sense to me. Because while my battle to be fit has very little to do with food, it has everything to do with food.

Months of spiritual work, self-inquiry and a regular meditation practice later I am beginning to see that my years of self-abuse was the problem, not how I looked or what I ate. Love and acceptance was the key along. I now speak more kindly to myself and have begun to practice blocking the negativity of others. I am working on making healthy choices that nourish, rather than hurt me. It’s a process. I am working on a balance, working on becoming the me I see in my mind’s eye. But this time, even though I know I will fall, I will also rise. If I eat too much or forget to exercise I will not become Public Enemy #1. I’ll just be human. A beautiful human who has a lot more going for her than sheer mass. A wondrous soul, worthy of all the love in the universe. A lot like you, in fact.

corinne32Corinne Casella was born and raised in New Jersey and now resides along the banks of the Hudson in Jersey City.  She is a freelance writer and editor with over seven years of professional experience.  Combining writing and yoga to her is a logical step, because if anything can bring about change in a world as large as ours, it’s through our open hearts and our pens. Connect with Corinne on her blog and read more from her here.
~Assistant Editor: Malin Bergman
View original post on here.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Natural Way to Kick a Cold

Today I've got it bad. Yuck. THE Cold that's going around. I'm sure you've heard about it. I wanted to share my main lineup for battling the cold that's got me in its grips:

Tons of Tea: Traditional Medicinals is the bomb. I go for Echinacea Elder and Gypsy Cold Care. I've been drinking strong batches of both throughout the day (think 6-8 tea bags). If you throat is scratchy, Throat Coat is a lifesaver.

Raw Honey: Soothing to the throat, easy on the blood sugar, stirred into my tea. In general, when fighting any kind of infection, it's best to stay away from sugar and sweets. Too much sugar puts stress on the digestive and immune system... and we want to strengthen! Find healthy sweets like fresh fruit, full of fiber and vitamins.

Probiotics: Your immune system is based 70% on your digestion! By eating lots of clean, nutrient dense foods (keep reading!) and giving my body extra "good guys" to digest it all, I'm doing myself a huge favor. I've been taking probiotic pills (look for multiple strains, with a high count), drinking kombucha (a fermented tea drink), and eating up plenty of raw sauerkraut (it's all gone already)!

Fruit: Clementines and lemons are full of vitamin C! I'm juicing them, eating them, putting them in green smoothies. These things are all alkalizing (not acidifying) to the body. Our bodies heal most effectively from an alkaline state... and the vitamin C is great too. I've been supplementing a bit with some vitamin C powder as well (it just didn't make the picture). Green apples are also making it into my regimen - in smoothies and as a tart pick-me-up snack with nuts and seeds.

Greens: The most nutrient-packed foods we can get our hands on are fresh greens. I've stocked up on spinach, collards, and kale for smoothies and cooking with my lunch and dinners. Eating them however and as much as I can!

Healthy Fats: Avocados, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp and flax, coconut oil, salmon and sardines... all full of good, clean healthy fats to help my body assimilate and use all of the good nutrients I'm eating up. Omega-3's are really important for helping my body stay in an anti-inflammatory state, best for healing and getting better!

Clean eats: My focus for eating is around eating clean, nutrition-packed foods as much as possible. I picked up some chia and goji berries yesterday at Whole Foods, along with a lot of the goodies you see above. This also means staying away from foods that promote mucous (I have plenty of that going on already): mainly milk, cheese, butter and eggs. I've been eating lots of brown rice, oatmeal, veggie stir fries, chicken breast, squash, nuts and seeds, smoothies, salmon, and superfoods.

The last ingredients in my line-up? Lots of sleep, naps, staying in, reading, hot baths, showers, drying brushing and oiling my skin, calling my mom, watching movies, snuggling by the fire, slow walks around the block (fresh air and a little movement does wonders).

Basically, I'm doing my best, turning up my ultimate self-care knob to 11.

Ready to feel better: Make a list of what you want and send someone else out to the store for you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolution Revolution

The revolution is not to make resolutions. Instead, make choices now - today - to do a little bit more of what you want to be doing and a little bit less of what you don't want to be doing.

We don't need a special occasion to start taking personal responsibility. It can be a tough thing to admit, that we're not being responsible with ourselves, that we're not taking care of ourselves the way we'd like to.

For just a little example, let me illustrate. I spent the holidays wishing I was eating less cookies instead of doing it. I was wishing I'd make myself something healthy, decadent and satisfying instead, instead of doing it. I know I had way more sugar, my trigger food, than was good for me. I kept saying I'd eat better tomorrow, tomorrow. Well, I've come down with a big fat cold and I have a red, puffy, itchy rash across my face and eyes. Nice, right?

Well, no. Fortunately, I've learned not to beat myself up about it. I believe that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. I thought it was too much sugar, which weakens our immune system, and it turns out it was. Good feedback. Next year, I will be doing a little bit more of making myself those healthy, decadent and satisfying raw brownies (these and these) that I've been eyeballing the last few weeks, and a little bit less of eating the sweets that spike my blood sugar and get my cravings raging.

I adore Danielle LaPorte's philosophy of starting with the question: How do I want to feel?

She says this is the most potent form of clarity you can have. And I agree. When you know how you want to feel on a daily, moment-to-moment basis, you can figure out exactly what makes you feel that way and start scheduling more of that into your days and weeks. I want to feel healthy and sprite and light around the holidays? I know bringing a dessert I feel good about (and that leaves me and my belly feeling good) will help make that a reality.

Did I say scheduling?

Yes, scheduling! Put your you-time into your calendar. Treat yourself with the respect that you would your best friends. Show up for yourself. If you must reschedule, reschedule immediately and hold to it. This has perhaps been the most important part for me.

Our culture, especially around the holidays, is ALL about giving. And then we feel burnt out and tired because we ran around too much, or we get sick because our immune system is weakened by all of the sugar and stress. We give and give and give and put ourselves last on the list. Well, how am I supposed to show up for my life feeling burnt out, tired and sick?

This is where we go back to the question: How do I WANT to feel? Make the answer to that your resolution revolution. You have the choice to create more of what you want.