What’s your method?
May 20th, 2013
May 20th, 2013
On a rainy New York evening, post yoga, what do you have for dinner? A warming celeriac and fennel soup with a hint of thyme.
There are many wonderful things about New York, but one that keeps me engaged is the ability to buy healthy foods on almost every street corner. At 8:30pm, I was able to go to my local market and collect the ingredients needed for the recipe. By 9:10, I was eating a warming and nourishing soup.
The soup is simple to make – sauté the foods from the allium family (onion, garlic and fennel), then peel and dice the root vegetables. Cook them with organic chicken stock for 15 minutes, then blend and serve.
The allium family contain flavonoids which stimulate the production of glutathione, the body’s most potent antioxidant. Glutathione also enhances the elimination of toxins and carcinogens making the allium family potent liver detoxifiers.
Celeriac root helps to bulk out the soup with very little carbohydrate infusion. The celeriac root provide 10 grams of carbohydrates versus the equivalent of 70 grams for a potato. This recipe calls for one potato but feel free to skip it if you are conscious of your carb intake. This was made post-yoga so it warranted the additional carbs!
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May 15th, 2013
May 14th, 2013
Over the next four weeks I’ll be profiling movement experts on how to get the most out of your workouts. This week, I’m interviewing my trainer, Erik Hansen. Erik also trains Eva Mendes, Bruce Willis and Russell Brand. While he has a celebrity clientele, he is a hidden gem. He doesn’t have a book, doesn’t really blog and doesn’t do much on social media. But he’s brilliant. We bonded over the importance the mind plays in reshaping the body.
Here’s what Erik has to say:
Too often, exercise is performed mindlessly, as a monotonous chore, but I’m convinced that adding intent and recognizing purpose when you exercise will not only make your workouts more efficient, but more enjoyable and inspired as well. I like to connect with dance because every movement is realized with intent and purpose. When a dancer moves, it’s usually with the intent to express a feeling or idea; a great dancer can make you feel something profound when he or she performs.
When your training, first understand your goals – know your purpose. When you exercise with a goal in mind, what you are doing means something to you, and you’ll push yourself more than if you just show up and go through the motions. Visualize your goals when you workout and exercise according to them, with a program that’s specific to those goals. See every stride, every class, every repetition, every squat, push-up, pull-up, or crunch as one step closer to reaching your desired destination.
Second, understand the purpose of the exercise, which muscles are to be focused on, and with intent use those muscles to move through the proper range of motion. For example, when my clients perform a bicep curl, one of the cues I give them is to engage and contract the bicep muscle to initiate the movement, that the lower arm and weight are lifted as a result of that contraction, not that the movement is working the bicep muscle. This accentuates the intent of the exercise and brings focus to the targeted muscle or muscles.
Last but not least, like a dancer, practice impeccable form. Perform each movement with beauty, with posture and control. Using correct form will greatly reduce the risk of injury as well as ensure that the intended muscles are stressed. Researchers have found that doing an exercise correctly engages more muscle fibers and builds stronger muscles, another added benefit of moving with purpose.
Think of how disappointing it would be to go to a ballet and see the dancers go through the motions, sloppy, uninspired and with no determination or enthusiasm. The experience would not be what it was meant to be. Make your movement count, make every drop of sweat that falls from your brow have consequence, make it all mean something more than some calories burned.
Check out more on Erik’s blog www.erikhansenfitness.tumblr.com – even if it’s just for the hot photos of Eva. Although Erik’s pretty cute too…
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May 13th, 2013
May 6th, 2013
An amazing line-up of 15 woman talking about how you go from fatigued to fabulous. We’ll discuss everything from raw food to food sensitivities; mediation to bringing peace into your life; yoga to movement; clearing clutter to moving through chaos; from relationships to love. It covers everything that you’ll need for a fulfilling life.
Each interview is 30 minutes long with simple tips for you to implement daily.
You can listen to the calls for free but if you can’t make the live calls you can download them for $47 – $67 (depending on when you buy them). The $47 is the pre-conference price.
The conference starts at 11am on Monday 6th May. But if you can’t make these calls (I can’t make them all), you can access them at a later stage if you’re prepared to part with some cash. It works out to be $3.00 per interview.
Hope you can join us!
What more info and the line-up? Click here.
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May 6th, 2013
One of my favorite snacks is flax seed crackers with avocado and tomato. Perfect as an afternoon snack or breakfast if I’m pressed for time.
It’s a snack that improves mood, enhances mental acuity and gives you luminous skin. A snack for a smart, happy, pretty you.
Half a packet of flax crackers has approximately 10 grams of fiber (5x as much as oatmeal), 7 grams of protein (about the same as an egg) and the same amount of omega-3′s as a 4oz piece of wild salmon. And this is a snack!
Flax seeds are also rich in magnesium and manganese which help boost vitality levels and deactivate an enzyme that leads to the formation of wrinkles.
The crackers must be raw as the fragile omega 3′s in flax seeds are damaged when heated. If you see non-dehydrated flax crackers, don’t buy them (the same goes for cereal and bread), as the omega 3′s have already been damaged by the heat used to make the product.
By pairing the avocado and tomatoes with flax seed crackers, you help absorb the fat soluble anti-aging antioxidant, lycopene, from the tomatoes.
My four favorite raw flax crackers are listed in order of taste preference:
1. Gingersnap’s Organic Zaatar Crackers – $7.99 (only available in NYC)
2. Healing Home Foods Raw Flax Crackers – $7.99 (only available in NYC)
3. Juice Press Flax Crackers: $6.00 (only available in NYC)
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May 5th, 2013
Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory spice which can help to decrease muscle soreness after an intense workout. It also neutralizes free radicals which can lead to wrinkles, cellulite, and fatigue. In addition, turmeric improves liver detoxification, so that pesticides and other environmental chemicals are safely removed from the body. It also turns on a gene that enhances the body’s own production of antioxidants thereby acting as a powerful anti-aging nutraceutical. Its warm, peppery flavor and golden color adds a richness and depth to smoothies, vegetables, legumes, nut-pates and eggs.
Here are 10 easy ways to add turmeric into your life.
1. Turmeric eggs with coconut oil – pan-fry two eggs in coconut oil in a skillet. Dust with sea salt and turmeric. Serve with sautéed turmeric kale.
2. Turmeric kale – using the same cast iron pan, sauté the kale in coconut oil, add a pinch of sea salt and dust with turmeric.
3. Turmeric milkshake – activated almond milk with ground turmeric, ginger, banana and ice.
4. Turmeric elixir - boil turmeric root in water, discard the turmeric. Add raw honey, ground turmeric, lemons and cayenne pepper. Blend with ice then cool.
5. Curried chickpeas – dust drained chickpeas with turmeric, curry powder and sea salt. Roast for 20 minutes, then serve.
6. Spiced cauliflower – Toss cauliflower in olive oil and turmeric. Roast for 30 minutes. Serve with lemon zest and cilantro.
7. Turmeric vegetable dip – Blend cashews, young coconut flesh, coconut water, olive oil, garlic, ground turmeric and ground ginger together. Serve with vegetable crudités.
8. Spiced dahl – bring lentils to boil in vegetable stock. Add curry powder and canned tomatoes. In coconut oil, lightly pan-fry ground turmeric, cinnamon and cardamon. Stir through dahl. Serve.
9. Spiced carrot and tahini soup – pan-fry carrots, onion, garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric and sea sat. Add vegetable broth. Blend with tahini and lemon juice. Serve dusted with turmeric and topped with cilantro.
10. Turmeric and pumpkin seed pate – blend soaked pumpkin seeds with tamari, garlic, turmeric and sun-dried tomatoes. Add water as needed. Serve with flax-seed crackers.
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April 29th, 2013
April 25th, 2013
Is going gluten-free a fad? Is it just an expansion of the low-carb trend?
The answer to both of those questions is no. Over the past fifteen years, there has been an extraordinary amount of research and clinical evidence on the deleterious health effects of gluten. When gluten is removed from the diet, we’ve seen a reversal of depression, joint pain, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and autoimmune disorders, including Hashimotos, arthritis and Type 1 diabetes.
But often improving our health is not enough of an impetus to stay away from gluten, particularly if a bagel and coffee is your de-rigueur breakfast. The real driver for the explosion of the gluten-free trend is the weight-loss claim associated with eating gluten free.
And they are valid. I frequently see a 10-pound drop of weight during the first week that someone goes gluten-free. Obviously, they need to have more than 10 pounds of excess fat in the first place to lose it, so don’t think that going gluten free is going to miraculously turn you into a Victoria Secrets angel if you’re five pounds away from your ideal weight -you might lose two pounds.
This weight-loss is partially water but you want to get rid of it. It’s toxic, inflammatory water from an up-regulated immune system that’s been busy fighting off the gluten molecules. That water (and weight) doesn’t come back if the gluten-free diet is maintained.
What is gluten? Gluten is the protein molecule in wheat that makes bread elastic and rise. It’s also in oats, rye and barley. Going gluten-free means avoiding all products that contain these foods: bread, pasta, bagels, cookies, pastries, cous-cous, granola, oatmeal, most cereals, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, some canned soups and anything that contains wheat starch, including one of my favorites, licorice.
The right way to eat gluten-free is to replace these foods with plants (i.e. fruits and vegetables). For breakfast, instead of an egg on a bagel, try two eggs with avocado. For lunch, instead of a sandwich, have a spinach salad with beets, carrots, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes and wild salmon. As an afternoon snack, have a cup of berries versus a cookie. For dinner, have white fish with tomato sauce and roasted vegetables instead of pasta and tomato sauce. These swaps are easy to make and bring not only weight-loss but also a renewed sense of vitality, clearer mind, more radiant skin and a better mood.
Eating gluten-free-labeled products should be done on only an occasional basis. If you simply replace the gluten-based foods with packaged gluten-free foods, you’ll limit the gluten-induced inflammation but you’ll spike your blood-sugar levels more and end up on a moody, high-low blood-sugar roller coaster, which can make you crave more carbs than when you had gluten in the diet! The reason for this is that gluten is a protein, and protein slows the glycemic response. Taking it out and replacing it with high glycemic foods like pulverized rice, potato and tapioca starch (the basis of most gluten-free foods) makes blood sugar levels rise faster than a piece of bread. Skip the gluten-free products, and eat real food instead.
If you’ve been tested for celiac disease and have come back negative, it doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from going gluten-free, nor does it mean you’re not gluten sensitive. Being a celiac is like being a diabetic while being gluten sensitive is analogous to having elevated fasting glucose levels. One precedes the other. You don’t want to be a diabetic, nor do you want to be a celiac. But if you continue to bomb your body with sugar and gluten, that’s what you may become.
If you’re thinking about going gluten-free, I encourage you to do so. Take an experiment for two weeks, and monitor how you feel. If you see improvements in your health, including weight, then continue on the gluten-free diet. If you don’t, then re-introduce it after two weeks. If you feel fatigued and a sense of malaise after its re-introduction, it’s likely you have a gluten sensitivity. This reaction is due to a hyper-sensitivity that occurs when you take out an allergenic food, be it gluten, dairy or any other highly reactive protein molecule. If you don’t feel any adverse symptoms, then you can re-introduce gluten but keep it to no more than every second day and select low-gluten foods like spelt and kamut.
To read more about gluten and hidden food sensitivities, click here.
Please let me know how your experiment goes.