Are You already failing at the promises you made to yourself January 1st? If so, don't worry- it happens to everyone who didn't do it right. There's no use in beating yourself up for making a huge list of things to change in your life and then not following through. You've got some intentions, but you haven't made a plan of how to get them done! The good news is that if you find your most important resolution and stick with it, the others will probably fall into place naturally.
Here's how to Make A Meaningful List Of Resolutions:
Resolutions give us the opportunity to reflect on what is working and what is not working for us in our lives and focus on how we may make improvements towards more health and happiness in the year ahead of us. The reason they often don't stick is because we write them based on what we think we should want or be to make us 'better' not what our heart is telling us we need to be more whole and fulfilled.
So how do you write a list that will put the wheels in motion to make real change in your life?
Start by making a list of the things you are grateful for. Reflect on 2015.
Now, with these honest answers, take an objective look at what you really want.
These are your resolutions. Think of them as your to do list for the first quarter.
Write down these specific, emotion provoking actions that you may take to move your life in a more positive direction. More importantly, write down how you can integrate these actions into your daily life. This integration is the commitment you are making to yourself.
Would you like personalized assistance in setting more meaningful goals for 2016 and bringing them into fruition? Want more exercises like this that provide an opportunity for holistic reflection? Contact me now.
Coconut Chai Oatmeal Recipe
Fall is coming! I know that is the last thing we want to talk about- but guys, it's happening. As the season changes, our bodies change too- and if we don't amp up our immunity the environmental stress can cause you to get sick. This is why so many people get a cold or virus when with a change in season. To combat this, and improve your health in general, be sure to add superfoods to your daily diet to give your cells the power they need to cope.
I've started fasted cardio in the mornings (i.e. running the beach on an empty stomach) and when I get back I really need some fuel with fiber filled carbs, healthy fats, and a ton of phytonutrients to keep me going till lunch time.
This recipe is a delicious spin on a northern classic, using some of my favourite island foods that are also readily available at higher latitudes. Aromatic spices combined with the rich flavours of coconut and vanilla and the satisfying quality of oatmeal make this a winner. Try it yourself and see!
Ingredients (2 servings) : 1 1/2 cups coconut milk 1/4 teaspoon sea alt 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric pinch each dried cloves and nutmeg 2 teaspoons raw honey, plus more to taste 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional 3/4 cup steel cut oats 2 tablespoons fresh ground flaxmeal, optional
Preparation: Combine the milk, salt, and spices in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly; add the honey, vanilla (if desired), oats, and stir until combined. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes, or until the oatmeal is thick and creamy. Stir in flax meal. Serve hot with your choice of toppings- I usually add a banana and tablespoon of peanut butter with a sprinkle of dulse flakes.
Caribbean Hummus Recipe
I am always looking to modify recipes to make them more simple, local and healthy. This is an easy variation on a classic hummus recipe to make it a little more suitable for my island home in the Dominican Republic- but it is also a great summer party appetizer or quick snack. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Caribbean Hummus Recipe
2 cups of cooked chickpeas*
2 chopped green onions
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter (I get locally made stuff, lucky me!)
1 whole lime, quartered
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp of honey or pinch of stevia
pinch of sea salt or couple dashes of soy sauce
if you like it spicy add hot sauce to taste
*I rehydrate and cook dried beans myself because it's healthier than the cans. To do this you need to rinse the beans, then soak 'em in water for a few hours. Bring them to a boil and let them simmer for an hour and a half, till they are tender. You'll need about 1.5 cups to make 2, but I always cook extra to add them to salads (they keep in the fridge in some of their boiling water for 3-4 days.
Add all ingredients (except cilantro and green onions) to your blender and blend till smooth. If it isn't creamy enough, add a little water or cold pressed coconut oil till it's your desired texture. Add cilantro and onions last so that it blends but green flecks are still visible.
Serve 1/4 cup with crunchy carrot or cucumber sticks as a 1 serving snack. Bon Provecho!
Summer is finally sweltering all over- and the thing that is going to keep you most energized and radiant is staying hydrated. Whether you’re into outdoor sports, trying to get through a pregnancy, or like me are simply sweating buckets while sitting down in the DR heat, the simple truth is that most water just isn’t going to cut it. Some lucky folks enjoy tap water that contains many trace minerals, but a lot of us use filtered water that has had much of its mineral content removed. When you drink tons of water that is demineralized, you can actually dehydrate your body faster, leaving your muscles and nerves depleted of vital electrolytes. If you’re experiencing increased muscle cramps, headaches, or lethargy this is probably the case.
Store bought bottled electrolyte ‘recovery’ drinks don’t help you much. They are made with chemically treated refined sugars and contain food dyes as well as artificial flavoring and other less-than-stellar ingredients such as brominated vegetable oils. At the end of the day you’re spending a whole lot of money to pump your body full of sugar water which is produced by companies that are depleting the world of it’s water stores and exploiting natural resources.
I will not argue that a drink containing natural electrolytes is refreshing and hydrating- especially after a day in the hot sun. If you want to replace overpriced sport drinks, it is really simple to make your own at home.
Using my knowledge of the functioning of the human body and plant nutrients, I’ve created a great drink that is cheap and easy to make and works really well for me. Check out the ingredient benefits:
Limes: Energy & Immunity provided with vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper
Cucumber: Cooling properties due to high levels of potassium and enzymes that help assimilate other nutrients and reduce inflammation caused by dehydration.
Raw Honey: Sugar with fiber- unlike processed sugars honey contains fiber so it is slow burning plus a ton of B vitamins so that your body can assimilate the sugar without becoming depleted. OR give the bees a break and enjoy maple syrup instead for similar benefits.
Sea Salt: Trace mineral powerhouse that delivers more than just sodium! This unprocessed salt reduces appetite and has multiple health benefits.
This recipe is truly synergistic and works to quench thirst, alkalize and heal the body. Want to learn more about how balanced levels of minerals leads to optimal health? Contact me now. We all lose and replace electrolytes at different rates, as everyone is different, but you can vary the recipe to satisfy your own body. This is basically lemonade with a dash of salt that is super tasty and refreshing. Bottoms up!
Super Simple Electrolyte Drink Recipe
In a blender, blend all of the ingredients together until the honey is dissolved. Taste test and adjust as needed. Enjoy 1.5 cups at a time. Salud!
Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing
This recipe is my new favourite. Seeking out replacements for inflammatory foods like dairy can be difficult for some people and it’s hard to feel like you’re not missing out. This superfood salad dressing contains a ton of ingredients that are key for reducing cancer risk, healing cells, and improving your digestion- so that you can reap the benefits of the aforementioned goodness. As a bonus, it is incredibly delicious and works on any salad to make it taste rich and feel satisfying.
Avocados (aguacates) are abundant most of the year here in the Dominican Republic. Most people in North America are most familiar with the black, rough-skinned Hass variety from California. Here we’re lucky to enjoy huge watery green ones, small creamy purple ones and everything in between. In fact, there are more than 900 varieties of these delicious fruits worldwide. These ancient fruit take 9 months to mature on their large trees, and very first cultivated by the Aztecs tens of thousands of years ago. They have long been called the world’s best food, for many reasons. Yes, avocados have a lot of fat- but the fat contained in avocados is monounsaturated, which is heart healthy and won't raise cholesterol. In fact, the good fat in avocados can reduce cholesterol and increase the ratio of HDL ("good") cholesterol to LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Avocados also are a good source of fiber, and they provide glutathione (an antioxidant important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease), folate, and more potassium than bananas. You can use avocados as a healthy substitute for most other types of fat, including butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, and cream. Wooo, sorry, got a little food-nerd on ya there!
Anyway, the fresh herbs in this recipe add important volatile oils and chlorophyll, the garlic and pepper lend delicious taste, and the combination of apple cider vinegar and honey make this recipe probiotic as well. All in all you can’t go wrong.
Now, as I really dislike googling a recipe and finding a blog with a huge meal photoshoot and long story about said recipe creation, I’ll give you the good stuff:
Caesar Avocado Dressing (GF + DF)
Makes about 2 cups of dressing
Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until creamy. You can add more water for a thinner consistency. I like to let it sit a bit in the fridge before eating, so the flavors can really come together. Store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge, it will keep well for about 5 days. This recipe can also double as a white sauce recipe for fish or pasta, so enjoy often, and however you like!
Let’s be real, we all know what green smoothies are. Everyone at least thinks about drinking one every time they want a health kick- and heck, if corporations like Starbucks are getting in on the action then you know there’s gotta be some staying power. Unlike some health fads that last a year or two, the green smoothie has been around for decades, and for some very good reasons too.
No matter how busy I am, or where I am, I always have a green smoothie for one of my meals. They are incredibly delicious, easy to make and drink. Once you are in the habit of having one, and feel the change in your vitality after drinking it, there’s no going back.
I’ve listed just a few of the many reasons why you need a green smoothie daily. If you already know the goodness I’m talking about then you can give these reasons to spouses, kids or friends who need a little coaxing to get on the smoothie train:
You’re Too Busy to Eat Breakfast: A smoothie takes 2 minutes to make, is easy to clean up after, plus it is transportable. I like to freeze my fruit in advance to get a milkshake-esque texture.
You’ll Absorb More Nutrients: Even if you already eat a good amount of fruits and veggies, the magic happens when the cell walls of the greens are broken down so that the chlorophyll and other micronutrients can be released. Blending greens into liquid form is much easier than chewing! If you don’t like eating veggies then bonus for you, you’ll get it over with quickly!
You’ll Have More Energy: Chlorophyll is the sun’s energy absorbed through plants to give them their bright green color. Chlorophyll delivers oxygen throughout your body. It is also a detoxifying agent, because it binds to heavy metals and toxins in your body.These combined factors give you a nearly instant energy boost after eating greens- and you can pack a ton of greens into smoothies! .
You’ll Decrease Your Risk of Cancer and other Degenerative Diseases: We should all understand by now that more fruits and veg equal better health. It’s because we all have free radicals in our body, which can potentially cause cancer and cause the gradual breakdown of our tissues. When we eat foods with antioxidants (phytochemicals found in fruit and vegetables), they bind to the free radicals and neutralize them, therefore reducing your risk of illness. These foods also contain a ton of fiber, which helps in the process of eliminating toxins from the body.
You’ll Look Incredible: As the chlorophyll, antioxidants and fiber get to work on nourishing and healing your body, you will be actively cleansing your body of old sludge and allowing your systems to work more efficiently. As a result, your hair, skin and nails will all begin to look better. Many of my clients find their acne will clear up, hair becomes shinier and softer, and nails become stronger and grow faster. As a bonus, the reduced appetite and sugar cravings you’ll experience will also help you shed unwanted fat stores. Yes- as a last ditch effort to get you on the smoothie train I’m appealing to your vanity!
No one ever regretted being in amazing health and feeling fantastic. That is an unresearched but obvious fact. I invite you to make this one simple change to experience the results for yourself. If you need inspiration, check out my free download, A Guide to Creating Green Smoothies, and stick it on your fridge as a reminder to enjoy one every day! Cheers!
Tropical Detox Smoothie
This is my absolute new favourite thing to eat. I am working to create a cookbook based on incorporating as many nutrient dense, healing foods as possible into each recipe, and this will definitely be a favourite. Smoothies and soups are, in my opinion, the best ways to eat foods. This is because you can cram a ton of nutrients into each serving, they are easy for everyone to consume and simple to digest (so that you can absorb more of their healing goodness).
This smoothie lends a taste of the tropics while providing your body with a wealth of health benefits. Most of the chronic daily damage that we do to our bodies happens on a cellular level, so it’s important that we are always recharging with antioxidants to keep our bodies from rusting! This powerhouse recipe has everything you need to detoxify on a micro level, so that you’re cleansing while still enjoying a regular diet.
Check this out:
Turmeric is the superfood show stealer in this recipe. This root is similar to ginger, and when dried and ground into powder is a gorgeous yellow colour. A note to remember- when you see naturally yellow foods, you can assume that they help clean your liver. A little of this potent powder goes a long way to providing your body with antioxidant benefits, all you need is 1/2 tsp a day to increase longevity. It has been used in traditional Eastern medicine for centuries to treat all kinds of maladies.
Lemon juice (another yellow food) aids the liver in flushing out toxins naturally and acts as a diuretic. Here on the beach in the DR, lime is the closest it gets, and it provides similar benefits.
Ginger aids in digestion and has numerous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Cinnamon is rich in minerals and contains phytonutrients (plant superpowers) that aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates and control appetite.
Pineapple adds natural sweetness as well as fiber and loads of Vitamins A and C (antioxidant nutrients) and contains bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion and reducing inflammation.
Coconut has healthy fats which give this smoothie staying power, and like the other ingredients, is hella good for your digestion and promoting healthy cells in your entire body.
Try this smoothie for breakfast or 20 minutes post workout to fuel up, lean down and rejuvenate your whole body.
ingredients2 cups kale
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups pineapple *if fresh and not frozen, add a few ice cubes
Juice of ½ lemon
1 thumb sized chunk of fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, to taste
Blend kale and coconut milk until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Adventures with Banana Blossoms
I'll admit it, I'm a health food junkie. I love fresh food- gathering it, preparing it, sharing it (when recipes are successful!) and especially talking about it (and posting pics- I'm a total foodie also. Part of this passion is exploring new foods, and although I still have some of my go to staples like garlic, onions, potatoes, greens and oils here in Cabarete, there's also a whole new food system to explore, and all of the tropical fun that brings.
For instance, outside of our kitchen at the Extreme hotel is a permaculture garden- a mini food forest if you will- that is based around banana trees. A little aside here- did you know that a banana tree only fruits once? They can grow to 10 feet high in a matter of months- it's incredible! Anyway, if a plant fruits, it also flowers, which brings me to the topic of today's post. Today as I was walking by the garden I found a banana blossom amongst the fallen fronds. As I'm not used to many tropical plants (only the fruits of their labours gathered together in supermarkets back home) I was totally surprised by this weird looking thing. After I was told what it was my first thought was (as it always is) 'hmmm... I wonder if & how I can eat this". A little research told me that I could and apparently there is a whole host of youtube videos on the dissection process.
These flowers are really intricate, it reminded me of the labour involved in preparing artichokes. They contain many stamen, which need to be removed because they're very bitter, and the outer leaves are discarded- or saved as serving dishes as I did. You have to work fast because the inner petals oxidize really quickly (like chopped apples turning brown) so I cut 'em all up and then immersed them in cold lime water as instructed. After soaking them, you can either cook them or eat them raw. I chose to make a salad.
I added turbinado, hot sauce, sea salt and pepper to the lime water and 'petals', and then whisked it all up, allowing it to marinade for 30 minutes. It still tasted really bitter- which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it just meant that I probably wouldn't eat a lot of it. I put some of the chopped 'petals' into one of the outer mature petals and then sprinkled it with fresh, chopped herbs from the aquaponics system. Although it looked gorgeous and impressive, this banana blossom salad really wasn't a winner in my books.
So, if the recipe sucked, then why am I bothering to tell you you might ask? Because it's all in the spirit of trying new things! Here is this gorgeous, food just lying on the ground, and within a half an hour it has the potential to be a lovely appetizer. Many people would just keep on walking because it's unfamiliar, as we tend to do in the grocery store, because it seems like to much work to figure out what to do with it. In fact, most people only have about 15 foods in their diet. If you have a pretty set week to week menu, it means that you're potentially missing out on many different micro nutrients in your diet. This can lead to deficiencies over time- not to mention it keeps things pretty boring! So even if you don't have banana blossoms lying around to experiment with, I challenge you to find something new, and preferably as natural and local as possible, to eat this week. In the age of google, you really have no excuse, and it's an easy way to challenge yourself and have some fun in the kitchen.
I'm not giving up yet. When I come across another blossom I'll cook it, maybe turn it into a curry or put it in a stew, and see if I get any better results. I'll let you know when I do! In the meantime, you should definitely come visit me in Cabarete at the Extreme hotel so that we can cook together!
GF Chicken Mac & Cheese
There's nothing quite like comfort food! This last cold winter week in Canada I'm getting a hankering for all things warm and cozy- so this Monday I made this delicious dish. Neither vegan nor paleo, this dish strays from my usual go-to recipes. However I kept it mostly organic, local and gluten free, so it still gets an A+ health wise in my books! This indulgent dish is sure to satisfy health nuts and picky kids alike. Try it tonight with a lovely green salad!
3 Tbsp butter/ghee + 2 tsp
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp italian herbs
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp herbamare
1 pkg rice or buckwheat fusili noodles
1 Tbsp arrowroot flour
1/4 C buckwheat flour
1 1/2 C cooked chicken (or 1-2 chicken breasts)
2 cloves garlic
1 C almond milk
1 C chicken broth
1 1/2 C sharp cheddar cheese (I used Jolly Farmer raw milk cheese)
What are you eating for?
Today I had a client come to see me for a reiki session- and as she was leaving mentioned that she would be calling me in the new year for a set of conscious eating coaching sessions- as she wanted to start the new year fresh- but there was no sense in getting started before then- because she sure as heck wasn't going to skip her shortbread cookies and mint chocolate ice cream this holiday!
She was in such a jubilant mood after her session I just laughed, smiled and nodded and sent her on her merry way- of course vowing to send her healthier recipe alternatives for these delectables as soon as I got home!
What I had really wanted to tell her is that it doesn't have to be one way or the other- an all or nothing attitude that makes us judge food 'good' or 'bad' is part of what has gotten us into this mess in the first place! A change of attitude is what's called for. The most important key that I recommend to all of my clients is mindful eating. Just ask yourself- what am I eating for?
Biologically we eat to nourish ourselves so that we can continue to heal and thrive as we fully experience life. Emotionally, we may have learned to eat to bury uncomfortable feelings, or soothe ourselves from a hurt that we cannot deal with or express. Sometimes we emotionally eat simply because it chemically induces 'happiness' in our bodies and it is the most simple way we understand to experience or celebrate this feeling. So, simply, every time that you reach for a morsel, ask yourself "why am I eating?" Your goal initially isn't to change your behaviour, only to recognize it.
In my opinion, it is wonderful to fully and completely enjoy your food- it is beautiful way to experience all of your senses- however, we should celebrate why it nourishes us, rather than use it as a tool to hinder or distract ourselves.
We are also trained in our society to diminish ourselves as often as possible, so it is a regular pattern to eat to distract ourselves from an uncomfortable feeling, then berate ourselves after the fact for having no control, being weak, 'bad', etc. etc.
The way I see it, my clients have 2 options:
Feel guilty and 'bad' about their food choices with a black or white attitude, thereby hindering any progress they may have made by holding out for the 'right time' to diet.
Choose to 'healthify' their lives in many moments of the day, and give themselves credit for those choices, so that when the time comes and they want to choose an indulgent food, they may do so- letting go of the judgements they place upon themselves and being fully be present in the moment to enjoy their decadence. I think that the most wonderful thing about learning to mindfully eat is that it allows you become re- aligned with your body, so that you start to pay attention to how foods make you feel physically- whether they make you feel rejuvenated or further depleted- and you begin to make healthier choices naturally, with less resistance.
For most people, it is a transitional process from option one to option two- and even when choosing the second option it takes a while to settle into this new mindset. Be kind to yourself and gently allow this shift to take place. If you try to force it you'll just end up back at square one. Mindfully, with every choice you make, try to healthify- but more importantly ENJOY your life!
BUT in the meantime- have your ice cream and eat it too! Try this:
Mint Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream
**Make sure to use BOTH gums. Xanthan thickens the ice-cream, and guar gum makes it creamy. So, if it’s too thin, add more xanthan, and if it’s too icy, add more guar. It may take some trial and error, but you when you get it right, the texture should resemble soft serve ice-cream.
Ariel Richards, R.H.N.