Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Easy Healthy Twists to Holiday Favorites

Who says great tasting food can't be healthy?  The holidays are a time when family and friends come together to celebrate each other and appreciate what life has given them.  The focal point of the holidays are usually centered around food - unhealthy food - and people wind up feeling heavy and bloated.  I'm here to tell you, Holiday food CAN be tasty AND be healthy!!  Simply we need to replace bad, inflammation-promoting ingredients with good ones.  It can be easier than it sounds.  Naturally there are some traditional family recipes that you don't want to "mess with" for sentimental reasons and I totally get that.  Perhaps start with the other "fillers" and take it from there.

Ideas For Healthy Holiday Fare:

  • Avocado-Deviled Eggs:  Eggs are good for the body and unlike popular belief, cholesterol doesn't raise cholesterol like conventional medicine states.  Our body needs cholesterol to function properly. That said, a healthier twist on deviled eggs this year can be avocado-deviled eggs. I like to use avocado because it adds a creamy consistency to the yolks without unhealthy, hydrogenated mayonnaise. Here's the recipe for a much cleaner version of the deviled eggs you are used to. 

  • Peppermint Chocolate Oat Muffins: Yum. Nothing tastes more like the holidays, in my mind, than peppermint.  This recipe utilizes food-grade essential oils.  Add chocolate to that and it is heaven!  
Click here for full recipe.

  • Nitrate-Free Ham:  Processed meats are preserved with sodium nitrate, a known carcinogen. Sodium nitrate helps increase the shelf-life of meats.  Beware of this and choose a nitrate-free ham (or meat of your choice) instead for your holiday fare.  To learn more about nitrates, please read this article by the Heatlh Ranger. http://www.naturalnews.com/043180_holiday_foods_toxic_ingredients_avoid.html

  • Free Range Turkey:  Same reasons as number three, including you want to ensure that the turkey you eat for your holiday meal is free of antibiotics and hormones.  Applegate Farms makes a good turkey as well as Whole Foods.

  • Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce:  Back in November I read a post by fellow Health Coach, Michelle Pfennighaus.  So many folks buy CANNED jelly cranberry sauce for their holiday meals rather than enjoying the true burst of flavor only found in whole cranberries.  The best part about this post, there's no added sugar to the recipe!  You can check it out HERE.

Remember, above all else it is about MODERATION, not DEPRIVATION.  Enjoy the holidays.  Enjoy your food.  Practice the art of mindful eating. Be aware of your surroundings and what you are consuming. Above all else, remember what the season is all about; it helps to put things in perspective.

What are some dishes you can swap with healthy ingredients this season?

Be well,


Interested in learning more?  Please visit my website.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love Yourself, Love Your Body

Don't compromise yourself.  You are all that you've got. 
- Janis Joplin

Beautiful Body Types

Almost all of us have a distorted image of our body, often due to the importance our culture places on outward appearance and the onslaught of media images of airbrushed models and celebrities.  (Dove is doing a great job on trying to change that with their 'Campaign for Real Beauty' initiative).  On a daily basis, we talk to ourselves in ways we would never speak to another. Imagine speaking to a child the way you speak to yourself about your body.  It would devastate and squelch a child.  It affects you similarly, causing stress and emotional pain in your body, which can make improving your health or losing weight even more difficult.   

The Power of Exercise!
Think about all of the intelligence, creativity, and time you spend on improving, altering, and judging your appearance.  Who would you be and what would you accomplish if your valuable resources weren't used this way?   Constant emphasis on the external makes us discount the great presence and intelligence that is housed by the body.  It makes us forget the magic of our internal rhythms and fail to acknowledge the beautiful bodies we have.

The body you have right now is incredible!  It never misses a heartbeat, it maintains homeostasis and miraculously digests whatever you put in it.  It is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence, and love.  By focusing on the 1% you don't like or wish were different, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% about your body that is beautiful, unique, and delightful.

What would your life be like if you were simply at peace with the body that you have?  You may wish to make your body healthier and stronger, which is great, but could you do that out of love and respect for your body rather than the opposite? Could you begin to treat yourself with kindness, to limit the negative self-talk, and to reconnect with your inner wisdom?  Take a minute to imagine what that would be like.  It would mean celebrating your body rather than punishing it.  It would mean nourishing your body rather than depriving it.  It would mean a chance to watch your body flourish when treated with care and respect.

Food Focus: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes seem to be on everyone's minds this season (at least they are on mine!)  They go hand-in-hand with the holidays along with pumpkin and other sweet vegetables.  Fortunately, eating these and other sweet vegetables needn't be limited to this time of year.  Cravings for sweets can be greatly reduced by adding sweet vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, beets, carrots, parsnips, squash, turnips, and rutabagas to your daily diet.  Sweet potatoes elevate blood sugar gently rather than with the jolt delivered by simple refined carbohydrates, so there is no energy crash after you eat them.  Much higher in nutrients than white potatoes and especially rich in Vitamin A, sweet potatoes offer a creamy consistency that is satisfying and soothing.  They are healing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and reproductive organs and help remove toxins from the body.  They can increase the quantity of milk in lactating women and can lessen cramps and premenstrual symptoms.  If you don't have any sweet potatoes in your kitchen, go out and buy some (local and organic if possible) and make the recipe below:
Sweet Potato - A Holiday Favorite

Recipe of the Month: Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro
This recipe is an eye-opener for those who find sweet potatoes too sweet or those who are tired of eating them smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar.  Japanese sweet potatoes, with their pale flesh and delicate flavor, are a treat if yo can find them.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Put the Lime in the Coconut! (sweet potato)
4 sweet potatoes
1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro (1/4 bunch if you find them too strong)
2-3 limes
butter, ghee, or olive oil
sea salt

  1. Wash sweet potatoes and bake them whole, in their skins, at 375 for about 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Wash and chop cilantro leaves.
  3. When sweet potatoes are done, split open the skin and place on serving plate.  Season with sea salt and dots of butter or ghee, or drizzle with olive oil.  Squeeze fresh lime juice all over and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
  4. Serve over grains and greens.

Be well,


Interested in learning more?  Please visit my website.