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Tea Time

12 Nov

and what it stands for. tea time

Rituals are so sweet.  They keep me tethered while life happens.

Edible rituals can be a delight.  As the temperature drops I often crave a hot cup tea or a beautifully crafted cappuccino, usually paired with some kind of sweet treat.

I woke up Sunday morning and wanted that comfy ritual, so I went to a cafe and ordered a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant.  With my treats in front of me – I opened my journal and I realized I didn’t even want the coffee or croissant.

I wanted what they represented instead:  leisure, relaxation, idle time, & indulgence – all so i could contemplate.

I drank the cappuccino, had a few bites of the flaky, buttery pastry, wrote in my white moleskin, and then hit the pavement – with a wrapped up half eaten chocolate croissant in my purse – onto the next thing.  I was hungry for more time in that cafe, not necessarily for the treats they serve.

It was interesting to realize do I actually want what I am eating – or what it represents? Could I access that feeling in a different way?

Some examples: Do I want the freedom that exists in a bottle of beer or the irresponsibility that lies in between the crust & cheese of the pizza pie?  Or can I find that elsewhere?  Do I need the comfort of rich & creamy vanilla ice-cream – or would a call home, a snuggle, or hug do the trick?

Not to say cappuccinos & croissants, pizza, beer, and ice-cream are no longer in my future.  For that would be a bleak future indeed.  Instead I will tune into what it is I really want.  And in the meantime  create space for tea parties with friends, foamy cappuccinos in solitude, delectable pastries, with circular conversations, journals open, and hearts wide receiving the warmth.

Be Smart

4 Nov

We all have a pretty good sense about what we should and shouldn’t eat for our health and wellness.  Eat more vegetables, eat less potato chips.  Drink water, forget the soda.   Cook real food, forget the packaged stuff.  So then why is it so hard?

Maybe we need more information, or to look more closely at our habits and what they are telling us, or maybe there is something bigger in our life that is calling for our attention and disguising as overeating, undereating, etc.  There can be a lot of reasons, and as a health coach I work with my clients to get to the root of what’s working and what’s not working.

A few months ago I was featured on bSmart and had my very first video interview.  Skip ahead to 3:22 to hear about primary foods and how they can impact the choices you are making with your food.

You’ll see my eyes are blue, I permanently tilt my head (because that’s just the way I was made), and I had a pimple – blast!  But I hope you gain some insight as to what it means to be well fed.

Food Snob

29 Oct

My husband thinks I am a food snob, and perhaps I am.

Monday Mussels

Mussels on Monday

Or maybe I am aware enough to demand an increase in the quality of the food that is served in this world.

It is easy to have my ‘food snob’ preferences met while living in Brooklyn, but when I travel (which I have been doing recently) I’m not as in control of the choices I have to eat and my food snobbiness begins to surface.  Here are some recent examples:

  • We go out for barbecue and I genuinely wonder where the meat came from.  I wished with all my might that it was local, grass fed, and hormone free.  Pretty sure that wasn’t the case so I turned a blind eye and ate it anyway.
  • I saw hot chocolate advertised outside a cafe, and dreamed of drinking a mug of thick, creamy, and rich hot chocolate made of real ingredients only to find out it was made with nesquik and milk – I politely declined, and was thankful I inquired.
  • While at brunch the waiter asked if I wanted orange juice.  I asked if it was freshly squeezed, he replied yes, no sugar added, and poured the orange liquid from the carafe – it was from a carton.  Who knows when those oranges were actually squeezed.

I’m disillusioned by supermarkets, I’m disenchanted by the dwindling quality of what can be called and referred to as food.  I want to eat real food, made by real people, with real ingredients – because that is the equation for GOOD FOOD, which is what I’m all about.

Food Mantra

Food Mantra

I’m starting to wonder if that is really such a preposterous request?  Is it absurd to desire local apples that are minimally treated if not straight up organic, real chocolate made with cacao +  sugar – nothing else, bread made from flour, yeast, and water  – that’s it.

When these things aren’t available I eat crap and then I just end up wanting and eating more crap. I grab a bag of peanut m&ms for that 4:00 pick me up and crave more, because I’m not satisfied.  My body isn’t full of real ingredients & nutrients – just fake stuff trying to appear as real food, made by machines & labs rather than people.

So if you find yourself making ‘bad’ choices, give yourself a break.  With all the chemicals and additives it’s very hard not to be addicted to all this junk.  Instead add in some real food (veggies, fruits, beans, grains, etc), and see what happens.  Your body will begin to crave REAL food and it will feel so good.

vibrant veggies

vibrant veggies

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
(just remember to love food that loves you too!)

– George Bernard Shaw

So go ahead and be a food snob.  Your body will thank you.

Oats, Apples, & Cookies

30 Sep

As the crisp fall air replaces the summer ease, I’ve been switching up what I’ve been putting on my plate.  Apples have replaced summer berries, basil & corn have taken a seat to sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and squash – and oatmeal has reappeared into my regular routine.  Oh and cinnamon is generously sprinkled on many, many things – with gusto.

I feel more aligned and at ease when I eat what the season has to offer, it creates this subtle shift.  When I eat seasonally I can smoothly transition into the new space and pace of nature, rather than wanting and wishing what was (although that happens occasionally).  My body expects and welcomes the new seasonal food.  It’s grounding, warming, and comforting.  I find myself craving these fall findings – and unable to have enough apples.

I have been LOVING oats & apples in all it’s many forms.  In bowls or mason jars – depending on the amount of time I have to get out the door.  Here is a simple recipe you can incorporate into your weeks to make a great breakfast or even mid-morning or afternoon snack:

Steel Cut Oats with Toasted Apples & Pecans:

Steel Cut Oats

steel cut oats to stay

* Make a batch of steel cut oats (boil 4 cups of water then add 1 cup of oats and cook uncovered on low for 30 minutes OR add 1 cup of oats to 4 cups of water – stir and let sit for a minute, then cover and put in fridge overnight!) * this will give you about 3-4 servings for the week.

* Toast toppings:  Add a little butter or coconut oil to a warm pan and add cut up apples & pecans (feel free to add dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins here), stir, add cinnamon + perhaps a touch of maple syrup.

Prepare in bowl and sit and enjoy, or add to mason jar and plop in bag – I layered my to go oats by filling the jar halfway with oats + topping with cinnamon, maple syrup, and toasted treats – then repeat.

steel cut oats to go

steel cut oats to go

Of course this is only the beginning.  Top and taste according to what your boy wishes.

Then of course there was and will always be COOKIES.  As much as I am a cookie monster, I try and seek out healthy recipes with unprocessed sugar, good quality flour, and relatively little ingredients.  Here is what I found: click link or picture for recipe from Real Food Real Deals, they were really quite tasty.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Doesn’t it all just look like fall?  Browns and oranges gently resting on the ground.  What are your favorite fall treats?  Would LOVE to hear.

Overheard at the Coop

10 Sep

I am a member of the Park Slope Food Coop and for those of you haven’t heard me either complain or rave about it (I do both), well that’s another story.  The Coop has really great produce, cheese, bulk items, raw chocolate, etc.. that are fresh and affordable since each member has to work a shift.

While working my shift last week I overheard another member say, “I’m giving up sugar…and when I say sugar I mean maple syrup, honey, agave…  I’m giving up wheat…and when I say wheat I mean bread, pasta, pizza and only having 2 tablespoons of grains: quinoa, amaranth…  I’m giving up dairy…and when I say – well you get the idea.

While although that way of eating is extremely healthy, what’s the point of living? Shortly after that, another woman asked if I was a vegan – I then went out for a meatball sub.

I even had a few sips of Coke

I even had a few sips of Coke

Aware this was certainly not one of the healthiest things I could have eaten, I ordered anyway – and savored half of the warm, gooey, sandwich.  Do I eat that way every day?  Nope.

I shoot for something like more like this - colorful.

I shoot for something like more like this – colorful nutrient dense eating.

When it comes to food, as it comes to anything else in life, it’s all a balance. And finding your unique balance is essential to your health and enJOYment of life.  You can have a vegan diet filled with green juice & algae – but if you’re not enjoying it – what’s the point?  I’m all about green tonics and seaweed, but I also enjoy a pizza and beer every now and then.

The thing I find troubling is when we ‘indulge’ we often then bear the wrath of our inner critic, “I can’t believe you did that, that was so gross, you have no self control, you are a fattie and always will be” ….at least that’s what mine sounds like.  Then we end up feeling worse about ourselves and our self worth.  Did eating a bowl of ice cream really make you that much worse of a person?  I don’t think so.  I’m interested instead of food being right or wrong, finding a well balanced approach to eating.

There are many reasons behind what we eat and how we eat, and that can give us a lot of information about our relationship to ourselves – which is the most important relationship we have in this world.  Take a look and see what comes up when you reach for what you reach for – and be as gentle as you can be.  Be a detective, use your food choices as evidence as how you are feeling, drop the judgement and replace with patience and forgiveness.  Because it’s always changing, just like the weather.

Superfy Your Salad

19 Aug

Salads can become boring, uninspiring, healthy ought to’s – rather than scrumptious, exciting, delicious want to’s.  Here are some ways you can add to it’s nutritional content and really design beauty for your belly on a plate.

  • Choose Dark GreensSwap the ice-berg and the romaine for dark leafy greens: kale, arugla, spinach, mixed greens, watercress, dandelion greens etc.  The darker the green the more nutrient dense it is.  So it will fill you up and leave you full of energy.  
  • Add Your Seeds:  Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, etc – sprinkle them on.  They are a great source of fiber, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids – not to mention they are filled with energy (think of the chia pet or sunflower seed that eventually grows from that tiny little seed) that will leave you powered for the rest of the day.
  • Sproutify:  Take it the next step by adding sprouts to your salad.  You can even grow them yourself.  They are easy for your body to digest, filled with vitamins and minerals, and add a nice texture for your taste buds to enjoy.  For more on the glory of sprouts, click here.
  • Homemade Salad Dressing:  As convenient as bottled salad dressings are, you end up paying for a bottle of ingredients that are less than desirable to be putting into your body.  Keep it simple and make your own, or if you are out just ask for olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkle some S&P if you’d like.
  • Top Till Your Hearts Content:  To make it a meal, add a grain, some veggies, beans, or fruit – layer whatever you need to feel nourished and full.  * A little cheese can go a long way 🙂
kale + blueberries + walnuts + parmesan + honey vinegarette

kale + blueberries + walnuts + parmesan + honey vinegarette

If that isn’t enough to get you excited about a bowl of leafy greens, check out this endless guide of salad recipes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

And if you need a quick and easy go to salad dressing try:

1/2 cup – balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

1 cup – olive oil

1 clove of garlic minced

1 scoop of mustard

1 scoop of honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Make a batch and keep on hand in an airtight container for up to two weeks.  And if you are using kale as your base, don’t forget to massage the dressing into those curly, curly ends.  Makes it much more tastier.

So here is to an inspirational and nutritionally dense salad that will leave you feeling full and energized.  I would love to hear your favorite salad, or ways that you superfy your leafy greens… the options are endless.  Leave a comment below!

Sweet Indulgences

22 Jul

I am not one to deprive myself.. and I certainly haven’t been doing any of that this summer.  While out of my normal routine, I slid into a season of constant indulgences for better or worse.  I think mostly for better.  With family, vacation, barbecues, travel, and social gatherings – there is a constant cause to celebrate and gather around a table of food.

So what can you do when delicious but not necessarily super nutritious food greets your eye?  Take a little, have some bites, and crowd the rest of your plate with greens.  Cover most of your plate with a fresh salad, or veggies – and then have smaller portions of the main course (unless it’s lobster of course).  Not sure if there will be salad?  Make it and bring it along, that way you know you have a bowl of nutritional goodness for you to get what your body needs.  It will be welcomed.

Then there is dessert.  Gets me every time.  When making dessert for a big group picnic I opted to be pure, instead of serving a vegan version of chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas, I went straight for supremely decadent brownies.  Not the kind that comes from a box.  Because if I am going to indulge – it is going to be with the best ingredients I can find.  So I found this lovely recipe from Sprouted Kitchen – I subbed in 1/2 of coconut sugar instead of 3/4 cane sugar and added cacao nibs and walnuts.  Nice and simple, pure ingredients, your guests will love and appreciate them and you dearly.

making the perfect s'mores

making the perfect s’mores

Choose the best ingredients when you can.  Look for what is in season, organic (if possible), and maybe even grown locally (extra points).  While camping we made some smores – but not with the usual junk – Nabisco, Hersheys, and Jet Puffed Mallows… instead we went for the high class junk: Erewhon Graham Crackers, NibMor Dark Chocolate, and Elyon Marshmallows.  Not necesarily more nutritious, but without any high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc. – instead with a smaller and simpler ingredient list, which is also always welcome.

So enjoy the season.  Drink a green juice, lots of water, and have a brownie while you are at it.