What to eat for the spring season

beetroot
After a long winter of indulging in heavy, rich comfort foods, spring can be great time to reset your body. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to cleanse your body eating fresh, satisfying foods that promote detoxification in your body. Try working these foods into your regular diet this spring – no special trips to the health food store required – all of these foods can be found at your local grocery store.
Lemons – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which helps boost immunity. Drinking a large glass of lemon water in the morning rehydrates you after your night’s rest, alkalizes your body, and flushes your digestive system.
Dark Leafy Greens – Greens are loaded with loaded in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. Eating or drinking greens also boosts chlorophyll levels in your digestive tract, which helps your body get rid of environmental toxins like air pollution that we breathe.
Beets – This vibrantly colored vegetable is one of the most effective foods to eat to detoxify the liver. Plus, it is a powerful antioxidant and is full of magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium.
Ginger – Ginger is also a friend to your liver, and aiding it (along with your colon and other digestive organs) in flushing out waste from your body. It also cleanses the body by stimulating digestion and circulation.
Whole Grains – Choose whole grains over processed and refined grains. Whole grains are high in insoluble fiber, which keeps you regular. If you are trying the flush the body of toxins, you do want want to be bloated or constipated.

Glow Green Juice Recipe

IMG_2037Add to your juicer:
3 Kale leaves
1 granny smith apple
1/2 cucumber
3 stalks celery
1/2 lemon
1 inch piece of ginger

Enjoy!

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Chakra Series :: 3rd Chakra

manipurachakra

chakras_map-svgWe are activating our 3rd Chakra this month as part of the chakra series. The 3rd Chakra, called the Manipura Chakra, is located at our solar plexus. This chakra is where our self confidence, courage and trust comes from. When I think of this chakra, I think of owning my power. If I am nervous or fearful, I work on activating this chakra. It’s earth element is fire. It’s color is yellow and its sound is “RAM.”

Yoga Poses

Different yoga poses can activate certain chakras. Here a few beginner-level poses I like to use to activate my 3rd chakra:

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I):
Think of this pose as your spiritual warrior, arising from the strength of your 3rd chakra. Practice this pose with firm determination, awakening the warrior within you. From Mountain Pose, step your left foot back about 4 feet, bend your right knee and bend it so that it aligns directly over your right ankle. Spin your back heel down to the floor while hugging all of the muscles of that leg to the bones. I like to have my feet hips width in this pose. Square your hips by bringing your left hip forward and your right hip back. Once stable, lift your arms overhead. Stay for 10 breaths, then complete on your other side.

Plank Pose:
This pose invokes the idea of trust, trusting that you have the strength and integrity to hold yourself up in this position. Your body is solid and strong in this pose, and your strength radiates from your core. Start in Downward Facing Dog, then draw your torso forward so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists. Make your body in a straight line through your core, and lengthen your tailbone towards the back of your mat. Externally rotate your shoulders and hug all of your muscles to the bone. Stay for 10 breaths.

L Stand (Handstand Prep):
Inversions can be scary. That is why I love this pose for the 3rd chakra, as doing this handstand prep pose makes you face your fears about going upside down. Do start, sit with your buttocks firmly against a wall with your legs extended out straight in front of you. Note where your heels touch the floor. Then, place the palms of your hands where your heels where, fingers pointing away from the wall. Walk your feet up the fall until they are as high as your waist. Keep your shoulders over your wrists. Your are now in L stand. Breath deeply. When you are ready to come out of the pose, walk your feet down the wall to the floor and take Downward Facing Dog pose.

Healing Foods for the Chakras

You can also nourish chakras through the foods you are eating. The sacral chakra’s element is fire, so foods with heat building and nourishing spices are best. Try this yummy soup recipe to nurture your 3rd chakra.

Indian Lentil Cauliflower Soup
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1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 quart vegetable stock
1 cup red lentils
1 cauliflower chopped into bite-size florets
1 sweet potato peeled and diced
4 swiss chard leaves, chopped (could also use kale or spinach)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh cilantro for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, until translucent. Stir in spices and saute for 2 minutes more, until fragrant. Add the broth and red lentils and stir to combine.

Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in the cauliflower and sweet potato. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cauliflower and sweet potato are tender.

Season with the salt and pepper, and add more curry powder, if desired. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro if desired.

Adapted from the Happy Foodie recipe.


So, you want to be a health coach…

appleSo, an interesting thing happened when I started my Holistic Health & Nutrition Coaching practice. As soon as I put up my web site and started posting on a regular basis on my blog and social media, I started to get inquires. Some of them were from people interested in optimizing their nutrition, losing weight, dealing with food sensitivities, looking to heal their bodies from illness and so on. But, many of the inquiries I get are questions from people that are inspired to become health coaches themselves!

I think a lot of people have this idea that I’m just hanging out at home in my PJs, posting photos of green smoothies on Instagram while sipping on herbal tea while raking in the dollars and not having to answer to a boss. I really wish that was the case! This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for awhile – my thoughts on my education and training and the reality of being a health and nutrition coach.

Where did you get your education?
I completed a one year health coaching certification program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (or IIN) in 2014. I chose IIN because it had a well-rounded nutrition program that covered many dietary theories and included lectures/videos from nutrition experts I respected and admired like Andrew Weil and Dr. Neil Barnard. It also had coursework on how to coach effectively and the business side of coaching like marketing, branding and finance. Finally, the school basically supplied you with everything you needed to get started: a web site template, program overviews, handouts, group program outlines and pricing suggestions. I was satisfied with this program, but felt it lacked in some science. Because of that, I expanded my education with several courses from the Holistic Nutrition Lab. Also, I later completed a plant-based professional cooking certification from Rouxbe.

I liked the format of IIN and was able to complete the program while working full time. I read every recommended book and watched/read all of the bonus material given to us in a reference library. I made sure never to fall behind, I “attended” all of my coaching calls, and did many free consultations. I feel just getting the information on how to coach, how to set up a coaching program, etc made IIN worth the time and money.

The format and length of the IIN program has changed in the few years since I completed my certification. If you are thinking of enrolling, I recommend you speak to a recent graduate.

Are you able to support yourself as a health coach?
The truth? This is a goal I am working towards, but I do currently work other part-time jobs in the health and wellness world for a steady income. If you go to the web site for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, you’ll see testimonials of many successful full time coaches – it can happen – and I hope to one day to transition to coaching full time. The truth is that in my few years as a coach there have been many ups and downs. I’ve had phases where I’ve successfully coached clients and created successful workshops, but I’ve also put hours into other projects where I did not make a great return on my time investment (i.e., lost money).

What keeps me going is that I really believe in what I do and am passionate about helping people. Seeing where my clients start on day one with working to me, to where they are health wise months later keeps me inspired. 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure. 30% of Americans are obese. 70% of deaths in this country are due to chronic diseases. We can prevent a lot of this with proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. A lot of people need our help.


New Recipe: Golden Turmeric Latte

turmerictealatte

This has become one of my favorite winter beverages – its warm, delicious, nourishing… and you guys know that turmeric is really healthy, right? Turmeric has anti-inflammatory qualities – which helps prevent chronic diseases like arthritis and cancer. Turmeric is also healing to the skin, helps with digestion and is a natural remedy for menstrual cramps. The science is there for this. In a major study, turmeric was found to outperform pharmaceuticals in fighting many chronic diseases (read more here). Studies have also suggested that turmeric may aid in weight management by helping to regulate your metabolism.

Makes 1 serving

Gather:
1 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp raw honey (or 1 date)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2” piece of ginger root
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coconut oil

Blend all of the ingredients in a high speed blender. Then put into a small pan and heat until warm.