Tag Archives: holistic lifestyle

Health Foodie: Taking A.M. Lightly

I have food infatuations. There are several items that are my staples, several in rotation, and an obsession of the moment. Egg plants and sweet potatoes have been it. At some point our relationship will cool a little and they will become part of the fridge stock.

Except salsa. We are always hot for each other. I love the substance of the sweet potato and avocado to fuel with the lightness of egg white and salsa.  It comes with a variety of nutrition which goes beyond the fuel. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals are a few things that fight disease, enhance bodily functions, and reduce aging. It is gluten free with “make it gluten options.”  An incredible balance to get us going.

A. M. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  1. Mash sweet potatoes and flour together- start boiling water20180223_1019541067962792.jpg
  2. Spread out on a flour surface and shape a square
  3. Cut into 1 inch squares
  4. Place a few squares in boiled water- wait for it to float then let it ride the waves for about a min
  5. Pull out and let cool
  6. Continue for the rest of the squares

In picture it is topped with egg white, avocado, and pico.  Walnuts and raw honey would be a great option for a sweet tooth and omega brain boost.  Some whole fruit with yogurt or kefir is great. Tomatoes, oregano, chopped garlic, and chopped spinach are an amazing combo too.

Simple Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • One medium onion
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 table spoon of cilantro
  • Sea salt
  • 1 jalapeño dice
  1. Dice tomato and onion and jalapeño  then mix
  2. Squeeze in lemon or lime on mixture
  3. Stir in cilantro with add salt to taste

This is food satisfaction from the start that doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  The gnocchi recipe can be halved for a smaller amount or the full recipe offers leftovers for the next day.

Namaste and Start Your Day

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Seeking Warm Fuzzies Part Two

Certain senses will have more of an impact on your body and mind than others when in sensory seeking endeavors. For me it’s all about smell and food, naturally.

Smell it

My sense of smell is insane. When something is pleasant, it’s amazing. If it smell bad, it’s everything I have not to vomit.  Smell is powerful.  I’m ever grateful my children are potty trained.

Make use of the oil popularity.  A couple of days ago I was walking in a store and noticed a section dedicated to essential oils.  It’s not for parties anymore.  What you buy is important and needs to be a pure form.  However, the more readily available essential oils make scent seeking easier.  Rarely is an essential oil on it’s own safe.  For safety sake, mix oils and blends (more than one oil) in a carrier oil.  Grapeseed oil is my favorite choice but fractioned coconut, almond, jojoba oils all work too.  Putting these oils in a diffuser or a few drops in running water for a bath are excellent ways to disperse the scent quickly.  In a bath it will absorb in your skin for more potent results.  A few oils I blend with oil in a dark glass roller bottle.  A 10 mL bottle 80-85 % filled with carrier oil and few drops of each essential oil will do.  When needed, I roll the blend on the palms of my hands then rub hands together.  Then I cup my hands over my mouth and nose then breathe.  From hand to brain, it does the job.  Take this quick guide to a few essential oil options and make the most of your smell sense.

 

essential oils and benefitsBefore we leave the sense of smell there are a few incredibly simple ways to find the warm fuzzies.  It’s as simple as a memory.  Find your comforting scents from the fall arena to floral,  woodsy, coffee, or clean.  Whatever it is that promotes a positive moment past or now, have it on hand.

From Mouth to Brain

Food! Yay!   There is so much my mouth can do other than a sarcastic or off color comment.  From taste bud to texture to temperature, our oral senses can be an amazing way to find those fuzzies.

Like your sense of smell, your taste buds have memories too.  Feeling down or any similar emotion, comfort foods are not called comfort foods for nothing.  It’s okay to indulge in indulging every once and awhile.  Bring those memories to the plate, bowl, or cup to trigger happy moments.  I would encourage you to create new moments and invited friends and family in those culinary endeavors.  Your taste buds will associate with that gathering time for a powerful multi-sensory punch you can draw upon later.  Don’t let those comfort foods sabotage you.  If your comfort food involves high fats, over processed, too much sodium, and not enough nutrition- eating it more than a day within a week or two  it will back fire.  They impact your brain and emotions along with nervous system in dreadful ways.  Then your comfort food becomes your enemy.

When feeling heavy emotionally go for lighter meals.  Less or barely cooked.  Reduce your fats.  Your fats should primarily focus on monosaturated fat, polysaturated fat, and omega 3 fatty acids on a daily basis.  In food forms this is coconut oil, avocados, eggs, fish, nuts, nut butters to name a few.  These fats help you but take in just what you need.  Cool foods and drinks help wake up the brain.  So does caffeine, but too much can over work the nerves.  Careful, please.  Bitter and spicy tastes aid in uplifting and stimulating your nervous system and brain as well as crunchy foods.  An nut has great brain fats, crunchy plus with a spicy seasoning, it will be an alarm system to your senses.  A warm fuzzy of the jolting variety.

When finding it difficult to calm, anxiety, or an unsettling condition go the opposite direction.  Padded in a couple extra servings of the good fats.  Avocado, egg, and a high protein cheese is my breakfast.  I have difficulty waking up but quickly switch to jitter mode.  I need my nourishment to help out.  Warm foods and drinks soothe and give literal warm fuzzies.  Sweet in its appropriate forms lend a hand too.

Days and moments are varied and when finding those warm fuzzies use all your senses.  Thank you for waiting on part two and Namaste in your sensory seeking endeavors.

Please take a moment to subscribe to this blog, I greatly appreciate your engagement as we journey in the exceptional life.  Next week health foodie adds another tale to the relationship.

 

 

No Salt Added- Spice Up Your Food Life

Healthy food and meals can loose their excitement.  Especially when you take away the fats, sugar, and salt.  Wait, I am to entice you to eat healthy. Hang with me.  Decades ago salt was left by the way side as a  primary means to flavor food for me.   We are in deep with spices and herbs.  By this I mean I get way too excited when they go on sale and enjoy picking them out.  I am in deep.  I love the choices, options, and various ways to can make different flavor profiles.  I love that my food doesn’t taste bland and doesn’t cause me to bloat (salt does! bastard).  Even better, this is a friends with benefits relationship.  Most spices reduce inflammation which benefits your digestive system, joints, muscles, heart, and brain.  Brain and body love.  Certain herbs aid in memory and concentration, are rich in vitamins (some even have iron!), boost immune systems, and fight free radicals with antioxidants.  If you are not familiar with free radicals, those are the bullies who pick on your healthy cells which may lead to cancer.   You are constantly surrounded by free radicals. Herbs are a great free radical bully buster.  Food love with benefits.

There are some things you need to know.  Some spices and herbs may not be safe if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.  Most help with that but a few may need to be run by your doctor.  This is noted with that particular spice and herb below.  Please practice spice safety.  Herbs come in two forms: still looks like the plant (fresh) or confetti (dried).  Dried herbs store for longer periods of time and organic in a glass container is recommended.  Dried herbs are in the spice aisle and fresh herbs are in the produce section (in a bunch you bag or in a plastic container).  Spices can be whole or ground.  I haven’t picked a side and don’t see a reason too.  I am passionate about trying to stick with glass and organic when possible.  Dried spices and herbs are more at home in a dry, cool place.  They don’t do well in direct sunlight.  Let them live their vampire existence in a dry cabinet away from heat.

Now the good stuff. I kept this list basic with it’s benefits, draw backs, flavor profiles, and what I use them in.  Have at it.

Spices

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbs

That’s the short list.  These are common in many recipes which gives you a great base for cooking.  As you expand you will find there is so much more love out there.

Namaste and rekindle the food love

 

 

Here me now- I am not claiming total head monkey control.  However, there are ways to quite them and get them mananged.  This has been HUGE for my daughter and I.  We have monkey riots in our heads often and they just needed to settle the hell down.

When the head monkeys are out of control they need to be fed.

First in a head monkey’s diet is sleep.  Lack of sleep makes them louder or controlling them harder. I am not sure which. Either sucks.  Set a iron clad routine.  For adults, around 10 P.M. and up around 6 P.M. following the rhythm of nature. If that time frame not possible, seven to eight hours where you are able.  Uninterrupted.  My kids and I are still in negotiations on that part.  Settle into a non engaging activity thirty minutes before bed time.  I absolutely CANNOT read  before bed.  Book are engaging and insomnia inducing for me. My daughter it’s the opposite effect. As a  matter of fact it can put her to sleep in the middle of the day, so she claims.  Find a relaxing activity you can walk way from.   Listen to your body. I have been sleeping in an extra when possible due to my iron deficiency and children.  I need the extra sleep.  I am not against sleep aids and if you need them use them with care.

Head monkeys love food.  What you feed them either fuels crazy or appeases them.  Avoid high fats, sugar, dyes, chemical/processed foods.  It reeks havoc on your nervous system and incites head monkey riots.    Caffeine needs to be on a short lease.  There are some studies showing restrained amounts of coffee in the A.M. help rev those brain engines, possibly- POSSIBLY- helping those with ADHD.  It’s not conclusive.   However, in small amounts I find it helps.  The best thing you can feed yourself is water. HYDRATE. Don’t give them a fighting chance.  Head Monkey grub should rely on protein and not just meat protein.  Even  good-for-you lean meat protein in high amounts taxes your kidneys.  Nuts, beans, lentils should be mingling with your chicken, turkey, and lean beef. Frequently. YOU NEED CARBS. Actually, the head monkeys do.  But carb responsibly.  Whole grains like wheat, oats, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa, barley are the bread/pasta ingredients to look for.  Avoid processed, refine, and white flour.  Especially bleached. Saying “bleached flour” out loud just literally tasted nasty.  Bleached?! Whole fruits and veggies are smart carbs. Eat them. In abundance. Then watch those head monkeys quiet down.

What you eat is as important as how and when.  Breakfast needs to be a protein punch and the afternoon follows suit.  Afternoon is when you start to drop in your energy rhythm and wish for those kindergarten naps.  Eat a light protein snack.  Small meals space about two to three hours apart regulate your blood sugar, showing those head monkeys who’s boss.  Drink water all in between.

You may want to consider supplements depending on your head monkey issues. LISTEN CAREFULLY KIDS AND HEAD MONKEYS.  Supplements are not for all ages and can negatively interact with other medications.  Check and double check, professionally consult.  Vitamin Bs (“S”-plural) in a multivitamin for kids, multi or just B complex form for adults is great. The Bs work the nerve system with magnesium, its a head monkey massage.  Iron in a multi supplement form (unless prescribed different by doctor) is another way to aid your nervous system and brain.  Iron can be a poison in high doses.  Thus, unless a higher dose like moi is prescribed and monitored by a professional, stick with a multivitamin with iron. Omegas are for all ages, stages, and reasons.  We are plant based omega takers but cold fish omegas are VERY helpful in head noise reduction.  If you deal with anxiety, depression, focus issues, etc safely used and effective supplement can help your extra head monkeys. Even if you take medication.

Now that the head monkeys are rested and fed.  Give them a run.  You need to get active- daily and through out the day. Simple stretches, standing up and down a few times when you have desk duty makes a difference. Commit to getting that heart pumping.  It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do. Then get hands on.  Head monkeys like creativity.  Everyone is creative and not everyone is a Picasso.  Coloring books are just as effective as a Pollock inspired endeavor.  Cooking is creative. Yay food! Working on cars. LEGOS! Just be open and get something in your hands.  If the monkeys are especially loud then meditate while hands on- shameless previous post plug on meditation . It’s all about being intentional to help you focus on what you are creating for animal head control.

As of now my head monkeys are on a leash.  While I embrace their quirks and noise at times, the clock is ticking so I am going to go cook something.

My head monkeys namaste your head monkeys.  Find mental peace friends.

Meditation for the Distracted: How an ADHD Mom Declutters her Brain

I didn’t think that was possible.  Decluttering my brain.  Most of the time my brain is like those annoying rubber balls let loose in a steel cube competing with the speed of sound.  A lot going on with not much room to go anywhere else.  It was like this before kids.  Now there are lots more of additions, noises, schedules, and distractions.  Sitting down is hard enough but sitting to be quiet and focus seems like a joke.  Even after establishing a meditation practice.  This week has been rough.  As I watch Ghost Child take an interest and begin to meditate to calm, it becomes real.  Our meditation practice is as important as breathing and sleeping.  For our brain survival and surviving our emotions, we need it.   If you have a thriving meditation practice, then Namaste my friend and all power too your practice.  If you struggle to focus or have distractions, then Namaste my friend, we completely understand this struggle.   It isn’t out of reach for us and this is how we jump those hurdles to have a healthy meditation practice.

1. Pre- practice: Sleep and Eat

  • Sleep deprivation will set you up for failure.  Most people do meditate in the morning but if later in the day or at night means better sleep then do it.  Get those 8 hours.
  • Eat and Hydrate. This is a continuous cycle for your well being that impacts your meditation practice in either direction. For your best success, lean proteins and a variety of veggies.  Adding supplements like Vitamin B Complex, Omega 3’s, Fiber, and Probiotic enhance total body including your brain.   A dehydrated brain contributes to lack of focus and disrupts other brain functions.  Stay Hydrated.


2. Pre practice: The Set Up 

  • Be time conscious without being conscious of it.  Start short, 5-10 minutes and set a timer.  A timer can allow you to forget about time. You can work into extending your time.
  • Be guided.  Allow someone to talk you through it or use a script.  Script doesn’t work for me but may allow you to focus on the words. Listening to a guided meditation does wonders for me. Check out more on my pinterest meditation page  for some ideas.
  • Use classical music or nature sounds.  
  • Recite a prayer, verse, proverb, mantra, or phrase.  
  • Be touchy.  Use a  mala, bracelet, rosary, or mudra
  • Be nosy.  Use scents- candles, oils, etc. Lavender calms the brain, Orange engages it.  Those are two of many scents that will help your brain and body. 
  • Use an App.  A dear friend recommended Insight Timer and I love it. It has a timer with guided, music, lectures, and community.  
  • Pencil it in. Put it on the calendar, set a task reminder, etc. 

3. Practice

  • Get comfortable. The positions I would suggest are Lotus (cross legged, spine straight), sitting in a chair with feet on floor and spine straight, or Savasana (corpse pose, lying down).  The important thing is your spine to be straight for optimal blood flow, energy flow, and maximize your breathing.  
  • Breath deep and slow.  Controlling your breath controls your body thus your brain.
  • Accept your thoughts.   It is okay to have thoughts.  Become an observer and let them go.
  • Have grace. It is called a practice and takes practice.  Even after establishing a habit, some days feel more like practice than flow.  Have grace.

Alternative Options

Try:

  •  coloring in silence or calming music
  • walking with in silence while concentrating on breathing,  or listen to calming music or guided meditation,  or use a recitation
  • Yoga- Yin Yoga is great for this.
  • In listening to a guided meditation, use headphones or ear buds.
  • Journal: thoughts, gratitude, anything!
  • Tea mediation: using senses to focus during your tea time. I don’t think this works the same with wine.

My personal practice starts between 6:00 am to 6:30 am most days.  Some times I walk before hand. I always drink lukewarm water with lemon juice before starting yoga.  From there I move into my favorite position, Savasana, and use a guided and/or timer meditation. All my senses are engaged and I keep my supplies in a dedicated space. This might sound daunting but it is very quick. My yoga is twenty minutes.  On a good day, I can meditation 20 minutes.  Sometimes I split between timer and guided or just do one of them. Bad days-  just yoga with a short 5 minute guided meditation.  There is power in emptying the junk drawer up there but there is more power in having grace when it is difficult to do so.  For attention sake, I kept this relatively short.  You may have a lot of questions- message or email me.  I want to help!

Empty the junk.  Take in the grace. Namaste.

Essentials to Fighting Misbehaving Skin

I am in my mid thirties and until recently, breaking out like an awkward teenager. Only more awkward because I am thirty something. It isn’t those little things either, I have had deep cystic acne for decades. I have literally tried everything on the market: stores or online, plus doctors poking and prescribing everything. Don’t sell me anything. Seriously, I have tried it all. More than once. Only one prescription worked in my early twenties. It peeled chunks off my face for months. So that looked gross. However, I had the best skin for like two years. Every two years I do not want to look like a molting animal. It was expensive to boot. No win there. Then these SOB wrinkles start showing up in the midst of all the acne mess.

This has to stop.

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If you spend anytime with anyone in the skin care profession you get the “talk.” About what you eat. While the debate is out exactly on what that is, there are a few common threads. Too much fat, grease, sugar, and stress will cause break outs. I know stress isn’t a food, but prolonged stress releases a toxin like skin hating food. Reduce your stress with walk, talk with a friend, hot bath, or enjoyable activity. Stress isn’t necessarily something you can control but how you cope and handle it is under your control. Managing stress goes a long way for your body and skin with mental health and soul benefits too. If you want to leverage food for the good of your skin- eat for your gut and kidneys. Start with water. Not enough water directly impacts your skin by either making it dry and/or giving wrinkles a fighting chance. Being hydrated helps both your gut and detoxes your body- great for fighting breakouts from the inside out.

When you eat think rainbow and “clean,” as in minimal to no process, as close to the natural products as you can get. Inflammation reducing foods are helpful too and many clean foods tick this box: low sugar, appropriate carbs (not eliminate, you need them!), natural/organic, low fat- lots of veggies and fruits! Maybe reducing gluten and dairy too as those can cause an inflamed gut. There are foods you may want to be more intentional with concerning your skin. Foods rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients fight and protect from free radicals which alters cells such as skin cells thus skin problems. Foods like apples, carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens, berries, grapes, sweet potatoes, and watermelon are abundant in these types of nutrients. These foods also add in vitamins C and E which promote skin health as well. Eating a variety of low to no processed foods in important to addressing skin problems and maintaining skin health.

Put in a couple of servings herbal teas in your daily routine to add in more nutrients, reduce inflammation, and cleanse. Two cups a day of green or herbal teas will do. I do one green tea and one oolong tea most days, some times chai. Add ground cinnamon, turmeric, and raw honey. These spices and natural sweetener provide additional cleansing along with reducing inflammation plus natural antibiotics. Less inflammation is better skin no matter your issue. Bonus, I find it pulls excess water weight. Plan bathroom breaks accordingly. At night I have a new addiction, golden milk. Simply a plant based milk warmed with ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and raw honey. Just a teaspoon of each spice and natural sweetener in a cup of plant milk. Again, it all reduces inflammation plus adds natural antibiotics in turmeric and raw honey. Those antibiotics help your gut and boost skin health.

Now the inside is done, let’s talk the outside issues. In my maddening search to change my skin care routine I came to the conclusion I had to make my own stuff. Part for curiosity on how natural products work and part for customization for my face. Along the way I discovered skin recipes that would benefit a more normal to dry skin. Not for me. I have crazy oily skin that infects itself. Awesome. I have also created recipes that work well with my greasy face. I found turmeric to be my new best friend. It kills bacteria and reduces inflamed skin. Coffee reinvigorates and renews skin. Tea tree is incredible for acne and cold sores. Cypress will show wrinkles the door and regulate oily skin. There are a variety of essential oils that address whatever your skin throws at you. There is a common base across the board oily, aging, or dry: grape seed oil (carrier oil). Grape seed oil is rich in vitamin E which every skin type could benefit from. Raw, unrefined or fractionated (carrier) coconut oil is a non greasy, effective moisturizer that can be skin friendly. It is a great base for normal to dry skin. I am also an advocate for removing alcohol from any care product: natural or not. It destroys your skin and hair. I hope you find one or many of these useful to boost your skin confidence. Each of these formulas I still use or have tried (some better for less oily skin). It’s effective but for the most part, not harsh on my skin. They are also cost effective in the long run. I love nature.

Namaste from the inside out

Acne roller

Grape seed oil
Tea tree- 5 drops
fennel- 5 drops
lemon grass- 5 drops
orange- 5 drops (optional, softens skin)
1. Fill roller bottle with grape seed oil 3/4 full
2. Add essential oils

Face Toner

Alcohol free witch hazel

Cypress – 6 t drops (leave out if you have super dry skin)

Helicrysum- 5 drops (if you have scars or oily skin)

Ylang Ylang- 6 drops (up 2 more drops is you have dry skin)

Juniperberry- 5 drops

1. Pour witch hazel in a small container (3-4 oz) 3/4 full

2. Add essential oils

Face scrub- normal/ dry skin
Raw, unrefined coconut oil- 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons baking soda
Fennel- 4 drops
Geranium- 4 drops
1. In a small container put coconut oil in. It may need to be warmed to soften
2. Add baking soda
3. Add essential oils

Face scrub- oily, acne prone *

Turmeric- 2 teaspoons *

Baking soda – 1/4 cup

Ground plain coffee – 1/8 cups

1. In a blender add all ingredients and blend until smooth

2. Store in a dry container

3. To use- separate a quarter size amount and add enough water to make a paste. Scrub all over the face and/or leave for a few minutes. Rinse repeatedly.

d* WARNING: This stuff is strong but my face needs aggression be cautious. Turmeric is used as a dye. it can stain and may temporarily stain your face. Rinse well and/or follow with toner. The toner will help restore some of the aggressive cleansing while keeping the deep clean effects.

Face Scar roller
Grape seed oil
Helichrysum – 5 drops
Cypress- 5 drops
Frankincense- 4 drops
Juniperberry (optional but helpful) – 4 drops
1. Fill roller bottle with grape seed oil 3/4 full
2. Add essential oils

Lost baggage (under eye roller)

Rose- 4 drops

Jasmine- 4 drops

Chamomile- 4 drops

Clary sage- 4 drops

1. Fill roller bottle with grape seed oil 3/4 full
2. Add essential oils

Age reverse/Dry skin Roller

Frankincense- 4 drops
Geranium- 5 drops
Cypress- 4 drops
Ylang Ylang- 5 drops
1. Fill roller bottle with grape seed oil 3/4 full
2. Add essential oils

Quick Meal for Your Monday

My food relationship can be time consuming, even with fantastic results.  Sometimes a girl wants something on the simple side.  This recipe is easy enough to make that it fits on a “pin.”    I like to go easy on my kidneys and eat vegetarian often.  This gives great protein, vegetarian or not with cauliflower, Parmesan cheese, and green beans.  Yes, even green veggies have some protein in them.  Packed with nutrition for your brain, body, and Southern soul.  Namaste on your Monday.