Celebrate Earth Day- 25 Ways to Embrace the World & Give Back

photo credit: www.suvannamacchapilates.comEarth Day is here again, another year come and gone. Since last year have you tried anything new to give back to Mother Nature, the world, and our environment. Even the smallest things can make a difference, even just planting one tree can be a huge contribution to the world we live in. Think if all of us just planted one tree or even just started to recycle whatever we could. How different would our world be this time next year? What if we all made a vow for the rest of 2014 to just do one thing to contribute to a cleaner, greener world to live in, it could make a huge difference in the way we all live. (Especially our children and they’re children behind them) Need some ideas… here’s 25 to help you get started! Happy Earth Day. Remember to get outside even if it’s raining and enjoy some fresh air, if you’re lucky some sunshine, and rub some dirt on your skin when no one’s looking-we won’t tell anyone! ;)

  1. Save the bees-(we’re destroying them daily with the chemicals from factory farms, find out how to fight back! Here’s one of my favorite organizations, I’ve been apart of and contributing to them for 6 years now. www.greatsunflower.org.
  2.  Plant a tree or lots of trees!
  3. Share a ride- learn to carpool when you can.
  4. Save electricity- lower your heat in the winter/turn up the thermostat in the summer.
  5. Find out if your eligible for solar panels for your home.
  6. Shop local farmers markets-buy seasonal and cut back on emissions.
  7. Clean up a highway-nothing looks worse than trash filled roads and highways.
  8. Leave your car behind completely- grab a skateboard, bike, or your running shoes
  9. Start a garden. Get the kids outside and away from the video games. Time to get your hands dirty!!
  10. Keep the beaches clean- only leave your footprints. Take everything home that you bring out-every time!
  11. Recycle -it’s a no-brainer.
  12. Reduce, Reuse, Restore, Replenish
  13. Turn off the tv, computers, radios, phones, lights, and just get outside!
  14. Upcycle for kids crafts and gifts.
  15. Conserve water. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth and those cups of water lying around half-finished, don’t dump them down the drain-water a house plant. (Learned that one from my dad and love that one!)
  16. Learn to compost!
  17. Grow Food not Lawns! Forget grass in the front year, dig it up and grow your own food.
  18. Donate your time or money to organizations that make a difference to the environment or the world.
  19. Join an organization in your area. Such as “The Chesapeake Bay Foundation,” “Surf riders Association,” check out the cool groups you can get involved in, in your area.
  20. Be more sustainable. If you can have your own chickens build a coop, build a raised bed even if it’s just for herbs, or plant flowers and beautify an area.
  21. Make a rain barrel. Catch the rain to conserve water usage.
  22. Go Digital- reduce paper use with billing, newsletters, and magazines.
  23. Replace disposable water bottle and coffee cups for reusable ones.
  24. Change out paper and plastic bags for reusable ones. Even for your lunchbox! Some grocery stores give you money back on your grocery bill for using reusable bags! Bonus!
  25. Go Green!!! Enough said! :)

 

Back Porch Lavender-Strawberry Sun Tea

 www.farmfoodieandfitness.comEveryone knows I’m a sucker for the south, not a day goes by I don’t start dreaming of Charleston and wishing I was sitting on my wrap around porch of an old plantation home sipping on a glass of sweet tea from a mason jar! ;) (A girl can dream can’t she?) After the weekend, filled with sunshine, warm temps, and a day full of gardening I decided it was the perfect day to make my Back Porch Lavender Sun Tea. Usually I add peaches but since we’re far from peach season, I used fresh strawberries and my chocolate mint has already come in so I made sure to snatch up a handful for this recipe! My daughter loved it so much she actually stopped helping put onions, potatoes, and peas in so she could sit on the front step of the porch and sip from her cup. Girl after my own heart! Today looks like the last day in my area for 70 degree temps, it’s dropping back down in the high 40′s by Wednesday so get out there and make some of your own so you can pretend it’s warm and spring like again! Here’s my take on southern sweet tea just with a health twist and not all that processed sugar. 

Makes 3-4 Servings

  •  5-6 green tea bags
  •  3-4 fresh strawberries
  •  2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
  •  2 tablespoons honey
  •  1 lemon- sliced
  •  2 tablespoons chocolate mint (more sprigs for garnish)- Other mint can be added instead of chocolate mint
  •  Ice

Bring water to a boil. In a pitcher add tea bags, pour boiling water into pitcher and let steep for 15-20 minutes. In a separate container using a tea strainer, add lavender and mint, then steep for 8-10 minutes. Compost used lavender and mint leaves. Add lavender and mint infusion to pitcher with tea bags. Add lemon slices and honey. Stir well. Let tea sit in the sun for an hour or more too cool and absorb all the flavors. In a mason jar, add ice and pour tea. Garnish with mint sprigs.

 

 

Forming Healthy Habits & Beating Unhealthy Food Cravings

DSC_6002This guest post was contributed by Jesse Andrews who is a fitness expert and who works for Seven Seas click here to learn more. Jesse loves eating healthily and feeling the benefits, but his diet is not always perfect! He tries…

As you hopefully are aware, being healthy (and slim) is a goal that is best reached by adopting a healthy lifestyle – rather than simply crash dieting, as is the term most used.

That’s all well and good, but as humans we aren’t always perfectly virtuous and there are times when temptation gets the better of us. Which is what makes following a long-term healthy lifestyle so difficult.

In this post I am going to tackle the topic of forming healthy habits and getting rid of those unhealthy ones – because mastering your eating habits is the only way that you will be able to consistently stick to your new diet.

Start With Breakfast

Breakfast is perhaps the most abused meal of the day because most people don’t give it much thought. Now personally I don’t subscribe to the belief that it is the most important meal of the day, so skipping it is fine if you want to.

But whatever your preference, form a healthy habit:

  • If skipping breakfast causes you to snack on crisps and chocolate up until lunch then you need to kick the habit or start eating a healthy breakfast.
  • Skipping breakfast is better than eating a rushed, unhealthy breakfast consisting mostly of sugar, so consider fasting to lunch if you can (it’s pretty easy once you make a habit).
  • If you do eat breakfast, make it a healthy one. You would probably be pretty shocked just how much sugar there is in most breakfast cereals and fruit juices.
  • Instead consider whole grain carbs or protein, and if you’re super busy in the mornings, try just having a protein shake,.

Satisfy Cravings

Satisfying cravings is tricky because you are certain to have them and you can’t live a lifetime without ever giving in to temptation. So what you need to do is get the hang of satisfying those cravings without “letting yourself go”.

Learn to know which sorts of situations lead to bingeing:

  • Cravings caused by boredom are more likely to lead to reckless abandon, so these are the types of cravings that you need to resist – don’t give in, go out and do something instead.
  • Cravings are more likely to be satisfied easily when you are in a good frame of mind and are feeling happy – which is all the more reason to be active and healthy.

Drink Plenty Of Water

When you get thirsty it is easy for your body to mistakenly think that you are hungry (especially if you are often dehydrated) – so you need to break this cycle!

From now on, whenever you feel hungry, tell yourself that you are allowed to eat, but first you must drink a large glass of water and then wait 5 minutes.

By doing this, you may find that you are not hungry after all, but even if you are the water will cause you to feel fuller sooner such that you naturally eat less.

Come Off The Sugar

You may not realize this, but sugar can be addictive. Not physically as such, but because your body (and your sense of taste) adapts. If you consume a lot of sugar, or sugary foods like:

  • Breakfast cereal
  • Crisps
  • Chocolates, candy, sweets
  • Pasta
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Fruits and fruit juices

… Your taste buds will decrease their sensitivity to those tastes and they will stop tasting as good. Which also means that non sugary food will start to taste bland! Forming the habit is the hardest part, but if you kick the sugar habit and eat nothing but whole foods for a month – you won’t believe how sweet a simple carrot can taste!

Go Without Occasionally

Intermittent fasting has become a bit of a fad, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it is based on good reasoning and even if you don’t want to following an IF diet you can still get a lot from going without food occasionally.

  • It frees you mentally from the constant “need” to eat and teaches you that you are not a slave to your appetite. Sure, being hungry isn’t fun, but it won’t kill you either!
  • It shows you that a single missed meal won’t send your metabolism plummeting. If you’re hungry but the only food options are unhealthy – it is always better to go without.
  • It resets your appetite and allows your stomach to shrink / recover from constant work. After a long fast I often find that I eat less for a few days but still feel full.

Living and staying healthy is a habit, and all of the tips above are with that in mind. A good diet is made up of hundreds of decisions every week and month, but by focusing on your long-term habits you will soon realize that your daily battles are that much easier to win!

Going Gluten-Free?

photo credit: www.healthblog.dallasnews.comHere’s why you should consider it…

All this talk about Gluten-Free, Celiac disease, gluten-intolerances, allergies, and sensitivities got you completely overwhelmed and confused?   What is Gluten? How do I know if it’s in my food? What can I eat? How do I avoid it? Where do I shop for products? Do I have to give up pasta, bread, and everything else I love eating? Are you ready to live a gluten-free lifestyle or maybe now you don’t really have a choice? Here’s how to figure out if living a gluten-free lifestyle is right for you.

Not feeling too well lately? Not sure what’s really going on? Headaches, low energy, bone and joint pain, IBS, inflammation, or skin disorders? Any or all of this sound familiar? Most people would never think of a gluten sensitivity or even Celiac disease. But if you’re having one or more of these symptoms chronically, it quite possibly could be exactly what’s going on.

It was once thought you had Celiac disease or a wheat allergy if you had a hard time digesting any products containing gluten. That’s not necessarily the case today. As more and more fillers are being put into our foods, we’ve watched the health decline in Americans and as well as across the world. Children are suffering and developing chronic health problems from their daily diets. In 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine review linked 55 different disorders of gluten. “Now, 1 in 141 people have Celiac disease and 83% are unaware they have it,” says The Mayo Clinic.

So, how do you know if it’s truly a gluten issue?  During digestion, the body’s natural defense system reacts to the gluten proteins by attacking the lining of the small intestine. Without a healthy intestinal wall, the body cannot absorb adequate nutrients which can result in osteoporosis, infertility, delayed growth, auto-immune diseases, and even cancer.

Always talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing these kinds of health concerns, you can ask for a blood test or see your allergist for a prick test. But, you can also self-test by trying the “elimination diet.” By eliminating gluten products from your diet for 2-4 weeks, you can track your symptoms to see if they improve, then start reintroducing gluten foods back into your diet to see if your symptoms return. If your symptoms come rushing back then there’s a pretty good chance you have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten.

Gluten-free diets are all the rage right now! And there is a 4.2 billion dollar industry promoting these products. How do you know if you’re really getting gluten-free? Learn to read labels. You’ll be surprised where gluten will hide, sauces, marinades, MSG, imitation meats, vitamins, pharmaceutical-grade medications, even lipstick and cosmetics.

The best way to avoid gluten filled foods is to stick to whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, dairy, meats, and gluten-free grains. Not sure which grains are free of gluten? Try quinoa, wild rice, corn, millet, buckwheat, and sorghum. Oats are often cross contaminated with wheat and rye so make sure to buy gluten-free whole oats, and avoid rye, barley, wheat, faro, spelt, and bulgur. Gluten will also hide in items such as food starch, caramel coloring, malt vinegar, and hydrolyzed plant proteins. Learn to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, that’s where you’ll find your whole foods. And you can also look for the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) Certified Gluten-Free seal.  This seal indicates that the manufacturing facility was inspected and the product is certified gluten-free. Here’s one of my favorite gluten-free recipes. It’s simple and quick to make and it’s perfect for jump starting your day. It’s packed with protein and nutrients, it will help keep you feeling fuller longer, and it’s delicious too!

Raisin Walnut Quinoa with Spiced Fig Chutney

 Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa sprouted or cooked
  • 3 cups filtered water if sprouting
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves-chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

If sprouting quinoa, make sure to rinse well. Soak with water for 3-4 hours or until quinoa sprouts. Or bring water to a boil and quinoa, cover and remove from heat until all the water is absorbed. Add all ingredients. Wait till quinoa has cooled before adding ingredients if cooking.

 Chutney

  • 1 garlic clove-minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ¼ cup red onion chopped
  • ½ teaspoon jalapeno-seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup fire raisins
  • 2 cup fresh figs (can’t find figs-sub whichever in season fruit you like)

Add garlic, ginger, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, olive oil, and raisins in a bowl. Mix well. Quarter figs and add to top of chutney. Combine quinoa salad and chutney together and toss well. Serve cooled.

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry & Blackberry Gluten-Free Pancakes

www.farmfoodieandfitness.comSpring is desperately trying to get here! That means fresh fruits are right around the corner and we’re almost into strawberry season in my area, almost! Here’s a play off my families Sunday Tradition. Gluten-free pancakes and I let the kids pick what to put in them. They grab their antiqued painted stools, wooden spoons in hands, and just like the dog, they wait for mama to drop a berry on the counter or stove so they can quickly snatch it up and pop it into their mouths! :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free pancake mix (I use buckwheat.)
  • 1 farm fresh egg
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • fresh organic strawberries-washed and sliced
  • fresh organic blackberries- washed and cut in half
  • 100% maple syrup (the real stuff-don’t be fooled by imposters!)

Directions:

  1. Add pancake mix, egg, oil, and milk into a bowl and mix well. In a saute pan drizzle olive oil, on medium heat, scoop mix into a warmed pan.
  2. As the little bubbles start to form on the outside of the pancakes, add fresh fruit and let cook another minute.
  3. Flip and cook until cooked through.
  4. Stack your cakes on a plate and top with more berries.
  5. Pour on desired amount of maple syrup.

Enjoy sitting down as a family at the table! Ours don’t last long so I always double the recipe. Feel free to sub other fruits or gluten-free flours!

National Nutrition Month

photo credit: www.cardiachealth.orgMarch is National Nutrition Month, if you haven’t started gearing up for bikini season, this is the month to help you get a little more motivation. I can’t believe March is almost over and still feels like winter where I am. We’re actually forecasted for snow again tonight. Beach season doesn’t feel like it will ever get here! So in honor of nutrition and the upcoming sun, sand and surf season. Here’s a few points on how you can embrace your health and give yourself some love this month.

I had a client call me this morning and tell me she’s been eating clean 80% of the time, dropped the soda completely, been eating breakfast every morning and she can’t believe how much energy she has and how great she actually feels now! I love those stories. I wanted to give her the biggest hug and big sloppy kiss. She totally made my day! I knew she could do it, it’s just getting past that big hump in the beginning that’s the hardest. Those little success stories are what keep me going as a Holistic Health Coach and Healthy Living Advocate. “A little ripple effect” that will hopefully start a change in the world.

So here is 10 things to do for yourself this month (well what’s left of it) ;) But you can continue on and reap all the benefits!

  1. Try something new! Never eaten brussel sprouts, artichokes, or monk fruit? Try it out once, you may surprise yourself.
  2. Try to incorporate different greens into your diet. If you’re not too crazy about one, try another. You can always hide them in smoothies too!
  3. Learn to read a label. You’ll be surprised what you’re really eating!!!
  4. Start a garden. Grow your own food, eat the things you really like. Visit a farmers market.
  5. Add an extra glass of water to your diet each day.
  6. Eat off a smaller plate. You’ll learn portion control and you won’t consume so much food. If you’re still hungry after, then go for seconds.
  7. Replace processed sugars with natural…honey and 100% maple syrup are great ones to use.
  8. Choose healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, veggies with hummus, plain yogurt and add your own berries, The possibilities are endless!
  9. Chose wild caught fish, skip the farm raised. And choose organic or humanely raised pork, beef, and poultry.
  10. Get in the kitchen, stay out of the drive-thrus. Anything coming through the window is not food!

Hope these little pointers help! Here is a healthy snacks guide you can check out and grab some great, new healthy recipes!

An Irish Celebration

www.farmfoodieandfitness.comIt’s St. Patty’s Day! My favorite holiday! Today we woke up to 5 plus inches of snow on the ground again!!! Ughhh, kids out of school once again and so much for the spring like weekend we just had! But instead of wallowing in my winter grumpiness, I decided to have a cooking fest in the kitchen to celebrate my heritage.

My great grandmother Winnie came over “on the boat” from Donegal, Ireland in 1900 at the age of 15. She came into Ellis Island alone after spending weeks upon weeks at the bottom a rat infested ship sending immigrants over to the States. So to celebrate my Irish nationality and celebrate my brave great gram and also my inspiring 93 year old grandmother that continues to fills my head with lots of family stories, photo credit: www.whereamigoing.pbworks.comtales, and lessons from the motherland… I decided to get my little ones involved on the food side of our heritage and hope that they fall in love with the dreams and hopes their great and great-great grandmother also shared with me. We still have family living in Donegal so I hope one day soon we can all take a trip to truly experience the food, culture, ideals, and traditions of Ireland.

So, with my wee little ones completely excited and totally under my feet in the kitchen, we made Potato Leek Soup, Watercress and Blood Orange Salad with Homemade Lemon Caper Dressing, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, and Baked Salmon in fresh herbs and leeks with sauteed broccoli. Then we had an Irish breakfast this morning! Scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, cornichons, roasted tomatoes, hash browns, and of course a little Irish soda bread. That’s a lot of cooking so I’m going to pass along a couple recipes we made and save some of the others for later. ;) Hope you enjoy them! Happy St. Patty’s Day! Wishing you all the luck of the Irish!!

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Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Squares

photo credit: www.veggiesbycandlelight.comHere we go again with winter! We just had 70 degrees here yesterday, now it’s 11 and 50 mph winds! Ughhh, you get a little excited for spring, the garden, lighter healthier foods and wham not so much! So in my grumpiness I made these comforting but yummy fruit and nut oatmeal squares. Perfect for this horrible weather again but also perfect for warm sunny days! Loaded with protein, fiber, and natural sugars. These are great for a snack or for breakfast. Double the batch and eat them till they’re gone! I also forgot to take a picture before we gobbled them up! :(  (So here is an idea of what they should look lime, photo credit: Veggies by candlelight.)

2-3 Servings

  •   2½ cup rolled oats- divided into 2 parts
  •   3 tablespoons chia seeds
  •   1 ½ cups almond milk or other nut milk
  •   2 tablespoons sunflower butter
  •   1 teaspoon cinnamon
  •   1 teaspoon nutmeg
  •   1 teaspoon baking powder
  •   1 banana- chopped
  •   ½ cup maple syrup
  •   ½ cup dried cherries
  •   ½ cup Goji berries
  •   ½ cup almonds
  •   ½ cup walnuts
  •   1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  •   ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degree F and line a baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper. In a blender, blend 1 cup of oats until a flour forms. In a large bowl mix, 1 ½ cups oat flour, chia seeds, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt. In another bowl, whisk milk, maple syrup, sunflower butter, banana, and vanilla until smooth. Add wet and dry ingredients; fold in walnuts, almonds, Goji berries and cherries. Pour mixture into pan and smooth out. Bake for 30-35 minutes until it springs back when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes then slice and serve!

Grab more recipes like this one in my fall/winter cookbook! Spring is right around the corner, check out my spring and summer cookbook too!

Chia Seed Pudding

photo credit: www.farmfoodieandfitness.comSick of the same old breakfast! Try my protein packed and delicious chia seed pudding recipe!! Pudding for breakfast you say? Now who wouldn’t want pudding for breakfast? Chia seeds are packed with protein, add your favorite nuts for heart healthy oils and more protein. Add an array of berries for antioxidants. Top with raisins and honey for sweetness. Drop in your spoon and enjoy!! It’s guaranteed to keep you full through the morning and into lunch.

Chia Seed Pudding:

Makes 1-2 Servings

  •  1 cup chia seeds
  •  1 cup almond milk
  •  ¼ cup sliced almonds
  •  ½ cup blueberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries
  •  ¼ cup raisins
  •  1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
  •  1 tablespoon local honey
  •  ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, add chia seeds and almond milk. Let the chia seeds soak in the milk, until the seeds absorb all the milk. About 5-10 minutes. Once the chia seeds have expanded and absorbed the milk. Top with berries, raisins, almonds, cinnamon, and honey.

Loving this recipe? Grab more like this one is my fall/winter cookbook, “Farm Foodie Fitness Homegrown.”

Citrus Mahi Mahi with Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw

photo credit: farmfoodieandfitness.comSometimes you just want something that tastes fresh and zesty, especially after this crazy frigid winter we’ve had. I can’t wait till the weather finally breaks for good! I’m ready for warm days and cool nights, trips to the farmers market for spring veggies, and the fishing boats will finally start running in again with loads of fresh fish. (Hence my husband is obsessed with fishing so that part may not be the best thing for me!) :)

I also have a small addiction to slaws! My biggest cravings are always for something crunchy. People laugh at me when I tell them this, but my go to at 8:30 every night is not chocolate or something sweet. It’s always Kale Slaw or I’ll make up a batch of whatever I can mix with cabbage. Something about those crunchy, zingy, and earthy flavors, I can’t seem to get enough of!

So here’s my recipe for Citrus Mahi Mahi with Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw and I topped it off with some fresh mashed avocado. These started off as tacos, then I thought the tacos shells would ruin the freshness! I don’t usually eat tomatoes in the winter because they’re out of season, but I had a couple left over from cooking meals for some of my clients. So I through them in there and I think a little more of the acid made the slaw that much better! Let me know whatcha think! Here’s to hoping spring is really right around the corner.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 oz of Mahi Mahi (preferably fresh but frozen is ok too)
  • 3 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • 5 drops doTerra lime essential oil or juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage-shredded
  • 1/2 head green cabbage-shredded
  • 2 carrots- peeled and shredded
  • small handful roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 shallot-chopped
  • 6-7 cherry tomatoes- sliced
  • 1 avocado (ripe)
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

In a medium saute pan, add a little olive oil, add Mahi, 2 drops of lime oil or 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and cook thoroughly. In a separate bowl, add cabbage, carrots, shallots, tomatoes, cilantro, 2-4 drops of lime oil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Slice open avocado, remove pit, mash into a small bowl. On a plate, place slaw, top with Mahi, then add a spoonful of fresh avocado! Soooo good!