Tag Archives: healthy living

Happy, Healthy Plane Food

healthy plane food

Whoever said that plane food was gross clearly never traveled with me. In all seriousness, despite some attempts (more in some airports than others) to make plane food more appetizing and slightly more health conscious, it’s still best to B.Y.O.P.F. – that’s right Bring Your Own Plane Food! I had a super early flight this morning to go out to Tahoe, CA for Wanderlust Squaw Mountain and I was not about to settle for some refined carb-loaded breakfast from Au Bon Pain for breakfast, so I packed my own. I’m writing this in the airport right now and I can already feel the envious stares as people watch me nosh on my fresh sweet cherries from the farmer’s market.

So here’s how I pack healthy plane food for a flight:

1. I think about what I’ll likely be in the mood for depending on the time of day I’m flying. This may seem obvious but the easiest way to thwart your good efforts is to bring healthy plane food you don’t actually want to eat. Trust me, I’ve done it, then you end up spending money on over-priced mediocre airport fare and you’re beautiful healthy plane food goes to waste. A sad story. So make something you’re excited about eating! In my case, I made my vanilla spice chia seed pudding topped with blueberries, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I’m on a huge chia seed pudding for breakfast kick lately so not only was it easy to prepare last night but it was a great healthy plane food choice!

2. Bring sweet & savory SNACKS! This is one of those times where I highly recommend slightly overpacking. You want to cover your bases so that when you are a couple hours into the flight and they walk around giving out free potato chips, you have something even more appetizing and good for you on hand! Today I packed sweet cherries that I picked up yesterday from the farmer’s market to satisfy my sweet tooth and dry roasted edamame with wasabi as my savory. The cherries are perfect for pre-boarding when my appetite hasn’t quite kicked in yet but I feel tempted to nosh since everyone around me is eating breakfast as they wait for their flights. The edamame is packed with protein and little spicy so that in the final hours of my flight, after I’ve consumed my chia seed pudding, I have something to snack on to hold me over till I get lunch.

3. HYDRATE. Regardless of what you choose for your own personal healthy plane food, the number one traveling healthy tip I can give you is to always stay hydrated. Spend the five dollars or whatever crazy price they are charging for the water bottle at the gate or just be a pain in the bum to the flight attendants like me and ask them for water every time they pass by. I’m probably not someone you’d want to sit next to on a plane because between guzzling water and eating my delicious healthy plane, I get up to use the lavatories quite frequently. But hey, I arrive to my destination feeling great, looking good (cause my skin isn’t dehydrated and funky since I’ve properly hydrated and been eating good for me goodies!) and ready to take on my next adventure!

I’d love to hear from you: what’s your favorite HEALTHY PLANE FOOD options!? Comment below and let’s share ideas! xo!

Protect Your Magic

protect your magic

            I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a very special event held by Live in the Grey called “Whiteboards + Wine” featuring special guest Fadia Kader, the fabulous woman behind those little reminders all over the city to “Protect Your Magic”. It was a gathering of all different kinds of magical, motivated minds who love to live in the grey [ Living in the Grey: Loving what you do and living what you love. Blending the professional with the playful. ] to discuss what exactly what our individual magic is and how we protect it.

         Upon arriving, I was greeted by my lovely friend and fellow The Taste/team ludo lady, Sarah Ashley,  and her magically delicious toasts! Enter gratuitous food porn because.. why not?

This deceptive little treat is actually vegan! The chocolate spread is made from cacao and avocado. Clearly, I ate more of these than I'd care to admit. ;)

This deceptive little treat is actually vegan! The chocolate spread is made from cacao and avocado. It tastes so deliciously decadent, you could never tell! Clearly, I ate more of these than I’d care to admit. ;)

 

Sarah's "Mexican street corn"  on toast!

Sarah’s “Mexican street corn” on toast!

 

Peach and Marscapone Dessert Toast

Peach and Marscapone Dessert Toast

 

Okay enough of the food porn! Back to the MAGIC.

So the whole group of us, lead by Fadia, started discussing our individual magic. I loved hearing about what was going through everyone’s mind. We had different versions of our magic but they all really resonated. One man said his magic was discipline. That really spoke to me. He said that his magic came from his willpower, his ability to work hard every day for what he wanted. I kind of love that. I feel like that IS a lot of it. It’s MAGICAL to be able to get up everyday and hit the ground running, for anyone who’s ever launched a business or started a new diet plan, you can understand that magic. Sometimes our magic is our accountability to ourselves. What do you do when no one is looking? What do you do when no one is going to check up on you?

Another magic buzz word was AUTHENTICITY. Of course, this also sets my heart a flutter. How could you not agree? Your magic is in being that person that only YOU can be. Being your authentic self in every area of your life is magical. Ready to create some magic in your romantic relationships? Try adding a dose of authenticity. Want your business to blow up? Yup, you guessed it, be your authentic self. Trust me, people really dig that shit. It’s a blessing to be so connected to who you are and not let circumstances force you to be a less real version of yourself. Now, that’s some stuff worth protecting right there!

Protect your magic event with Living in the Grey

Well now that you have this magic, what do we do to protect it?

Someone offered,”Being selective with who you spend your time with and who you let in your life.”

Ah, yes. That quote about how you become most like the five people you spend the most time with. It’s increasingly hard to be around others who aren’t as tapped into their magic and not forget about your own. I think people forget that this process doesn’t have to judgmental. There are plenty of people I choose not to spend my time with yet don’t think anything negative about them. It’s a matter of making active choices to engage with people who energize you, fuel your fire and make you feel alive. Keep choosing those interactions and those relationships and you will naturally find the others falling to the side. I agree that this can be a tremendous part of protecting your magic. Ask yourself who in your life makes you feel energized, excited and expansive. Spend more time with them. When you find someone bringing you down or into their negativity, it’s okay to be a friend and help them out but be careful about letting it drag you down as well. Relationships with people who are constantly negative or unaligned with our highest good often need to be kept at a distance to protect our magic.

Along with that, respect people for where there at and find their magic, popped up in our discussion.  Not everyone may be the glittery, magical being you are, so it’s important to respect them for where they are on their path. I like to call this “looking for the gold” in people. Everyone has their gold or magic at all times, sometimes it’s just a little harder for us to see it because of what they’ve put over it. It’s a truly magical skill to be able to see the magic in someone who might not be able to see it in themselves but we have something to give. Making it your mission to see that nugget of gold in other people can be a really magical mission.

protect your magic white board

Confidence. Living in the moment. Purpose. Tools. So many beautiful thoughts floating around the room. I couldn’t help but change my mind about my magic. Hearing all these beautiful ideas made me realize that we all have A LOT of magic in us and that “making healthy food delicious”, which is what I initially wrote on the board when I entered, was just the very tip of the iceberg.

It became apparent to me that my magic is my mission. It’s what has me waking up everyday with a big smile on my face. It’s what gives me the energy to write a book, shoot a TV show, post on this blog and see all my clients every week. It fills my days with sunshine and sparkles. When I’m connected to my purpose, everything else can just fall into place. It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. So how do I protect this magic of mine? Well, I mostly protect it in my morning  meditation ritual. I use my tools whether it be a kundalini meditation or just sitting and doing a visualization (like this one here for your inner rockstar). For me, it’s non-negotiable. When life hands me lemons, I can easily get thrown off track and lose my magic for a bit if I’m not practicing my protecting. Staying connected to my purpose, waking up everyday and being incredibly present to the work I’m here to do, the message I’m here to spread about health and happiness and all the people who I want to help, inspire and mentor to start living the life of their dreams, that’s my magic. And you best believe I’m going to protect it! ;)

What’s your magic?!

I’d love to hear in the comments below what your magic is and how you go about protecting it!

 

 

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding


 

Watch me make this super delicious and very vegan chocolate avocado pudding on Shape Magazine’s website. It’s easy to whip up and tastes even better than regular chocolate pudding because the avocado adds such a rich, creaminess to it. Perfect for when that crazy chocolate craving hits and you want something that will really satisfy your sweet tooth with out making you feel guilty!

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pit removed

½ cup soy, hemp, or almond milk

4 tablespoons natural, non alkalized cocoa powder

6 dates, pitted

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Berries (to Garnish)

Vegan ( coconut milk)  Whipped Cream (to garnish)

Now just puree all the ingredients in a high-powered blender and spoon into small bowls or cups, add berries and a dollop of whipped coconut milk, if using, and serve.

Summer Superfood Salad

summer superfood salad  This salad was spur of the moment inspired when I got invited to a potluck picnic in Central Park! I wanted to  bring something hearty and satisfying while also being fun and summery. Whenever I get invited to a potluck anything, I always try to bring something I’d be happy eating as entire meal just in case there’s nothing else I can eat there. Luckily, that wasn’t too much of a concern for this picnic because I was with some other health savvy ladies but it’s become a habit of mine. Most of the ingredients in here are things I picked up from the local farmers market a couple days before. I decided to do a “cooked” salad because I’m pretty sensitive to raw vegetables (have a lot of trouble digesting them) so I try to switch it up when I can and incorporate lightly steamed or sautéed vegetables when I can.  This summer superfood salad is not only good for you, it’s delicious and despite it being light and summery will really satiate you and leave you feeling satisfied. Try it yourself and feel free to mix up the greens and berries with whatever is in season for you right now!

Summer Superfood Salad

1 cup cooked quinoa (I added a little basil + oregano while it was cooking)

2 cups of kale lightly sautéed in 1 tsp of macadamia nut oil (or coconut/olive)

3 baby spring onions diced and lightly sautéed with the kale

1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts

3/4 cup  of fresh blueberries

3 whopping tbsps of hemp hearts

all seasoned with garlic, onion powder, and oregano.

I didn’t add any dressing to it because I honestly enjoy how the natural flavors compliment each other while still keeping it very light and airy. Great, easy-to-make dish to bring to your 4th of July BBQ or just your work for lunch on any given day! Hope you enjoy this summer superfood salad as much I do but feel free to post your own inspired variations of it in the comments section below!

My 40 Day Journey with the Kundalini Meditation for Self Love

selflovemeditation

            Today marked the first of 40 days I will be spending practicing this Kundalini meditation for self love. It was such a beautiful experience starting this journey and such a hurricane of events that lead me to it that I felt immediately compelled to share it with you once I finished my first day. This month I’ve been learning more than ever that everything comes back to our relationship with our self, self love is so paramount to our experience of every single day. Want to know why you’re not attracting the right guy or the right job or maybe even the right friends? It’s all a reflection of our self love and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it’s just a sign that there is more work to be done! Too often we associate lack of self love with people who have no self esteem or confidence, and that can be true but it’s not exclusively them. More of us than not suffer from some sort of self love deficiency at some point in our lives. For me, self love has been a continuous journey as I’ve gotten older, I’m constantly evolving, loving myself more, taking better care of myself but always looking to go even further, clean up even more negative beliefs.

             Of course, like any good break up does, my recent romantic unraveling brought up some pretty important issues to the surface. More importantly, it showed me I still had even farther to go on my journey to self love. It’s when we are in the midst of rejection that our self love is truly put to the test. And I have to say, to a certain degree, I really impressed myself. I have come a long way and I certainly am in a very different (better!) place now than I’ve been with some break ups in the past. Although, I must admit when someone you love leaves you, it’s easy to fall into the whirlwind of negative thoughts like “what did I do wrong?” “why wasn’t I good enough?” “what made me so unlovable?” and on and on and on. I am certainly not immune but it did shake me up and make me realize that I needed to get to work. I KNOW that my truth is none of those crazy thoughts but sometimes it takes going a step farther to really kill those negative self thoughts at the root instead of just slapping an affirmation over them. With this meditation, I’m digging deep, bringing whatever is there up so it can be healed and loving myself and taking care of myself through this  However, I do want to stress that self love isn’t just important when you are in the middle of crisis or feeling rejected, self love is important in your everyday life. It plays a major part on what practices we incorporate into our lives, everything from what we eat, how much we sleep to how we relate to other people. When our self love is burning bright that’s when we’re feeling our best, that’s when we attract amazing things into our life and that’s when we effortlessly eat healthy, commit to a daily exercise or meditation practice and set boundaries with people in our lives who bring us down, that’s when everything starts FLOWING!!

So I ask you to join me (or just follow along and hold me accountable) on the 40 day journey using the kundalini meditation for self love. In kundalini yoga it is recommended to do every new meditation for 40 days to get it’s full effects and then to continue it beyond that to further ingrain it in your subconscious.

The meditation consists of three different parts. Each have a different allotted time and a different arm posture.

PART 1: Sit in a comfortable position (cross legged – easy pose for me) with your spine straight. Place your right hand palm down a maximum of six inches over the crown of your head. Bend your left elbow in by your side and bring your left palm up to shoulder height with the palm facing forward. Focus your closed eyes downward on your chin. Breathe in slow, long, deep breathes with feelings of affection.

Hold this posture for 11 minutes. ( you can chop the time in half if 11 is too long when your start off)

PART 2: Still seated, extend your arms straight out from your shoulders, parallel to the ground and palms facing down. Same eye focus and long deep breathes.

Hold this posture for 3 minutes or chop it down to 1.5 to correlate with the previous section.

PART 3: Stretch your arms straight up in the air, with no bend in the elbows. Keep your eyes focused on your chin still and continue long deep breathes. 

Hold this for the same amount of time you held part 2.

To close, take a long inhale and hold for 10 seconds while reaching your hands high to the sky and then exhale. I personally like to sit with my palms up for a little while afterwards to really soak in the energy of the work I’ve just done before I open my eyes.

My personal playlist for this meditation is “I am light” by India Arie, “Magic” by Cold Play, “Just Do You” by India Arie, “All of me” by John Legend, “Moved by You” by India Arie. I set the timer app on my iphone for the allotted time spans and it plays a little chime when I’m ready to move on to the next part! Feel free to comment below if you have any questions, comments or want to share with me what meditation your currently working on!

Sat Nam,

Cassandra

Chia Buckwheat Cereal on SHAPE.com


Need a great, superfood packed, gluten free, sugar free breakfast option!? Look no further. This Chia Buckwheat cereal is not only crazy easy to make ( we’re talking like five minutes and then let it sit while you shower) but it’ll leave you feeling full and give you some good clean energy to start your day right! Chia seeds are packed with good for you omega 3s and buckwheat groats are a surprisingly delicious gluten free options for your breakfast. Oh, it’s also VEGAN! Or as I like to call it, accidentally vegan because it’s not missing any animal products. Feel free to make it your own by choosing soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk as well as topping it with your favorite seasonal fruit. I am obsessed with using berries because they are full of antioxidants, low in sugar and straight up delicious. This chia buckwheat cereal is a great healthy option for those of you who like a hearty breakfast but are watching your weight. Its also a great vegan breakfast option for those of you (like myself) with all sorts of food allergies, it’s hard to find great tasting gluten free, sugar free and dairy free breakfast option so I’m excited to share it with you guys!

7 Day Cleanse Results

I’m actually sad to see my seven day Gingersnap’s Organic cleanse come to an end but I am so excited to share my cleanse results with you! I have been feeling absolutely amazing these last few days. I’ve loved all the delicious food they’ve given me for the past four days, two days on Spirit Junkie which was half liquids, half solids and two days on their GO cleanse which is all real, raw, vegan food. The last stage of the cleanse has had me on a menu that includes chia seed pudding in the morning, a delicious salad at lunch (sprout salad or spinach salad) and then a creative raw dinner with a  side salad (reuben wrap or thai kelp noodles). I even get a dessert! The raw banana and mango puddings were super tasty and left me feeling like I had more than enough food for the day. I can’t even tell which meals were my favorite because I honestly enjoyed them all so much.  I have been so full, my belly has been so happy and my energy has been through the roof. I seriously don’t want to go back to eating the way I did pre-cleanse, and I wasn’t even really eating bad!

This raw vegan reuben wrap from gingersnap's organic blew my mind. I didn't even think I liked regular reubens but this was out of this world.

This raw vegan reuben wrap from gingersnap’s organic blew my mind.

This cleanse has re-energized my passion for cleansing, it made me realize how even the “healthiest” of us can use a good cleansing and how fantastic our bodies are meant to feel when we’re fueling them with the right stuff. I’m going to continue eating as close to this as possible from now on, I may not be able sustain total raw veganism but I’m certainly capable at keeping away from the sugar, dairy, gluten and eating as much fresh, organic, raw vegetables as possible. Of course, I love knowing when I’m in a jam I can always swing by Gingersnap’s and get something to hit the spot.

I would highly recommend this combination cleanse to any of my New York buddies, to me, it did exactly what a cleanse should do, energize you, make you feel better and inspire you to eat healthier following it. And yes, I did lose weight, I know that’s the first question everyone asks. I lost about 5-7lbs over the week but more importantly I gained a glow! Isn’t that what we really want?

Gingersnap’s has definitely inspired me in my journey of creating a Go Sweet and Skinny Cleanse for all of you out there who don’t have the priviledge of being close enough to a kick-ass place like G.O. where you can just drop by and pick up your food everyday. It’s certainly a bit more work to have to make all the food yourself but it’ll do the job and make you feel great just the same. As for me, this was my first cleanse where I didn’t prepare any of the food or juices and let me tell you, it was a pleasure!! I absolutely loved getting to pick up my supplies each night and not use my kitchen for the entire week. It made life so much easier and once we got into the real food portion some of the meals were certainly something I could have never whipped up at home like that raw reuben wrap. It was so nice to be able to relax during the cleanse, enjoy the carefully crafted meals they had chosen for me and worrying more about taking care of myself then preparing a slew of meals for the day.

vanillachiaseedwbb

            It’s my second day off the cleanse, I’m still in the habit of eating my chia seed pudding for breakfast except now I top it off with some fresh berries, still eating clean, veggie packed lunches and dinners, and most importantly, still feeling like a rock star.

For more information on Gingersnap’s Organic cleanses, click here.

Juice Cleanse Journal: 3 days DONE!

Day 3 of my juice cleanse, on set filming healthy cooking videos for Shape.com

Woo Hoo!!! 3 days of pure juice all done! Yesterday was by far the toughest for me because I was on set all day shooting these delicious recipes for Shape.com and making this super healthy, oh-so-tempting food all day long! Feels GOOD to get this far with out many other cravings though. I haven’t felt crazy hungry or weak at all. It’s been much easier for me this time around than usual (when I make my own) and I can’t help but think that the low to no sugar in Gingersnaps’s juice is the reason it’s been a much smoother ride. Although I do have one ridiculous juice-zombie story for you, I was so exhausted yesterday from the shoot that I got home, took an hour “power nap” and when I woke up I got dressed and left my apartment like I was on autopilot searching for food. Luckily I snapped out of it by the time I got to a nearby cafe and got myself a tea and walked myself back home, haha. I think I’d blame that one on exhaustion from a crazy week though and less on actual hunger because by the time I snapped out of it I realized I wasn’t even that hungry. Had my savory “green soup” made of kale, cucumber, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, olive oil, cayenne, ginger, tumeric, curry and sea salt, and was barely hungry enough to finish the whole juice/soup!

The highlight of my cleanse so far, liquid-wise, has definitely been the Sugar Free Vanilla Superfood Milk (made of raw almonds, vanilla extract, stevia, maca, sea salt and filtered water), it literally tastes like the best milk shake I’ve ever had and doesn’t make me painfully sick afterwards. I’m totally in love and will certainly be frequently buying this gem from Gingersnap’s post cleanse. On Tuesday (day 2), I was on the train in the morning and I got my whole bag of juices stolen from me! Totally unbelievable, right? I am still in shock that someone would steal sixty dollars worth of juice but I guess I like to believe that people are inherently good and that no one that loves juice as much as I do, would find snatching someone else’s an acceptable thing but you never know. I’m safely assuming that some guy thought he was going to hit a jack pot and realized he just got a ton of fresh juice. Regardless, I hope someone drank it because it was too wonderful to go to such waste. So I was forced to improvise during the day, which was hard because I was on set filming cooking videos all day in a studio out in Connecticut. Luckily, one of the producers was nice enough to go to whole foods for lunch and pick me up a fresh, organic, green juice to hold me over. However, by the end of the day I was literally dreaming of my visit to Gingersnap’s later that night to grab the next two days worth of my cleanse and buy a Vanilla Superfood Milk to immediately put to my face. I drank that milk so fast when I got there that I actually gave myself a stomach ache, but it was glorious and I was satiated and so so happy.

The highlight of my juice cleanse and new personal obsession, Sugar Free Vanilla Superfood Milk from Gingersnap's Organic.

Feeling wise – I’m doing okay. I have bursts of incredible energy during the day from the juice but also sleep like a little baby at night and quite honestly, feel like I could sleep even more when I wake up in the morning. It’s hard to say if that’s the juice because I have a lot going on right now both professionally and personally and our body tends to need more rest during intense times. However, it would also make perfect sense for my body to want to relax during this cleansing process since I’m sure a lot of toxins are being released and removed. I do have a surprising confession to make however, I have been having a lot of trouble finishing all the juices! I’ve never liked beet juice so that particular one never quite gets finished despite my best attempt, and the “green soup” that Gingersnaps Organic gives you for the end of the day is absolutely delicious (I wish I could heat it up and drink it like real soup!) but I hardly have enough appetite to drink it all by the time I get to it. I feel slightly conflicted about this because whenever I talk to someone about doing a juice cleanse I will be the first person to scold you about drinking ALL the juices, no matter what because your body needs the nutrients and the calories. However, I feel so full and content, it’s hard to push it. Plus, I feel like not being hungry while cleansing is a very lucky thing, so hopefully I’m not jinxing myself!

Today I get to start the “Spirit Junkie” portion of my cleanse, inspired by my spiritual guru, Gabrielle Bernstein, this part of the cleanse is mostly liquid with a little light food. I start off my morning the same with my SF ginger lemonade, then move on to “KICK” which is a green juice with ginger, soon after I get to my fabulous SF Vanilla Superfood Milk, then a green SMOOTHIE (yipee!!!) and finally some food, SF vanilla chia seed pudding and a borecole salad. I’m excited! I’ll be doing this for two days and then graduated to their all food cleanse. Can’t wait to share how the rest of it goes!

Reasons To Go On A Cleanse

AKA. Why I’m cleansing this week..

gingersnaps organic GO Deep Juice Cleanse

            I’m on the first day of my Gingersnap’s Organic cleanse, this is my very FIRST cleanse where I’m not making all the food myself and I’m beyond excited for this week. I’m in the process of writing my own detox and am savvy enough to put myself on my own sort of cleanse/detox/juice fast (hey,  I even wrote a book about how I do it) but there is something quite delightful in having someone else handle all that for you and I was eager to give it a go. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to cleanse, sometimes you’re feeling gross from several weeks of eating processed foods, maybe you’re feeling sluggish and want to boost your system back in to gear and lots of  people go on a cleanse because they want to lose an extra few pounds fast. My reasons are none of the above. I actually eat pretty healthy, feel just fine and have no desire to lose weight.

I’m cleansing mostly for my mind! See, my favorite thing about doing a juice cleanse is the crystal clear focus that comes from it after the first few days. I love that excessive amount of clean energy that just oozes out your pores and makes you feel like you can take on the world. I’ve decided to do this cleanse to help focus. Writing my first big girl book about my entire lifestyle plan, creating a detox, planning lots of exciting events and handling some personal and family things that have come up have really made my brain mush. I forget dates, sometimes forget emails, and I’m just struggling to finish writing sometimes, to be really honest. Also, I’ve been under a lot of stress, a break up, family health issues, it’s enough to turn even this green juice drinking, meditating body into an acidic danger zone. Even the healthiest of us still release stress hormones that can turn our inner environment acidic, lower our immune system, slow us down and make our skin break out. So it’s always a great idea to focus on eating alkaline, organic and nutrient dense food when your world is spinning a little too fast for your own good, but you know what’s even better?! Having an amazing place like Gingersnap’s handle it all for you so that you can have one less thing to worry about and know that you’re in good hands getting the nutrients your body needs to function at it’s best. As someone who makes food all the time for my blog and for various cooking videos and appearances, it’s such a pleasure to have it all come to me for a change and be able to focus on my life and my work instead of worrying about what I’m making for dinner, or what I’m juicing for the day.

Of course, the other reasons for cleansing are also very valid so I don’t want to completely skip over them. Going on a cleanse is a great way to get back into the habit of healthy eating when you feel you’ve fallen off track for a few weeks, it puts you on a strict regimen so it’s a lot easier to avoid temptations that pop up and remind you of how amazing you can feel when you are treating your body right. I highly recommend it to my clients who are struggling with gaining motivation to make some serious changes. It’s also a great way to rev your body up if you’ve been feeling sluggish because chances are you’re feeling sluggish because you’re not getting enough nutrients in your diet or you’ve let stress bog you down and need a nice healthy rush to re-calibrate you. While I never recommend trying to do something drastic to lose weight quick, if you need to drop a few pounds for a special occasion, going on a cleanse is a great way to accomplish that by flooding your system with glorious good for you foods or juices and NOT depriving yourself! Plus, instead of feeding  unhealthy behaviors like some crazy get skinny quick schemes do, going on a vegan, raw, organic juice or meal cleanse will actually influence you to start putting healthier, good for you foods into your body when you’ve finished.

Why did I choose Gingersnap’s Organic out of all the juice spots in NYC?

Gingersnap’s Organic is a raw, vegan, organic cafe in the East Village that makes all of it’s cleanses (and juices or food you can purchase) on site. I love that I know where my juice is being made and I can trust that it’s the freshest possible because it’s not being carted on a truck from a warehouse somewhere in Queens or Brooklyn. I also know that the juices are made as a whole, in other words if there’s a juice with kale, cucumber, pear and lemon, it’s being made all at once and there isn’t a massive container of kale juice, a massive container of cucumber juice, etc, that’s being mixed together to make my juice. This may seem a little crazy but there are actually some well-known juice spots that do this sort of mixing. The reason why that’s not so fabulous for your juice quality is that when they are mixing batches of juice like that you could be drinking kale from 3 days ago, cucumber from this morning and lemon from yesterday. Not an ideal situation. You should always be stickler about your juice, and even more so on a cleanse where you are drinking a lot of it. NEVER drink juice that’s not made with organic fruits and vegetables, you do not want all the nasty chemicals, hormones and antibiotics that can be found on non-organic produce inside your body. Also, never ever cleanse with pasteurized juice, look for cold pressed or high pressured processing like they do at Gingersnap’s.

I also chose Gingersnap’s Organic because of their kick ass founder, yogi and raw foods expert, Jamie Graber, she personally sat down with me and helped me customize this cleanse for my needs. Gingersnap’s offers a wide variety of cleanses from all juice to all food and they let you mix and match them. When I told Jamie about why I was doing the cleanse and that I was pretty open to whatever she wanted to throw at me, she encouraged me to do a combination of three. We decided I would start off on their Go Deep Sugar Free juice cleanse for two days, then move on to their half liquid, half solids Spirit Junkie cleanse (inspired by my guru, miss Gabby Bernstein) and finally finish off the week with their Go Cleanse which is all real vegan, organic and gluten free meals. I loved the idea of being able to experience a whole range of cleanse options and work my way from liquids back to solids over the course of the week. I also find Jamie totally inspiring and love how passionate she is about making the best possible juice and food for her clients. I know my body is in good hands with her this week!

 

Owning Our Food Sensitivities

Owning Our Food Sensitivities: Let's stop apologizing for staying away from food that negatively affects us and start treating them the way we would any other food allergy.

                            The topic of owning our food sensitivities manifested itself in numerous conversations this week, between clients, friends and then finally my own inner dialogue  in my journal, it was just bursting to come out! I wanted to out myself with this little instagram note, stating all my negative food reactions and also use it as a reminder to myself on a daily basis why I actively choose to not incorporate those things into my diet. I often recommend tools similar to this to some of my coaching clients when we are food-mood journaling and going through the discovery process of finding which foods work with our bodies and which foods cause negative reactions in us but last night I made this for myself for a reason beyond just reminding myself how gluten, sugar, and dairy effect me. I made this to empower me when I have to talk to the people in my life about my dietary preferences.

              How many of you have felt judgement or the need to explain yourself when you start taking the food that bothers you out of your diet? I know I have! It’s actually one of my biggest stressors to be perfectly honest. I hate having to explain or defend myself to certain people in my life every time I order from a menu. You wouldn’t attack or questions someone who’s allergic for nuts for asking the restaurant if there’s nuts in an entree, then why would you roll your eyes if someone asks if there’s sugar or gluten or dairy, etc?  To that same point, you wouldn’t feel like you needed to apologize for having a nut allergy so don’t feel like you need to apologize for choosing not to eat food that doesn’t make you feel good! Trust me I know how hard this can be, I’ve watched clients struggle with it and it’s certainly come up time and time again in my life so I wanted to give you 3 tools today to really start owning your food sensitivities that I’m also going to be incorporating into my daily life!

3 TOOLS FOR OWNING YOUR FOOD SENSITIVITIES

1. TREAT IT LIKE AN ALLERGY. A food sensitivity is really an allergy of sorts anyway it’s just not always severe enough to send you to the hospital or lead you to popping a ton of Benadryl so your throat doesn’t close up. However, when you eat food that’s not working for your body, there is a very real reaction going on! Get clear on your symptoms, use tools like writing them down in your phone, as a graphic like mine or on an index card you carry in your purse so that when you’re tempted to eat them you are reminded of the consequences and can make a healthier choice for your body.

2. TALK ABOUT IT LIKE AN ALLERGY. When people ask you why you’re not eat X, instead of saying,”well everyone knows that X is not good for you, I read this article saying that if you eat X then yada yada yada insert whatever horrible things may be associated with X.” make it personal to you and say,” I don’t eat X because I have a really negative reaction to it, I experience X, Y, and Z symptoms and just feel better when I leave it out of my diet.” The power of this lies not only in owning your truth and prioritizing your well-being but also in letting the person off the hook. When we make something “bad” that the other person might consume, they immediately feel defensive or even guilty and that’s a lose-lose. When you make it about yourself and what happens for you, it’s genuine, approachable and much more effective at communicating your message with out making the other person feel judged.

3. PLANNING AHEAD. I think the worst part of not eating foods for me is when you go to a party or a restaurant and you have a really tough time ordering off the menu or finding something you can eat. It’s not that I actually mind, it’s more that I feel bad that everyone else now feels terrible because I can’t eat! So to side-step this I always look up new restaurants and check out what items off the menu I can order ahead of time or even call up and see if they offer a vegan option, steamed veggies, etc. Most places are more than happy to accommodate but figuring it out ahead of time makes everything a little smoother when your sitting down ready to enjoy dinner. I also love bringing food whenever someone invites me to a gathering, I love to cook and share my food so it’s genuinely fun for me but it’s also a good way to know that there’s always at least one thing I can eat at the party!

I hope these tools prove to be useful to you, I know they have really helped my life tremendously. And at the end of the day, you just got to OWN IT! You are such a magnificent, enlightened being that’s doing the best you possibly can to be your highest self and to take care of your physical and mental wellbeing and that is a beautiful thing. Stand in that presence, in that greatness, in that light and truth. Don’t let other’s opinions or negativity bring you down. More than likely, if there judging you it’s because they are not as far along the path as you are and seeing you show up for yourself like that reminds them of the work they need to do for themselves.

Sending you peace, love and light my GSS girls! xo!

Kale Creamsicle Smoothie

Try this delicious kale creamsicle smoothie! Sweet and refreshing like a old school orange creamsicle with some added super foods to give you the boost you need to feel amazing all day long!

                       It’s a scorching 90 + degrees out here in Los Angeles and I’ve been chugging green juice and smoothies all week to keep me refreshed and satisfied.  Summer time in general always makes me a smoothie addict. What better way to not turn on the oven and get all your nutrients in one refreshing glass?! This (vegan) kale creamsicle smoothie has certainly become a go-to this week after picking up some of the ripest, most delicious navel oranges at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market! This kale creamsicle (vegan) smoothie is just as delicious as your old school orange creamsicle with the added bonus of some super foods to give you some good, clean energy to help you power through your day!

KALE CREAMSICLE SMOOTHIE

1 cup of coconut milk

1 small organic banana

1 large handful of organic kale

1 large organic navel orange (peeled)

2 tsp of chia seeds

1 tsp of organic raw almond butter

1/4 cup organic frozen mango 

Blend it up and enjoy!

Check out my interview on Balanced Babe!

My interview on BalancedBabe.com about ABC's The Taste, my health coaching practice and how  I started my health and wellness blog, GoSweetandSkinny.com

            Such a pleasure to be on Sarah Baker’s lovely health and wellness website, BalancedBabe.com. Honored to be a featured “balanced babe” and to be interviewed by Sarah about everything from my experience on ABC’s The Taste, how I work with my coaching clients and to how I started blogging for GoSweetandSkinny! Click here to read the entire interview.

My First Half Marathon

completing my first half marathon at the More Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon in Central Park, NYC, disordered eating, institute of integrative nutrition, healthy meal plans, healthy smoothie recipes

I am incredibly proud to say that I successfully completed my first half marathon this past weekend in Central Park at the More/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon. 13.1 miles of pure blissful power and a major check off my bucket list (yes I know I’m getting started early, but why not!?) .

First, let me say I’m not a runner.

My friends find this hilarious because I do run from time to time but only for a race or a cause, usually both. What I mean is, I’m not that girl that loves waking up at the crack of dawn and pounding the pavement. I despise the treadmill even more than the streets and in total honesty, I find running extraordinarily boring at times.  I’m a yoga girl, I’ll get up early to get to class, love twisting my body in all sorts of fun postures and will happily do it several times a week. So running was all about going out of my comfort zone and challenging my endurance.

I trained for about a month and a half before the actual race and let me tell you IT WAS HARD, for me at least. I seriously give props to runners who do it day after day. It definitely taught me about commitment and pushing myself. Gosh, it was too easy to give up after 3 miles when it’s just me out there in the park and my foot starts hurting or I just get bored on the treadmill. Yet I’m so happy I didn’t, I pushed and pushed and broke past my comfort zone.

A couple weeks into training I gave up sugar, they’ll be a vlog on that coming soon, but suffice to say the first few days running on no sugar (aka no easy carbs) were extraordinarily challenging but it didn’t take too long to adjust. By the time race day came, I didn’t even eat anything in the morning and I was fine!

training for my first half marathon, the more fitness magazine women's half marathon in central park. Runners in NYC on race day. disordered eating, institute of integrative nutrition, healthy meal plans, healthy smoothie recipes

The night before the race I did make some pretty kick ass healthy, sugar free “cookies” to carb load. That recipe will be in this week’s email blast so sign up below if you want it! They were delicious and did just the trick. I carried a few of them in my pocket for the actual race, just in case, but never ended up needing them.

Race day was actually leagues better than any of my practice runs. There’s so much energy in the air, so many people all around and I made a kick ass playlist with the help of some friends, so I was pumped. I ran the first 8 miles relatively seamlessly, although for anyone who knows Central Park, some of those hills are a killer! It wasn’t till mile 8 which was an typical practice run for me that I started feeling it, had to push through, pump up the tunes (we’re talking Britney Spear’s “Work B*tch”, American Authors “Best Day of My Life” and Sara Barielles “Brave”) to keep me going.

By mile 11, it was actually more painful to walk for the 30 seconds I was guzzling water at the hydration stations than it was to keep pace and run. I ended up running the entire thing other than those water breaks where I simply stopped so I didn’t choke on the H2O I was inhaling.

Once I saw that finish line in sight it was like an extra burst of energy and the high of knowing that I completed it (and it better time than I had imagined) was indescribable. I was walking on sunshine.

Training and completing my first half marathon at the More Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon in Central Park, NYC.disordered eating, institute of integrative nutrition, healthy meal plans, healthy smoothie recipes

Will I do it again? Maybe. The Brooklyn half is in month. ;)

If anyone has any questions about the half marathon, training or is contemplating doing one yourself, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer any questions you may have!

My SUPER SIMPLE Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

chia seed pudding, institute of integrative nutrition, healthy meal plans, healthy smoothie recipes, healthy recipes, vegan recipes

My SUPER simple Chia Seed Pudding recipe:
Just take 2 tbsp of chia seeds and one cup of almond milk (or coconut milk) and mix them together in cup (I love using little mason jars). I added 1/2 tsp of pumpkin spice (cinnamon,nutmeg,cloves) to this batch and it was delicious with out using any sugar! Store it in the fridge for at least 3-5 hours or overnight- I tend to stir it on and off in the first hour or so to prevent clumping of the chia seeds.

BAKED Zucchini Chips

delicious baked zucchini chips

               I was craving a healthy snack this afternoon and decided to try my hand at whipping up some baked zucchini chips! I have been thinking about different healthy snack ideas for my upcoming Sweet + Skinny Detox Meal Plan and these fit right in perfectly! They are super healthy, easy to make and really satisfy that crunchy potato chip craving.

Baked Zucchini Chips

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Slice a zucchini very thin, you can use a mandolin if you have one but cutting them as thin as you can with a good knife works just fine! Spray 2 baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray and spread out your zucchini slices evenly so they do not overlap. Sprinkle some garlic, oregano and a little salt and pepper to  your liking and bake them for 1 hour and a half to 2 hours, depending how thin you slice. You’ll know they’re done when they get a little brown and turn crunchy! 

Letting Go

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“By letting go, it all gets done.” – Lao Tzu

This quote has really been resonating with me the past few days. I’ve got “to-do” lists longer than my legs and all sorts of obligations. Sometimes I meditate multiple times through out the day just to keep my stress level in order. And then it hit me the other day, to just let it go and trust that it will get done. Now this may not work when you are trying to eat healthy and make new habits for yourself but as far as work goes, I really think it helps. I’ve opened up the window for more inspiration, been guided towards certain opportunities and felt more in flow with my professional desires. When we are taking right minded action, not sitting on the couch eating potato chips, but also not forcing and pushing ourselves to finish our to do list at the expense of our well being, we get into a groove.
I have joked around for a while now with some of my girlfriends that I will spend all day sending out emails and pitching different ideas and it’ll be that random Thursday morning email from someone I didn’t even reach out to that will be a game changer. This quote was a reminder to me to let go and allow the universe to take over. To trust that we don’t have to PUSH so hard, we can flow.

What areas of your life are you pushing in right now? How might you be able to let go and let it flow? Comment below and let’s get a conversation going!

A Healthy Shamrock Shake

healthy shamrock shake recipe aka mint chocolate chip smoothie recipe for when it's not st. patrick's day!

For those of you who love being festive with your food as much as I do, here is a fun little smoothie you can whip up in the morning to show off some Irish pride! It’s also equally delicious, if you just need to satisfy a mint chocolate chip milkshake craving.. ;)

 

A Healthy Shamrock Shake (aka. my mint chocolate chip smoothie)

Simply blend 1 banana, 1/2 an avocado, 4 leaves of Romaine (or a handful of spinach), 1 cucumber (seeds out/skin off), 3/4 cup almond milk, a couple fresh mint leaves (if mint’s your thang – if not skip it!), a tbsp of cashew butter (any nut butter will do though!) and blend it all together! If you’re a mint chocolate chip fan – mix in some small vegan chocolate chips after it’s all blended. Enjoy your dessert for breakfast treat and skip all the green dye colored food during the day! 

What JUICER do I use?

samsonjuicers

                One of the most frequent questions I get is,”what kind of juicer do you use?” or “What kind of juicer should I buy?” So I figured it was about time I write a blog dedicated to letting you know just that! My first response to most of these questions about finding the right juicer is that the right juicer is the one you will use!! There are so many different types of juicers and you can certainly argue for some over others but at the same time, a fancy juicer with all sorts of amazing features that you can’t afford right now and discourages you from buying a juicer all together helps no one. Get what you can with in your budget when you are just starting out, it’s more important to start getting into the habit of making delicious fruit and vegetable juices at home. Once you have a little more experience with juicing and get as addicted to that pure, clean, boost of energy that it provides as I am, then you will feel better about investing in a higher quality juicer.

               As for me, I use a Samson Multipurpose Juice Extractor and I absolutely love it! My Samson operates at a lower speed (80 rpm) which means that the original nutrients and flavor are preserved when I’m making my juices. Some juicers tend to operate at higher speeds (7000-10000 rpm) where a lot of the vitamins in the fresh juice start getting destroyed. This was extremely important to me when I was selecting a juicer because I want to get as much nutritional value from juices as possible especially for when I’m juice cleansing! My Samson Juice Extractor is also great at juicing those dark leafy greens I love so much. A lot of juicers can clog up if you’re as much of a kale monster as I am. My first juicer would waste so much kale and spinach, it would go straight to the waste bucket and I would get just a drip of juice from a massive handful. Once again, if you have to buy a more basic model when you are starting out, just take the leafy green waste and put it through the juicer a second or third time to get as much juice as possible but it is such a beautiful thing to not have to do that with this juicer. Lastly, I love my juicer because it does so much more than juice! When I first started juicing, I was completely unaware that you could find juicers that can also make nut butters, mince, make noodles, puree for salad dressings and sauces and even make nut milk. I use it for everything! It has become my best kitchen buddy. Can you tell I’m a little excited by my favorite kitchen toy? Don’t worry I’ll be posting even more about some of the other wildly handy things my juicer can do this month! Feel free to check out more information about the juicer I own here as well as all it’s brothers and sisters.

Creamy Tofu noodles with glazed Brussel Sprouts and Carrots

 

Made this for myself right before I left on my trip to Cali and ended up packing it up to go with me for the airplane! Roasted veggies and rich, creamy noodles make for a hearty dish to nourish you in the crazy NY cold! Super simple and very hearty.

Creamy Tofu Noodles
1 bag of tofu shirataki noodles
3 tbsp of go veggie Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of chopped or powders garlic
1 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp olive oil

Rinse and drain noodles. Place olive oil in a sautée pan on the stove along with the noodles. Keep on low heat and watching, stirring to move around noodles while adding other ingredients to taste. Noodles will hear quickly, the whole process should take 5-10 mins max.

Glazed brussel sprouts and carrots
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 cup of chopped brussel sprouts
2 tbsp of olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp of Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

In a large sauce pan on medium heat, add olive oil and vegetables. Stir constantly while adding balsamic, Dijon and spices to your taste. I like to cook them till the vegetables are hot and roasted.

Vegan Pumpkin Balls

vegan pumpkinballs
These little oat filled treats are great to have around the house if you’re a snacker in need of a healthier option. They are also jam packed with fiber so just one (or two) will keep you feeling satisfied till your next meal. I have to be honest, they are definitely more along the lines of a granola bar kinda deal than they a cookie. You’ve been warned! That said, they are still very delicious. I love having them as a breakfast on the go, I can just throw 2 or 3 in a little zip lock and eat them on my way in the morning.

Vegan Pumpkin Balls
3 cups gluten free oats
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I use this liberally)
1 tbsp flax seed meal
1 cup of crushed cashews
1/2 cup vegan (or regular if you wish) dark chocolate chips

Mix it all together and then make baby balls and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put them in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes. You just want them to set a little bit, you don’t need them to “bake”. Let them cool and enjoy! Super easy snack and you can sub out the chocolate chips for raisins or craisins or add in dried cherries and really have some fun with it!