5 Easy Habits to Get Healthier Now

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Tongue scraping

This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that Western medicine is beginning to acknowledge as productive to oral health. Did you know that a coating of residue (including toxins and yucky bacteria) on the tongue is what leads to bad breath? You may have learned to brush your tongue, but I have bad news for you. All that does is push the bacteria around. Tongue scraping eliminates it. Getting rid of the coating on the tongue also leads to greater sensitivity of the taste buds; meaning, your food will be tastier. Wouldn’t it be nice to be satisfied with less food? Less food = less unnecessary weight on the body. We all know this. The process of tongue scraping is so quick and simple, there’s really no excuse to not do it. You simply take each end of the tongue scraper in your hands, start at the back of the tongue, and add gentle pressure, scraping from back to front, rinsing in between. Repeat about 5 times. I’m telling you, your mouth will feel cleaner. You can buy a tongue scraper here.

 

 

Switch to Whole Foods

 

No, I don’t necessarily mean the grocery store. You don’t have to drive to another town to find a Whole Foods market. A whole food means a food that is in its complete form, with no additions. Ingredients: 1. An apple is a whole food. A carrot is a whole food. An almond is a whole food. I like what author Michael Pollan says: “eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” What he’s saying is, avoid stuff with a million ingredients. Actually, more than 5 ingredients and you’re going down a road leading to nothing good. If this is too difficult for you, at least start reading the Ingredients on your box o’ food, and avoid anything with the words “hydrogenated”, “palm oil”, “carrageenan”, “maltodextrin”, and “aspartame”. That’s a solid place to start.

 

 

Drink Organic, Fair Trade Coffee (ditch the K-cups)

 

If you’re like most Americans, you drink coffee. If you’re like me, you have a slight obsession that borders on unhealthy. Nevertheless, we’re not here to judge. Coffee is delicious. However, I encourage you to do the environment a favor and stop using the disposable K-cups in your Keurig. I’m not saying to throw out your Keurig…that would be wasteful. Instead, buy a couple reusable, refillable little cups. Buy a bag of high quality, organic coffee. You’ll find that the coffee will last a lot longer, you’ll save money, and you’ll feel good about helping the planet. You can buy some on Amazon here.

Better yet, get yourself a French press.  You’ll feel like a badass, and the coffee honestly does taste better.  I got this adorable one that I take to work with me – it’s enough for one cup (there are larger ones as well).  Check it out here.

 

Begin a Daily Gratitude Practice

 

Get a cute little journal. Find 5 minutes to yourself either in the early morning or before bed. Grab a cozy spot, a cup of tea, and light a candle. Create a sacred space, and get to writing. Write what you’re grateful for. If you’re having a difficult time and grasping at straws, start with something very basic and primal. “I’m grateful for shelter and warmth”, might be a nice a place to begin, particularly if you live in New England like me, where the winters are bitter cold. “I’m grateful that my body carries me through the day and moves me from place to place.” It might seem silly, but it has been shown that gratitude and joy are directly correlated. This is no coincidence. The more we acknowledge all that we have, the more satisfied and fulfilled we can feel.

 

Incorporate Yoga into your Life

 

If you’re a seasoned yoga, or know the basics, try to fit 30 minutes in a day. No need to go to a yoga class, or pop in a DVD. Just roll out your mat and flow through 10 sun salutations, surya namaskar A (see photo below for instructions). If you have no clue what I’m talking about, click the menu at the top of this website and go to “private yoga instruction”, and schedule a session with me (if you live in CT). Even if you don’t live nearby, feel free to email me and I’ll give you some personal recommendations. So, 10 sun salutations, followed by 10 dirgha breaths, followed by 10 minutes of nadi shodhana, and finally, 5 minutes of meditating on the breath.

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Sat Nam,

Steph xo

Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas

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I’ve always been a snacker. I could put away a bag of Pirate’s booty in a sitting, dominate some Cape Cod potato chips. I decided to finally try roasting chickpeas as a healthy snack, and now I wonder what took me so long! These little babies are bomb. Seriously, if you like crunch, they’ve got it. And you can jazz them up anyway you like (make ’em sweet with honey and cinnamon, or savory with olive oil, kosher salt & thyme). Plus, they’re super simple and low-maintenance.

Ingredients

Can of chickpeas (or 2, depending how many you want)
Olive oil (I use my Misto sprayer to cut down on the fat content)
Kosher salt or Himalaya salt
Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain chickpeas, rinse with water, and let them dry on paper towels, patting them before placing onto a baking sheet. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and spread chickpeas out on tray. Toss with olive oil and salt. Bake in oven for 40 minutes, until chickpeas are crispy. Take out of oven and toss with a couple teaspoons of hot sauce. Place bake in oven for another 10 minutes. Voila! Crispy, crunchy, yummy, fiber-filled snacking!

Enjoy.

Xo Steph

Best Banana Bread

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This recipe wins every time. That is all.

Ingredients

2 very ripe bananas (brown and gross-looking is best)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup organic sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted butter
1 large egg
Chocolate chips, optional
Chopped walnuts, optional

Mash bananas in a bowl with a fork. Add in remaining ingredients until just combined (do not over mix). Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool, slice, and devour the heaven-sent gloriousness that is banana bread!

Boyfriend-Approved Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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I have absolutely nothing against Paula Deen. However, I was skeptical when I found this recipe. A Paula Deen recipe with no…*gulp*…butter?? Healthy, even? It’s true. And I have to tell you…this Cauliflower Crust Pizza is the chiz (for lack of a better adjective). It’s easy to make, too. Also, I’d totally promote it as an arm workout, if you switch arms halfway through grating the cauliflower.

Anyway, just try it when you get a chance. It won’t disappoint.

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (approx. half a large head)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Pizza sauce of your choice
More cheese and your favorite pizza toppings (I like black olives, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper.

Grate the cauliflower with a box grater until you have 2 1/2 cups. Place in large bowl and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Once cool, mix in the beaten egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Once combined, press into a pizza pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Top the pizza with sauce and your favorite toppings. Bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until bubbly and beautiful. Enjoy!

The Miracle Mushroom: Red Reishi

During my stay in Puerto Rico last week, a relative of my boyfriend’s (who is a holistic health enthusiast and vegetarian) presented me with some organic tea and coffee…all of which were the brand Organo Gold. Upon scrutinizing the packaging and ingredients as I always do, I noticed the ingredient “Ganoderma lucidum” was included in the green and red teas as well as the instant coffee. Being a curious consumer, I naturally had to Google this!

What I found was extremely exciting – Ganoderma lucidum is the name for the Red Reishi mushroom, which in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is regarded as a herbal supplement yielding extraordinary health benefits.

The Red Reishi mushroom is said to enhance the immune system when consumed regularly, and aid in alleviating anxiety, increasing blood circulation (which is huge for me, as I suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome), easing the symptoms of allergies, reducing high blood pressure, and helping with insomnia in addition to asthma. It is a normalizing substance that supposedly balances the body and returns the organs to proper functioning. Also, the Red Reishi mushroom is said to have anti-tumor properties.

Who knew a mushroom could be so powerful? I plan on purchasing these Organo Gold teas and coffee through Amazon ASAP! If I find they are truly effective, I’ll let you all know!

More information on the Red Reishi mushroom can be found here:

Namaste.

xo Steph

Bubblegum Smoothie Recipe

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So, this was one of those happy accidents…you know, where you throw most of what you have in the fridge directly into your blender and see what happens? Yeah, well it turned out amazing. Just like that chewy, fun confection that reminds us of our carefree childhood: bubblegum!

Ingredients:

-1 cherry-flavored Chobani greek yogurt
-3/4 c. frozen strawberries
-1 cup fresh diced pineapple
-a few fresh blueberries
-1 1/2 ripe bananas
-1 scoop Herbalife french vanilla healthy meal shake (or any vanilla protein powder you like)
-About a cup of orange juice
-Handful of baby greens (or spinach)

Blend to desired consistency and enjoy!

*There are no rules when it comes to smoothies – that’s one of the many things I love about them! So add what you have and adjust to your taste. Smoothies are tailored to you, so create the flavors that excite you.

xoxo Steph

Healthy Fried Rice Recipe

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Fried rice is a great way to use up any leftover veggies you have rolling around in your crisper. This version is made with brown rice, so it’s good and good for you.

Healthy Fried Rice Recipe

-2 cups cooked brown rice
-1/2 cup chopped carrot
-1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
-1/2 cup chopped asparagus
-1 cup chopped onion
-1 egg
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-1 tablespoon vegetable oil

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I used the microwaveable brown rice shown above as a short cut. In a few minutes you have perfectly cooked brown rice! So much easier than waiting 40 minutes for it to be ready.

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chopped veggies and sauté until almost tender. Season with salt as desired.

Create a well in the center of your vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and soy sauce. Add egg mixture to pan in the well you created. Cook the egg until opaque/scrambled. Add the rice, stir everything together and heat through.

Yum!

xo Steph