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

Vegan Apple Crisp

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My mom’s apple crisp is amazing, and I will never attempt to re-create perfection.  So I decided to experiment with a vegan version of this cozy fall treat.  You will not miss the butter!  My husband devoured a giant bowl in 5 minutes, so it couldn’t have been that bad 🙂

Vegan Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • About 6 Cortland apples, depending on size; freshly picked or organic preferable
  • Cinnamon (eyeball this)
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, organic if possible
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour (if you don’t have it, all-purpose works)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Earth balance spread

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel & Core apples.  P.s. I am terrible at this, I basically just hack away at them with a small paring knife, more or less.  I wish I could be Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, where she expertly peels an apple in one, long, swirly strip.
  3. Chop apples into 3/4 in. cubes.  This doesn’t have to be precise, just make the pieces roughly the same size so that they cook equally.
  4. In a bowl, combine chopped apples, cinnamon, 1/3 c. granulated sugar, and 1 Tbsp. cornstarch.  Mix well, and pour into a 9 x 9 baking dish.
  5. In the same bowl, combine oats, flour, more cinnamon, brown sugar, 1/3 c. melted coconut oil, and walnuts (if using).
  6. Mix topping with your hands until it starts to come together and resemble wet sand.
  7. Spread evenly over top of apples. Dot pieces of Earth Balance Spread over topping.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly browned and apples are bubbling.
  9. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

Love,

Steph xo

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

4 Day Cleanse

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Happy Monday friends! I hope you’re ready to kick Monday in the rear and keep that positive momentum going throughout the week. Buds are budding, flowers blooming, and warm weather on the horizon. Spring is the perfect time to cleanse your body, mind, and spirit. So to honor myself and rid it of the toxins I’ve likely accumulated from the long winter, I’m doing a 4-day kick-start cleanse.

I’ve done this cleanse before, and will tell you exactly how to do it and where to find more information so you can always have this effective method of healthy eating at your fingertips. It’s gentle, and fantastic for beginners or those who have never tried a cleanse before. Disclaimer: you WILL be hungry. But if you space out the allotted foods throughout the day and drink a massive amount of water, you’ll do great and 4 days will go by in a flash.

Credit: I found this cleanse in a book by Dr. Ian Smith (you may remember him from the TV show Celebrity Fit Club) called The 4 Day Diet. He calls it the “Induction Phase” in his book, which you can find on Amazon or at your local bookstore. The first time I tried this cleanse, I lost 8 pounds in 4 days and felt brand new. It really works if you follow it precisely. This time, I will be making some slight modifications, and will let you know the result of those adjustments and whether it’s as effective.
4daydiet

DAY 1
-2 cups of coffee. Limit sugar to 1 packet and cream or milk to 1 tsp per cup
-2 cups of raw or cooked green leafy vegetables (i.e. spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard)
-1 cup of freshly squeezed lemonade with no more than 1 tbsp sugar
-1 tbsp psyllium husk powder*
-4 servings of fruit (1 apple, 1 banana, ½ cup berries all count as 1 serving)
-One 6-oz low-fat or fat-free yogurt
-1 medium-size green salad (about 2 cups – veggies only) with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of cooked beans (chickpeas, lentils, etc.)
-1 ½ cup of cooked brown rice (measured after cooking)
Unlimited water or seltzer. Be sure to drink 1 cup before each meal
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio (can break up if needed with a 20 min session in am and 20 min session in pm)

DAY 2
-2 cups coffee
-2 scrambled eggs or egg whites (can add ¼ cup veggies if you want)
-1 cup of freshly squeezed juice (I substitute Naked juice I got at the grocery store since I don’t have a fancy juicer…sad face)
-3 servings of fruit
-1 large-size (3 cups) green garden salad with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-2 cups of green leafy vegetables
-1 cup of vegetable juice from the cooked vegetables
-1 cup of cooked brown rice
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio

DAY 3
-2 cups of coffee
-One 6-oz low-fat or fat-free yogurt
-3 servings of fruit
-2 cups of green leafy vegetables
-1 cup of freshly squeezed lemonade
-1 tbsp psyllium powder
-1 medium-size green garden salad with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of cooked beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc
-1 cup cabbage soup**
-Unlimited water or seltzer. Drink one cup before each meal.
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio

DAY 4
Unlimited fruit of any kind
-1 cup of green tea or regular tea
-1 large-size (3 cups) green garden salad; add garlic, and 3 oz. of walnuts, cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds; also 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of freshly squeezed carrot juice (can substitute pear, apple, or orange juice)
-1 tbsp psyllium husk powder
-2 cups of cooked brown rice
-1 cup of cabbage soup**
-2 servings of cooked or raw vegetables
Unlimited water or seltzer.
Exercise – Rest Day

*Psyllium husk powder can be found at Vitamin Shoppe. It can be mixed with water or lemonade. I recommend trying to get psyllium-enriched cereal instead. I believe Whole Foods carries it. I personally hate the powder version, it can kind of be difficult to get down just because of the texture. But it definitely works and is known to mop up and remove toxins in the body.
**Cabbage Soup:
1 tbsp oil 3 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium onions, diced 1 ham hock (can omit if vegetarian)
1 medium green cabbage, shredded 3 tbsp wine vinegar
1 ¼ quart chicken broth ½ tsp sage
3 small potatoes, cubed ½ tsp thyme
In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the onions until softened. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, carrots, ham hock, vinegar, sage, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper as desired.

So there you have it. The 4-Day Cleanse. I will let you know how it goes…wish me luck!!

Glowing Green Smoothie

Get Glowing!Glowing Green Smoothie

If you want glowing skin, you really want to work from the inside out. Glowing skin starts with proper nutrition, and getting all those lovely nutrients and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables into your body. It will thank you in many ways, and will be reflected on your face.

I can’t say enough about smoothies. Smoothies are the perfect way to pack a punch of vitamins and minerals. They are quick, easy, convenient, portable, and allow you to get as much vitamins as possible into a small package. Sometimes the sheer volume of a giant salad is not appealing to me. Enter smoothies. Plus you can drink them at your desk. Did I mention I LOVE smoothies? 😉

Glowing Green Smoothie Recipe

Place into a blender:

-1 cup frozen fruit (I used a mixed bag of strawberries, peaches, and mangoes)
-1 cup almond milk
-1 tsp honey
-1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (Fage! Try it – you won’t regret it!)
-1 ripe banana
-1 scoop Herbalife Healthy Meal in French Vanilla (use any vanilla protein powder you like)
-1 big handful fresh greens (I used spinach in this)

Blend away, pour into a chilled glass, and slurp the frothy goodness from a straw (if you’re a kid at heart, like me).

Glowing yet?? 🙂

xo Steph

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