Healthy and Holistic

Strawberry Mango All Fruit Smoothie

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I’ve been on smoothie kick lately and have been starting my day with some sort of blended concoction or fresh juice.

I wanted something light and refreshing to start my week, so I made an all fruit smoothie this morning with mangoes and strawberries.

With only 3 ingredients, you can’t get easier than that!

Strawberry Mango All Fruit Smoothie

  • 3/4 cup sliced mango
  • 3/4 sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup coconut water

Throw everything in the blender and blend.

Have a great week everyone!

Avocado Smoothie

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You those people that put avocado with everything?  Yeah, me too and I’m one of them.  I looooove avocados, so I guess it was only time that I began to incorporate them in my smoothies.  Actually, I’m surprised I haven’t done it sooner.

They’re so creamy and rich, packed with vitamins and fiber, and are great for your skin and hair.

My inspiration came from those Vietnamese avocado smoothies that I used to order at Pho places.  I would always order them, but they are made with milk and sugar and topped with whipped cream.

My version is lighter and dairy free, but still has the same creamy texture and sweetness that I love in those drinks.

Avocado Smoothie

  • 12 oz of coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Handful of spinach
  • 2 tsp of raw agave nectar (optional, but it does make it sweeter)
  • 1 tsp of matcha green tea powder (optional)

 

Just throw everything in a blender, whip it up, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head Cold Home Remedies

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Well it seems that I’ve come down with a bit of a head cold.  I felt it creeping up on me last week and have been trying to fight it, but alas I woke up this morning with a major headache coupled with pain behind my eyes, sinus pressure, and a runny nose. Blah.

It’s no fun being sick, but I have a surefire strategy to help me get over this cold quick.  It’s time to bust out my headcold home remedies.

But first, let’s talk a bit about head colds. A head cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.  The virus settles in the mucus membranes of the nose and is usually paired with congestion, sneezing, and a headache. It is sometimes referred to as a “common cold,” and it is a very frequently seen in the winter months in many regions of the world. It is usually harmless, but can create several days of discomfort and fatigue.

The mucus which drains from the nose is typically clear in color, but if it becomes yellow or greenish, this could suggest that you’ve developed a sinus infection.  In which case, see my sinus infection home remedy post.

To prevent your cold from turning into a secondary bacterial infection and help your body recover quickly, follow my tips below.

1. Hot Fluids

It’s important when you have a cold to consume a lot of fluids and it feels good to have something warm when you are not feeling well.  Not only does it feel soothing, but hot fluids help increase the movement of nasal mucus and help to soften and relax inflamed nasal passages.  My favorite home remedy is a cold and flu brew tea which contains chamomile, eucalyptus, peppermint, orange peel, yarrow flowers, and elderflowers.

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2. Nasal Saline Spray

When you have a stuffy nose and it’s inconvenient to do a netti pot, having a nasal saline spray on hand will help keep your nasal passages moist and lessen inflammation of the mucus membranes.  Just make sure that when you purchase one that it is says natural saline and does not contain a steroid.  I like the nasal spray that Nutribiotic makes because it is natural saline combine with grapefruit seed extract, an antimicrobial and prevent or help clear up a sinus infection.
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3. Netti Pot

The netti pot is my go to whenever I have a head cold.  It alleviates sinus congestion, pain, and pressure without having to take any medication.  A few years ago, I had really bad allergies and would get numerous sinus infections, one year I think I had 5.  Each time I got one, I would feel miserable and go to the doctor for another round of antibiotics.   Each round lasted three weeks and I have to take what looked like huge horse pills-yuck!  I started researching natural sinus infection remedies and the netti pot kept popping up everywhere.  I decided to try it and while it took me a while to get used to doing it, I haven’t had a sinus infection since.  See my post sinus infection home remedy for more information about doing a netti pot.

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4. Vitamin C

On average, researchers have found the taking extra vitamin C helps reduce the length of your cold by one day.

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5. Rest

Okay, this may seem like it is a no brainer, but it really is important to take it easy when your body is battling a virus.  Also, it’s best to avoid OTCs like Dayquil that temporarily make you feel better.  What your body really needs is extra sleep to help rebuild  and recharge.  So take the time to nurture yourself and find a nice cushy seat on the couch.

Magnesium, the Chill Pill

Hello everyone, Happy Hump Day!  Actually, it used to bug me when people tell me Happy Hump Day at work, but this week it seems I’m happy to get over that midweek ‘hump.’

I’ve been feeling kind of frazzled lately and have been dealing with some not so fun car stuff.  I banged up the side of my car pretty bad. Ouch!

In addition to hitting the side of my car, my power window on my driver side door stopped working (and it was rolled down, brrr it’s been cold)

I’ve been running back and forth between work and different car places trying to get estimates, wheel alignments, and body work done and it’s been a little stressful.  Oh did, I mention that it’s that time of the month for me too?

But it’s all good and I’ve been dealing with everything and will have everything fixed soon.  For weeks like this one, I always reach for magnesium.

Magnesium is a supplement that is vital to many bodily processes and helps balance calcium levels.  Magnesium  benefits women especially because it helps relieve symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and minimizes risk of premature labor.  Read below for other benefits of magnesium.

Magnesium Benefits

  • Relieves stress
  • Aids and regulates the body’s use of calcium, and may reverse osteoporosis
  • Assists in bone and teeth formation
  • Prevents cardiovascular disease
  • Regulates high blood pressure
  • Regulates cholesterol production and modulate insulin sensitivity
  • Treats migraines, insomnia, and depression

As you can see, the benefits of magnesium are quite extensive.  While magnesium is available in certain foods like nuts, seeds, and bran, I find it beneficial to supplement my diet with a magnesium supplement.

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When looking for a magnesium supplement, make sure it doesn’t contain a lot of fillers.  Buy powdered magnesium or capsules to avoid binders.

My favorites magnesium supplement is Natural Calm Vitality.  It comes in powdered form and is flavored with natural flavors and stevia.  I mix a couple teaspoons with water and drink in the evening before bed.  It helps me to unwind and fall asleep.

Just remember,when you start supplementing with magnesium to start slow and take a little (half a teaspoon) until your body adjusts before gradually taking the full dosage.

Hope you guys have a have a great rest of the week!

New Year

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Happy New Year everyone!  I’m looking forward to 2013 and all that the year has to bring.  Do you have any New Years resolutions?  Here are a few of mine:

1. Walk to More Places  I was in New York recently and loved how everyone walks everywhere.  I’m going to try to do the same whenever.  I live near a downtown and so far, I’ve walked to do my errands, whether going to the grocery store, farmer’s market, and even my chiropractor appointments.

2. Juice – I love drinking fresh veggie juices, they’re energizing and so healthy for you.  Unfortunately, it’s been difficult for me to keep up a routine long-term.  This year, I’ve resolved to have fresh fruit or veggie juice once a week, by either going out and getting one or making it at home.  I think once a week is a more doable goal that I can keep up with in the coming year.

3. Integrate both sides of myself – This may sound like a strange goal, but it’s about self-acceptance and letting go of a black/white outlook.  I always see myself as having two sides, one is very spiritual and holistic and ‘woo woo’, the other is very ‘of this world’ and is career/success driven and loves to indulge.   I used to think that I had to pick one or the other, but I’ve resolved to integrate both sides of my personality in 2013.  I can eat tripe creme brie and still follow a healthy lifestyle overall.  Or I be a high-tech career women that is spiritual and practices Reiki.  I’m going to embrace being multifaceted.

An Adjustment

Its’s been quite some time since my last blog post.  I’ve had a lot going on at work/home/life in general and was also going through writer’s block.  I wasn’t sure what to write about nor did I have the time and energy to write a lengthy post.

You see, I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and ‘think’ I have to write these long informational articles or recipes and take a bunch of pictures, then evaluate and edit them.  The whole process is very time consuming and I just haven’t had to the energy for it lately.  So I’ve decided to make an early new year’s resolution and adjust the way I do my blog writing.  I’m going to ‘wing it’ and allow myself to let a stream of consciousness flow.

I’m not going to follow any kind of formula or rhyme or reason, thinking my posts have to be a certain length or convey a certain amount of information–they will be probably still contain a good amount of info though, I can’t help my nerdy fact finding side from coming out🙂, but my goal is to post more often and not worry about it so much.  Let loose and let the words fly.

So with my new attitude adjustment explained, I’d like to get on to another type of adjustment…of the chiropractic kind.

I’ve been having a lot of back and shoulder problems lately, especially in my upper right shoulder, that have not been able to be resolved through massages and heat.  I’m generally pretty healthy and have always been able to heal myself, but this time the problem persisted and got gradually worse.

I decided to make an appointment with well referred chiropractor and saw him today.  I went in for an evaluation thinking that he’s going to tell me that I’m fine because I’ve been feeling a lot better, but was amazed to learn how much I’ve got going on.

For one, I have a common problem that a lot of office professionals have with their shoulders and have a lean that comes from sitting at a desk all day, but I also have a lot of scar tissue and inflammation from my spine being slightly off.

Full disclosure, I did not have a car accident or anything major happen to jar my body, this is just from years of sitting at desk!

I always thought I could correct any problems with yoga, weight training, and just plain old good posture, but my Dr. explained to me today that those help, but if your spine is off, they will not be able to correct the root cause.

We spent the majority of the appointment evaluating different vertebrae and poking at pain points before doing some tissue work and finally ending with a spinal adjustment–which I gotta say for those of you who never had one (today was my first) was kind of fun, but weird.

A little twerk here and twist there and I heard everything crack into place.  My neck, shoulders, and back got realigned and now everything feels great.  I’m not completely cured and have a treatment plan that includes regular visits for the next few months, but I feel aligned in more ways than one.

It got me thinking about where I can make other adjustments.  If you think you need some sort of adjustment in your life, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, I invite you to explore what is serving you and what is not.  And p.s. if you’re back has been hurting you, don’t hesitate to see a professional–you’ve only got one spine and it’s best to treat it early!

Have a very Happy Holiday and New Year!

The Finishing Touch

I was running some errands earlier this week when I was suddenly inspired to buy a couple of notebooks to journal all the things that I love and inspire me.

Next to the notebooks was an aisle of fun stickers.  Stickers remind me of my childhood when my cousin Anita and I would have sticker collections.  We would collect all kinds stickers in a large photo album and  go to each others house with our stickerbooks and sit and trade them.  The nostalgia got to me and I couldn’t resist picking up a few sparkly stickers to decorate the journals.

I love these sparkly dots and thought they would look great on this flower notebook.

All decorated, I think the stickers add a nice finishing touch and make these already colorful notebooks extra sparkly.

It’s the pretty little odds and ends in my life that motivate me and make me happy.  From having my favorite orchid strategically placed where I can see it walking in my front door to pinning my favorite images on my inspiration board, it’s the little decorative touches that make me feel like I’m surrounded by beauty.  Looking at these notebooks make me smile I can’t wait to carve out some ‘me’ time to fill them with words, pictures, and whatever else inspires me.

Alkaline Foods

photo: worldhealth.net

I recently had a reading with the lovely Julie Hasen Intuitive and she mentioned that I had the potential to become acidic and should up my intake of alkaline foods.

I have heard of the whole acid-akaline food thing before but never really gave it much thought because I thought I ate enough healthy foods to counteract any acidic substances I would consume.

However, the past few months I have been busy with weddings 4 to be exact (and another 3 to go!), celebrated several birthdays, and had nights out with friends that I haven’t been as strict with my diet.  I’ve eaten foods that I’m allergic too—who can pass up wedding cake? And birthday cake?  and other acid-forming foods so, I guess I can see how I have the potential to become acidic.

First thing I did, research acid alkaline foods.  You can google acid-alkaline food charts and receive a lot of information, but it can be confusing because what you think might be an acid, e.g. lemon actually has an alkalinizing effect on your body.

As a general rule of thumb, all vegetables, especially greens, are alkalizing.  Meat, dairy, coffee, alcohol, and sugar are acidifying.  Things like fruit, grains, and nuts tend to be neutral to mildly acidic.

I’ve created a chart to depict the information I’ve found on acid-alkaline foods.  The foods highlighted in green are high alkaline and the foods, highlighted in red are high acid-forming, all others are moderate in their category.

It’s best to aim for 80% alkaline foods and 20% acid-forming foods.  So if you imagine your plate, a little more that 3/4 will be filled with veggies and the rest with other foods.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to follow these guidelines and incorporate the top ten alkaline foods (see below) into my daily diet.  I’ll let you know how I do!

Top 10 Alkaline Foods

  1. Grasses- Alfalfa, Barely, Dog, Kamut, Wheat
  2. Cumber
  3. Sprouts- alfalfa, broccoli, radish, soy
  4. Sea Vegetables- kelp
  5. Sprouted Chia seeds
  6. Spinach
  7. Parsley
  8. Broccoli
  9.  Kale
  10. Lemons

Matcha Green Tea

Let me begin by saying that I am a habitual coffee drinker.  I love the aroma and the smooth rich taste of my morning cup of java.

While I don’t drink more than one cup–well, sometimes two if I’m really tired, I always start my mornings with a fresh cup of coffee.  And if you asked me what are the three things I would take with me in case of a fire, my Tassimo coffee machine would be one of them.

That said, I occasionally like to mix up my routine or will attempt detoxes where I give up my cup of joe for a few weeks.

One thing I reach for when I am trying to mix it up is green tea.  You’ve all heard the numerous benefits that green tea has to offer, from boosting metabolism to fighting cancer, but did you know that you are not getting all of the valuable nutrients when you brew a cup of green tea?

That’s because water can only extract a fraction of the antioxidants green tea carries.  The majority actually remain trapped in the tea leaves. The only way to truly take advantage of green teas full potential is to consume the whole leaf.  That’s where matcha comes in.

Matcha green tea is stoneground tea leaves and enables you to absorb all of the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids that no loose leaf green tea can.  In fact, in order to consume the same nutrients in a single cup of matcha, you would have to drink 10 cups of brewed green tea.

Matcha is easy to make (think instant coffee) and provides a whole host of benefits.  And good news for coffee drinkers, can give you your morning caffeine boost.  You can adjust the quantity of matcha to give you more or less caffeine.

Read below for some of the benefits of matcha green tea and how to make the perfect cup.

Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

  • Is packed with antioxidantsincluding the powerful EGCg
  • Boosts metabolism and burns calories
  • Detoxifies effectively and naturally
  • Calms and relaxes
  • Enhances mood and aids in concentration
  • Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
  • Fights against viruses and bacteria
  • Is rich in fiber
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Does not raise insulin levels

Directions

1. Heat 6oz of spring of filter water (just under a boil)

2. Add 1 tsp of matcha green tea powder to a mug

3. Add a few drops of hot water to mix into a paste with a spoon

4. Add remaining hot water to paste mixture and stir, you can also adjust measurement to taste

5. Matcha is ready to drink!

Crossfit

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Source: http://www.diablocrossfit.com

I tried Crossfit for the first time yesterday.  It seems like everywhere I go someone is mentioning Crossfit and what a great workout it is, so naturally, I had to try it and see what all the buzz is about.  All I can say was ‘what a workout!’

I don’t think I’ve been this sore from a workout ever in my life.  All of my muscles ache…and I kind of like it.  I can see why it’s got kind of a cult following.

If you haven’t heard of Crossfit, it is a strength and conditioning program that varies high intensity, functional movements and typically combines body weight exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, and with sprinting and weightlifting (kettlebells, bars, medicine balls).  The workout of the day is timed and each person tries to finish the entire group of exercises within a goal time or tries to beat their best time.

The class I took was an hour long and consisted of a warm-up, strength, and workout of the day.  I had heard it was a tough workout and had some trepidation about taking the class, but decided to go for it and I’m glad I did.

I was thoroughly exhausted at the end of class and trying my best not to throw-up, but I felt like I had conquered something.  I had pushed my body to the limits and managed to surprise myself.  I did exercises that I didn’t think I could do, like box jumps, pull-ups and push presses (lifting a weighted bar overhead).

There’s something so satisfying about completing something that is challenging.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and builds your confidence.  I will definitely be taking more Crossfit classes in the future…that is once I can walk again. Kidding, well not really : )

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