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Archive for the ‘The Art of Living Well’ Category

Being the Light of Winter

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter has kissed us crisply on our cheeks. December 21st  marked the winter solstice. As the sun sunk into the sky that brisk day, daylight reached its minimum. For three days, the sun lingered along the horizon, coddling us with the longest nights of the year. Now, the sun begins its ascent into the northern sky. The days grow incrementally longer, slowly tempting us with the promise of sweet spring as each day passes. This time of year invites emotional comfort, new beginnings and cleansing traditions.

Consider transitioning from holiday feasts to that of a gentle cleanse. I am a proponent of cleansing by way of nutrient dense juicing. Vegetable juice offers a high concentration of nutrients that your body can readily assimilate. Incorporating daily juices will help fend off illness during the cold months ahead. Juicing is also an affective platform to launch better eating habits. Often, a short three-day juice feast will encourage your body to crave healthier foods. Many times a cleanse of this nature is exactly what your body needs to purify from the rich holiday menus, gently guiding your diet towards fresher, lighter meals and wholesome raw foods. You may drink four to six quarts of juices during a proper juice feast. Hunger should not be an issue, for your body is flooded with pure nutrition. If you choose to undergo a juice feast, please click HERE to learn more. Whether you are inspired by a full juice cleanse or simply want to add a juice or two to your current daily diet, the following green juice recipe will be a wonderful staple in your regimen.

Green Juice

2 apples

1 bunch celery

½ inch fresh ginger

1 lemon

1 cucumber

1 bunch greens of choice (try kale, spinach, chard, parsley, etc.)

Wash then cut all the ingredients into a size and shape that will fit through your juicer. Push the vegetables through the juicer. Collect all the juice in a bowl, cup or jar and drink immediately. Refrigerate any remaining juice in an airtight container, and be sure to drink it within the day.

Yields approximately one quart of juice.

The Green Star GS1000 is the juicer I personally and professionally use. It is a twin gear juicer designed to press the juice out of vegetables. In doing so, the nutritional integrity of juice stays intact. Juice pressed from this machine oxidizes at a slow rate. Because of this, you can make your juices in the morning, store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and they will stay fresh and nutritious throughout the day. The Green Star is ideal for juicing green leafy vegetables like kale, herbs and spinach. It produces the highest yield of juice from fruits and vegetables, giving you the most out of your produce in both quantity and quality. I love my Green Star! It is, by far, the best juicer I have used. It is the juicer of choice for many raw food restaurants, schools and chefs.

Winter Shana

Winter Shana

You are all wrapped up, cloaked from head to toe, snuggled warmly from Winter’s chill. Realize your body lives, it breathes, under all those threads and layers. Don’t neglect what you can’t see. There are many things you can do to keep your body vibrant during these cold months. Juicing is clearly one of the best habits to embrace, keeping you healthy and beautiful from the inside out. However, you should also nurture yourself topically, because caring for your skin will keep you looking and feeling young. Staying hydrated with supple skin in the winter can be easy.

For a silky, soft body, lavish yourself in moisture. Your skin is the body’s largest organ. It has the ability to absorb nutrients, filtering it directly into your bloodstream. Be aware of how you choose to moisturize yourself. Are you buttering yourself up with seductively scented toxins (from name-brand lotions) or nature’s purest ingredients? Where your skin is concerned, it makes a difference. Though you are not slathering your favorite lotions on your morning toast, if you apply it to your skin or lips, you are indeed consuming it. Try using edible oils on your body. Coconut oil is a simple and deliciously refreshing alternative to manufactured moisturizers. Coconut oil is one of the most moisturizing oils while not leaving a greasy feeling. It is pure and smells like sweet dreamy summers. Avocado oil is another luxurious oil. It’s said to be excellent for problem skin such as extreme dryness and eczema. It softens, increases elasticity and leaves no greasy residue while moisturizing the skin. Experiment with various oils of your liking, gifting your body a healthy, NATURAL luster.

Be Light & Play

Be Light & Play

As you settle into this darkened season, it is important to kindle the LIGHT within yourself. Learn to see the magic and beauty in everything around you. As merry as the holiday season was, don’t rely on it solely for positivism and joy. Reach within for true solace and enchantment. By doing so, you will begin to see your world through sparkling fresh eyes. Embrace the gifts of the winter. Allow yourself to love what you may have resisted in the past. Shed preconceived thought patterns. Begin anew. Renew and awaken right this very moment.

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, and learn to live in the world like a lighthearted child. The next time it rains, get wet. Few things are more memorable then hiking in the rain, smelling the pine filtered air, sensing the dense quite of the landscape, knowing you are alone but amidst everything at once. Play. Jump in a puddle to see how big of a splash you can make. Laugh. Forget your umbrella. Or, on a thick foggy morning, walk along the ocean, listening to the unseen waves, feeling the sting of mist on your cheeks. Or, simply stay home, safe and cozy. Build a fire and light candles. Be grateful for weather that promotes snuggles, rest and quiet moments. If you are bright within, you will create a brilliant world around you. Practice seeing, feeling and expressing joyous light in every moment.

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Season’s greetings, or rather, season’s eatings. As those around you invest in their favorite weight gain strategies, take a moment to consider the bigger picture. Is it health and vitality that will greet you on the other side of 2010 or will you face the promise of a renewed gym membership and dietary angst? If weight management and health often grace the top of your resolution list, take heed of your deepest wishes. Do this now and every day. Live in the moment. Desire better for yourself, and provide yourself the same attention, nurturing and support you would give a dear friend or loved one. You are important. Treat yourself like it, and honor yourself with compassionate LOVE and deep RESPECT.

Blessings in radiant health, renewal and peace!

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Blending the Natural You

Autumn Sunset

Autumn Sunset

As the air invites a slight chill and the trees blush in brilliance, we are enchanted by autumn spices, lit fireplaces and the promise of a festive holiday season. School is back in session and summer travels have weaned as we revisit routine and tradition.  This is a time for renewal and re-forecasting.  What are your goals for the season to come? How do you want to look?  How do you want to feel?  How do you want to live your life?  The turn of the season is the optimal time to cleanse and refresh.  Increasing the amount of fresh raw organic foods in your diet is a simple and delicious way to embrace this new chapter in life.  However, raw foods alone are not the only answer to complete health and well-being.  Creating the life and body of your dreams requires a holistic approach.  Nurturing the mind, body, and spirit together will beautify and rejuvenate the total Self.

Nurture the Total Self

Nurture the Total Self

MIND

As daily routines are reformed, take time to revisit goals.  Return to yourself. Make yourself a priority.  How do you want to look, feel and live?  Create and practice motivating affirmations.  Harness a positive mindset.  Fill your heart with deep gratitude for what you already have in life. Say to yourself, “I am successful.  I am healthy.  I am attractive.” Fill in the blank with your own aspirations.  You are what you think.  You can rise up from the mundane and create a fresh start.  You can do and create anything you put your thoughts and your heart towards.  Be mindful; sincerely feel what you want and make it happen.

BODY

Take advantage of the tepid autumn weather while it is here. Get outside and move your body!  The best exercise is that in which you enjoy. Relish in the movement and honor the body as a fluid and powerful system.  Walk, swim, cycle, jog, surf, row, hike, garden- be creative, pick an activity and have fun. Breathe in the fresh outdoor air, and soak up the sun’s natural vitamin D.  Wake up and refresh the body.

SPIRIT

Take a moment during this special month to just be.  This enchanting time of year gifts us a tranquil lull before the holidays arrive.  Take advantage of it, and cherish these few peaceful weeks.  Notice the leaves turn, smell the air, sit in silence, watch the afternoon sun turn gold. Unplug from techno-culture. Be quiet.  Be alone if only for a moment.  A few minutes a day amidst your busy schedule will help center and refresh you.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

NOURISHMENT

Feed your body well with pure foods.  There is no denying it, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.  Transitioning into a high raw diet is simple.  If you have a blender, you can start by adding green smoothies to your daily meal plan.  A high-powered blender like a Vitamix is ideal for whipping up silky smooth drinks, for it breaks down fiber to the molecular level.  Adding one or more smoothies a day offers extra vitamins and minerals, fortifying your physical constitution.  Green smoothies are an excellent meal replacement or can be used as an in-between snack.  With approximately 100-250 calories per quart, these green drinks are great for attaining or maintaining your perfect weight.  Take advantage of the late summer and autumn fruits that are still available like peaches and pears.

Making green smoothies is easy. Simply add the following to a high-powered blender:

2 whole fruits

2 handfuls of green leafy vegetables

1 cup of ice

2 cups of filtered water

Blend until smooth.

The flavor of the fruit outshines over the greens, making these smoothies delicious to drink.  Try the following recipe ideas.

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Peachy Green

2 peaches

2 handfuls of spinach

2 c. filtered water

1 c. ice

Blend until smooth.

*Nutritional Info:

Calories… 116

Cholesterol… 0

Dietary Fiber…7g

Protein…7g

Vitamin A…332%

Vitamin C…101%

Calcium…18%

Iron…28%

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Perfect Pair

2 pears

2 handfuls of dinosaur kale

2 c. filtered water

1 c. ice

Blend until smooth.

*Nutritional Info:

Calories… 260

Cholesterol… 0

Dietary Fiber…13g

Protein…6g

Vitamin A…414%

Vitamin C…291%

Calcium…21%

Iron…16%

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Mango Melody

1 ripe mango

2 handfuls of parsley

2 c. filtered water

1 c. ice

Blend until smooth.

*Nutritional Info:

Calories… 116

Cholesterol… 0

Dietary Fiber…7g

Protein…7g

Vitamin A…332%

Vitamin C…101%

Calcium…18%

Iron…28%

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Notice all the Vitamin A, C, iron, protein and, most notably, calcium in these fruited green yummies.  Are you surprised to see that a serving of green smoothie has as much calcium and protein as a glass of milk? Don’t be fooled by the milk industry’s ardent marketing efforts.  Greens have more of what your body needs! Dark green leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses loaded with chlorophyll, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Calorie for calorie, they are the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food.

Greens make your eyes sparkle; they clear your skin and promote hair and nail growth. The carbohydrates in greens are packed in layers of fiber, which make them very slow to digest, balancing blood glucose levels. Greens are very alkalizing and balancing for the body and are wonderful mood enhancers.  They also protect bones from osteoporosis. The best food you can add to your diet are green leafy vegetables.  Any way you can sneak more into your menu plan, the better you will look and feel.

Organic Garden Greens

Organic Garden Greens

There are many benefits to eating a raw or a high raw diet. It is common to have an increase in energy. Sleep requirements are typically minimized, the immune system is strengthened, mood is elevated and a general sense of well-being is often experienced. Some raw fooders diligently eat 100% raw, avoiding all processed and cooked foods. This may be your lifestyle or goal, or you may simply wish to increase your organic fruit and vegetable intake. It does not matter where you are on the path towards health and vitality, just eat better. All your little efforts will add up to big results. Be food conscious. Learn to be aware of how certain foods make you feel. Eat high energy, health promoting foods, and fuel your body with pure nutrition that will help you bounce out of bed each morning and shine all day!

Nourish Your Mind, Body and Spirit!

Nourish Your Mind, Body and Spirit!

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