Dairy & Gluten-free Lasagna

About two months ago I went to an acupuncturist to get help with two things: joint pain and GI discomfort. I have been dealing with chronic joint pain for about eight years now, but every now and then I decide to reach out to different experts to see if they may have an Imageanswer to the pain for me. It has gotten to the point that I only feel the pain while I am working out or putting more stress than usual on a certain joint, but I am SO thankful not to feel the pain at rest anymore! The majority of this change has occurred so far from rest (I used to be a competitive gymnast, so when I say rest I mean not intensely working out for 20+ hours per week) and cleaning up my diet to reduce inflammation. I added in lots of herbs like turmeric and ginger on a daily basis, ate lots and lots of greens, whole grains, and stayed away from white flour, sugar, and processed foods as much as possible. However, with all of these changes I made I still felt a good amount of pain in my joints and would get uncomfortably bloated after having a meal. During my visit to the acupuncturist we discovered that I have milk allergy and gluten intolerance. This made a lot of sense to me because I would notice after meals with cheese or gluten I wasn’t feeling too hot. My joints would become stiff, my stomach felt uneasy, and my mood would fluctuate.

I am not a big fan of conventional dairy anyways, so at this time I was eating raw milk products, which my mind felt good about, but my body didn’t quite agree with it. I know it is really easy to eat a certain way because of society, or a certain diet makes sense in your mind that it is the best way to eat for optimal health. The only problem with listening to our minds is sometimes they don’t know what’s best for us. Our minds go by logic, which is great for the majority of things that we must do in life. Then again on the flip side of things, our body is vastly intelligent and you can be sure it will tell us if something is not working for it. I have these friends who go by the name Rawbrahs that always say, “Get out of your mind and into your senses.” This is so true for not only living your life, but what you are putting into your body. Eating should be an intuitive process, not a logical one. Try it out. Allow your body to tell you what it needs and not the other way around. Those cravings we all get are not your body trying to sabotage you, but a cry for something that it’s not getting. Now this does not mean that your body needs a snickers bar though! Cravings need to be decoded at times, which is something I can definitely help you with if you have questions.

Now as far as the no gluten goes I am so thankful to have friends and family who will accommodate my new changes. This is especially true when traveling and I found myself eating out more than I am used to. I am very good at preparing meals that are gluten-free, but still working on being comfortable eating out and knowing all my options. Since I have cut out gluten and dairy, I have noticed my joints are less stiff, that awful bloating feeling is gone, and my mood does not go haywire after a meal! These are all beautiful changes that I have seen in a short time span and can’t wait to see what happens after implementing them for several more months.

Now on to the goodness!

Dairy-free, Gluten-free lasagna

This recipe is really what your heart desires and I just give you the guidelines. You’ll notice I did not give measurements. My reasoning with this is I want you to experiment. See what your body tells you is right, and what balances right for your taste buds. This can be easily vegan as well, just omit the meatballs. Here is what I used.

This requires at least 30 min to overnight prep in order to soak the cashews.

Coconut oil

Portabella mushrooms

Green pepperImage

Onions

2 garlic cloves

Tomatoes

Basil

Mom’s Meatballs

Mom’s pasta sauce (I’d gladly share, but she hasn’t shared with me yet! Just use your favorite pasta sauce)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Noodles:

Roughly 1/8in thick slices of zucchini

Cashew “cheese”

*Recipe was taken from this awesome site, ohsheglows. Since I have never made it before I wanted to follow a pros advice!

Pick a dish size you would like. I used an 8x10in bread pan.

Set the oven to 350°F.

Sauté the onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and any other veggies you would like in a pan with coconut oil, salt & pepper, and any herbs you would like to give your dish flavor.

While the veggies sauté, prepare the cashew cheese according to the instructions from ohsheglows.

Layer the bottom of the pan with a thin coat of sauce. Put a layer of raw zucchini down, sautéed veggies, meat, small amount of sauce, cashew cheese, thin slices of tomato, basil and repeat until your pan is full. Top with sauce to keep the dish from burning/drying out.

Put in the oven until bubbly. Takes approximately 30 minutes depending on your oven.

-S

It’s 2014… lets take the leap already!

Every year we say we are going to do this and going to do that and the majority of the time we don’t. I invite you to take the leap (figuratively speaking) and leave your fears behind you in the plane. Image

Now if your not the type of person that wants to jump out of a plane like myself, believe me I know most people would not jump out a perfectly good plane, but do something that scares you and gives you that wonderful butterfly feeling in your gut. This could include asking for that promotion at work, taking a spontaneous vacation, singing loudly somewhere other than your shower. Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Your life is here to live for you and you only. Too much of the time, myself included, we let others opinions on what is the “right” thing to do get in the way of what is truly right for us. The best thing I Imageknow to do in these situations is to get another perspective. Do your best to remove yourself from the situation and get a birds eye view of everything that is going on. That is such a beautiful way to see the whole picture and get clarity on what your next best move is for YOU.

Take a look at what has possibly held you back in the past and ask yourself if it is still holding you back today. If it still presents itself, is this something that you can change or let go of? When we let go of fear, doubt, or whatever it is holding you back and we just act first, well this is where we can truly surprise ourselves of what magnificent things we are capable of.

Last but not least I would like to leave you with this to think on.ImageFollow your arrow and you will never be steered wrong.

-S

New Year, New You

This morning at 4:30am I started a journey with my three best friends to the most watched city in the US on December 31st, New ImageYork City. Though our eyes were sleepy, we were more than eager to reach our destination. I mean honestly what better way to ring in the New Year than with your favorite people in the Big Apple. I am currently writing to you all from my best friend’s apartment in the Lower East Side, defrosting from the chilly stroll across the city. I have been to the city before, but not during this time. I have to say there is a definitely a different feel in the brisk air today with the anticipation of the ball drop tonight. The count down to midnight is on and before we know it, the New Year and new resolutions will be here. Have you set yours yet? If not don’t worry because that is not what this post is about!

Could it be that 2014 is finally your year? Every year at this time we are bombarded with the promise of a new year and a blank slate. We all set at least 10 new years resolutions because, lets face it, one’s just not good enough and we love the “go big or go home” frame of thinking. Much to all our aspirations that we set out with and the great year deal membership that we just bought for the gym up the street, it’s week two of the new year and that new you you’ve imagined is looking further and further away. It’s not that we didn’t really want to reach all of our goals, but our lives are still equally as busy as they were in 2013 as they will be when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. If only that clock was magical and when it struck midnight could build in even just three more hours into each day to allow more time to work on the dreams that you have for yourself. Most of the time we all know what we have to be doing in order to reach our ideal life, but don’t know quite where to start. In most cases we set out to climb Mount Everest without ever setting the small goals in between to reach the “grand finale” goal.

ImagePart of my job as a health coach includes creating awareness about yourself and implementing simple behaviors over time to get you lasting results. In short, we work together to identify the Mount Everest in your life and then find the small steps in between to get you there. The last thing I ever want is to reach a goal and see it slowly fade away because I didn’t create new behaviors that I would continually do for the rest of my life. Or possibly even worse would be to set a goal for myself, but then not plan a map to get there, and inevitably fail in the end leaving me feeling defeated. These are simple things that can be avoided 99.9% of the time when you start with the right approach.

 So since at this time of year you are being overrun with new diets, workout equipment, weight loss “all natural” supplements, the list goes on that all hold the pledge that in 2014 you will be the best you with their help, I’d like to offer something different to you. Instead of rattling off some resolutions off the top of your head, take some time to reflect. Get away from the hustle and bustle of life for a small period of time, at least 20 minutes to an hour. Depending on your geography or personal preference it could include sitting outside in a park, by a fireplace with a hot cup of tea, a coffee shop, or wherever you are able to think and reflect best.

*What do you want? The sky is the limit, but be specific.Image

*If you could achieve this, what would that do for you? Think of the emotions you might feel or how your life would be different when you accomplish this.

*What has gotten in the way of you reaching your goals in the past?

*What are some of your strengths?

*What are some of your weaknesses?

*Where could you use more support in your life?

*At what point in your life did you feel your best? What was going on for you during this time?

*What is something that you have always wanted to do, but made excuses as to why it was never the right time yet?

*What did 2013 teach you?

These are just a couple questions to get your mind thinking. What if instead of the typical new years resolutions, it was to repair a relationship that has gone astray? Maybe it’s to take that trip you’ve always day dreamed of at work, to sing more and louder (I swear my car performance should be nominated for a Grammy), or dance more. New Year’s resolutions in my opinion should be all about adding more joy into your life, because nowadays no matter where you look there are stressors waiting to attack you. Plus it is easy to make excuses to keep working more and more and put off play “just for now.” However, with this mentality it is rare that the playtime actually ever comes.

PLAY NOW & WORK NOW.

It is all about balance, not one extreme or the other.

Let this New Year bless you with more health and happiness than you know what to do with!

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-S

Just in case no one has told you you’re beautiful yet today…

 

You’re beautiful, courageous,

and unique as one can be.

Specific features God designed,

and blessed the world to see.

 

You’re perfect with all your imperfection.

And you take joy in this perplexity.

You glide each day with confidence,

and complete integrity. 

 

You don’t waste time comparing yourself to models.

Nor do you envy your sister’s beauty.

You take joy in the celebration of others,

because your character is also a masterpiece. 

 

Although you appreciate receiving compliments,

and your ego may boost to some degree.

But you don’t await the validation of others,

to be assured that you’re beautiful just as thee. 

 -Mia Carey

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 Cheers to you!

 -S

Fear is a Choice

I have to be honest with you. Lately, I have been allowing fear to take over my life and paralyze me (figuratively speaking of course). I Imagehave found that fear for me presents itself as seemingly important things like: checking my email, updating social media websites, the ever ongoing ‘research’ into something without ever acting upon said research, texting, school work, working out, TV and the list just keeps going. I focus on these rudimentary steps thinking that I am making some form of progress forward. When in fact I am really that hamster running in place on a wheel. I feel like I am doing some serious work, since I am constantly tired, my schedule is always full, and I make excuses of why I am too busy to be hanging out with friends.

What it boils down to is that, I am fearful of truly making progress forward. Why? This could come with massive success that I am not prepared for, or it could just confirm my doubts by being an enormous failure. Regardless either option seems too ‘risky’ or so that evil voice in my mind tells me.

So why am I sharing this all with you?

We all feel fear in some form or fashion. Maybe it is in aspiring career decisions like mine, taking charge of your health, moving out on your own, or asking out the person that has caught your eye. However, today in class my teacher shared this quote with us,

“Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” –Will Smith

 I guess I had just never thought of it like that. Fear is a choice. Yes we may feel it from time to time, but that does not mean that we have to let it paralyze us. It is a fleeting feeling that we can choose to let stay or to tell it to keep moving. Today, I decided to act upon this quote. I was tired of thinking of all the things that I wanted 

to do, but not acting on them due to the infamous ‘what if’ question. I cannot remember the last time I have been this productive and happy with myself for acting on what I want. When you decide to release fear you have the choice of freedom.

You’ll be amazed at the things you can achieve when you aren’t afraid to act. Ever heard the question,

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If you never have, or it has just been a while take a few minutes to think about it. My whole point behind this article is for you to recognize where fear presents itself in your life currently. Through doing this you will now have the choice to release it and choose freedom instead. Take a deep breath, release your fears, and now go out and conquer the world!

For it is with you that the world has a chance to be truly magnificent.

-S 

Help Me, Help You

Help Me, Help You

By filling out this survey you are letting me know what you want and need. Then from this, I will be able to tailor content so you are getting more of what you are interested in. And lets face it, when you get more information of what your interested in you are 10x more likely to reach all of those stellar goals of yours. Team up with me so we can work together to give you all the tools you need to reach your health and wellness goals!

If there is anything that you would like to add that I didn’t ask about, leave it in the comments below or email me:]

-S

It’s Hot Cocoa Season!

While today was an unseasonably warm day, it is that time a year where hot cocoa and other warm beverages are greatly welcomed. Now I am one of those odd balls that can drink something piping hot year round, but if you are not like that your season is finally here! My favorite growing up was always to go play out in the snow, get really really cold and then head inside to drink hot cocoa and defrost by the fireplace. Unfortunately though most mixes are full of sugar. So in order to still get in that chocolatey goodness, I found a fantastic superfood filled recipe from Kim Murray on mindbodygreen.com. If you want to keep the sugar content as low as possible I would also opt for unsweetened almond milk and add just a smidge of vanilla if you would like.

superfood hot cocoa

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. (heaping) raw cacao
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Heat the almond milk on the stovetop, to just under a boil and then add all the ingredients to your blender or Vitamix and blend for a minute.

The coconut oil gives it the creaminess, richness and the frothiness that make a good cup of hot cocoa. The cinnamon works together with the honey to boost the sweetness without adding sugar, and also offers the many proven benefits of cinnamon, including blood sugar regulation.

This is a much healthier version of hot cocoa AND you get added health benefits, which are pretty endless.

Let me know in the comments if you try Kim’s recipe and like it:]

-S

What’s causing the rise in ADHD?

What’s causing the rise in ADHD?

(click above for original article)

I love this article Dr. Mercola did on ADHD. He addresses many different factors that may play into this diagnosis that so many people are facing today. I thought this excerpt was really interesting, “According to some, the disorder may not even be a “real” disorder at all. Psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg, hailed as the “scientific father of ADHD,” actually went on record saying that ADHD is “a prime example of a fictitious disease.” He made this stunning confession in a 2012 interview with the German paper Der Spiegel, just seven months prior to his death6 at the age of 87.”

Mercola discusses some dietary factors to also address if you or someone you know is diagnosed with ADHD.

It is worth the read and let me know what you think!

-S

This is not a vegan campaign

While this video may make you reconsider some things, it is not necessarily intended to turn you vegetarian or vegan (although that may happen after you watch this). I’m sure by now most of you have seen, or at least heard of Food Inc. and videos alike.

This video is similar in that it shows the cruelty of factory farming. My hopes in sharing this video with you is that you simply reconsider where you get your meat, eggs, or dairy products from. There are tons of local farmers that practice much gentler forms of raising animals that would love your support. I encourage you to search out local farms in your area and even visit them if you can, so you can really see (not just take their word for it) how their animals are treated.

Here is just one website for you to look and see what is closest for you: http://www.localharvest.org/