Soup for the soul

When falafel and curry coconut soup meet…you have pure warm heaven in your tummy. I couldn’t wait to share this AMAZING soup recipe with you all! 
I’ve had this recipe saved for months now and I can’t believe I waited so long to make this!! If you like the heartiness of falafels and the tongue and tummy warming of curry, you have to make this ASAP. Got the recipe from http://www.elephantasticvegan.com/falafel-curry/. So simple to make (seriously took 20 min) and was the perfect meal for last nights dinner and today’s lunch…I might even eat it again for dinner tonight too;)

Your internal clock

We’ve all heard of the biological clock, but what about the “circadian clock”, also known as the circadian rhythm?
We all seem to notice that October and November are pumpkin everything months. However, do we know exactly why this happens and why we need to consume these foods? Here’s another Mother Nature fun fact for ya!
If you live in the North Eastern side of the states like I do, you’ll notice an abundance of hardy fruits and veggies filling the grocery stores and farmers markets. Acorn squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc. All are common this time of year due to climate change. Depending on the climate, you have different produce. We don’t grow mangos here this time of year but pumpkins are everywhere! Mother Nature has a way of producing foods during these climate changes to support our needs through these climate changes.
Let’s talk briefly about circadian rhythm. In the center of our brain we have a pineal gland. This gland is seriously the size of a pea but has a huge role. It belongs to the endocrine system and is considered your global positioning system (GPS) or internal compass, and it controls your body’s clock (this is why I call it the circadian clock). This gland takes in sunlight, registers temperature, environmental factors, and regulates your body’s circadian rhythms.
The circadian rhythm is responsible for our sleeping and waking patterns, endocrine functions, hormone production, digestion and regulation of nutrition, cell regeneration, and many other processes in the body. Disruption of the circadian rhythm leads to insomnia, impaired glucose absorption, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, depression, and decreased life expectancy.
A properly functioning circadian rhythm requires having access to sunlight and moonlight as well as eating foods from your environment. Plants require light to grow. The amount of light the plants are exposed to regulates the amount of carbohydrates and sugars the plant contains. When you eat plants, you are eating transmuted sunlight. If you are living in one type of environment/climate and are eating foods from an entirely different environment/climate, your body is receiving mixed messages about where it is. This has been known to disrupt the timing and flow of the natural circadian rhythms in the body. So eating mangoes and watermelon during a snow storm isn’t exactly going to bring summer back- I would know, I was notorious for doing this, and in doing so, I couldn’t figure out why I was always freezing!! I was eating cooling foods and not foods that helped me stay warm. 
So to make it plain and simple, depending on our climate (the north east for example) our gardens use their own clock by producing foods we need to consume. It’s kind of like squirrels in the summer…they eat the berries, flowers and even our tomatoes out back yard garden, but in the fall and winter, they forage acorns. The same concept goes for us humans, we have the luxury of going to the store. However, due to science and modern transportation, we now can grow just about anything and transport it. By sticking to the produce that grows in season locally, we are able to keep that other ticker of ours in check.
For example, sweet potatoes – they are loaded with beta carotene which then converts to vitamin A once it passes our liver. This is crucial for our bodies this time of year because vitamin A helps to absorb and hold onto vitamin D. As we all have heard, vitamin D is crucial for many things including bone health, cell regeneration and our immune system. We wouldn’t need much vitamin A in the summer hot months because we have the natural vitamin D from the sun. And then there’s squash, which are loaded with fiber, vitamins A, B6, C, niacin, calcium and zinc among other important nutrients. But squash have another component that is crucial for the cold months. They are loaded with antiparasitic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties, protecting us from a wide variety of viruses, including tapeworms and other intestinal parasites that are prone during the colder darker months.
As you can see our bodies and Mother Nature play hand in hand. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have out of season foods; you just want to eat more foods that are in season. By doing this, we stay healthier and as a bonus, we support our local farmers. Now that I’ve given you a quick lesson on circadian rhythm, watch out for delicious and easy fall recipes for you and your family to enjoy!

Clean Ramen

Rainy cold days are only acceptable in my opinion if you can stay home in your pj’s and indulge in some comfort foods. 
Many wouldn’t consider Ramen noodles to be a comfort food, but this broke college student back in the day accepted it to be. Even though I swore I wouldn’t allow my children to eat this bowl of a salt lick, they were intrigued. It is quick and convenient and most tempting, it’s cheap. 
Learning about the high levels of MSG (an excitotoxin that burns out brain cells) and TBHQ (a synthetic chemical used to not allow oxidation in fats). This can be found in many comfort snack items like Cheez It crackers, Teddy Grahams, many frozen chicken nuggets and children’s cereals. I knew I couldn’t allow them to eat this. Up until now it’s been difficult to find a clean version of Ramen noodles. 
This Ramen noodle brand is my favorite. Brown rice for us Gluten Free peeps and nothing else! Just add a few servings of this Ramen to your boiling broth of choice and add an array of veggies. My crew enjoys stir fry veggies like onions, bell peppers, edamame, water chestnuts. I sauté these veggies in a sesame oil and add liquid aminos. This is like soy sauce but full of nutrients. Add in a good quality broth or stock, like Pacific or 365 Whole Foods brand, and bring to a boil. Add in your rice Ramen and shut off your stove and cover pot with a lid for five minutes. Now you have a steaming hot bowl of delicious soup, with no chemicals 😋

Say no to Migraines 

I can’t tell you the last time I had a headache. However I do remember the last time I had a migraine. Even though you want to forget about the time you were dying on the bathroom floor in a fetal position, you never seem to forget it. 

This morning I woke up to an achy temple and panicked! Maybe it was just the fact that the weather has been gross and rainy for days, or maybe the barometric pressure was up. Or maybe it was the dinner we had last night at a local restaurant celebrating our daughters track team losing their meet. Ya we celebrate losses in this house too;) Regardless, I wasn’t surrendering to this pounding pain. 
Back in the day I’d pound some Imitrex and Motrin. Now days I know that many migraines are due to our diet. Sugary drinks and caffeine play a huge role, but so does artificial colorings and sweeteners. We also become prone to migraines from a lack of magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most crucial elements for our bodies health. Magnesium is responsible for creating building blocks to support tissue, body fluids and regulating the body’s function down to the molecular structure. Without producing magnesium we could not create energy, our muscles would be in constant contract mode and even our cholesterol would spike. 
Consuming caffeinated or sugary drinks contain phosphates. These actually bind to magnesium and don’t allow the body to absorb magnesium. So it literally just bypasses the digestive system and blood in our body. Tack on some stress and fatigue from long days at work and not eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, you’ve got inflammation and a lack of magnesium brewing up a head spinning mess. 
Any time I feel a headache coming on, I go straight to my fridge. We all have real medicine in the kitchen. Make yourself a quick shake that will load you up with not only magnesium but calcium and hydration. This will help absorb more of the magnesium and lower the inflammation building up. 
Side note* Add in a few drops of peppermint essential oil on your temples and you are set for NOT being bedridden. 
1/2 cup frozen pineapple 

1/2 cup spinach or kale 

1 celery stick 

1/4 fresh lemon peeled or 1tsp lemon juice 

1/2 inch peeled fresh ginger

1/2 inch peeled turmeric (optional) 
Blend for one minute in a high powered blender and enjoy feeling the throbbing pain dissipate. 

Shh. Don’t tell them yet…

Children big or small can make any clean eating changes a challenge. Many will argue the idea of any change, especially anything green. Here’s a shake I created as an after school snack – you know, for when they walk in the door and say they’re “starving.” 

Try this simple shake and still offer them the snack they want but provide this first. This has been a huge success for some of my pickiest little clients. And shhhh…they have no idea they drank something “green.” 
This shake provides phytonutrients, omega fatty acids, fiber, loaded with iron and potassium, so it’s worth a shot. Let me know what your picky ones say:) 
Recipe: serves 2

-2 cups cold milk of choice (I like almond) 

-1 cup spinach 

-1 frozen banana 

-1 cup frozen berries 

-3 pitted dates (this provides sweetness but the healthier sweetness that’s loaded with fiber)
Blend for about one minute until completely blended. Enjoy!

Sitting for your health

Recognize this? 
Do you sit down in this thing other known to many as a coat hanger or backpack holder? 

Chairs are underrated now days and it might seem silly and not important but these contraptions during a meal will help your digestion AND help with your love life. How, might you ask? Here’s another food science fun fact that isn’t necessarily what you put in your mouth but what you put onto your table and into your heart. 
Cooking, unlike most hobbies allows an energy that is given off to others in the home. When you think about your family members and friends, you don’t usually remember what they were wearing but what they cooked or baked. We all have fond memories of grandmas pot roast or dads chili. The smells of fresh baked cookies lingering in the air or the sounds of dishes clanking, chopping sounds against the cutting board or even the sizzle from the grill or stovetop. These sensory experiences have sadly become less and less in the last decade. We are so busy these days that the idea of going home after a long day to just spend more time on our feet stressing over a stove is just not appealing. 
For centuries many cultures and beliefs like Ayurveda have spoken about the benefits of cooking with loved ones but now modern technology and scientists have shown us the WHY. Scientists has proven that cooking actually “gives off positive energy.” (Believe me, I know there have been many nights I didn’t agree with this fact) but as time went on this became quite easy. We all have gotten busier, and we think the time we put into prepping, cooking and most importantly clean up, makes most of us avoid it. But make it simple, meals do NOT need to be fancy.
 I believe we’ve allowed many of these cooking shows or even my favorite -(Pinterest) inspire us but also sabotage our efforts. I know I’ve been psyched about making something and in the midst of the chaos, I’d surrender and just say “kids, get in the car, we’re eating out.” We don’t need to be fancy culinary geniuses. And as far as the mess -WHO CARES! Leave the dishes piled in the sink overnight – I do! Your family doesn’t have memories of the mess, but they do have memories of chopping up veggies, stirring up mouth watering goodness and sitting around the table engaging in the days conversations. 
Every time they smell similar foods, like the smell of browning onions over the stove, it’ll illuminate their senses. This will just take them back to these special times. I know to this day, I remember the sounds of my mom in the kitchen takes me back. Chopping veggies and the sounds of something sizzling over the stove, just makes me smile. 
Americans spend less time in the kitchen cooking than any other country. When I learned this, I was truly saddened. We have more food in this country than any other but yet, it’s others doing the prepping and cooking for us. Children have lost the ability to learn how to meal plan, prep foods, chop foods and even cook. This is a skill that no matter what profession they follow, they will need to know how to make breakfast lunch and dinner. 
Most children even us adults haven’t taken in any consideration as to where their meal came from. Many of my littlest clients didn’t even know what animal a burger came from or what ingredients exactly made the bread they ate. 
Now I know, I know, I hear you loud and clear saying “but my kids don’t want to help, they’re tired or want to watch tv.” One of mine wasn’t so fond of it either. Every time I would ask, he’d give me some cockamamy reason as to why he couldn’t help. But just like potty training or tying a shoe, persistence is key. 
One thing I did and do for many kids is give them a sense of control. Let them have the fun in planning out the weeks menu. If your kids are anything like mine were, they’ll say “nuggets, pizza, burgers and tacos.” This is OK. Anything made at home is healthier, so let them make those foods and agree to add one veggie per meal. You’d be so surprised how proud of their accomplishments they’ll be. And as time goes on, start adjusting the menu. Make it a family affair, make it about taking time for yourself if you don’t have children. Invite a friend over, even if it’s just one meal a week. You’ll feel the joy that comes from it. 
Now we’ve touched a bit on the love and positive energy that takes place with cooking. Now let’s discuss how the chair helps us out. Digestion at its best takes place when seated. Our bodies need to be in parasympathetic nervous system mode. I know that’s a mouth full but it’s actually really easy to understand. Now days we are what I call “multitasker eaters.” Us moms especially or others who care for children are always on the run. Between school drop off and pick up, practices/games, errands etc. we seldom have time to sit and eat a meal. We’re grabbing most of meals on the go and just eating it in the car or while we’re folding laundry. 
This is probably why up until three years ago, I had just as many crumbs in the driver seat than my kids had in their car seats! The fact of the matter is that when eating this way, we are in stress mode. We may not feel stressed at the moment but we aren’t allowing our body to focus on the digestion. When we’re sedentary and especially in good company, our digestive system is able to digest our food better. When we’re in stress mode, our digestive system takes a pause and the food just sits or doesn’t assimilate and produce the right types of enzymes. 
This can cause many unsettling issues in our gut. And as far as the positive energy goes, listening or engaging in conversation over a meal that has been prepared by friends or family, releases endorphins. This is why we all look forward to holidays like Thanksgiving. We know great food will be served but it’s the ones serving it that brings us great joy too. 
So let’s dust off the chairs and bang on some pots and pans💜

Thryoid Issues?

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Having suffered from thyroid issues myself, foods made all the difference in the world. Here’s a great thyroid boosting smoothie I must share.

For an under active thyroid, iodine is crucial. There are many delicious fruits that you can add to your smoothies that wake up those tired thyroids.

Cranberries are loaded with thyroid boosting iodine – plus has more vitamin C than oranges. The banana has some iodine but is filled with fiber that helps with any constipation associated with an under active thyroid. Pineapple is also loaded with iodine and tastes great up against flavors like cranberries. And last but not least there’s mango. Mango is not a major source of iodine but is loaded with vitamin E. This vitamin is crucial for thyroid dysfunction as it stimulates the thyroid. So as you can see, this recipe is a win win for our tired thyroids.

-1 cup fresh or frozen mango
-1 frozen or fresh banana
-1/2 cup cranberries (frozen is best)
-1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
-1 teaspoon flax seeds (optional)
-1 1/2 cups water

Blend and enjoy:)

Maple isn’t just for your pancakes 

One of my new favorite finds for on the run & for those that don’t like coconut water. Adding a good quality maple syrup to alkalinized water is a great way to hydrate, add antioxidants, minerals, prebiotics, and has a great source of manganese. Manganese can be found in super greens like kale. Manganese is vital for regulating thyroid, metabolizing fats, absorption of calcium, regulating blood sugars, and helps the formation of connective tissue. 

Change is GOOD

We turned in our milk mustaches for green ones. And here’s why: 
Five years ago this little handsome guy I call “my baby,” was riddled with chronic illness. Asthma, eczema, sinus infections, bronchitis and more bouts of pneumonia, I lost count. Having a medical background, I took him to countless doctors. Had him tested more times then I’d like to admit. I still remember the tears, my tears that is. He’s always been the strong one. Piles of medications, creams and inhalers, it just wouldn’t get better. And I just couldn’t accept it, I couldn’t accept it was “hereditary” or “these things happen.” Our story can go on and on but long story short, we worked really hard together, tears, tantrums and all, but we both overcame. No more processed foods, no more dairy (his main culprit- to which he never had a positive allergy test to), and lots and lots of real food. His go to, green smoothies. The result, no more asthma, eczema, sinus infections, and bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia. It’s been almost four years and he’s still going strong💙  #foodismedicine