Tips for Leading a Healthy 2019

You don’t have to go on a crazy juice cleanse to be healthy or give up eating dairy or gluten. Here are some top tips from the experts and myself!

  • The number one thing you can do? Sleep, sleep, sleep. Get into a healthy sleeping pattern and stick to it.  You want to aim for at least 8 hours of sleep at night.

  • Hydrate, hydrate hydrate - Drink lots of water.  Water is the key to everything. If you get dehydrated, then you are going to be sluggish, have no energy and be grumpy.  (This is hard one for me, especially in the winter).

  • Incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your day. In Great Britain they recommend 5 servings a day of fruit and vegetables. Are you getting this?

  • Vary your diet – eat 30 different types of fruits, vegetables and pulses a week!

  • Consider having one vegetarian meal a week – meatless Monday?

  • Cook 1 new recipe a week..how hard can it be right?

  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes per a week.

  • Get outside and see the sun so you can get your Vitamin D.

  • Consider writing a gratitude journal – every morning write down 3 to 5 things you are grateful. Commit to writing this journal for the next month or year.  Start you day with positivity and gratitude. You will be amazed by the shift in mindset.

  • Surround yourself with inspiring literature andmusic – be it books or podcasts.  (I have recently stopped listening to the radio and only listen to podcasts and it has totally changed my day!)

  • Saturday switch off – switch off all electrical devices for the day.

  • Incorporate essential oils into your life – diffuser, spray, bath salts, sugar scrubs…I personally love Serenity by Doterra (this was in the diffuser at the retreat…and thank you Selina for the diffuser!)

  • Incorporate yoga, meditation and breathing into your life.  Set realistic goals. My goal right now is to go to yoga once a week (I love Sarah’s class at Out Here on Tuesday lunch times!)

OH SHE GLOWS PROTEIN POWER RAINBOW QUINOA SALAD

I love this salad from ‘Oh She Glows Everyday’ by Angela Liddon and make it once a week! I love the combo of lemon zest, sun dried tomatoes and the red wine vinaigrette. Don’t be put it off by the long ingredient list - it’s worth it!

1 cup uncooked rainbow quinoa or regular quinoa, or 3 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14 ounce/398 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups packed stemmed lacinato kale, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, julienned and chopped into bit-size pieces
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (optional, but recommended)

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp pure maple syrup
Zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tbsp.)

For the garnish

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds (I used almonds)
1 tbsp. hemp hearts (These would provide a nice crunch, but I didn’t use these)

Instructions

1. Make the salad: Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Combine quinoa, water and a pinch of salt in a medium pot and stir. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 13 to 16 minutes, until the water has absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from the heat, uncover, fluff with fork, and let cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas in an extra-large bowl. Add the kale, carrot, green onion, parsley and tomatoes (if using) to the serving bowl along with the chickpeas.
3. Make the red wine vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard and garlic. While whisking, slowly stream in the oil. Whisk in the salt, pepper, maple syrup, and lemon zest, adjusting to taste if desired.
4. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl along with the veggies. Pour on all the dressing and toss well to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the seeds and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

*Note: the quinoa can also be cooked in a rice cooker using the same measurements above.

Lentil Soup and Caraway and Minted Yogut

I love this soup in the winter..it’s hearty and warming and healthy! This was a hit today at the retreat. I omitted the yogurt as wanted a dairy free soup but you could easily substitute with a dairy free yogurt. I love it with a squeeze of lime.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

2 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground

1 tsp. caraway seeds, toasted and finely ground

2 cloves garlic, crushed

6 cups vegetable stock

1 1⁄2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 tbsp. Greek yogurt (or dairy free yogurt)

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint

Toasted flat bread or pita, for serving

Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add coriander, caraway, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add stock and lentils and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft, 15–20 minutes.

Transfer soup to a food processor or blender and, working in batches, purée until smooth. Return soup to the pot and keep warm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

To garnish, stir together yogurt and some of the mint in a bowl; set aside for 10 minutes to marry flavors. Divide soup between 6 bowls, top with a dollop of the yogurt, and sprinkle with the remaining mint. Serve soup with flat bread.

Shine Big, Shine Bright: Honoring Sancy Shaw - January 12, 2019

What a day! I am smiling from ear to ear thinking about today and how amazing it was.  I had the privilege and honor of leading ten beautiful women through a one day yoga retreat. I came home invigorated and ready to conquer 2019. I won’t lie, after Sancy’s celebration of life service yesterday I questioned whether I had made the right decision to continue hosting and leading this one day yoga retreat.   I was tired, emotional and not sure I had it in me to stand up in front of a group and lead them through a day of self- discovery in light of the unexpected and tragic death of Sancy Shaw on Christmas Eve.

Saturday morning, I awoke early and felt a fire ignite within me. Sancy’s celebration of life repeatedly reminded us to live in the moment, be passionate, be joyful and live life without regrets.  Her legacy drove me to get out of bed.  I practiced yoga in front of my fire, drank lemon water and knew I was ready for the day ahead.  I practiced the yoga sequence I planned to teach. The sequence starts with finding your breath, noticing your inhale and exhale and then thinking about what you are inviting in on the inhale and what you are releasing on the exhale. What you are inviting in and releasing can be anything – an emotion, a sensation, something abstract, something concrete.  Whatever first comes to mind.  For me, I exhaled fear – fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of not living life to it’s fullest, fear of missing out, fear of everything. I inhaled grace – grace to get through the next couple of months and grace to overcome obstacles that are put in my path (thank you Ganesha!). ‘Fear’ and ‘Grace’ are not words that are usually in my vocabulary so when these words came to me out of nowhere, I was a little taken aback.  But as I told my students, don’t over think, just go with it.   I felt such release as I breathed in and out.

 The yoga retreat was held at my daughter’s school.  We were bathed in sunlight as we practiced yoga.  Surrounded by bright, vibrant art work created by students, the space was filled with energy and positivity. This was the first time I had held a retreat at the school.  I had no idea how it would be.  This was also where Sancy was a teacher.  I had no idea how it was going to feel to be at the school given the circumstances.  Yet, it felt so right to be in the space that she inhabited on a daily basis talking about living to it’s fullest, letting go of the past and inviting in and making space for the new.  I felt like I was honoring her legacy just by being in her space.

Together we practiced yoga, twisting and cleansing our bodies. Together, we exhaled and released whatever we didn’t need and together we inhaled what we wanted.  We asked Ganesha, the Hindu God known as the remover of obstacles, to help us on our journey.   Sometimes you just need a little help. And there is nothing wrong in asking for help.  When we were getting close to our peak poses and most challenging twists, Ganesha mantras suddenly started playing in the background as if he knew we needed a little more help!  This was totally unplanned! It felt great to move and challenge our bodies; to get out of our head and into our bodies.

Then it was time to eat. This might be one of my favorite times of the retreat. Sitting down together to eat, talk and nourish our souls.  I grew up eating every meal together as a family. We never missed a night. I love to cook. Food is how I show my love.  I love cooking for my retreat participants. I love making healthy, creative food that will nourish their souls. So what was on the menu….curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk, curried lentil soup, rainbow quinoa salad (it’s all about the lemon zest and red wine vinaigrette!), vegan fudge,  peanut butter cookie dough balls and chocolate fudge bites (dates and cacao powder!) Yum!  Today made me realize once again how much I love to share my passion for healthy eating. I have been exploring different avenues and ways to share my passion and once again just put it on the back burner. After spending the afternoon visioning, I am recommitting to this vision and will be making this a reality for 2019.  I am not sure what this looks like yet so stay posted!

 Sarah led us through an afternoon of visioning. It was such a treat to listen and partake and not have to do.  Over the years, I have realized that although I am totally able to lead retreats on my own, I prefer to team teach.  Team teaching is so much more rewarding!  I love working with a partner.  Together, we create the vision each bringing our own perspective, styles and knowledge.  Together we nurture our students and provide them with what they need. Together, we hold space for our students and for each other.

We began with the abstract imagining ourselves in five years, feeling and seeing ourselves. Then we were tasked with writing down what we saw and felt, acknowledging obstacles and then thinking about what we needed to do to overcome the obstacles.  We walked away with goals and specifics – which I need as I like to have a list!

I always think it’s a good sign when no-one wants to leave! When you are standing in the parking lot, talking and giving each other hugs and not wanting the day to end.  The sun was still shining and the sky was a brilliant blue.  It was one of those glorious Colorado days when you feel lucky to be alive.  And lucky is exactly how I felt.  Lucky, that I have time. Time to be with my family and friends. Time to share my passion for what I love with my community.   Time to be here on this earth.  As I write this, I realize that the concept of time kept coming up for me today.  I kept saying I didn’t have enough time. Not enough time to read or take care of myself.  Yet in reality I just have change my mindset around time. I have time.  I just have to prioritize how I spend that time.  Tonight I am thankful that I alive. I am thankful that I have time.  I am thankful for this opportunity to figure out how I want to spend the remaining time I have on this earth.  I celebrate and honor Sancy as I commit to living life to it’s fullest, having fun and following my dreams.

Starting My Day with Positivity!

So I know I am a little late to the game but I have just discovered podcasts. Wow! Where have I been for the last couple of years? Listening to podcasts has completely changed my day. Now, I can’t wait to take a drive, go for a walk or just get up early, sit in front of my fireplace and listen to a podcast. It has been truly been an amazing transformation in my life. I return from a walk or a drive feeling inspired and ready to tackle my day. So what have I been listening to recently…well here are my favorite current podcasts:

Deliciously Ella The Podcast

I have been following Deliciously Ella on Instagram for the last year. My sister gave me her cookbook last Christmas and I have totally fallen in love with Ella and her husband her Matt. This past summer they started a podcast and every week I couldn’t wait until Tuesday so that I could jump in my car, drive to work and listen to their insightful interviews. Ella and Matt interview a diverse range of guest speakers from entrepreneurs to doctors, researchers and scientists. It’s fascinating to learn more about our diets, health and how our choices are affected the planet. As a result of listening to this podcast, I now have a weekly meat free day and have tried to reduce food waste (listen to the episode about food waste and you will join me! )

Super Soul Conversations with Oprah

I just have to say this - Oprah is an amazing interviewer. Wow! Every time I listen to her, I am in awe of her ability to draw our her guest speakers, ask the tough questions and focus on what’s important. With so many episodes and such a diverse range of guests, there is something for everyone. I personally loved the following episodes:

  • Jon Zabat Zinn

  • Brene Brown

  • Paulo Coelho

  • Deepak Chopra

  • Howard Schultz

  • Pema Chodron

  • Sebastien Junger

This is how Oprah’s website describes her podcast: ‘All designed to light you, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.’ What’s not to love!

The Goal Digger by Jenna Kutcher

A friend of mine recently recommended this podcast to me. I have only listed to a couple if episodes but I am hooked. And thankfully I have about 200 episodes to catch up on! I love Jenna’s positivity, enthusiasm and her authentic desire to educate entrepreneurs. Jenna is easy to listen to and she makes her content interesting and engaging. This is first time that I genuinely want to listen to someone talking about business! If you have your own business or are thinking about starting your own business then you definitely need to subscribe to this podcast. Here is what Jenna has to say about her podcast:

The live-workshop style business podcast that is helping thousands redefine success and chase bolder dreams. You can train from the experts how to dig in, do the work, and tackle your biggest goals along the way.’


Key Lime Pie with a twist

I was a little skeptical upon reading this recipe….raw, vegan key lime pie. Hmmm…how is that possible? But these little pies didn’t disappoint. Once you can get your head wrapped around the fact that avocado is the star ingredient replacing cream, anything is possible!

Makes 9 Personal Pies

Crust

1 cup raw nuts (almond or pecan)

5 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup dates (preferably Medjool, pitted)

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

A few pinches of sea salt.

Filling

3 ripe avocados

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 pinches of sea salt

Grated zest of 1 lime

  • Make the crust: Pulse the nuts in a food processor until chunky. Add the coconut oil, dates, shredded coconut and salt and continue to pulse until the nuts and dates and form a solid ball. If you need more liquid to bind the dough, add a little more melted coconut oil.

  • Line a 12 up muffin tin with plastic wrap. Divide the crust mixture into 9 balls and press each ball into a muffin cup, pressing the dough evenly up the sides to create a tart shell. Place in freezer for 1 hour.

  • When you are ready, make the filling, Put the avocados, maple syrup, coconut oil, lime juice, pinch of salt and grated zest of lime into the food processor and blend on the highest setting until it’s smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if needed. It should be balanced between tart and sweet.

  • Remove the muffin tin from the freezer. Pull up the edges of the plastic wrap to remove the tart shells from the muffin tin. Spoon the fillings into the tart shells. Put the filled shells back in the muffin tray and place back in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

  • Remove the tarts from the freezer for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Yum!

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One Bite Sweet Treats

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

Makes about 14 bites

1 1/2 cups of oat flour

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter or almond butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond flour/meal

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. A dough will start to form. Put into a bowl and mix in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into small bite sizel balls. Place finished balls on a plate lined with parchment paper. Store the bites in the fridge. I like to eat them at room temperature.

Note on oat flour - If you can’t buy oat flour, you can make oat flour by putting oats in a food processor and blending until a fine flour forms. Store bought oat flour is substantially finer than what you can make in your own food processor so store bought oat flour is preferred.

Fudge Bites

Makes 10 to 14 balls

3/4 cup pitted dates (I like Medjool)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons cocoa/cacao powder

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw pecans

Optional - mini chocolate chips

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor (apart from chocolate chips) until it starts to form a dough. Remove the dough from the blender and place in a bowl. Add the chocolate chips. Rolls into bite size balls. Place balls on parchment paper and put in the fridge. This dough also works great as a pie crust.

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First Snow...First Soup of the Season

Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall soups. I typically make this soup a couple of times a month in the fall and winter and always have some available in either the fridge or the freezer. Over the years I have played around with different spices. My new favorite take on this recipe uses coconut oil and coconut milk and gives it a somewhat Asian inspired flavor.

1 butternut squash

2 onions chopped

Coconut oil or olive oil

4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. I like to use convection bake.

  2. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthways. Place the squash skin side down (i.e. so you can see the seeds) in a deep baking tray with about an inch of water. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the squash is soft. Add more water if necessary if it completely evaporates.

  3. While the squash is cooking, heat up a little olive oil in a saucepan. I like to use coconut oil but you could also opt for olive oil depending upon the flavor you want. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions. Cook the onions for about 5 to 10 minutes until they start to brown. Then leave to the side.

  4. Let the squash cool and then scoop out the flesh of the squash (get rid of the seeds) into the pan with the onions. Add 4 cups of broth and cook for another 15 minutes or so.

  5. For a creamy soup, I add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of coconut milk (this replaces cream!)

  6. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup. (if using a regular blender, make sure you let the liquid cool before adding to the blender). Add more coconut milk or water if you want a thinner soup.

  7. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I like to add a little curry powder - start with half a teaspoon and add more as necessary.

Yum!

Best Granola Ever

This granola gets me out of bed in the morning! Thank you Angela Liddon for this amazing recipe (from Oh She Glows Every Day). I love serving it with almond milk or eating it with Greek yoghurt for a treat in the evenings. I even snack on it during the day. The hazelnuts are key. Sometimes I omit the cherries if I don’t have them in my pantry. I have used honey instead of brown rice syrup but the brown rice syrup creates a better consistency/texture.

Roasted Hazelnut-Almond Granola

3/4 cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 1/3 cups gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

4 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

1/4 cup almond butter

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Spread the hazelnuts over a small baking sheet and the almonds over another. Put both in the oven and roast for 12 to 14 minutes until the hazelnut skins have darkened, cracked and are almost falling off. Let the nuts cool on the sheet for another 5 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a damp dishcloth and rub vigorously until most of the skins fall off. The goal is to remove most of them. Chop the hazelnuts and almonds and set aside.

  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and keep the oven set to 300F (150C).

  3. In a large bowl, stir together the chopped hazelnuts, almonds, oats, shredded coconut, cherries, chia seeds and salt.

  4. In a small pot, melt the coconut oil over a low heat. Add the almond butter, brown rice syrup and maple syrup. Stir until everything is melted. Remove from the heat. Add the vanilla.

  5. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir well until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir again.

  6. Spread the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheets and spread out into a thin layer no more than 1/2 inch thick. Space the granola out as much as possible so it has room to provide.

  7. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes. I like to flip the granola half way through cooking to make sure it is browning evenly on both sides.

  8. Remove from oven when it is browned and let cool completely. Then break it up into clusters. Store in air tight container in fridge for 3 to 4 weeks (if it lasts this long in your house!)

End of Summer Salad

It’s hard to believe that fall is here but I am so excited! I love this time of year. I love watching the leaves change color, I love the first fire of the season (which we just had yesterday!) and I love spending weekends in my kitchen. Work for me slows down in the fall (I spend summers planning weddings in beautiful Steamboat Springs) and I love spending days in my kitchen trying out new recipes.

Last week I made a beautiful summer salad which I can’t wait to make again. It was an explosion of flavors and was simple to make. If you want to eat a hearty salad that is dairy and gluten free then this is a great option. If you can’t buy tomatillos I would recommend just leaving them out as it’s hard to find a substitute.

Garlicky Grilled Shrimp with Grilled Nectarines and Green Tomatoes by Sara Dickerman from ‘The Food Lover’s Cleanse’.

2 large nectarines, pitted and quartered

2 large (or 6 small) tomatillos, quartered

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds shelled, deveined jump shrimp

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 small red onion cut into 1/8-inch-thick-slices

1 tablespoon rice vinegear

23 fresh mint leaves

  • Heat a gas grill to medium high.

  • In a large bowl. toss the nectarines and tomatillo quarters with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until browned, softened and slightly charred, rotating frequently to cook evenly, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  • In the same bowl, combine the shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil and the garlic. Grill the shrimp until they’re browned and slightly charred, rotating frequently to cook evenly, about 3 minutes.

  • In a large clean bowl, combine the nectarines, tomatillos, shrimp and onion. Toss in the vinegar and mint and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of oil if desired.

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