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So I’m halfway into day 4 of my elimination diet, and I have to say, I’m not feeling the least bit deprived.  I’ve even found myself trying to come up with creative ways to get things into my diet as special treats.  My latest is to work on a milkshake made from almond milk.  I’ve made my own almond milk before, which is really quite easy, so now I’m going to experiment even further.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Last night for dinner we had sweet potato fries and I made a frittata with all of the delicious farm fresh eggs from our local farm share.  I diced up some potato (ok, so Mike actually did all the chopping), sauted that for a bit, then added diced red pepper, zuccinni (fresh from the garden!),  and onion.  I then added the sauteed vegetables to a bowl of 6 eggs whisked with some nutritional yeast and onion flakes and dumped in a bit of salsa for added flavor.  I then added this all back to the cast iron pan I was using, cooked mostly through, and then put under the broiler for a few minutes to finish off and brown the top.  Yum, yum, and leftovers for breakfast!  Yesterday I had some gluten free bread and avocado in the morning.  The brand was Kinnikinnick Foods, Sunflower, Flax and Rice Bread.  A little heavy, but not too bad at all.  Besides that, just more fruit, vegetables, hummous and rice crackers. 

The first few days I was pretty tired, especially first thing in the morning (which is often my norm despite a good amoount of sleep), but also in the afternoon, which is unusual.  I’m thinking it’s due to the elimination of all of these foods I’m no longer eating from my body.  Today I woke up much more awake, less groggy and less congested than usual.  I’m also feeling generally less bloated.  So all in all, things are good, hoping the energy is better today.

Happy eating,

Jess

Woohoo, summer is here! Hard to believe it finally made it as we’ve been battling with endless rain here in the northeast.  I say that as I look outside at the puddles gathering in the street, but hey we had a nice 4th of July weekend anyway.

I wanted to give you a quick update on my latest diet.  After meeting with a great naturopath to discuss some chronic issues I’ve been dealing with, we decided the best path for me would be to do a true elimiation diet to find out what food allergies I might be dealing with.   As she asked me what kind of diets I’d tried, I realized as I was answering her that I’m not very good at following rules.  I can’t say I’ve EVER really done a diet completely.  The closest I could come was that I’d gone totally dairy free for 3+ months.  So I realized the only way I would ever do something so restrictive as an elimination diet was by doctors orders (especially a dr. I respect as much as Dr. Layton).  So here I am, day 2 of my elimination.

So what does that mean you ask?  It means: no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no refined sugar, no corn, no caffeine.  I think that’s it.  So what’s left you ask…lots of fruits and vegetables!  Luckily it’s summer (as I mentioned earlier, woohoo!) and I think I can do it. 

I’ll be checking in more regularly sharing my meals and experience.  So far so good!  Wish me luck, only 20.5 more days!  After three weeks off all this stuff I start adding foods back, one at a time, every 48 hours to see if I have a reaction.  See, the idea is to get all reminants of the foods out of your system, so then when you add them in (and as Dr. Layton says, when you eat wheat, REALLY eat wheat..pasta for breakfast, loaf of bread for lunch…), if you have an intolerance it should show up, whether its through a lack of energy, digestive issues, skin irritation, congetion, whatever.  Won’t that part be fun!

So, here’s what my meals have looked like the last two days:

Monday: breakfast- grapes and rice crackers with peanut butter

lunch: salad with tuna fish

dinner: shrimp and scallops with a grapefruit kale salad (raw kale with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lime juice and chunks of grapefruit)

Tuesday:breakfast: strawberries with cashews

lunch salad with hummus and carrots/rice crackers

dinner: steak and something

So, as you can see, I’m not starving by any means.  I’m kind of surprised I’m not going through withdrawl since my weekend meals consisted of wheat, sugar, caffeine and soy…just filling up in case I was going to miss it! =)

Happy summer,

Jess

Going Raw

So in my never ending search to find the best diet for my body, I’ve made a commitment to move toward a raw diet this summer to see how it goes.   I have no desire to go 100% raw, I just plan to incorporate more raw foods into my diet and see how it goes.  This is so easy to do in the summer with all the fresh fruits and vegetables, so it just makes sense.  I’ve begun getting my farm share, so now have all the greens I can eat (along with amazing goat cheese and eggs..a few of the reasons I have no desire to go 100% raw!).  I also watch my garden as it grows every day.  It’s so fun to watch, and it just amazes me that I’m able to grow real food!  I’ll have to take pictures to share with you next week.  The peas and beans are starting to climb up their respective trellises, the broccoli is awesome, the mesculan greens are probably past their prime as they looked like they could have been eaten before I even put them in the ground!  The only thing I’m worried about is my watermelon.  I’m hoping they’re just waiting for the heat to start growing, as I really want some watermelon!  Pepper, tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, kale, all growing, believe it or not.  I’ve been carefully removing the bugs and eggs from my pole beans, as they weren’t looking so good in the beginning, but now they look great, so I think it worked.  I really have no idea what I’m doing, but trying my best.  The rain has helped too.  Now we just need some good sunshine.  So that’s my garden, will keep you posted and post pictures.  I don’t know if I have any lessons learned yet, but will share them as they come.

So, even if you don’t have a garden, you too can begin eating with the seasons.  If you’re not sure where to start, just go to your local farmers market (in RI check out www.farmfreshri.org) and see what’s there.  If they’re selling it, it’s in season. 

A few ideas:

Most nights we tend to make a huge salad and then have a protein.  Tonight it was grilled shrimp and a pretty standard salad with a balsamic dressing.  Last night it was grass fed steak from a local farm with a bok choy, onion, apple salad with honey dijon dressing.  The night before it was grilled salmon, marinated in a soy ginger sauce with a salad with a umeboshi plum paste and tahini dressing.  This is my new favorite discovery.  I think I just took about 2 tbsp tahini, 1 tsp of umeboshi plum paste, 1 tsp honey and some rice vinegar.  Great on steamed kale too! 

Ok, I’ll post some complete recipes next week, but feel free to experiment, dressings are so easy, you just keep adjusting and tasting until they’re good! 

Happy eating,

Jess

Hello my dear readers!

I am sorry to have been away for oh so long! Unfortunately, we had some major technical difficulties that took us offline for quite sometime, but thanks to our amazing techman behind the scenes, the great Andy Olson of ozonedesign.com, we are back and better than ever.  I have to give serious props to Andy, he is always there to keep us moving forward with our mission, even when life  seems to get in the way.  New jobs, lost jobs, babies, marriage, new houses, the whole bit.  But here we are, still with a purpose that won’t die.  To support others in their journey toward wholeness, balance and health. (thanks to you too Ryan!)  We are so honored to support you in any small way we can.   

And with that, I am recommiting myself to you, to myself and to my journey toward fabulous. This entry will be short and sweet, but you will be hearing from me weekly with updates on my personal path (in the hope that you may glean insights from my experiences), as well as tips, tricks, and recipes to help support you on your personal path to wellness, one we all tend to hop on and off as we move toward an unknown destination.  Isn’t that so true?  If we really have no clue where we’re going, but only know where we are, then doesn’t living conciously in the present moment just start to make complete sense.  It’s the only thing we have any control over, so why not take it by the horns and…what?…wrestle it to the ground?  Ok, why not give it a huge hug and tell it how much you love it.  Or cry on it’s sholder, or go have coffee with a friend and it, or take it to yoga?  Why not treat the present like it’s its birthday every day, all day?  Doesn’t that seem like a nice way to live? 

Let me guess…you’re all hung up on “reality”?  Well, I hear you, believe me, I do, but I can’t help but believe that we all create our own reality.  Even if it really sucks.  And more importantly, we are the only ones who control our reaction to that reality.  So take those lemons, and make some lemonade, its high in vitamin C, will boost your immune system, and made with natural sweeteners can be a healthy sweet treat.  So look there, what once was a crappy situation is now a sweet treat that you can franchise and make millions on every street corner in America.  Using industrious children happy to push your creation on every passer by.  Life is good.  Yes, life is good.

So for this week, be present, feed your body and soul and spare the quarter for a cup of lemonade, would you?

Be well,

Jess

So my 40 Days of Yoga has been going.  Going ok.  Maybe even going good if I’m feeling really optimistic.  But the reality is that if I step back and look at it realistically, I’m being a bit harsh on myself.  Since it started I’ve gotten up and meditated almost every morning.  I’ve also been doing more yoga than I’ve done for the last year, which feels amazing.  And I’m really feeling the difference.  I was even at a class on Sat (a heated power class) and felt so great.  After class, my friend who was practicing next to me commented on how great I looked during my practice.  It felt so good to have someone else notice the changes that were happening for me, many of which I wasn’t even allowing myself to notice.  A big part of the 40 Days program is letting go of the judgment.  But another part is about sticking to your commitments.  Realizing that you can’t just keep piling things into your life and expect to keep up.  To add things in, often we need to let other things go.  So for me, even though I’ve been really wanting to get back in shape and ride my bike more, I realized I was using that as an excuse to not fully participate in 40 Days of yoga.  So now, I always choose yoga first, and cycling second.  In this way I’m able to honor the commitment I made to myself and feel good about that.  Surprisingly, I’m still fitting in plenty of cycling as well.  It’s amazing how balance finds you if you can commit to what is important to you and stay on that path.

As for my food, that has been going well also.  This weekend I was a little too lenient, allowing dairy to creep in a bit, but as always, I feel the difference and will commit to removing that again.  As for some new meals to try out, here’s a few ideas that I’ve experimented with the last few weeks:

Whole wheat angel hair pasta with pesto sauce (you can easily find a pesto recipe on google, I used 2 c. basil, 1/3 c. walnuts, 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves garlic and salt to taste).  Leftovers can be frozen, I like to put them in ice cube trays till frozen then store in a ziploc.  This way I just pull out as many as I need for a recipes.  In the pasta I added a whole shredded zucchini as well, which I just mixed in with the pesto sauce after the pasta was cooked.

Another great dish is marinated grilled tempeh served over roasted kale and topped with caramelized onions and thinly sliced red peppers.  The marinade I used was: 3 tbsp of maple syrup, 3 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of rice vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic, minced and a pinch of cayenne.  You may even want to make twice this for a full package of tempeh to have enough for a sauce to.  I like to cut the tempeh in half first (creating two thin rectangles) and then cut it into pieces to allow the marinade to soak through.  Marinate for at least 30 min, then cook in a frying pan or on a grill.  Serve over roasted kale with a scoop of the caramelized onion/pepper mixture on top and drizzle with the sauce.  Remember because it’s not “raw” you can marinate the tempeh and still use the marinade as sauce, unlike with raw meat.

Here’s to making commitments, sticking to them, and seeing where life takes you!

Be well,
Jess

Day 2 of 40

Day 2 of 40 days of yoga, so far so good.  I started off a bit slow, with a snow day yesterday, my yoga didn’t go as planned, but I did get in about 20 minutes, which is all that is suggested, so I’ll call it a success.  I did start the day with an hour on my bike so I’m sure that makes up for it, it was kind of a riding meditation =).  Food has been going well for the most part.  I did have one day last weekend that was completely “forbidden”, at least according to my latest “rules”.  You see, I don’t use these words in my practice, but somehow I naturally move toward them in my life, constant reminder, it’s easier said than done!  Anyway, I decided I wanted a burger, so I had one, and we also got calamari, which was fried, and reallly pretty awful.  And boy did I regret it.  Not because I felt guilty, but because I felt like crap.  Really, the whole rest of the night my belly was not happy with me.  Needless to say, I’m back off the meat.  Some of my meals this week have included spinach with baked falafel and cucumber sauce, black eyed peas (spiced with thyme, roasted red pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, and garlic) with onions, celery, collard greens, and brown rice.  I also made some corn biscuits sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar.

This weekend I’m off to NY to see a good friend and her family, so I need to make a huge commitment to wake up and do yoga first thing, or I know it will slip away.  So here it is, in writing, I will do yoga both Saturday and Sunday morning.  Done.  It’s also superbowl sunday, but we plan to watch the game at home and Mike is planning on making some healthy snacks and vegetarian chili, so I think I’d escape unscathed.

Meditation.  It’s hard.  It amazes me not only how thoughts keep coming, but how quickly I forget to ignore them.  I’m sure I’ll get better, I’ve got 38 days!

OOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM,

Be well,
Jess

All is well.  Still eating healthy, with very little meat and dairy (seafood once a week and goat cheese once or twice).  For dinner over the last week I’ve had pad thai made with store bought sauce, rice noodles, zucchini, carrots, tofu and bean sprouts; forbidden rice with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, shrimp and a little goat cheese; vegetarian chili, and went out for sushi.  Lunches are leftovers and I also roasted vegetables and had that with a Sunshine burger; breakfast has been fruit or a smoothie with sprouted grain toast and avocado or peanut butter.  Snacks include almonds, dried fruit, soup, hummus and fruit.

Exercise has been good.  Snow shoeing, cycling, staining floors, pilates and yoga.  Tomorrow I’m going to a yoga workshop at All That Matters and a then fundraiser for Clean Ocean Access with some friends.

Overall I’m feeling good.  Haven’t lost any weight, but that’s to be expected.  I do feel a little slimmer, and fit into a few pairs of jeans a little better than a few weeks ago.  Progress is good!

Ok, now to the girl talk.  I wrote a lot more the first time, but here’s the summary.  Bascially started my period yesterday which is usually 24-48 hours of bad cramps at least one very sleepless night, and more bad cramps.  Although I tossed and turned a bit last night, the pain was minimal and today I felt good and had much more energy than I normally would.  It’s pretty cool to see how many ways food can effect you.  I’ve read alot about how eliminating dairy and animal foods can reduce PMS symptoms, but now I’m a believer.  Very cool!

Happy Friday, have a great weekend and a healthy, happy week.

40 Days of Yoga starts next week, woohoo!

Be well,
Jess

Say no to deprivation!

This week has had it’s ups and downs when it comes to my attempts to eat and live healthfully.  But I think the biggest thing I realized is that I’m not a fan of deprivation.  I now remember why I encourage my clients to add in the good stuff.  We don’t focus nearly as much on removing the bad stuff, it just happens naturally.  And the more we think about what we can’t have, the more we want it.  For me, what works best to keep me away from things that are not so good for me is to connect doing them to the negative result.  Allowing refined sugar and processed foods (like breads and pasteries) back into my diet resulted in a few extra pounds.  Eating dairy makes me congested and wake up feeling crappy.  Not exercising makes me tired and adds that extra “soft tissue” that I don’t really want!  So that gets me half way there.  The other half is focusing on the good feelings doing the right thing brings.  Exercising gives me more energy, tones my body and makes me feel great.  Eating healthy food keeps my energy even throughout the day and will eventually make my attempts to shed a few pounds easier.  Not to mention, I love the taste of whole foods and experimenting with new recipes.  Eating roasted vegeatables for lunch is a treat, both in taste and the way I feel after.

So, I guess the moral of this post is that I need to continue to practice what I preach, since there’s reallly something to it!

This week, although I didn’t exercise as much as I would have liked, we did set up our bikes on trainers in our new unfinished bedroom and got up to spin two mornings this week.  I know this will continue because (a) it’s easy and convenient, and (b) Mike got into a ride this summer that’s going to kick his butt so he needs to train, so we’ll be able to support each other.  Today I’m going to a yoga workshop at Tenth Gate Yoga Center in Portsmouth.  It’s a hot yoga workshop and will be a great detox and energy boost, I can’t wait!

As for food, I’ve mainly stuck to fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  I did sneak salmon in for one dinner, it just sounded really good.  Oh, and I had a chocolate truffle, but for the whole week, not bad at all.  Below are a few of the recipes I made this week.

I’d say overall, I feel good with my choices.  This week I will focus on getting in a bit more exercise and keep an eye on portions.  Sit me down with a container of hummus and its over, so I need to watch that even though I’m eating healthy, I can tend to overindulge in some places.

Have a fabulous holiday weekend.  I will be spending mine painting the new bedroom!

Be well,

Jess

Morning Smoothie

Serves 1
Ingredients:
½ Banana (to reduce sugar further use ½ an avocado)
½ cup frozen blueberries
5-6 almonds
¼ cup rolled oats
1 tbsp high quality raw protein powder (I use a Hemp powder)
1-2 tsp Maca powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp cacao nibs
1-2 prunes (optional)
Filtered water, 2-3 ice cubes

Directions
Combine all ingredients in blender.  Fill the rest with water (for Magic Bullet, or add water until desired consistency is reached).  Combine until fully blended.  If it needs to be sweeter, you can add some agave nectar or a few drops of stevia or to taste (be careful as this is quite sweet tasting- although has no effect on blood sugar).

Pinto Bean and Polenta Casserole

Ingredients:
1 can Pinto beans
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 cup Water
1 tsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion, minced
½ tsp Sea Salt
1 clove Garlic, minced
½ Red pepper, chopped
1-2 Zucchini, chopped
2 tsp Ground cumin
1 tsp Oregano
½ cup Tomato sauce
¼ cup Water
3 cups Water
1 tsp Sea salt
1 tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Polenta
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1.      Place beans in medium pot with garlic, cumin and ¼ cup of water.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.
2.      Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add onion, salt, and garlic; sauté until soft.
3.      Add pepper, zucchini, cumin, and oregano; sauté 5 more minutes
4.      Add cooked beans to the vegetables with tomato sauce and ¼ cup water.  Salt if necessary.
5.      In the pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add salt and oil.  Slowly add polenta, stirring continuously with a whisk.  Lower heat and continue stirring in a clockwise motion with a wooden spoon for 1015 min. until mixture can hold the spoon upright on its own.
6.      Preheat over to 350.  In a lightly oiled casserole dish, spread the bean and vegetable mixture across the bottom.  Spread the polenta on top.   Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese.
7.      Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Remove cover and bake 5 minutes at 400 to brown.

*adapted from Feeding the Whole Family

Getting Back on Track

So I started out the weekend well by making it to yoga on Friday night and coming home to a yummy baked eggplant meal.  I did have a little pasta, but not much, and since Mike did put the effort into trying to find brown rice pasta, I let that one slide.  Oh, and I also had a small glass of red wine, hey, at least I got some more antioxidents =).  Saturday was good with fruit, sprouted grain toast and avocado, a veggie and Sunshine burger wrap and a veggie burrito and pumpkin soup for dinner.  Unfortunately, the margaritas caught my eye and it was all down hill from there!  Ok, so not downhill exactly, but maybe a few steps back anyway.  Sunday was a nice day of relaxing and painting, and healthy eating…until dinner.  Due to the sheet of ice covering our cars and the roads, we didn’t have the desire to go out to the store, which is when I really broke all the rules and we ordered a pizza!  It was just a cheese pizza and we did get salad, but definitely not on the plan.  The good thing was that when I woke up this morning I was reminded of how dairy effects me with a stuffy nose and puffy eyes, no fun.

Today was good, same breakfast as usual, at lunch I got lucky, the cafeteria was serving curried vegetables with brown rice, I couldn’t believe it.  I was sure I was going to be having a salad, so happy to find something warm and healthy.  For dinner I made sweet potato fries, kale, and a yellow split pea soup with mushrooms.  Below is that recipe which I got from Elana’s Pantry, a gluten free blog I subscribe to.  Yum!  Even made it to yoga tonight.  I’m back on track and plan to remove nuts and seeds tomorrow, and legumes as soon as the soup is all gone.

For exercise I really need to bump up the cardio and get some weight training in.  I plan to start riding my bike on my trainer a few times a week, as soon as we make room for them.  This weekend was a total exercise flop, although I did do a lot of painting, so it was kind of a karate kidesque training weekend =).

I have to say, I had no cravings at all last week, but once I added in alchohol and expecially the pizza, I was dying for some chocolate (which I did manage to avoid).  Pretty interesting to observe how quickly certain foods can throw our bodies out of balance and create unhealthy and hard to resist cravings.  I look forward to being back on track this week.

Ok, off to bed.  Healthy, happy dreams!

Jess

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Paprika

1 cup yellow split peas
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 quart stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup kale, chopped and steamed
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt

Directions
1. In a medium sauce pan, bring split peas, water, bay leaves and paprika to a boil
2. Reduce and simmer for 1 hour, until peas break apart
3. Remove peas from heat, discard bay leaves and place peas in blender
4. Puree peas on high speed, until smooth, then set aside
5. In a large sauce pan, heat oil and sauté onion over medium low until translucent, 10- 15 minutes
6. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté until tender
7. Stir pureed peas, stock, kale and salt into onion, mushroom mixture
8. Warm and serve

So, I’m not sure what happened to yesterday’s post, sorry about that.  It was my best one yet!  =)

Today was good, although I found myself a bit hungry.   I’m not feeling a whole lot different, but am not having any cravings and therefore having an easy time making good choices and avoiding the foods I’m trying to.  No exercise today.  I made my best attempt to get to yoga, but was going to be too late, so skipped it.  I promise to make up for it this weekend.

Breakfast: clementine, sprouted grain toast and avocado, detox tea, kombucha

Snack: clementine

Lunch: roasted veg with a Sunshine burger (I had this yesterday too)..Sunshine burgers are my new fav, they’re just brown rice, sunflower seeds, carrot and herbs, but sooo yummy!  I had roasted a bunch of vegetables on Tuesday night while eating dinner to have for lunch the next few days (zucchini, butternut squash, onion, carrot), so for lunch I just filled a pyrex with the roasted veg and grabbed a sunshine burger from the freezer and put it on top, then at work just heated it all in the microwave.

Snack: hummus and carrots, bannana chips

Dinner- kale(same way as the other night, steamed and lightly sauted, this time with shallots and garlic), lentils and arame (recipe below), brown rice and salad.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to eliminate nuts and beans, but I have left over lentils and bought stuff to make trail mix, so I’m just going to hold strong where I’m at for another day.  If you’re wondering what’s left, it’s a lot!  Fruits, veg, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts, and seeds.  This weekend I think I’ll go down to just fruits and veg for a few days.

Time to clear the clutter!

“Do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful of believe to be beautiful” William Morris

I’d suggest applying the same logic to your body.

Be well,
Jess

Red Lentils and Arame
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
2 cups red lentils
¼ cup arame  or hiziki (sea vegetables) *If unavailable try chopped spinach
1 medium chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups water
¼ tablespoon dried basil
¼ tablespoon dried cumin
1/8 tablespoon turmeric
1/8 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar
Directions

1. Soak arame in cool water for 15 minutes.  Drain
2. Wash and drain lentils
3. In a medium saucepan sauté onion, garlic and cilantro
4. Add lentils and arame
5. Add water and bring to a boil
6. Add spices, tamari and umeboshi vinegar, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
7. Uncover, stir and cover again for another 10 minutes
8. Stir and simmer vigorously uncovered for 3 more minutes
9. Serve with brown rice and greens

Variation:  You can cool lentils in refrigerator and form into burgers.  Just toast in a broiler or toaster oven and serve.