Recipe: Vegan Coconut Soup

mindful-nutrition-vegan-coconut-soupYummy, warming, coconut soup – absolutely delicious.

Made a vegetable soup the other day, and wanted to add a bit more bells and whistles to it! So, I added some coconut cream and sprouts. Turned out totally yummy and it was sooooooo easy peezy!

Ingredients (can be changed around and amounts don’t matter that much – really!)

2 large onions
1 bunch celery
4 carrots
Chop this up, place in pot, cover with water and simmer until they are soft. This is the flavor base. I usually start a soup with this. I never, ever buy broth. These vegetables and water make a perfect broth all on their own. This should take about 15 minutes.

1 bag of Organic Frozen corn
1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
Add in corn and pepper. Add more water. You will want to make sure you have at least 2 inches of water over the vegetables. If you like soup less chunky, you will add less water. If you like soup more chunky and thick, add less water. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Can of Coconut Cream or Half carton of coconut milk
Package of sprouts
Turn off heat. Pour coconut cream or milk into a pot. Stir well.
Ladle soup into each bowl, top with sprouts. Enjoy!

Are you ready to get back on track to feel more healthful and vibrant? Let’s talk. We can work out a nutritional plan together! 

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Energy Drinks or Yerba Mate? You Decide!

love-from-argentina-yerba-mate-morningAre you using energy drinks? If so, be careful, because the use of those beverages taxes the system and depletes the adrenals leaving you more exhausted than you were before. Over time, other functions will also lose steam.

If you are needing more energy, of course, the best thing to do is figure out why. In this day and age of cell phones and instant news and refined foods and pesticides…. you get my point, it is easy to be going on an empty tank. Sometimes it might feel like you are being dragged through life by your hair. First, you want to figure out what the external factors are and do your best to mitigate them.

Is it to take more naps, meditate, take a second to breathe before you inhale a meal, say no to that meeting, break up with that toxic boyfriend, take baths or just go to bed an hour earlier?

Then, take a look at what is going on nutritionally. Are the foods you are eating “close to the ground” whole foods? Are you eating enough produce? Are you preparing your own food? Are you eating snacks? Do you even enjoy your food? Do you get hungry a lot? Are you craving sweets? Salty foods? Are you satisfied after a meal?

The natural thing to do when you need more energy is to reach for a stimulant. Sugar is a stimulant, so are potato chips. More commonly, people reach for caffeine like an energy shot or coffee. These products will lift you and give you a boost of energy, but quickly drop you.  You will feel great for a time, but when the fall comes, you will feel worse than when you had the thing in the first place.

These items rob you of future energy. In the end, you are sacrificing health and vitality for a momentary boost. Meanwhile, Yerba mate has been around for a long time. And, while some shy away from drinking it due to the fear of too much caffeine, here is how things shake down for an 8 oz serving:

Coffee 85 mg
Red Bull 80mg
Soda 26.4mg
Green Tea 20-49mg

Yerba Mate has 78mg per 8 oz. Most likely, what you are drinking has more caffeine and none of the nutritional benefits. Yerba Mate is an adaptogenic herb so it will not destroy your adrenals while it is giving you energy. It is also working on gut health! There are other benefits too, such as brain stimulation which is one of the main reasons people reach for caffeine in the first place.

So…the idea is to have Yerba Mate which “gives” you positive effects rather than an energy drink or sports drinks that deplete them. Make sense?

Please visit our website to learn more about the health benefits and what we think is the best way to prepare the perfect mate.

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New Year, New Habits!

mindful-nutrition-new-year-new-habitsSometimes it is hard to adopt new habits. Sometimes it is even harder to know where to begin. As a wellness coach, I go with the easiest habit to adopt first. As my client has a base and more success, we can slowly implement more difficult habits.

So, as you go through this list, pick out those that you do and scratch them off. Then, go through the ones that seem like they are your next step. The “Low hanging fruit.” Pick out 1, and see if within the next 7 days you can try it. Decide if it is a daily or a weekly thing to do. Actually, put it on your calendar. Give this a bit of time to settle in. Grab the next one and do the same thing.

Now, while this is going on, look at the list and pick something that is a bit further out of reach. Something you have wanted to do, but have found more challenging. Write that on a separate piece of paper and tape it to your mirror. Start playing with that one in your mind. Buy what you need to be doing it. Let it sink in. Then, finally, make the leap and do it.

I find that incremental steps towards a wellness program are more effective than huge leaps for most people. Deciding to do something and sitting with it for a while, just playing with the idea might avoid the slingshot effect that happens later. Think about it. Where do you want to be in 6 months? What are the goals you had set in December? What do you want to change? How badly?

Here is a list of habits you can incorporate to “up” your wellness. Try them on, consider them. You will never, ever regret that you did.

1. Start your day with warm lemon water and yerba mate.
2. Dry brush before a shower.
3. Eat at least one whole meal that contains only produce.
4. Eat fruit for breakfast.
5. Take probiotics and digestive enzymes.
6. Have a green smoothie 3x a week.
7. Practice yoga.
8. Eat at least 5 dinners at home.
9. Start bringing your lunch to work.
10. Always carry snacks.
11. Replace the white salt in your home with sea salt.
12. Replace the vinegar in your home with Apple Cider vinegar
13. Replace the soy sauce in your home with Bragg’s Amino Acids.
14. Replace any degraded oil in your home with organic unheated and unprocessed oil.
15. Eat raw greens (salads, veggies or in smoothies) 1 time per day.
16. Figure out healthy and yummy snacks like mochi to replace unhealthy and bagged snacks.
17. At least once a week, make a meal that can be frozen for another time like chili, soup or bean stew.

We are in this together. Contact me and let’s set up a Skype consultation to help get YOU back on track!


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Mindful Nutrition: Getting Back On Track

vegetables-1212845_960_720Got back a few days ago and still getting my bearings. We had a ton of people over for New Years, so I had a great chance to cook and prep. Feeling so much better. Today is my first day back to yoga which I am both dreading and so looking forward to!

Day 1:
I soaked a large package of split peas to make a soup today. (See recipe at the bottom.)

AM – large mason jar of warm lemon water and yerba mate
Breakfast – bananas and dates
Lunch – baked potatoes, veggie soup (recipe below)
Snack – red delicious apples with skin (organic)
Dinner – split pea soup.

Recipe Suggestions
• I do not use veggie stock! Why waste money, when the vegetables you cut will make their own stock?!
• I use the same base for almost every recipe. There is no oil at all in this. I cut the veggies and put in the pot, cover with water and simmer; onions, carrots, and celery.
This is where the stock comes from and how the soup gets chunky.
• I practice what I call “Peasant Cooking” which to me means that I do not use recipes, I don’t do exact measurements and I trust that veggies will taste yummy by themselves. So, my soups are super easy to make.

Split Pea Soup
1) Vegetable Soup Base (mentioned above)
2) Soaked Split Peas – I soak for 24 hours and rinse in the middle a few times. This allows the peas to soften and also release some enzymes. In addition, some people that I know with gas, get less of that feeling when I soak!
3) Cover completely with water.
4) Cook the veggie base and the peas for about 2 hours on low or until the peas are cooked.
5) Season to taste at the end. This will need salt, but you can also add a variety of other spices like basil and oregano.

Veggie Soup
1) Vegetable Soup Base (mentioned above)
2) Four large cut up tomatoes or a can or organic chopped tomatoes
3) 1 large head of cauliflower – cut this into smaller chunks.
4) Now to get creative – open your refrigerator and add any other vegetable that you want to get rid of! Strong beans, broccoli, cabbage. You can’t mess this up.
5) Cover completely with water.
6) Cook for about an hour
7) Season at the end with sea salt, garlic and any other seasonings.

There you have it. I will eat pretty simply like this for a few days. The more I eat my own food, the better I feel.

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Why Is Quality Time Important?

quality-timeSince I arrived back in Baltimore, I hit the ground running with my Yerba Mate business. I had to catch up in my private practice as well as NAVA.  My family (furry babies and all) have been grossly in need of attention.  I need a hair cut, my car needs oil, I need to go to the market today and, and, and…easily, I could go through months like this, never look up and still have a long “to do” list.

More and more, the magic of what I experienced in Argentina, seems to be leaving my pores.  I am longing for it all.

In the few short weeks since I have been back, I see myself caught up in a daily life that doesn’t serve my soul.  So, it is time to reconnect to what is important.  Spend time on things that fill my hunger, not increase it.  That is what “quality time” is all about.

Quality time is your time that is spent alone, or with a loved one, in nature or in a beautiful space.  Quality time nourishes you and allows the monkey brain to rest and relax.  Quality time is rich.  Ideas flow.  You are in a state of “flow.”  Quality time allows for positive thoughts to come in, and allows for love and self-compassion.  Quality time is yummy, thick and multi-layered.

When you see your to-do list is longer than you have hours in the day for, it is time to schedule some “quality time.”

Time to sit
Time to talk with a friend
Time to allow the brain to rest
Time to be present

Most of us, at least here in the states, do not allow for this because we do not see it’s value.  We wear the word “busy” as a sense of pride.  Now, when I hear that word coming from someone’s mouth, I feel a sense of sadness rather than guilt.  I have found that the spaces in my life, where I allow for a time to breathe, is when I get the most productive.  And, isn’t productive a more inspiring word than “busy?”  How are you getting quality time in?  What are you doing to stop time and create a memorable moment?  How are you getting the most out of every day?  Here are some things that I have been working on.

1.  Yoga
I am currently doing intense, cardio, hot yoga.  That means the room is hot and I am working so hard that I am seeing drops of sweat hit the floor!!!  I know… a little gross.  But, what that does is work my body so hard that my monkey brain is occupied and I am actually present.  I make this a priority.
2.  Get up early
My day goes better when I allow myself time in the morning to sit, catch up and be alone.  That time alone fills me.  It allows for my brain to organize itself without questions, without interruptions, without phone calls.
3.  Self-care
Nothing feels good when my body doesn’t feel good.  More and more, I find that “radical self-care” is what I need to be in a state of alertness and joy.  For me, that means starting my day with hot lemon water and Yerba mate.  I make sure I have lunch packed and some snacks on hand.  I know in the morning what I will make for dinner.  I stay away from foods that make me feel yucky.  I take probiotics and enzymes.  More and more, I say “no” to what drains my energy.
4.  Spend Time with Loved Ones 
Nothing beats this.  Taking time out of my day to connect with someone I care about and who I feel love for, makes everything better.  Sadly, so many of those people are far from me, so I do a lot of this by phone.  But, this is certainly a priority of mine.  I am also, more and more, making time to be social, to connect, to share and to laugh.
5.  Reframing
Have you ever looked back on an awful situation and realized that was one of the best things that ever happened to you?  At the time, it might have made you panic and get uncomfortable, but while seeing the path it took you on, realize that all was meant to be and has made your life better?  How much time did that stress and worry take up?  I try to see now, that those times need a bit of “ease” around them and not the restriction.  When I can reframe these difficult events, I am able to actually have more of a flow.  Then, and only then, is there a space for “quality time.”

Ok, I have started this list.  What are you doing now to source and enjoy quality time?

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LET IT BE – the essential is invisible to the eyes

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”– Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The most valuable things in life can not be seen with the naked eye: love, friendship, hope, integrity, trust, compassion.

How incredible to see this today.  I walked past a store and these pillows were displayed in the window.  As I walked past, I started uttering those words to myself, and by the next block, made myself turn around and capture the words in a picture.  It’s as if an unseen force put them there for me to see.

It is my last day and I decided to walk through the city.  One last time to take in the sites and the sounds.  One last time to walk past my grandmother’s apartment that has long been sold to others.  In some ways, I feel such a part of this city.  I belong here, this is mine.  And, in so many other ways, I am a stranger here.  It’s always been that way for me, one foot in each country, craving one while I am in the other.

Leaving Argentina has always been hard.  For some reason, this time, it’s harder.  Maybe because I am by myself or I am older or I had enough alone time here to take things in…. I am not sure.  So, these words are perfect for me to see.  I want to hold on to all of “the essential.”  I struggle while trying to figure out how to stay one more week, one more day, how do I come back…. “let it be.”

The connection I feel with my family here is incredibly important and healing to me.  It has always been that way.  With this trip, I feel I have been brought to life again.  It has been with love, with laughter, with hugs, with shared stories.  It has been with new possibilities and new perspectives.

How do I bring this feeling back with me?  How does the story continue?  What is important and what do I want?  How do I capture this and keep it forever?  How do I protect this and make it last?

My family in Baltimore needs me, they tell me they are sick of restaurant food!  It’s been a long time since I unrolled my mat, and I want to take care of myself around food.  I know it’s time for me to go.  So, how to take the “essentials” the part that “can’t be seen” with me?  That’s what is important here.  I think that is what I love and that is what I miss the most.  “Let it Be” it is out of my control.  The same forces that brought me to this place in my life will guide me through my next chapters.

So, I am bringing back the mate, will start to share it and add it to my practice.  I worry about how it will go.  Will people “get” that it is about the essentials?  Will they be willing to take a moment to be with each other and pause?  It is life giving to truly listen to another human being, love them and be present for them.  It brings a whole other level of value to ones life when the relationships we have around us are those that feed our soul.  I keep telling myself to let go and not hold on too tight.  It will be what it will be.  Wherever this story takes me, it will be the journey that fills me.

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Love From Argentina: Our Need For Ritual

lovefromargentina-chairsLiving in our modern times, I find myself easily taken up by the emergencies of the day.  It could be a phone call I need to return or groceries that I still need to buy or laundry that needs to get done.  My life is busy, and there are times when I search for joy or meaning.  I know others feel this way also.  It’s as if we are being dragged through life by our hair.  We don’t take the time to be grateful or give a compliment.  We don’t think we have time to sit with a friend or read a book.  The days go by like this and there is nothing special.  We become numb.

The need to elevate our lives sometimes comes from the frustration of wanting more.  More connection, more excitement, more love, more intensity, more community.  I think we can “artificially” activate this by including ritual in our lives.  Religions do this all the time.  Right?  There is a ton of ritual in the religious ceremonies, touchstones that bring about an elevation in one’s life or a “specialness” about the day.

There are other rituals I have witnessed:
• An actor preparing for a performance
• Taking off shoes and unrolling a yoga mat
• Prepping soil to plant seeds
• Getting ready for bed with a special book and pillow

Here, in Argentina, there are a lot of rituals around the drinking of mate.  I can’t tell if it just seems like it to me, or it really is true, that they have a richer social life here, and a big part of that is sitting, talking, sharing and drinking mate.  The mate drinkers are very attached to their rituals and what is the “right” way to drink their tea.

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