Making Cooking An Enjoyable Experience

As a self-taught chef, it took me years to build confidence in the kitchen and to view cooking as something other than stressful.  I had to do a lot of experimenting, read cookbooks, watched Youtube videos, and learned from friends, but with time I found ways to make cooking a pleasurable experience.  I’m no Martha Stewart, but I’ve mastered various cooking techniques and cleaning methods, and finally figured out a way to successfully cut a goddamn onion without crying. Huzzah!

Kitchen preparation is equally as important as the cooking process.  When you eat, you absorb not only the nutrients but also the energy of the food. Macrobiotics, a dietary philosophy centered around health status, location, age, gender, etc., follows the premise that every action on the food affects the quality and nutritional value of the meal.  Every single slice or chop, the speed of the stirring, the quality of the food, the mood the cook is in, as well as the cleanliness and order of the kitchen, is consumed with the food.  Ever heard the expression “Cook with love?”  Aim for that.  Cook with love, and you’ll taste the love.

Keep a Clean Workspace

I want you to imagine two different scenarios.  In the first one, you walk into your kitchen about to cook and everything is a mess.  Crumbs and wrappers litter your counter and dirty dishes pile high in the sink.  In the second scenario, you walk into your clean, clutter-free kitchen about to prepare a meal.  In which situation do you imagine you’d be more excited or inclined to cook?

More than likely, you chose scenario two. Having a tidy workspace always makes the task at hand more inviting.  According to the Japanese, both cleaning and cooking should be a meditation.  Messy spaces can affect your happiness and heighten stress levels, while clean ones have the opposite impact.  I’ve found that I am so much more in the mood to cook when I have the space to work.  Of course, for some, cleaning can be a drag to do after a meal, so this brings me to my next tip.

                                    Clean As You Go

Julia Child says, “In professional kitchens most chefs enforce the ‘clean as you go’ rule, which prevents unsightly messes from building to unmanageable levels and removes clutter, which can distract even the most efficient cooks as they chop, grill, and plate through the evening.” (source: PBS.org)

Cleaning as you go may sound like a lot of effort, but it’s not. I swear, adopting this kitchen habit has totally improved the entire cooking experience.  Not only does it keep counters clutter-free throughout food prep, but there’s much less mess to clean up after the meal is over. For each meal I cook, I now put a paper garbage bag, compost bag or bowl on the counter as my designated scraps bin (I highly recommend composting to reduce your carbon footprint).  I work on a cutting board and prep each item one at a time, pouring scraps into the compost bag as I go. Each prepped food goes into a bowl to keep things separate.  It takes hardly any effort at all. Look how tidy everything looks in this photo below:

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Have Fun With It

If you aren’t having fun yet, then pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on some music, and get your family or friends to help out.  If I find a recipe online, I like to print it out and read through all the directions before I start so that I know exactly what to expect.  I’ve neglected to read through the whole recipe only to find that I wasn’t prepared for some of the later steps.  This would completely halt the cooking process or throw the timing off. Don’t be afraid to experiment with spices and seasoning and always choose fresh, quality products.  The fresher and more seasonal your ingredients, the more delicious and nutritious your food will be.

Good luck and happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

4 Tips For More Restful Sleep

If you feel that a full night of rest isn’t really important, think again.  Without restful sleep and enough of it, your entire health suffers.  Sleep is important for youthful skin, mental clarity, a strong immune system and for maintaining a healthy weight.  Not to mention you’ll make healthier food and lifestyle choices then if you’re tired and lacking motivation.  Even if you eat well and exercise enough, but just aren’t seeing the results you desire, it could be your sleep to blame.

 

Minimize Media Time

It seems most people are on their phones all day.  I am like most people, except that once I realized that the light emitted from my phone (along will all my other devices) impacts sleep quality, I replaced checking my phone or computer before bed with better habits. What happens is that our electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs all produce artificial light. When exposed to this light in the evenings, our bodies circadian rhythm is thrown off.  During the day, these blue lights are actually meant to keep us alert, but at night they are harmful to our health.  These artificial lights will disrupt the secretion of melatonin, the sleepy-time hormone that influences our circadian rhythm.  A lack of melatonin and working the night shift has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity (source: Harvard Health Publications).

So, what to do?  Minimize exposure to blue light at least an hour before bed.  You can also install dim red lights which have the least impact on melatonin and circadian rhythm. You can also purchase a pair of ultra-sexy, blue-blocking glasses.  They actually aren’t cute at all, but if you’re someone who has to be on your computer or up working late, I’d definitely consider buying a pair.

1. Create Calming Nighttime Habits

So now that you won’t be using your electronics before bed, you’ll need a replacement nighttime routine.  Instead of browsing Facebook in the evenings for probably the 100th time that day, I have some tips of other things to do.  Remember those things called books?  Try reading one.  Had a stressful day and have a ton of things on your mind? Journal or try coloring in a coloring book.  Feeling achy?  Take a warm shower or bath.  Have a significant other?  Talk to them.  Or try some of these other recommendations below.

2. Use Essential Oils

I have an essential oil for nearly every situation or ailment, but nighttime is when I use my oils the most.  Lavander, chamomille, ylang ylang, cedarwood, bergamot, and sandalwood are some of my personal favorites for calming my body.  There are a few ways to use essential oils, although my preferred methods are to diffuse them into the air using a diffuser, or use them topically on the soles of my feet, on my wrists, or behind my ears (the oils can be used topically on other parts of the body too).  Sometimes I will sprinkle a couple drops of oil on the bottom of my steamy shower so that the scent can rise all around me. Other times I will put a couple drops on a tissue, then rub it over my pillow. Just make sure you get quality oils, like the ones from doTerra, which are certified therapeutic grade.

3. Use Magnesium

Even if you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet, the body can actually only absorb about 50% of it.  Magnesium is beneficial for sleep in that it moves calcium for your bones to your bloodstream, thus acting as a natural muscle relaxant.  If you are someone who really struggles with sleep, I absolutely recommend taking magnesium supplements, bathing in a magnesium bath, or using magnesium oil.  To see what else magnesium can help with, check out its 101 uses.

4. Meditate

There are different ways to go about meditating, so figure out what works best for you.  To calm my mind and body before bed, I like to drape my lavender-filled eye mask over my eyes while I focus on breathing.  I start with even breathing by inhaling through my nose for about four seconds, then exhaling through my mouth for four seconds.  After breathing like this for a few breaths, I then switch it up to the 4-7-8 method so that I’m breathing in through my nose for four seconds, holding it for seven seconds, then exhaling through my mouth for eight seconds.  Try this at least three times in a row.  If I don’t do this, I also like to use the meditation app called Headspace.  It takes ten minutes of your time a day and is particularly great for those new to meditating.

 

Try out all these tips for quality sleep.  If you are still having trouble sleeping or are continuing to wake up feeling exhausted, then let’s talk.  Schedule a complimentary 50-minute consultation with me and we will get to the root of your health concerns!

Know Your Blood Type: A Guide To A Personalized Diet and Lifestyle

Heart-Health

Can you imagine going into a job interview and one of the first questions you’re asked is “what is your blood type?” This question is expected in Japan and is actually gaining popularity around Asia. The Japanese believe that each blood type comes with it’s own set of personalities, so they use blood types to categorize people.

“As defined by the books, type As are sensitive perfectionists but overanxious; Type Bs are cheerful but eccentric and selfish; Os are curious, generous but stubborn; and ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable” (Huffington Post).

While blood typing is similar to horoscope signs in Japan, in the health world it is believed by some that blood types affect the digestive system, the way you exercise, and your susceptibility to various disease. If you don’t know your blood type, then you can get your blood work done easily.

Blood Type A– Agrarian 

Type As are generally categorized as cooperative, sensitive, orderly, settled, and cultivator. When the number of hunting game stock began dwindling in Africa, type As had to move out into Europe and Asia to begin agriculture, which is when type A evolved. As a result, type As learned to utilize nutrients from carbohydrate sources, which explains why As are better at processing carbohydrates and not as a great at digesting and metabolizing animal proteins and fat. If you’re a type A, aim to eat most of your protein earlier on in the day. Overall, type As do better on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Increase vegetables, tofu, seafood, grains, beans, legumes, fruit and decrease your intake of meat, dairy, kidney beans, lima beans, and wheat.

Calming exercises like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and tai chi are most recommended for blood type A, since type A is more likely to internalize stress and have higher levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, which can lead to health factors like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Blood type As should do their best to avoid big crowds, loud noise, smoking, negative emotions, strong smells or perfumes, too much sugar and starch, overwork, violent movies or TV, extreme weather conditions, or lack of sleep.

While strengths of type A include easy adjustment to change in diet and environment, little need for animal foods and an immune system the absorbs and metabolizes nutrients more efficiently, weaknesses may include a sensitive digestive tract and a vulnerable immune system open to microbial invasion. The result of combining the appropriate foods and exercises, though, can result in high performance, mental clarity, greater vitality and increased longevity.

Blood Type B– Balanced

The origins of blood type B can be traced back to the Himalayan highlands, currently part of present day India and Pakistan. As the Mongolians swept through Asia, they began pursuing a culture dependent upon herding and domesticating animals. For this reason, type B does best as an omnivore, eating meat (except chicken), dairy, grains, legumes, vegetables, beans, and fruit. Type Bs should reduce their intake of corn, lentils, sesame seeds, peanuts, buckwheat, and wheat. These foods can contribute to weight gain, fatigue, fluid retention, and hypoglycemia. Type Bs should actually avoid chicken too. Chicken contains a blood type B agglutinating lectin in its muscle tissue that can attack your blood stream and cause a stroke or immune disorder.

People with blood type B are characterized as nomads, flexible and creative. Strengths of blood type B include a strong immune system, versatile adaptation to changes in diet and environment, a strong nervous system, and high tolerance for chaos. The only common weakness of type B is a tendency toward auto-immune breakdowns and rare viruses, although common health risks include type 1 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and auto-immune disorders like Lou Gehrig’s disease, Lupus, or Multiple Sclerosis. Although pretty opposite from type A in regards to diet, type A and B both have higher levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. Type Bs should get participate in moderate physical exercise with mental balance, like hiking, biking, tennis, or swimming.

Blood Type AB – Modern

Blood type AB is the most recently evolved blood type. Type AB is the only blood type that came to be as a result of intermingling (between type A and B) rather than evolution and environment. As a result, AB types share the benefits and challenges of blood type A and blood type B.  Blood type AB is described as rare, an enigma, mysterious and highly sensitive, and people with blood type AB often describe themselves as intuitive, emotional, empathetic, friendly, and trusting. This blood type is more designed for modern life. It’s the most adaptable, can process information quickly, and has a rugged immune system. Weaknesses may include a sensitive digestive tract, a tendency for an overly tolerant immune system that allows for microbial invasion, and trouble feeling understood by society. Type AB is most susceptible to heart disease, cancer, and anemia.

Type AB can have a mixed diet in moderation. Meat, seafood, dairy, vegetables, tofu, legumes, grains, beans and fruit are all okay, but limit the amount of red meat, kidney beans, lima beans, seeds, corn, and buckwheat. Avoid caffeine and alcohol and avoid eating starches and proteins during the same meal. Because type ABs tend to internalize emotions, anger and hostility, exercise will play a big role in stress reduction and maintaining a healthy emotional balance. Combine calming, centering exercises, like yoga or tai chi, with moderate physical exercise, like hiking, biking, tennis, or swimming.

Blood Type OOld

Strong, hunter, leader, self-reliant and goal-oriented are all words to describe people with O blood. Type Os thrive on intense physical exercise and animal protein. Exercise releases the build up of stress hormones which will also balance mood. Type Os can have bouts of excessive anger, tantrums, hyperactivity and manic episodes in response to stress. To manage this stress, it is recommended that you follow a diet of lean, organic meats, vegetables and fruits and avoid dairy and wheat which can cause digestive and health issues. Increase kelp, seafood, salt, liver, red meat, kale, broccoli and pineapple and reduce wheat, corn, baked foods, kidney beans, lentils, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and mustard. Also avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially caffeine because it raises adrenaline and noradrenaline which is already high for blood type Os.

Overall, type Os have a hardy digestive tract, a strong immune system, natural defenses against infections, an efficient metabolism, shorter small intestines, and less chance for cancer. Health risks for type Os are typically low thyroid, inflammation, arthritis, blood-clotting disorders and ulcers, because type Os get overly acidic.

Curious to learn more about the characteristics of your blood type? Visit Peter J. D’Adamo’s site and learn all about your blood type diet and lifestyle.

sources:

http://www.outofstress.com/

http://www.dadamo.com/

Face Mapping: Let Your Skin Be Your Guide to Health

Our skin is a reflection of our inner body’s health, according to Ayurvedic tradition.  Ayurveda, “the science of life,” is a 5000-year-old form of natural healing started in India that focuses largely on maintaining balance. By looking specifically at the face, you are able to learn a lot about what might be going on inside of your body, and what might be out of balance in your life.
Face Mapping

1. Forehead

Possibly means: gallbladder and liver issues

The forehead, according to Ayurvedic practices, relates to the nervous system and digestive system.  This means that stress and internal stagnation could be the cause of the breakout here.  Find ways to reduce stress, like yoga or meditation, and reduce the amount of processed foods and unhealthy fats in your diet.

2. Left Eyebrow

Possibly means: repressing emotions in the spleen.

If you have a line on the left side, this could mean you have emotions pent up in the spleen.

3. Right Eyebrow

Possibly means: repressing emotions in the liver.

Cut out the alcohol, processed foods, and sugar.  Drink more water and add lemon to your water to rid the liver of toxins.  Get plenty of sleep and get in light exercise.

4 & 5. Eyes

Possibly means: impaired kidney function, dehydration

The skin around the eyes is typically connected to the health of the kidneys,  Signs like dark circles under the eyes often signals dehydration.  Small irises can tell you that you may have joint problems. If you have a yellowish color in the eyes, then this may be an indication of a weak liver.

6. Cheek

Possibly means: slow metabolism, low absorption of nutrients, lung issues.

The upper cheeks are related to the lungs.  Air pollution can contribute to this, or pressing your face up against a cell phone or dirty pillowcase. The lower cheeks typically mean problems with dental hygiene.

7. Nose

Possibly means: blood and heart issues.

Your nose is connected to your heart.  Swelling of the nose can mean high blood pressure.  Eat well to remedy this. Cut out sugar and processed foods, reduce spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol, lower salt intake, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

8. Lower Lip

Possibly means: intestines, digestion.

The lower lip is linked to the intestines.  Cut back on dairy products and oily meals and eat a diet consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables to keep digestion running smoothly and prevent blemishes.

9. Tongue

Possibly means: toxin buildup, lung issues.

We can learn a lot about our health by looking at the tongue.  White residue on the back of the tongue could mean it’s time for a detox, since this signals a buildup of toxins.  Abrasions or frothiness along the edges of the tongue could mean issues with the lungs, so implement regular aerobic exercise and meditation.  Uneven or ridged outer edges of the tongue often means that nutrients aren’t being absorbed properly into the blood stream.  Implement a diet of whole foods high in vitamins, iron, and folic acid, and steer clear of processed foods.

10. Chin

Possibly means: hormonal imbalance.

Stress and hormonal imbalances can be seen on the chin.  Expect to breakout around your menstrual cycle.  Get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, drink plenty of water, and eat lots of vegetables, especially the leafy green ones.

What’s the lesson here for perfect skin?  Drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, eat whole foods, especially lots of vitamin-rich vegetables, make time for meditation or stress-relieving activities, and exercise.

Sources: MindBodyGreen, Into The Gloss

Stay Inspired…

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