Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don't Throw Away Those Pumpkin Seeds

Whether you're trying to watch your waistline or just trying to avoid sugar, step away from the Halloween candy and enjoy a healthy treat that you can have fun making and feel good about eating. So, don't throw away all those slimy seeds when you clean out that pumpkin this week! Scoop the whole mess into a colander and rinse under cool water, using your hands to seperate the seeds from the pumpkin fiber. Once the seeds are clean, transfer them to a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt. Arrange the seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. If not completely golden brown, leave them in the oven and check every minute or so until done. Full of healthy fats and protein, pumpkin seeds are great on their own for snacking, mixing into homemade granola or sprinkling on sauteed vegetables or tossing in a salad for added crunch. Pumpkin seeds have also been shown to promote prostate health and may improve arthritis.
So, when the kids are going through their loot, make sure to have your freshly roasted seeds on hand so you won't be tempted by the pull of the sugar!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Healing Elixir

It is officially cold and flu season, at least here in New England, and sometimes the only thing you can do is to crawl under a blanket with a box of tissues and a steamy bowl of chicken soup nearby. To save yourself some serious sodium overload, put down the can and make some healing soup yourself, or better yet, have someone make it for you! This homemade elixir incorporates the healing power of fresh garlic and ginger which eases the pain and discomfort of colds and flu naturally.
Garlic, which contains natures's most potent antibiotic, allicin, boasts antibacterial qualities that help the immune system fight infection. Ginger is pain relieving and has a mild sedative effect that will encourage rest and also contains nearly a dozen antiviral compounds.
So, even if you're not sick, you can serve this soup (that's filling enough for a meal) to help keep illness and infection at bay.

Healing Soup

2 T Olive Oil

5 Cloves Garlic - minced or pressed

1 Quart Chicken or Vegetable Broth

8 ounces fresh or frozen spinach - can add more if desired

1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 pound boneless chicken or lean ground turkey - optional

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup water

Saute chicken or turkey in oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add garlic and saute for one minute. Add rest of ingredients and let simmer for a half an hour. The addition of meat is optional, but makes the soup more of a meal. Serves 6. Enjoy and stay healthy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yoga - The Missing Piece to My Puzzle

For me, yoga was the missing piece to my wellness puzzle that I had been searching and searching for. Sure, I ate healthy foods, cycled, lifted weights, walked the dog, got plenty of sleep, stopped drinking coffee (see my Sept 30, 2009 post), yet something was missing.
I discovered yoga more than a year ago and I have to say that it has transformed me. I have developed a better connection to myself, which has improved my relationship with others and has helped me become a better daughter, sister, wife, friend and mother - and everyone knows that when Mommy is happy, everyone is happy!
Yoga has made me become more mindful and fully present to enjoy life and all of its gifts. It has helped reduce stress, mood swings, PMS and has boosted the strength and tone of my body and continues to awaken my soul like nothing else I have ever experienced. I practice Vinyasa Flow yoga, which is a 90 minute intensive style, in a 90-100 degree heated studio. The heat helps the muscles to relax and allows the body to release harmful toxins.
Yoga is becoming very popular and studios are popping up everywhere. Investigate your area to see what styles of yoga are offered and ask to try a free class before you commit to anything - most studios will let you do this without obligation.
If you are in the suburban Boston are, look into Metrowest Yoga in Westboro, Massachusetts - this is the studio that I go to on a regular basis. They offer a variety of yoga classes and have outstanding instructors and a beautiful studio.
So, challenge yourself and try a yoga class - would love to hear what you experience!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time to Pause

Today I discovered an apple core buried deep inside my pocketbook, which was actually left over from last weeks’ snack on the go. Nice, huh? Fortunately, it was in a Ziploc bag, so things could have been worse. I did learn a few things from this apple core discovery though – first, that I really need to clean out my pocketbook more often and second, that I was making a conscious choice of eating an apple rather than some type of candy bar or sugary snack. Most importantly though, I needed to pay attention to the sign that came to me in the form of an apple core – that I needed to slow down. In the midst of the chaos that is our lives, we need to take a moment and pause. A time to stop and be mindful of what is really going on and enjoy the moment with no distractions.
We are all so busy with what is happening in our lives and we are all trying to wear different hats and so often it becomes overwhelming and frustrating. For me, I am trying to be the best mom to my beautiful girls, a loving wife to my wonderful husband, a supportive daughter to my fabulous parents and a caring sibling to my only sister. I am also trying to develop two different business ventures, keep the house clean, walk the dog, manage household schedules and duties and plan and execute nourishing meals that bring my family together. Most days, there are not enough hours left to accomplish everything on my to do list and I have to constantly remind myself that it is ok. I have to remember to work in some “me time” to prevent the chaos from turning into stress. I have to pare down on my schedule, give myself a break and reconnect with myself. By doing this, stress is reduced, frustrations are minimized and I still feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Connecting with myself may come in the form of yoga or going on a bike ride or walking the dog and noticing the flowers that have started to bloom or driving in the car in silence to focus on driving through the beautiful community with no distractions.
By making a conscious effort connecting to ourselves, we may also find that it helps us in our relationships with others. If your teenager is non-stop talking about her dramatic day and you are furiously trying to make a work deadline, stop and pause. By putting down your work for a few minutes and really focus on listening; you may help to cultivate a better connection with your teen. Then, when you return to your work, you may discover that you now have a much clearer, more focused mind. If we don’t take the time to stop, pause and be mindful of the wonderful life that we have in front of us we may not be realizing our full potential and may end up getting stressed out due to our overwhelming lives. We may yell at our kids as a result of this build up of stress, we might neglect to properly care for our bodies by eating or drinking too much, or we might get depressed by what is happening economically and we can’t seem to thrive amongst the chaos. But we can, it’s all under our control and it’s about making choices.
Check in with yourself to see where you are at in your day, or how the week is shaping up for you. Do you have too much on your calendar? Can you cut back or delegate any of those items? It’s a matter of what works for you and how you can cultivate that sense of joy and passion and appreciation for yourself and others in your life. So, pay attention to the signs that come your way as reminders to slow down and pause and be in your moment – alive and awake.

Monday, October 5, 2009

In The Buff

I was beyond excited when I received an email from Buff'd Cosmetics asking if I'd be interested in receiving some makeup samples and writing a review about them in my blog. For those of you who know me well understand my penchant for playing with makeup, especially the kind that's good for your skin. So, of course I jumped at the chance!
Buff'd, a Canadian company, specializes in cosmetics made with the finest mineral powders and pigments. Their all natural products are free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, irritants and toxins.
As a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, I understand not only the importance of feeding yourself well from the inside out, but also from the outside in, as your body absorbs at least sixty percent of what you put on your skin. So, I'm a big advocate of mineral makeup and have been faithful to a certain brand, but I was willing to take a look at Buff'd and see how it compared to my current fave.
Well, I have to say, I was certainly impressed with all ten generous samples that were sent to me and I certainly put them to the test. The Warm foundation applied beautifully and balanced out the redness of my skin, while still allowing my natural glow to shine through. The Hallow finishing powder, which I applied over the foundation, gave me some extra radiance and eliminated the need for any touch ups. Then I mixed the Tulip blush with the Toast bronzer, gaving me a fabulous, sunkissed look. I finished by highlighting my eyes with Candlelight Illuminating Dust on my browbones, lined my peepers with the shimmery gunmetal-like Nova liner and placed a bit of the soft, pewter colored Denim shadow in the crease.
The minerals did not change color at all, taking me through a very humid day, part of which consisted of forty five minutes under the blow dryer at the hair salon as well as an evening event where I had to speak in front of over 200 people. The makeup provided the coverage I was looking for, without any heaviness at all, didn't cause any breakouts, and garnered plenty of compliments.
I'm certainly sold - check out the Buff'd site ( and place your order - I know I will!
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