Tomato Basil Summer Pasta Salad

It’s that time of year: tons of birthday parties and end-of summer BBQ’s and the temptation is REAL. I came up with this easy, delicious, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian pasta salad for you to bring to your next event so you know that you have a healthy and delicious dish to pass that will please your tummy and everyone else! Seriously, this is a major crowd pleaser.

Tomato Basil Summer Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Gluten-Free Pasta (or Grain-Free Chickpea Pasta)
  • 1 pint of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh Basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked green beans, halved
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of half a lemon

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the entire package of gluten free pasta, cook according to the directions on the box, drain and put in the fridge to cool. Cook the green beans in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes, rinse and let cool. Meanwhile, chop and prepare the veggies. Once the green beans and the pasta are cooled down to at least room temperature add in the remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice. Put the salad in the fridge and allow it to cool for at least 2 hours so all of the flavors can absorb.

Enjoy!

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The Supplements I Take and Why:

I used to think taking a box of supplements was crazy and I’ll be honest, I sometimes still wonder if they work, but for the past 7 months I’ve prioritized taking supplements to feel and look healthy, happy and nourished. I haven’t gotten sick (except for whatever virus I got in Morocco and that brutal wedding hangover) my digestion is the best it’s ever been, my hair is shiny and strong and my skin is the most consistently clear it’s EVER been. The only thing I wish was better was my muscle and joint recovery since I’m in the midst of marathon training and still dealing with a very stubborn IT band / hip pain. But besides that, everything has worked really well.

I think this goes without saying, but I still have to say it:

Supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet. They are called supplements for a reason; to enhance and add to your (already healthy) diet. 

You can’t eat fried foods every day and take a bunch of supplements and expect it to counter-act all of the bad crap you’re eating. It doesn’t work that way.

Anyway, here they are:

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Hum Nutrition: An amazing brand that you can purchase online and at Sephora. Their slogan is “Beauty comes from Within”  which is probably why they scored a deal with Sephora and I love that Sephora is promoting that philosophy. Their website provides a questionnaire where you answer diet and lifestyle questions and based on your answers they recommend some of their supplements. I’ve been using their recommendations for 7 months! Plus, they have a  cool subscription program that gives you a discount on your supplements every month so it makes it pretty affordable, as far as supplements go.

If you want to try HUM use my code for $10 OFF your first order: 11CA2D

  • Daily Cleanse: I take this amazing blend of spiraling, chlorella, dandelion root, beet root and more first thing in the morning. It helps aid the body’s detoxifying process after a long night of detoxification.
  • Gut Instinct: A 10-strain probiotic when most probiotics contain 2-3. It’s good to have different strands so your body never becomes immune to the couple of strains that you take. I tell everyone I know to take a probiotic. Ever since I started taking probiotics, my digestion improved dramatically. Probiotics are good for more than just digestion because probiotics are filled with healthy bacteria that help replace the bad bacteria in your gut, so it affects the immune system too.
  • Base Control: Pretty self explanatory. A Multi-Vitamin!
  • Air Patrol: I got this one a few months ago because I found myself thinking in a “dooms day” sort of way and that our environment is royally effed and the pollution is just unimaginable and heyyy I live in New York freakin’ City so… ah, you see? Dooms day.  I decided to try to do my best to detox from environmental pollutants and this is one of the ways I’m doing that. It has a high amount of Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids which helps the body absorb the vitamin C that is killed off due to air pollution and smoke.

Renewlife Digestive Enzyme: I got these when I traveled abroad earlier this year as a precaution. Digestive enzymes take stress off your digestive system by helping it break down foods that are difficult to digest such as gluten and dairy. That’s what I use it for anyway. Anytime I go out to eat I bring an enzyme with me just in case.

Fish Oil : I started taking this because I read in a running book that it may further reduce muscle inflammation when you’re dealing with an injury and/or marathon training. Since I’m experiencing both, here I am taking fish oil!

L-Glutamine : I started taking this because I heard it was good for building muscle, recovery and increased endurance (do you see a trend here?) and then I found out it’s great for your digestive system so, even better! Come to find out it is an essential amino acid that helps the intestines rebuild as well as helping with balancing the mucus in our bowels which leads to better digestion. I’ve only been taking it for a couple of weeks so I haven’t felt the full benefits yet (you should allow at least 30 consistent days for your body to adjust to the supplements) but I’m hoping it’ll be helpful during marathon training.

And these guys:

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Amazing Grass Green Superfood Powder: I love this stuff because it tastes good when you simply mix it with water and that’s a rare find with this sort of product. It claims to have the equivalent of 3 servings of greens, probiotics and digestive enzymes in one scoop. When I’m in a rush and don’t have time to make a smoothie or make myself a salad, this is a life saver.

Collagen Peptides: Yea, I know, I know. Collagen is sooooo in right now and I definitely jumped on the bandwagon. But once I tried it, I experienced the benefits and don’t really want to stop. I’ve tried two brands, this one and Vital Proteins. I’ll be honest, I bought this brand on AmazonPrime day because it was super discounted, sorry to say the price has gone back up, but I honestly think it is worth it especially if you’re an athlete and/or work on your feet/work out a lot. This collagen is made out of grass-fed pasture-raised cows and has protein plus all the benefits of collagen(obviously); healthy joints, muscles, gut lining, hair, skin and nails. See, it’s so much more than just a beauty supplement.

Vega Protein & Greens Protein Powder: It sounds gross, I know, but this stuff is delicious. Seriously. It’s got 20g of plant based protein, plus 2 servings of greens and only 1g of sugar. I tend to forget to have enough protein (especially in the summer, I just love my fruits and veggies you know?), so protein powder comes in handy when I’m in a rush or when I want to enhance a smoothie pre or post-run.  I don’t typically use a full scoop in my smoothies because I find that the taste overpowers the fresh veggies and fruits (and I like to taste ’em) so I use half a scoop which leaves you with the perfect amount of vanilla sweetness. As a pre or post run fuel I’ll keep it simple with a full scoop and mix it with coconut milk and water and that tastes delicious too!

Well there you have it, folks. Supplements! 

Like I said earlier, eat a healthy diet first and foremost. If you can’t afford all of these supplements, or simply don’t want to spend money on them, that doesn’t make you an unhealthy person. These are meant to enhance your already healthy diet and lifestyle. I like to use these supplements because they work for me, but what works for me may not work for you. That’s why it’s fun to experiment! I may use these supplements now, but in another year… who knows?

Happy experimenting!

It’s hot outside. Let’s talk dessert. 

I’ve got to say, I’m not the biggest fan of summer. Living in NYC in the summer is kind of what I imagine hell to be like, or maybe purgatory because there are glimmers of beauty and hope amidst the sweaty, smelly and swampy hell,  I’ll give it that. A hot day will stay hot until 11PM (we’re talking 87 degrees) because of the endless amounts of cement that hold onto the temperature like it needs it to survive. So, cooling down at night isn’t really a thing here. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always like this, and I enjoy picnicking in the park, eating al fresco and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in abundance at farmer’s markets… but man, living on the fifth floor of a five story pre-war building isn’t super fun in 90 plus degree weather (plus humidity!), but we make do… with dessert, every. night. 

How do I stay cool and sane during the hot summer months and resist the urge to eat all my meals away from my hot kitchen? Planning and lots of cooling and hydrating foods! Your body craves more cooling and hydrating foods in the summer naturally, so give your body what it wants! Raw fruits and veggies are your friend. Salads, galore! Snack on strawberries dipped in almond butter. Smoothie bowls for breakfast, lunch or dinner (who ever said smoothie bowls had to be sweet?! Try my Savory Smoothie recipe just add a handful of ice and less liquid-BAM!). You get the idea.

My summer ritual is eating a bowl of “nice cream” pretty much every night because I  work hard to stay cool all day and I deserve it! If I could just drink my morning cup of matcha or coffee, eat breakfast and skip everything else and go straight to my bowl of “nice cream” every day I WOULD. Why is it called nice cream? I actually don’t know… Maybe because it’s nice to your body because it’s free of dairy, added sugars and stuff that causes inflammation and potentially not-nice feelings?

There are many variations on “nice cream” but you can’t go wrong with the classic. I’ll provide you with my classic banana nice-cream recipe plus a couple variations to play with. Enjoy topped with nut butter, granola, fresh fruit, coconut flakes or enjoy plain!

  • 2 1/2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup nut milk of choice (the creamiest is using full-fat culinary milk. 

This is my favorite non dairy milk to use for this!







Blend in a high speed blender or food processor. You’ll have to stop and stir it a few times to get it to blend all the way. This is good because you want the texture to be super creamy and thick; like ice cream! 
Some other variations are:

Chocolate Cherry “Nice Cream” 

  • 2 1/2 frozen bananas
  • Handful frozen cherries
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup nut milk

Topped with cacao nibs and fresh cherries. YUM.

    Peanut Butter & Jelly “Nice Cream”

    • 2 1/2 frozen bananas
    • handful of frozen blueberries
    • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
    • 1/2 cup nut milk

    Chocolate Banana “Nice Cream” 

    • 2 1/2 frozen bananas
    • 2 teaspoons cacao powder
    • 1/2 cup nut milk

     

    How Lovely to be a Woman!

    “The wait was long worthwhile. How lovely to wear mascara and smile a woman’s smile. How lovely to have a figure that’s rounds instead of flat! Whenever you hear boys whistle, you’re what they’re whistling at.”        

                                                                                                   – Bye, Bye Birdie 

    I listen to this song as an adult and realize how unfortunate it is that it was written by Lee Adams (a man), instead of a woman. I’m positive that a woman could have portrayed a more accurate depiction of what it feels like to grow up and go through puberty… But that’s not the case and unfortunately that’s not the world we live in. But I’m not here to talk about that today.

    I grew up never really aware of my womanhood. I didn’t know why I got my period other than it meant I had the ability to get pregnant, what the difference between my uterus, clitoris, cervix and vagina were and what hormones had to do with my overall health and well being. “Hormonal” had a negative connotation to it as in: “you must be feeling very hormonal right now” a.k.a.: “you’re acting like a bitch” . Hell, I thought that I had to be okay with men staring at my boobs and touching me a little too far down my back. I thought I had to “like” that, or approve of it at the very least.  I know that I am not the only one who has experienced this and that’s upsetting. I don’t know if it is a product of poor education or the culture we live in, or the culture I personally grew up in. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. (And Mom, don’t take this personally. You raised me to be a strong, independent, and intelligent woman and I couldn’t ask for anything more.) 

    It is because I was raised to be a thoughtful, strong, independent and intelligent woman that I write about my personal experience with hormone imbalance, birth control and discovering my femininity. I hope someone reads this and finds comfort in that they are not alone, that it’s okay to be confused and that your anxiety, depression, weight and skin issues may be due to inflammation and a hormonal imbalance. There’s nothing wrong with you and you are not alone in your struggles.

    Here’s my story.

    I always struggled with acne and weight issues, especially when I was going through puberty. I didn’t go on birth control until I was in college, where I got a free pack at my College Health Center with no consultation or discussion of what dosage I was given or how it may affect my body or mood. Just: “I want birth control.” Nurse: “Okay, here you go.” I don’t want you to think I was ungrateful, I know that I was incredibly fortunate to have such easy access to birth control because so many women around the world, and right here in the U.S.A. , are denied birth control every day. Many of those women end up pregnant before they are ready. The father is most likely someone they do not love, or even know, and their future is changed in an instant. That is not my story and I am grateful that it is not.

     

    My story is of a young girl who was naive, uneducated and scared. Who probably had hormonal imbalances that could have been fixed by changing her diet and not going on the pill. She needed to be educated on the other birth control options available to her. She had no idea there were any other options or that the pill had side effects at all, so instead she would have to suffer through the next eight years going on and off birth control only to experience digestive, skin and mood issues no matter what she did or didn’t do. Now that I know more, I think I can trace the start of my severe digestive  issues back to 6 months after I was put on the most recent birth control I was taking. This birth control was a lower dosage because I eventually spoke with a doctor who understood that I was having negative reactions to my previous prescription. I did feel better, but I began to have digestive issues that I, in no way, thought could be from the birth control I was on. I still don’t know if this is true, but time will tell.

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    So, what’s the deal with birth control anyway? Why is it so bad? Well, it’s still being studied. So far, I’ve read studies that show that birth control interferes with our microbiome because of the artificial hormones being pumped into our bloodstream, which may result in leaky gut syndrome. It also messes with our thyroid because, you guessed it, the artificial hormones. Women already produce estrogen, but when on birth control, women become estrogen dominant, which negatively affects the brain and heart. This could be why many women complain of depression and anxiety and the chances of heart attack and stroke are increased considerably. Oh, fun fact, after five years of being on birth control, there is a 300% chance of developing Crohn’s Disease. The pill is also inflammatory and insulin resistant masking metabolic disorders like PCOS, which is a severe metabolic disorder caused by hormonal imbalances. All of this disrupts the immune system causing your body to go into fight or flight mode, which increases inflammation… Not to mention it’s affect on libido and vaginal health: i.e. more yeast infections, dryness, etc. UGH.

    What bothers me is that this is not common knowledge. There are far better birth control options and every woman should be educated on ALL of these points. When I began learning about all of this, I was in denial. I thought, “I’m healthy, I don’t have any inflammation, none of this pertains to me.” How could it not? I didn’t like the sounds of other birth control options, IUD’s scared me and I wasn’t ready for kids. So why not just stay on birth control? But I was horrible at remembering to take the pill, constantly having to double-up for fear of pregnancy which ended with paranoia, a messed up cycle and askew hormones… why did I want to stay on the pill?!

    I finally woman-ed up and decided to get an IUD. An IUD is a small, T-shaped intrauterine device inserted into your uterus that provides long-term birth control. We’re talking, 3-10 years depending on what kind of device you decide to go with. Some devices have hormones and some do not. Initially, I wanted to go with the non-hormonal one since that was one of my number one reasons for going off the pill, but after a consultation with my gynecologist, I decided to get the Mirena device. Mirena releases progesterone, no estrogen, over a period of time to prevent pregnancy. I went with Mirena because adding progesterone isn’t harmful to the body and it protects your ovaries which is a good idea since there’s cervical and ovarian cancer in my family history.

    I got the IUD inserted yesterday and DAMN it was painful. I expected it to hurt, but wasn’t prepared for quite how much. I kept telling myself: “You’ve run a marathon, you’ve fractured bones, you can deal with this pain.” . Which, I did. But it was definitely not easy. At first I thought it wasn’t so bad, until I realized she was only dilating me (since I haven’t gone through childbirth) and had yet to insert the device. Once she did, it felt like a horrible cramp with a very large brick on top of my uterus. I had the sensation that I was either going to pee or poop, which she assured me was normal since I had to be dilated. She asked me how I felt, to which I replied: “uhhhh, weird?”. After she cut the strings and came out, I felt the cramping subside and thought I’d be back to feeling normal. Nope, not so much. All the blood rushed to my brain and I felt insanely dizzy and nauseous. They laid me back down, gave me a puke bucket and rushed to get me water. My ears were buzzing, the room was spinning, my vision was blurry and I questioned why I ever agreed to do this on my own free will. They were incredibly supportive and patient with me and brought Mike in to hold my hand and talk me through everything. After a minute or two with him I had the courage to sit up and leave. The dizziness didn’t subside for a while, which made the 5 minute walk home into a 20 minute one filled with many stops to take deep breaths. I was keeled over while I was walking because I was having the most intense sensation of where my uterus was located, which is really strange. You know you have one, but you’re never really aware of it until you have an IUD inserted, and when you’re pregnant, I imagine. I feel like I got a nice little childbirth preview yesterday and have so much respect for all the mother’s out there. I didn’t experience half the dilation and pain that you go through during labor!

    And now, I am free. Free of the pill. Free of artificial hormones (for the most part) that may or may not be causing the digestive, skin and mental issues I’ve been coping with for the past eight years. I am excited to experience change, but am also nervous and not looking forward to the spotting, bleeding and for my cycle to be off, but I am thrilled that I don’t have to worry about missing a pill for the next five years and look forward to (hopefully) healing my microbiome once and for all.

    More importantly, I am proud that I finally kissed fear goodbye and went for a healthier and more sustainable birth control that will hopefully be much better for my body. I am also grateful to have access to this  kind birth control, for FREE with my health insurance, and hope that the education of women’s reproductive health only advances and improves and that our health care doesn’t regress.

    Don’t feel bad if you feel like you’re completely clueless about your reproductive health because I’m 28 years old and am finally understanding my body for the first time and I truly feel how lovely it is to be a woman. IMG_8306

     

     

     

    What I Learned Doing the Whole30

    About a month ago I embarked on the Whole30 diet program (essentially the Paleo diet) in an effort to get my body ready for Marathon training.

    I didn’t complete the whole30 program. I had a bunch of family events and celebrations and I did it successfully for 23 days and that’s okay with me. Why? Because I pretty much follow the Whole30 lifestyle as it is. It wasn’t a huge change for me and I didn’t experience many symptoms other than extreme bloating around days 10-14 (but I also had my period, so there’s that).

    There are definitely things about it I liked:

    1. I was forced to eat more veggies. Veggies were the base to all my meals: even breakfast! I found myself craving salads and raw vegetables. This is most likely a seasonal effect, but still!
    2. I paid more attention to what food I had on hand and planned meals and snacks ahead of time instead of winging it when busy or at work.
    3. I felt energized and lighter.
    4. Not drinking alcohol was the most challenging part for me! I never realized how often I’d resort to a glass of wine or beer after a long shift or when cooking dinner. It forced me to be more present and to not drink away any sadness or frustrations I may have been experiencing.

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    Here’s what didn’t work for me:

    1. A lot of Whole 30 for me was feeling like I had to eat all this animal protein in order to feel satisfied and full. And while I don’t ever rule it out, I feel much better when I’m eating plant based protein or fish. I just don’t think I’m much of a carnivore. Doing this diet made me realize that.
    2. Being restricted for such a long amount of time triggered a lot of old eating disorder and body dysformia thoughts and feelings for me. I didnot like that. There were a few days where I felt like I was playing “a game” to see how little I could eat and feel satisfied just like I used to and that is obviously not good. When I began to feel bloated ( a symptom of cleansing and detoxing) I began looking in the mirror and obsessing over every little wrinkle, jiggle and curve on my body. Getting into this frame of mind is self destructive and affects every area of your life. I felt miserable, unmotivated and wanted to give up. It is a curse and a blessing to be so intuitive because I was fully aware of what was going on, but I couldn’t stop it.

    …and that’s the real reason I stopped at 23 days. I saw myself going down the rabbit hole of counting calories, obsessing over the quality of food I was eating, choosing not to eat a meal (or meals), hating my body and myself.

    I want to be honest about my experience. I am in no way condemning the Whole30 program. I’m sure it works wonders for some people. But for me, the negatives outweighed the bad and I knew enough was enough. I embarked on the journey to feel fresh and clean and ready for marathon training. Instead, I’m feeling more self conscious than ever.

    And that’s why I don’t do diets. DIETS SUCK! They’re too black and white and life has gray area. Also, if you’re experiencing any trials and tribulations in other areas of your life such as relationships, career or spirituality (as an example) it doesn’t matter how much kale you have, you’re not going to feel amazing without working on the other areas of your life first.

    That’s another reason I ended the program early, other areas of my life were being pushed to the side. I realized that all the hard work I was putting into successfully completing this challenge was only taking energy away from things that I really needed to focus on. It was really hard to come to terms with this because I felt like I was failing.

    But what felt like failure, wasn’t failure at all, it was success.

    Because now I’m focusing on stuff that’s way more important than a diet. I’m focusing on my career, my business, my happiness, my health and my artistry. Naturally, by focusing my energy on the things that needed it, I’m only drawn to nourish myself inside and out, I’m not falling off the bandwagon and I’m still eating a pretty whole30-friendly diet because I want to.

    And that’s the difference. The desire to fuel yourself with foods that support where you want your energy to go instead of following a regimen that takes up all your energy so you have none left to dedicate to the stuff that really matters. I know how difficult it is to pull yourself out of the dark, lonely hole you dug for yourself. You know, that hole that’s filled with calorie counting and excessive nutrition label checking? Yea. But it’s possible.

    Have you ever felt this way? I urge you to experiment by factoring in this non-diet mentality. Think of what else feeds and nourishes you.

    Your job? Your partner? Your friendships? Your guitar? Your gardening? Your painting? Your home environment?

    Do these other areas of your life feel nourished, taken care of and healthy? If not, try spending more time and energy on these areas of your life. Trust yourself! Get rid of the obsessive calorie counting and worrying and focus on something that really needs it.

    Experiment and let me know what you discover! If you feel like you could use more assistance and outside perspective with this, contact me! We can chat and figure out the best program for you to reach your goals and feel healthy, happy and nourished.

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    Self-Care gone wrong?

    What happens when our self-care days turn into anti-social anxiety-inducing days?

    You know, that day you’ve been looking forward to all week where you’re going to do exactly what you want to do and nobody can stop you. You’re going to binge that new TV show! Sleep in! Not answer your phone! Wear the same outfit all day!

    Self-care or “me time” is really popular right now. NPR recently did a segment about how millennials are obsessed with self-care routines concluding that their priorities to take time for themselves could mean that their emotional intelligence is greater than the generations that came before.

    Now, I’m all for this whole “increased emotional intelligence” thing,  since I think millennials get a bad rep. After all, I am a millennial and I eat avocado toast, but I also practice self-care! I’m proud of this. Well, until it goes wrong.

    My self-care day (or days) sometimes turn into a dark, sleepy and depressing day where I do not leave my apartment, stew in my anxieties about student loans, life and my career while cleaning aggressively and staring at my phone, computer and TV screen for much too long. But I do yoga, cook myself nourishing meals, journal and take a hot bath so that means I’m taking care of myself right?

    Eh.

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    Does anyone else experience this? Am I alone in struggling to find a healthy balance between being a hermit who takes care of themselves versus a well-adjusted and confident woman taking care of herself?

    Sometimes I really feel like I need the day to do nothing. To zone out. To just be with myself because living in New York, working a service job and trying to start a Health Coaching practice is a lot and I want to escape from it all. It’s important that I recognize that I need that and I provide myself with the space to rejuvenate.

    But how much time is too much time? Self-care days should be purposeful. Active, not passive. You should be driven to take care of yourself, it should be fun! You should not feel ambivalent about such an awesome thing. It’s about prioritizing time to nourish your mind, body and soul.

    Nobody said it was easy!

    There is a line that is easy to cross regarding active and inactive self-care days and the later is something I suggest trying to stay away from because, in my experience, that’s a formula for a self-care day gone wrong. Taking care of yourself is not easy and it takes a lot of thought and effort. But it’s worth it.

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    You won’t know exactly what to do for yourself to help yourself when you first start practicing self-care but I promise that you’ll figure it out. We’re always going to be figuring it out because we are always changing. You’re not always going to need the mani/pedi as part of your routine, maybe you’ll need to start seeing a therapist as a new form of self-care, and so on and so forth…

    If it’s hard, don’t give up. You’re not worthless and you deserve to be taken care of by someone who knows best and, believe it or not, that is YOU.

    I hope that my honesty and transparency with my own struggles help a little bit. Because it IS possible to feel great, to take charge of your life, to get out of that toxic relationship, or whatever you’re going through. I’m not here to change lives, I’m here to provide honest perspective that I hope will help you. After all, we’re all human and what we can relate to in others often helps open the door to better relations within ourselves.

    Try not to focus on changing yourself, instead explore what’s already within you… you’ll be surprised at what you find.

    Happy exploring and be well!

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    Throwback to taking a casual dip in the clearest jungle river in Thailand. Ah, if only all my self-care days could take place here…

    Savory Grain-Free Waffles

    Yea, you read that correctly. Savory grain free waffles. Three ingredients. Versatile. Delicious.

    What?!

    I am doing Whole30 for the month of June to help prepare my body for Marathon training which begins in July. The idea of Whole30 is similar to the elimination diet: to rid your body of the toxins that are causing inflammation and irritation. It’s essentially the Paleo diet. It’s not that much of a change for me besides the no grains and no alcohol thing. That will be the most difficult, for sure. But I enjoy a good challenge and figure, why not?! Plus, some good recipes will come out of it for you and for me. Worth it!

    These waffles are the perfect answer to your delicious runny yolk brunch-dish cravings. I made the waffles and topped them with avocado mash and a runny egg. So, Avocado Waffles and Eggs. 🤤 Delicious. I cannot wait to make this dish over and over again. All you need is a food processor and a waffle maker to make the waffles and they’re that easy!

    Enjoy. If you make the waffles #avocadowafflesneggs !

    I want to see your creations!

    Bon appétit!

    Savory Grain-Free Waffles

    Makes 2 1/2 large waffles

    • 1 medium potato, shredded or chopped
    • 1/4 onion, shredded or chopped
    • 1 egg
    • Salt & Pepper

    Directions: You can shred the potato and onion on a cheese grater, or if you have a food processor, chop them up and put all of the ingredients into the food processor and blend until it turns into a batter. Heat your waffle iron, load it up with the batter and cook!

    Top with avocado mash and runny eggs or unsweetened yogurt and hot sauce, or spinach, tomatoes and eggs. It’s so versatile and so easy!

    Pictured here is avocado mash, egg, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast.

     

     

    A Savory Green Smoothie a day…

    I don’t know if it is post-vacation blues, but lately I’ve been feeling more tired and low-energy than usual. I’m sure it is a combination of working more, running more (pre-marathon training has begun), the temperature change and potentially recovering from e coli, or whatever weird virus I contracted in Morocco. I have been extremely mindful of what I am fueling my body and nothing is more frustrating than knowing that everything I have consumed should do nothing but give me adequate energy. But alas, here we are. When your body is craving rest, listen to it, don’t push it. I have a very difficult time with this, especially when I can’t find as much time as I’d like to rest, but you have to make an effort in whatever way you can which is why I prioritize fueling my body with quality, whole foods.

    Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born! I really wanted a kick of energy and electrolytes but did not want anything sweet. Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born!This smoothie could be turned into a chilled soup with some added thickness for those hot summer months. It’s so delicious. I drank it in probably 60 seconds. Try this first thing in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me up. You won’t regret it!

    Savory Green, Energizing Smoothie 

    Servings: 1

    Ingredients:img_9611

    • 1 cup coconut water-natural electrolytes
    • 1/2 frozen avocado – stabilizes blood sugar, healthy fats for sustained energy
    • Handful of arugula- helps alkalizes the body
    • Small handful of frozen pineapple – anti-inflammatory and natural electrolytes
    • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Greens powder – contains all daily vegetable servings plus vitamins, minerals and probiotics
    • 4 basil leaves – anti-inflammatory
    • 1 knob ginger- anti-inflammatory, aids digestion

    You may need to add a little more coconut or regular water for optimal blending. Blend and enjoy!

    Cheers, friends!

    Why you Should Incorporate Salmon into your Diet. PLUS: Pan-Seared Ginger Salmon Recipe.

    I am obsessed with salmon recently and I came up with this recipe to satisfy my cravings one night and am super proud of how it turned out.  I hope that if any of you readers try to make it, that you enjoy it as much as I did because it was delicious. I think I could eat it everyday. I concocted this recipe while I was riding the train home from work a little earlier than usual (8:30pm) and was salivating at the thought of pan-seared salmon over sweet potatoes.

    I’m such a dork, I know. 

    Let’s talk about Salmon, shall we? Why is it so good for you? It’s almost always deemed the most “diet-friendly” item on any menu ever. Salmon is a major staple for many well-known diets such as The Hormone Diet, The South Beach Diet, Low-Protein Diet, The Omega Diet, The Candida Diet, The Metabolic Typing Diet, The Paleo Diet and so on and so forth…

    I bet you didn’t know that some of those diets existed! As you know I do not advocate for any specific diet; I believe in experimenting and finding what works best for you. 

    So, maybe salmon isn’t really your thing. Or maybe you’re sort of indifferent about salmon. I’m not being paid by the salmon fishermen and sellers to tell you any of this, but I believe that the more you know, the better.

    • Omega-3’s : Omega-3’s are a chain of fatty acids that are considered essential to consume since your body cannot produce them.
    • High-Quality Protein: A serving of salmon is a source of high-quality essential protein.
    • Good source of B vitamins and Potassium: These help the body fight of numerous diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.
    • Helps reduce Inflammation: because of it’s high quality vitamins and omega 3’s, it is said to help lower inflammation in the body, which can cause autoimmune diseases/disorders, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension.

    Try incorporating this protein-dense fish into your diet at least one to two times a week. It provides numerous health benefits plus it’s delicious and easy to make, so why not try?!

    Pan Seared Ginger Salmon over Stewed Za’tar Vegetables and Whipped Truffle Sweet Potatoes. 

    Serves: 2

    Ingredients:

    • 2, 6-8oz salmon filets
    • Ground Ginger, Salt and Pepper
    • 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil

    For the Vegetables:

    • Avocado Oil
    • 1 tablespoon Za’tar seasoning
    • Salt and Pepper
    • 2 garlic gloves, minced
    • 1 cup chopped heirloom tomatoes
    • 1 pepper, diced
    • 1 cup spinach, chard or kale
    • Black Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drizzled on top.

    For the Whipped Sweet Potato:

    • 1 sweet potato, boiled until soft
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon Fourth and Heart White Truffle Salt Ghee

    Salmon directions: Season the salmon generously with salt, pepper and ground ginger on both sides. Let sit for at least 15-20 minutes in fridge before cooking. To pan sear : heat avocado oil in a deep skillet then reduce heat to medium-low to cook the filets. Press the filets firmly into the oil and cook for 5 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other.

    Veggie directions: Heat pan with avocado or coconut oil, add garlic cloves, tomatoes, pepper and za’tar seasonings and cover and cook for 5-8 minutes on medium-low. Add in 1 cup of spinach and cover and cook for another 10 minutes. The tomatoes should become very soft and stewed (juice-y and flavorful essentially making their own sauce)

    Sweet Potato directions: Boil 1 large sweet potato until tender. Drain except for the last inch of hot water in the pan and add sweet potato and water to a blender or food processor. Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder, ghee and a drizzle of black truffle olive oil. Blend on high until it is completely pureed, taste and season to your liking.

    To plate: Sweet Potatoes first, stewed veggies and Salmon filet. Add the juice from the stewed veggies on top of the plate plus maybe a little extra ghee or truffle olive oil.

    Enjoy!

    Travel Tales of Gluten and Maybe E Coli.

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    Hello there, it’s me, Anne. It’s been a while. I’ve been off traveling around the world, working a lot and potentially having, and recovering from, e coli. Fun!

    In all honesty I do want to share these amazing Moroccan-Spiced Turkey Burgers with you all because they’re simple and delicious… but I also have so, so many thoughts on my travels. I couldn’t decide whether to break this up into two posts or not, plus I have been procrastinating a lot this week/only yesterday did I start to feel like my normal self. IE: regular-ish bowel movements and having my appetite back.

    TMI? Then I would stop reading now. Although this post won’t only consist of tales of my bowel movements, but that topic is far from being dismissed.

    First of all, I consumed a lot of gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol and loved every second of it. It is vacation after all.  To be honest, before I got sick (thankfully only the last two days of the trip) gluten and dairy were not bothering me like they normally do. I knew to expect this because of my travels to Asia last year when I discovered that I could have many, many baguettes and Bahn-Mi’s and my tummy was totally fine. So, you better believe the first thing I did when we landed in Paris was order Petit Dejuner Francais a.k.a. GLUTEN.  Just like in Vietnam, my stomach digested that gluten and continued on with it’s bad self.

    IMG_8567

    Mmm all the gluten.

    The implications of this, while exciting to indulge while traveling, is very disturbing. What do we do to our wheat here in the USA that makes us sick? I have theories and so do many scientists. But this is not a scientific blog and I am not going to go in depth, but what I will say is that we clearly modify our wheat and we utilize GLUTEN in our wheat products more than Europeans/Africans/Asians/seemingly everyone except America. This is coming from someone who experiences first hand the stark difference in the way her body digests wheat and gluten outside of North America and if you have issues here, I bet that you would experience the same moment of joy while traveling abroad that you too, can enjoy a baguette without negative repercussions for the first time in a very long time.

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    The Seine

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    Inside Notre Dame

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    I just had to include more pictures of Paris. We were only there for 6 hours but it’s Paris, so…

    Moving on.

    Barcelona. The land of Tapas aka grazing all day long. I LOVED this. It’s a much more relaxed way of going through your day, plus I never truly felt too “full”. I felt like I ate just the right amount because we were eating small meals pretty much all day long. Again, lots of gluten (tomato bread!), meats and cheeses were consumed. The cheese didn’t bother me because none of it is processed or “fake” it’s all very real, aged and delicious.

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    The only thing I missed was breakfast, they don’t really do breakfast like we do here because they eat more later in the day. That’s all well and good, I just don’t have much interest in eating a croissant or baguette with espresso for breakfast. Bring on the protein! We did as the Catalonians do on a couple of mornings, but we were able to find some amazing healthy breakfast/brunch spots on the other days. Another thing: nothing really opens until 9 or 10am so there’s no point in waking up super early besides getting a morning workout in. I really enjoyed sleeping in and taking our time in the morning and want to implement that mentality in my day-to-day routine. Wake up, leisurely drink my coffee, read the news, and then have breakfast a couple hours later. I really enjoyed that.

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    This place was super popular and for good reason: this brunch was unreal! 

    One of my favorite things we did was run to Park Guell one morning, a gorgeous park in Barcelona. We were staying about a mile and a half to two miles away from the park that has some of Gaudi’s (famous Modernist architect with a very distinct style) most famous  architectural structures sitting above the city. While, completely uphill, we were able to see more of the Gracia neighborhood on our way to the park, and quickly. I want to try to run more when I travel because it was a really fun way to explore the city and see the sights.

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    Park Guell

    Major takeaways from Barcelona: take your time, take a nap in the middle of the day, savor every flavor, graze all day and buy your alcohol for home consumption before 11pm.

    More pictures of food, mountains we climbed, the Mediterranean and the beauty of Barcelona:

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    I guess I should move on to the showstopper: Fez, Morocco. Morocco stole the show with it’s rich and plentiful history, flavorful and healthy cuisine, bountiful and breathtaking topography, intricate and colorful decor, relaxed and generous culture, ancient and grandiose architecture and the most sincere and giving people that I had the pleasure of meeting.

    It is difficult to explain Fez (or Fes, I don’t actually know the correct spelling maybe it is different in different languages) to someone who has never been there, which is pretty much everyone I know except for a few people I work with. It truly feels like you’re going back thousands of years in time in the Medina or the old city. No cars are allowed, donkeys, mules, and foot are the only forms of transport allowed within the city walls, and yes, there is a wall around the Medina. We walked around for a full day and I felt like we walked so far, but I don’t think we even hit two miles. There aren’t streets, per say, just lots of alleyways that twist and turn that eventually bring you to mosques, mausoleum, shops, the market, museums, and the oldest university and library in the world, Al Qarawiyyin, that was opened by a woman in 859 B.C.

    This design is all over the medina.

    Fez, from the rooftops. 

    The tanneries, where they still use ancient methods to dye leather.

    The Tanneries: aka leather making/dying. They still use ancient techniques and use all natural dyes like turmeric, indigo and pigeon poop! 


    Sound like a mythical place? Yea, I thought so too when I was researching it before our travels. What is amazing to me is that after all of these years it is essentially the same as it was in 859. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, plus there have been lots of foreign investments to keep the city preserved and intact so we saw a lot of preservation and restoration work going on while we were there.

    I wish we could’ve had more time here as it was so different and incredible. Did I mention the beautiful Riad’s we stayed in? A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with rooms around the perimeter with a courtyard or garden situated in the middle. The first Riad we stayed in used to be a palace, art museum, home and now it is a hotel.

    Looking from above

    Our second Riad, from the rooftop. 


    Honestly, just staying in such a gorgeous place for so cheap would’ve been worth the trip alone. Luckily, for us we experienced even more.

    One of my colleagues at work has family in Fez so we met them and they showed us around on our last day and were so incredibly kind, fun and generous. They bought us souvenirs to take home with us and invited us over for some homemade Moroccan couscous. I only wish I could’ve communicated with them better, I really should brush up on my French…


    Where did the sickness come in? I’m not entirely sure. I honestly thought it was just food poisoning from some undercooked chicken we grilled on a picnic in the Atlas Mountains.

    Oh, I didn’t mention that did I? Yea, that was beautiful.

    Ancient Jewish Berber city where there is no running water and those doors lead to house caves.

    Fossils in the Atlas Mountains


    It was a relatively relaxing day exploring the Arabic and Jewish Berber towns and cities outside of Fez and at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. My favorite part of the day was when our guide took us to a market where we picked up all the ingredients for our lunch. There were absolutely no tourists besides us and I felt like we got a taste of what a day in the life is like. Everything is a farmer’s market there. I know there are grocery stores but from my understanding most people choose to go to the outdoor markets because everything is fresher and cheaper.


    WHY CAN’T IT BE LIKE THIS IN AMERICA? Is all I kept thinking…

    Anyway, I thought I got food poisoning from some undercooked chicken that I had a iffy feeling about so I fed most of it to the most adorable puppy in the entire world, Doggie Baba.

    </3 Miss him. And to be clear, he was a stray. 


    However, most of my symptoms lasted for a full eight days. Hm, not normal for food poisoning. Also not normal? Giving it to your boyfriend. Happy Birthday, Mike!

    Oops.

    The internet says probably e coli. I experienced all of the symptoms with the worst of it being within the first 48 hours. We’re talking everything coming out both directions and retching so badly that I pulled a muscle in my calf.

    At the hotel, the home of our new friends, the airport, in our other hotel… 

    … and vomiting… 


    Not only did I not keep anything down for over three days but my right calf would send shooting pains up my leg while I was walking up and down stairs. Fun! And now Mike has it… not quite as bad as me, but basically the same… yesterday was the first day I felt like myself and my bowel movements didn’t make me want to scream/faint/curl up in a ball. Please wish Mike a speedy recovery from the exotic virus he contracted without stepping outside of New York City.

    Oops…

    Despite probably getting e coli in Morocco, I cannot wait to go back. I want to explore more in Fez. I want to go to the Sahara. I want to visit Marrakesh. I want to visit our friends. I want to eat more of that amazing fresh cuisine that may or may not have gotten me ill! It was a magical place that I certainly will never forget because I WILL be back.


    I think I’ll write a second part to this post, but for now I will leave you with tales of gluten and e coli.

    And a recipe!

    Moroccan Spiced Turkey Burgers

    Ingredients:img_9412

    • 1 lb ground organic turkey
    • 2 carrots finely chopped/shredded
    • 1/2 onion finely chopped/shredded
    • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
    • 3 teaspoons Moroccan 5 spice blend*
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

    *I bought this in Morocco so I don’t know if you can find a blend here in the states but this is what it consists of:
    equal parts ginger & coriander (let’s say 1
    teaspoon fullsizeoutput_2a03each), white pepper, cayenne and cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon each), allspice and turmeric (1/4 teaspoon each) .

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Chop the onion and carrots in a food processor until fairly small and mix in with ground  turkey in a big bowl. Add in scallions, spice blend, salt and pepper and mix together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Make small patties and set aside.

    fullsizeoutput_2a21Heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet or large frying pan and place patties once pan is heated. Do not flatten the patties so they maintain their juiciness. Cook for 3 minutes on each side then place on cookie sheet at bake for 5 minutes to ensure the patties are cooked all the way through while maintaining their crispiness and juiciness.

    Add to salads, sandwiches, quinoa, rice or enjoy as a snack!