Thursday, August 29, 2013

Get started on your weight loss today

Wow, the weight loss challenge from TLS Weight Loss solution has a big jackpot of $100,000 in cash prizes. You've got to register by tonight Thursday Aug 29th! Transform your mind+body in 12 weeks for a leaner healthier you!

You can register to do the weight loss program on your own, but I can help you be more successful if you want a coach. All you have to do assign me as your coach by typing in my email address where it asks if you have a coach (embodyhealth at gmail dot com).

I have 2 spots left for scholarship students where I'm waiving my usual coaching fees. If you want more info, please check out the program from a free recording of the introductory teleseminar or my website to see what my graduates have said about their successes. Whether or not you decide the challenge is for you, the teleseminar is chock-full of information about wellness strategies to improve your stress management, sleep, exercise, low-glycemic nutrition, and helping you be aware of your patterns to get to a healthier you. And feel free to share this FREE teleseminar recording with your friends and family. I want to hear from you even if you don't want to do the weight loss challenge because I want to know your questions to add more material to this blog. And I'm happy to work with anyone who wants to do a version of the program at your own pace because new healthy lifestyle habits stick when we figure out how it best works for you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Saving the stomach

While I do my best to eat healthy, it's tough to be super clean with my nutrition and there is always room for improvement. So I have to find a way to save the stomach! A number of my friends and I are not good with digesting dairy or wheat products -- and mostly I stay away from it. It's not that I have Celiac's (read more about that here), but I can see my stomach gets bloated and more easily irritated when I eat the offending lactose or gluten. While I mostly cook at home, when going out to parties and restaurants, there is so much processed foods to watch out for. I don't want to ruin the fun by being too much of a picky eater. So when I go to the restaurants, sometimes there is a fried treat or a something with bread I occasionally splurge on. Even sauces are sometimes thickened with wheat. So the safe thing to do is to prevent the damage by taking these digestive enzymes travel packs with me and drinking it with my water before I eat. Tastes like lemonade and it helps with any processed foods. Yes, you can take digestive enzymes after you ate the offending foods, but let's save the stomach from being irritated by taking the digestive enzymes first! Other people are irritated by fructose which digestive enzymes also help break down. Be forewarned that there are hidden sources of bad fructose like in sauces like ketchup which have high fructose corn syrup we should all stay away from.

Probiotics are helpful to give us the "good bacteria" or what I call "good soldiers" to help boost our immune system. When our GI tract is not healthy, we're more prone to getting sick. Easy things to learn about digestive health is found in this article, and if you want to learn more about IBS, there's more here. You can read more about getting a high quality probiotic here, and if you want to save money on digestive health support, here's a great kit that gives you digestive enzymes, probiotics AND aloe juice!

Helping to save your stomach also means managing your stress and getting enough good sleep. Because we have such stress in our lives with this fast-paced world with phones and computer beeping and chirping and lots of interruptions, it really helps to make a daily practice in finding 20-30 minutes of quiet time to focus on breathing, meditation, or restorative yoga. There are surprises and challenges that are beyond our control and some kind of relaxing meditation practice helps. Even if you already know how to meditate, it helps to get new inspiration from different teachers. I'm on Day 9 with a new course and I have felt a little lighter, more able to handle the stresses that come my way (check out this 21-day meditation challenge through the Deepak Chopra meditation center). I hope these tips help you save your stomach and boost your immune system and mood!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Secrets of strawberries

A good friend of mine got me addicted to Harry's Berries when I first moved to LA and I'm a devoted follower ever since. You see, I've been spoiled and can't eat any commercial strawberries anymore, especially not the big genetically modified ones. Conventional strawberries have high pesticide load and please remember to buy organic for this fruit (See the "Dirty Dozen" list from the Environmental Working Group). Other strawberries just don't have the fragrance and texture of home-grown strawberries I remember from my youth, and Harry's Berries is just as good as a home-grown strawberry because they fresh-pick it that morning before it comes to market!

As much as I love the Hollywood Farmer's market on Sunday, it's sometimes too large (I can get easily distracted by all the stands) and too much competition to get to the market early enough before it's sold out. So if you can squeak in a weekday morning farmer's market run, I do better by getting to the Monday West Hollywood market (click on the link to find out where you can get Harry's Berries near you in LA area), and the secret to getting your hands on these strawberries is getting there just after 9am (to get parking and avoid street cleaning between 8am-9am on Fountain) and you need to get there before 11:30am (it's usually when they sell out). Please say hi to Alex who greets you at the stand. If you want recipes, they have a few recipes on their website, but I can't bear to modify these beauteous tasty strawberries. I think they are perfect in their raw beauty.

And if you're in search of more summer fruits, please check out the Nicholas Family Farms stand at Larchmont Market, where you can get plums, grapes, peaches and more. You can ask Penny or one of her daughters what their favorite fruit of the week is so that you can find out what is at the peak of the season. California cherries have a short season, but I found organic cherries at Vons supermarket this past week. The bonus of finding great strawberries and summer fruit is that I don't really need dessert when I have a tasty supply of yummy fruit packed full of antioxidants waiting for me. Do you have some other great finds? Please share! Happy hunting for summer fruits!

Quinoa pizazz

I've been challenged with how to best prepare quinoa in a way that is easy on my palette. As adventurous as I am in trying new foods, the only way for me to keep eating the healthy foods is to find a way that I actually like it! So I've been trying different quinoa salads at different restaurants and cafes, and decided that it's best to go with Mediterranean flavoring, as if you were playing with quinoa the way you would with couscous. So this past weekend, I made quinoa salad 2-ways. I cooked 1-cup of quinoa (measure 1 cup dry) and did 1/3 with a kale salad, and the bulk of it for this cucumber quinoa salad.

Cucumber quinoa salad - Mediterranean style
2/3 cup (measured dry) red quinoa cooked in rice cooker (you might need to cook in 2 cycles, because the auto-cook function doesn't cook it soft enough)
3 persian cucumbers chopped small
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon, squeeze the juice
salt, fresh pepper, and olive oil to taste

Serves 2 generously, or serve 4 as a side dish.

A great summer recipe that doesn't require much cooking except pressing the button for the rice cooker. The crunch of the cucumber and the pine nuts are a terrific blend for the nutty taste of the quinoa! Bon appetit!