Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yummy sweet potato

The yummy sweet potato is a terrific root vegetable that is nutrient-dense and has good fiber. For those who love potatoes, this is a healthier alternative to hash browns or home fries. It's a terrific side for breakfast or any other meal for those of us trying to eat more veggies for more Flat Belly food. Bonus: sweet potatoes help boost your mood and if so many picky baby eaters love this food, I think Mother Nature gave it an advantage for our bodies! By cutting up the sweet potato into small diced cubes, you can cook this in about 5-minutes!

5-minute RECIPE
olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 small sweet potato cut into small cubes
4-5 mushrooms (white button ok, crimini preferred)
1 dash (2 tbsp) of white wine (optional) or water
Italian herbs that you have handy (3-4 fresh basil leaves, sprinkle of oregano, 3-4 stems of fresh thyme leaves)
salt + pepper to taste
optional: for those who like more spicy or more flavor
a pinch of smoked paprika or taco seasoning

Warm skillet over medium heat. Warm oil before putting in chopped veggies and liquid. Cover to steam and make the sweet potatoes cook up quickly. In the next 2 minutes chop up herbs and add. Cover for another minute or until the sweet potatoes look tender enough for a fork to pierce easy. Makes 1-2 servings (depending on the size of your sweet potato and your appetite!)

If you have trouble getting your minimum 5-7 servings of veggies/day, you can strategize by picking one meal a day that you have better control over -- whether it's breakfast or lunch to really focus your veggie efforts. Smoothies with added spinach or kale can help. To boost your veggie varieties, you can try this tasty greens powder that can be added to smoothies, soups, and other foods like our turkey meatballs recipe.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Flat Belly tips for Heart Health, Detox, Optimal Health, Weight Loss

We had great amount of interest from different people for our FREE health teleseminar on Tuesday - from athletes to heart health hikers to people who want to kick their sugar addiction. Our coaching programs are not just geared for healthy weight loss, it also helps you keep your diabetes and heart risks lower as you learn to eat "low-glycemic impact" with all your snacks and meals. Right click on this link to download the recording or simply click to listen.

As a health coach and healthy foodie chef, I want you to know our programs are about eating smarter and enjoying life more! No calorie counting, simply strategies for a lifetime of wellness!
* Why you might want to consider a 7-day healthy detox to help you kick your sugar cravings and flatten your belly with Coach Jen: "You are what you eat. You are what you don't detox."
* If any of the 5 fat factors aren't balanced and part of your life, you'll want to check out our healthy weight loss program. Do you need help w stress redux, sleep management, mind-body awareness, nutrition or exercise?
* Are you eating a healthy low-glycemic breakfast every day? This helps you keep the sugar cravings away and manage your blood sugar (and lower diabetes risks).
* How can you implement a new healthy habit? (Check the recording or contact me!)

For your free FLAT BELLY worksheet, email me so we can send you the PDF worksheet directly!
Do you want to win over $500 worth of prizes in a local weight loss contest? Schedule your FREE 20-min phone consult now to see how you can qualify before the Sept 24th deadline! Look hot for the holidays and new year! You can live anywhere with a phone and internet -- I can help you with health coaching. Why wait to get your best body and health? Get started now!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why should I eat clean?

Why should I eat clean? What is a healthy detox week?

To my surprise, one of my students wasn't so grumpy yesterday. In fact, he was sharing his delight in his health changes.

He had just gotten through doing his detox week of eating clean and reported to me that he noticed he didn't want the cookies that were catered to a company lunch. Big victory! That ever since he's been steady about eating breakfast, having a breakfast smoothie full of veggies and fruit, that he notices he doesn't really want sweets the same as before! That people have been commenting that he looks like he's lost weight. This is only after about a month of nutrition coaching. While he's only lost a few pounds, eating cleaner has decreased his inflammation (thus a healthy glow from his skin and face) and improved his health outlook (less stress on his heart health and diabetes issues).

I've had other students improve from issues related to stomach stress like acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome. I even had a 30-something student, who had his mother's joint pain from gout, who was very limited in his daily activities to graduate to biking, gardening, and doing yoga exercises regularly. Learning to take care of your health can help diminish the late night munchies and improve quality of your sleep. While weight loss and looking great can be a top motivator for people handle their health concerns, ultimately cleaning up your nutrition has long-term and daily benefits of feeling better energy and improving your mood! Contact me (embodyhealth at gmail) to learn more about a healthy detox week or how to work with your health concerns.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More reasons to drink homemade smoothies

When you drink a homemade smoothie, you can be sure what ingredients you have to best improve your health, without the added sugar from a smoothie cafes that use ice cream or sherbets, or the disintegration of nutrients from ones sitting on the shelf at the grocery store.

Most of us don't get enough servings of fruits and veggies in our diet - which why I encourage my nutrition/weight loss students to focus on to get the fiber from fruits and veggies to help flatten their belly from the inside out! Now, I'm excited to share with you more reasons why smoothies can give you ENERGY -- at the cellular level, besides the usual vitamins and antioxidants you might already know about.

Now, I was reading about CoQ10 for getting energy to mitochondria and found that it has an anti-aging buddy PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) that can help build new mitochondria. For the nerds out there, you can click on the Journal link below and I dare you to try to say the full words PQQ and CoQ10 correctly as fast as you can. So from here on, because it's a tongue-twister for me, we'll just refer to it as P-Q-Q. For everyone else, just know that CoQ10 is great for your heart and tissues (helps decrease my chances of bleeding gums when flossing), and PQQ studies can help improve brain function (especially important for those who have family history of Alzheimers, Parkinsons or dementia etc).

So for those with low attention span, I'll give you some recipe ideas here that will help get the energy boosting foods on the PQQ common foods list from the Biochem Journal now.

I promise that uncooked spinach in a smoothie does not have a flavor or the hairy teeth effect of some cooked spinach. Also, using frozen fruit allows you to get the cool taste for a summer smoothie without adding ice or sugary sorbets.

Kiwi Energy smoothie (If you don't mind seedy taste from the kiwis)
1 generous handful of spinach, 2 peeled and cut-up kiwis, 1 cup frozen organic blueberries (berries are less expensive frozen!), 1 tbls coconut oil, 4-8 oz of coconut water or almond milk (place first 5 ingredients to blend) then stir in 1 tbl of chia seeds for added fiber and omega-3. Optional flavors to add: fresh mint leaves. Optional to boost digestive health: blend in flavorless aloe powder (1 packet). You can omit coconut oil (good fats!) if you don't like coconut taste.

Banana Fanatics smoothie (for those who want the creamy tropical taste or don't like seeds)
1 generous handful of spinach, 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen or fresh papaya, 1/2 a medium apple, 1 tbls coconut oil, 4-8 oz of coconut water or almond milk. Blend these 6 ingredients. If you like seeds texture, then add 1tbl of chia seeds for added fiber and omega-3. Optional to boost digestive health: blend in flavorless aloe powder (1 packet). If you like cinnamon, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon (healthy blood sugar support without added sweet calories) into your smoothie for a hint of banana bread flavor.

Savory side dish energy boost
Slice up sweet potatoes and carrots, mix in bowl with crushed garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Roast in oven or sautee in pan on medium-low until desired texture. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley when root veggies are ready. This is good to make in a big batch because once made, they sit well in the fridge for quick snacking or adding as a side to a quick meal.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Strength training anywhere

De-mystified: Get strength training exercises anywhere with bands, dumbbells, and body weight 

Strength training is important for anti-aging (keep muscle tone), healthy weight management (boost metabolism = fat burning), and great for improving daily tasks (get out of bed without back pain = core strength and well-aligned squats). Strength training is doing the same exercise repeatedly until "failure" where you think can't do anymore. Then doing 2-4 sets of these "reps" (with a rest period in between) helps you recruit new muscle fibers as you have exhausted a group of muscle fibers in the first set. When I teach a fitness class, whether 1-1 or in a group, we do super-sets, which means we stimulate lower body muscle tone, switch to upper body (to allow the lower body to "rest"), and then repeat.  If we're not super-setting, we stay active during the "rest period" with core strength exercises, cardio, or treat you to stretching.

You don't need fancy weight machines to get your strength training. Creativity with bands, dumbbells, and body weight works your muscle tone anywhere. That means we can workout at the park, on travel at the hotel, or at a conference room through a workplace wellness class. To get the most results out of your strength-training efforts, you want to remember fuel your body properly, just like my weight loss students need to manage their blood sugar by eating every 3-4 hours.

In today's carb-heavy junk food environment, it is up to you to keep healthy snacks in your gym bag, purse, or office desk with you so you are never desperately hungry. Some kind of carb+protein snack an hour before you work out and a protein-centric meal to help your muscles rebuild. If you need help getting protein on-the-go, smoothies are a great way pack in antioxidants and protein! And don't forget your fiber-rich veggies to help you detox and eliminate waste products from exercise and improve digestion! If you don't get enough fiber (email us for a fiber-ful worksheet), you can support your health with either a protein+fiber shake or a detox fiber powder that will help flatten your stomach.

Now, the key to good exercise is that we recover and can continue to do more workouts. Most people forget about exercise recovery, especially with the adrenaline high from exercise, you don't feel the exhaustion or pains until later. I have been working with some long-distance cyclists who need to watch out for "over-heating" with the hot LA weather, or simply exhaustion from a long ride. Are you fueling and hydrating enough for your workout, your hike, or ride? Are your muscles sore for too long and you're getting "charlie horses?" If your muscles are stiff, you're likely to be one of the many athletes who aren't getting enough potassium and magnesium, even if you eat your bananas and green veggies. Coconut water is your best friend of potassium against calf cramps and these days you can really pick you flavors. Happy exercising! (and recovery!)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cooking with Mushrooms

Mushrooms have great antioxidants and minerals, but some people ask, how do I eat more mushrooms? I say you can add it to everything, from breakfast to dinner!
* veggie shroom egg scramble
* add it to your turkey chili or most soups
* add it into your veggie mix of a stirfry
* put it in sauces to help soak up your flavors and give you more chew to the sauce

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

May seasonal fruits

I'm excited to check out upcoming Farmer's Markets here in Los Angeles, the seasonal produce is changing and we'll get some of my favorite fruits that are not found other times of the year:
* apricots
* nectarines
* peaches
* figs
Vegetables like summer squash have been around earlier, and I really like this "What's in season" page for finding out what's around at the farmer's market. I'm a berry fan and often disappointed at what I see at the regular grocery stores, so I'm planning a trip to "pick your own berries" at this family farm.

If you're not able to get your berries everyday or if you're not a fan of berries, this ORAC supplement is a powerful delivery system of berries like cranberries and elderberry I don't get around to eating and can help support healthy vision. I have trouble with my night vision, and if I don't get my berries, I actually have cravings for berries! So I have a back-up of frozen berries in my freezer, and there is also my new favorite frozen Greek yogurt place that has terrific fruit toppings to help quench my cravings and cope with the hot weather. Seasonal fruits make for a quick healthy dessert or a great topping on salads. Hope you'll find or re-discover some favorites in the next few weeks!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quick skin health for busy people

Our busy lifestyles sometimes leaves some self-care routines short-changed.  Since our skin is our largest organ and I care about my health, I need to take care of it just as much as eating healthy organic foods!

I have sensitive skin and used to have all kinds of eczema and breakouts as a teen, so I'm hesitant to use anything with too many ingredients. My days in college, people raved about witch hazel but it was too drying for my T-zone combination skin. Now, in Los Angeles with some of the desert weather, I need to be on top of cleaning and moisturizing my skin. And why not use a moisturizer with Vitamins C and E to protect my skin from cellular damage from the pollution and sun? I've been delighted to find this discounted kit (save 20%) that matches my healthy lifestyle that has aloe and other gentle natural ingredients for cleansing and toning plus my favorite vitamin anti-aging/antioxidant moisturizer! For busy people, it's a quick 3 steps of cleanse, tone, and moisturize.

A number of my fashionista friends talk about and take a supplement biotin for their skin health. However, with a little research, it's best taken in synergy with other vitamins and antioxidants for your best results for beauty from the inside out. I had an 70-year-old who had tried lots of different supplements for anti-aging, and she really loved this skin health formula! There's even a study about Pycnogenol that shows the impact for post-menopausal women -- which is exactly what my 70-year-old experienced, bringing down some of her puffy eye symptoms and more.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mayo-free egg salad

Trying to eat fewer processed foods? Here's an egg salad I improvised that you can make without mayo (a processed food usually pumped with flavoring and other junk).

4 boiled eggs and peeled, still warm (free-range organic omega 3 preferred)
1 tsp fresh dill chopped
2 squeezes of fresh lemon (make a circle around the bowl 2x)
1 tsp of coconut oil (room-temp so it spreads easy)
1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
fresh ground pepper, salt
(yields approx 2 servings)

If you like more creamy, you can add more coconut oil or olive oil. If you want more herb flavor, please add more dill. Egg salad is great to have around as a snack or as a topping on gluten-free toast as a healthy breakfast option.

This won't taste like the egg salad you get from the store, but it is tasty and you can taste your food and fresh herbs with this recipe instead of something that is overburdened with sauce. And it uses less than 10 ingredients! When you eat cleaner food, your tastebuds will thank you! You'll taste more of the fresh herbs and you won't crave the junk food as much. Email me to find out more about detoxing and rehabbing your gut. You can still be a foodie while being healthy!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Quality Eggs

Quality eggs are not obvious with all the different labels. Here's a great article from Organic Consumers Association on what words to look for: “Free Range” is better than “Cage Free,” but “Pasture Raised” is best. Avoiding cheap factory farm eggs is not only the right thing to do for your vote on agricultural practices but also for your health. Eggs got a bad rap in the 1980s about their nutrition, but when you get what I call "happy eggs," you'll get Omega-3 good fats and other important vitamins and minerals. Eggs are an inexpensive protein packed full of nutrients if you get the right ones. Egg-xcellent!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Barley: star-quality rice-substitute

I was drawn to this article about rice substitutes, and wanted to share that I think barley is the most accessible for most people to try as a healthier alternative for rice or pasta. We want more nutrient-dense and low-glycemic load meals so that we can maintain healthy weight and feel great. Quinoa (keen-wah) was listed at the top and can be very tasty, but some people don't like the taste of quinoa or have issues digesting it. Barley is somewhat "old school" and works well as a pilaf and has a nutty chewy texture that is more widely accepted especially for beginners not confident about cooking healthy.

My favorite way to eat barley is to mix in mushrooms, peas, veggies, onions and parsley to cooked barley so that I'm getting a rainbow of nutrition and a lot of flavor. And some like to make it creamy like risotto, if you cook it with broth. A warning about barley in soup: If you're packing leftovers, be sure to separate the barley from the soup or your leftovers will no longer be soup but actually become barley mush. Barley loves to soak up the liquids!! Here are some ideas for barley recipes.

The nutrition graphic here shows a terrific mineral profile for barley. Many of us hear about how we need to improve our selenium intake in our foods to boost our optimal health, an important anti-inflammatory mineral that is no longer rich in our agricultural soil. It's found to be helpful for lowering risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and thyroid disease. International standards are higher than in the US and selenium can improve your immune health as well as vision health. Other sources of selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, some seafood, animal protein, eggs, beans. The NIH page  or WHFoods page offers suggestions of foods that you can incorporate. If you don't eat foods like Brazil nuts or barley daily (who does?), I like to take this high-quality multi-mineral as my backup so that I get enough of my minerals daily, as my insurance for optimal health.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Boost your energy in less than 5 minutes

Easy ways to boost your energy in less than 5 minutes!
Some strategies only take 30 seconds of tuning in.
Are you one of those people who go non-stop? Or maybe feel rushed? Try some (or all) of these strategies and see how you get a boost of energy!

* Stop rushing and Tune in: Take breaks from the computer screen or whatever you're focused on. Close your eyes, sit tall and calm, and breath deep belly breaths for 30 seconds. You can do this on your bathroom break--sitting break, or while you're washing your hands.
* If you have a place to lie down quietly in a comfortable place, we call this "active rest," it might even be better than a nap. Our spine is working hard to be in vertical so it is such a relief to allow your spine to rest horizontal! Keep your knees bent to give your low back some support. Breathe deep belly breaths and let your back relax/melt into the mat or floor.
* Sometimes it's just that your body needs more support all around. Did you get enough healthy energizing food or snacks throughout the day? Take these Activated B vitamins that have super absorption (feel the boost within 5 minutes!). Time it either in the morning or in the afternoon to avoid the post-lunch lull. B-vitamins helps support your nervous system as you deal with daily stressors and it's good for your heart! And it's great to take it before a workout. Some athletes have reported that the lift stronger weights or have other performance boosts with this vitamin B. And it's safe! Most of us are low on B-vitamins and because it's water soluble, it's safe to take several caps a day bc any extra will simply be disposed of in your urine.
* If you've had long-term stress, whether from a family/life incident or chronic long work hours, you might need some support to bring down your cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and support your adrenals. This supplement helps you improve your health of your stress hormones to a better balance-- why it's called ACTS (adrenals, cortisol, thyroid, and stress).
* Depending on your mood, listen to some happy or relaxing music on your way out of the office to your exercise class or home workout so you have the energy! My favorite diva power songs come from Pink or old school Gloria Gaynor. What are your favorite power songs?
* Have fresh plants at your desk or home. Nature helps change the energy in the area and might even make you smile! I bought these potted tulips before the flowers were in bloom, and apparently they were bursting with so much energy that each stem produced twin flowers! Now, that's extra energy from the flowers for you!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Healthy Snack Options

For busy people, we sometimes need to take a quick snack to eat in the car or on-the-go so that we don't get hit with that energy drop when our blood sugar drops. Eating every 3-4 hrs with a blend of protein+carbs is a way to maintain a healthy weight and your better mood. Please say "no" to eating fruit leather by itself--too much sugar by itself (ok in combo with other foods) and not good for managing a low-glycemic nutrition!

As much as I like to snack on trail mix, it's a little messy when I'm eating on the go and I don't have a place to wash my hands. Bars are my go-to because they fit neatly in their wrappers or jars or bags and can sit in my car's cup holder.

Many "health food snacks" are full of ingredients you can't pronounce. I prefer that my snacks are created from 5-6 food ingredients without the "soy protein isolate" or that too-sweet flavor of too much brown rice syrup or other added sugars. And I would rather they taste yummy instead of cardboard sustenance. When I need more protein, I can always resort to almonds or a low-sugar wild salmon jerky.

What are your favorite snacks? Share your ideas with us so we can share build up our resource list here. These are my current favorites:

PUREnola - local and hand-made in LA, they are all so tasty, and my favorite flavors are Coconut and Rosemary Spice. Thanks to my friend Michelle for introducing me to these tasty treats!
LaraBars  - my favorite flavors are the Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie
Kit's Organic Fruit+Nut Bars - my favorite is the Berry and Nut
GoRaw bars and cookies - I like the Lemon Super Cookies
Jocalat bars - For when you're craving some chocolate or a brownie, this is the healthier version
Pea Crisps - Trader Joe's "Inner Peas" - Veggie crunch option with lots of protein and no MSG. I grew up on the the Asian snack version of Pea Crisps but they have MSG and other chemicals. This new improved version is clear and full of vitamins! However, you do need a handi-wipe to get the crumbs off your hands.

BONUS TIP: For those of you having trouble finding a way to eat a healthy breakfast, a quick on-the-go option is 2 boiled eggs (free-range omega 3 preferred) and a snack bar from above.