Sweet Potato “Cookies” With Cranberries And Walnut Chips

Do you need a sweet chewy holiday treat that fits in with your healthy lifestyle? If so, then try this naturally sweet and ultra nutritious option. It can be part of dinner, a not so sinful snack, or desert. It is satisfying and a good outlet for the fun of baking with out any fuss or mess.

Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 Garnet or Jewel sweet potato/yam
  • 1-2 cups fresh, firm cranberries (dried can be used instead and ½ cup should be enough)
  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • Olive oil (or ghee or coconut oil)

Directions:

  • Peel and slice yams into ½ – ¾ inch thick rounds (Thinner rounds make for chewier cookies)
  • Grease cookie sheet somewhat generously and spread the rounds out to form a single layer. Lightly grease the top of the rounds with some additional oil with your fingers or a brush
  • Bake for 45 min in a 350 degree oven
  • While they are baking toast the walnut pieces in a dry pan on the stove top over a medium high heat. Stir constantly. It will take a few minutes and they can go from raw to burnt in just a mater of minutes so don’t walk away.
  • Flip rounds and press fresh cranberries into the top of each one and bake until the cranberries burst. About 15 min. (If using dried just bake for another 15-20 min.)
  • Once they come out of the oven press the walnut pieces into the tops of each cookie

Let cool in a single layer and then store open in the refrigerator.

10 Juice Recipes For Health & Cleansing That Look And Taste Great

A few weeks ago I got into a little bit of a debate on Facebook about juicing. Someone shared a link to an opinion piece on how juicing is bad for you. Although my friend is extremely knowledgeable about health I don’t think he really understood what juicing can be. Done wrong it is a sugar-fest that could do more harm than good. But done right, with good juice recipes, it is the core of health recovery and effective cleansing. Plus it is delicious, extremely energizing, life-affirming, and nourishing at a level that eating or blending can never reproduce.

One of the core principles of healing is to detoxify and re-nutrify your body. Juicing is the key; it is both concentrated nutrition and aids in the detoxification process.

The purpose of juicing is to give your body tremendous amounts of readily available nutrients that you don’t have to work for. By “work” I mean the work of digestion. Digestion takes a lot of energy, and when we are sick, depleted, exhausted, or not digesting properly, it’s just another drain on a limited resource. Have you ever noticed that you have more energy when you don’t eat than when you do? That you feel more sluggish after eating than after skipping a meal? This is because your body is not having to divert energy to digestion. This is one reason people feel so energized from juice. Another is that you are getting more vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and enzymes than normal, which makes your body HAPPY!

One of the reservations people have about juicing is that you loose much of that wonderful fiber plus some phyto-nutrients when you juice as opposed to eat or blend. This is true, but there are trade-offs. Let’s put trade-offs into perspective: You lose nutrients when you cook, peel, freeze/can, or store your food, but that doesn’t stop most people from doing it. Even if you eat everything fresh and raw you might not be getting all of the available nutrients since raw plant matter can be difficult to digest (and is contraindicated for people with weak digestion, or are sick, to eat a lot of it). And who really wants to eat raw meat anyway?

Blending does help break down the cell walls of fruits and veggies, which makes the nutrients more available for absorption and assimilation (as does juicing), but it would be extremely difficult to consume enough blended produce to give you the same amount of nutrition available in one cup of juice. That said, blending has it’s place: you want to UP the nutritional content of your smoothie, great! Add a handful or two of greens, but don’t kid yourself, this is not in the same league as juicing, nutritionally. Even if you are blending nothing but vegetables, you are still only consuming what you can fit in the blender plus the blending liquid, which dilutes your nutrients.

The big benefit of juicing over blending or just eating is that when you juice you take large amounts of produce and concentrate the nutrients into a form that your body can easily assimilate with very little digestion required. You flood your body with nutrition while allowing it to rest, which creates an environment for deep healing and rejuvenation.

Another reservation people have about juicing is that it contains too much sugar, but that all depends on what’s in the juice. Juice is not all one thing. Which what this article is really about: making great, health restorative juice that looks and tastes fantastic!

The right juice recipes are important. You want it to look good, taste good, and have the right balance of sweet, sour, bitter, and saltiness, without having too high of a sugar content. I’ll share some of my juice recipes, but be sure to invent some of you own as your palate and tastes develop.

A few notes here before I get to the juice recipes:

  1. All produce should be organic if possible. This is a resource to help you decide what has to be organic and what can be conventional if need be.
  2. Quantities given will yield approximately one quart + of juice but since the size of produce varies, as do the extraction abilities of various juicers, this is rough.
  3. Store juice in airtight containers to preserve freshness and nutritional integrity. I like these containers, but mason jars are okay in a pinch.
  4. Plan to consume your juice within 24 hours, but within 48-72 hours at the very most. The fresher the better since quality goes down quickly over time.
  5. If you are new to juicing you might need to up the fruit by a little bit in the beginning. As you become accustomed to the flavors, reduce the fruit. Juice should be just sweet enough to be palatable–and no more. The less sugar the better.
  6. Adjust ratios to suit your taste.
  7. All produce should be well washed before juicing.
  8. As you become familiar with juicing make up your own recipes. Experiment. But if you want to avoid drinking brown juice (unappetizing if you ask me), don’t mix reds, greens, and orange too much. Better to make 2 kinds of pretty juice than one ugly one.

Juice recipe #1: Green Apple (my personal favorite!)

  • 3 green apples (use tart apples such as granny smith or pippin rather than the sweeter varieties)
  • 3 cucumbers — equal amount to the apple (peel on unless it is waxy or bitter)
  • 1 jicama, peeled
  • 1 -2 large bunch parsley
  • 1  lemon

Juice recipe #2: Ruby Watermelon

  • 1 personal sized watermelon, peel included, or equivalent amount (be sure to use peel to keep sugar content in check)
  • 2 red beets
  • 1-2 bunch spinach
  • 1 lemon

Juice recipe #3 Pineapple Detox

  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 bunch cilantro
  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 lemon

Juice recipe #4 Totally Ginger

  • 6 carrots
  • 1 -2 large orange-fleshed yam, peeled
  • 4 cucumbers, peeled
  • the light green inner stalks and leaves of celery (equivalent to 3 large stalks)
  • 1″ -2″ knob of ginger, peeled

Juice recipe #5 Keto Green

  • 2 jicama, peeled
  • 2 heads celery
  • 4 cucumbers
  • 4 leaves of kale or 1 large head of Romain lettuce

Juice recipe #6 Mellow Yellow

  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 4 peeled cucumbers
  • 1 jicama
  • 1″ knob turmeric root

Juice recipe #7 Green Sunrise

  • 1 pineapple
  • 3 bunches celery
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 lemon

Juice recipe #8 Emerald Apple

  • 6 apples
  • 2 jicama (0r 3 cucumber)
  • 2 bunches kale
  • 1-2 lemons

Juice recipe #9 Watermelon Stout

  • 1 personal sized watermelon, peel included, or equivalent amount (be sure to use peel to keep sugar content in check)
  • 2 red beets
  • 2 bunches celery
  • 1 jicama

Juice recipe #10 Simple Carrot

  • 8 carrots
  • 4 cucumbers, peeled
  • 3 stalks celery

Enjoy!

Top 10 Ways To Escape Depression

This morning (Thanksgiving day) I was woken up by a text from a client reaching out to me because she was feeling depressed. It was 7am my time–10am hers.

“Linda, I’m feeling depressed. On this Thanksgiving day. I wish I felt happy and up beat. When I feel like this I don’t tend to do things.” “Maybe I need a hobby. I feel better when I read chicken soup for the soul. Maybe I need to do better self care–maybe I need a ritual of self care. Maybe some yoga too…”

This was the beginning of a long text exchange. What I shared with her were a few of my top, most effective, ways to escape the gravitational pull of DEPRESSION.

She’s in that fragile place of wanting to change her body, weight, and health, but her old thought and feeling habits have not had time to change yet. Thoughts and feelings are habits, just like anything else. Her desire for different body is strong, but she has not yet developed the ‘muscle’ of being able to take hold of her “state”. Yet. Just like anything else, it takes practice.

The objective here is to change your “STATE”–changing both your focus and physicality at the same time. To go from a depressive state to a happy, upbeat, empowered one.

  1. The fastest way to change your state is to change your PHYSICALITY. This means:

2. Change your POSTURE. If you were in an acting class and wanted to act depressed, or sad, how would you stand (or sit)? Do it now. Come on, even sadder! Overact the part! Now act happy and upbeat. Come on, even happier!! Be convincing! Over act this part too! How does that change your posture? Your facial expression? Now smile and stand up tall (in your happy posture) and see how hard it is to think sad thoughts. Mood and posture is a two way street. Mood may effect posture, but posture can also effect mood. So sit tall, open your chest, and balance your head over your shoulders.

3. Guess what else changes when you adopt a happy posture? BREATHING! When you slump your lungs cannot take in a full breath–your breathing is shallow and breaths are small. When you stand/sit tall, your chest expands giving your lungs more room to expand and take in a full deep breath. In addition to getting more oxygen in your body, it also stimulates your Vagus nerve. Not sure what that means? That’s why the link is there.

4. Part of why you feel depressed in the first place has to do with FOCUS. Thinking about things that make you sad, disappointments, unfulfilled expectations, insults, shortcomings…is depressing. The antidote is to get hyper focused on things that make you happy. It’s easier to focus on sad things than happy ones. Maybe there’s some evolutionary advantage to it–like learning and finding solutions to problems rather than easily being able to forget…? Still, sometimes it is more productive to just move on than dwell in a disempowered state.

5. It’s the STORIES you tell yourself that make you either happy or sad. It’s not whether something is true or not true that makes you happy or sad, but rather what you believe that matters. So you may as well tell yourself a story that makes you feel the way you want to feel. Doing v. Not Doing. Which wolf will you feed?

6. Changing your SURROUNDINGS helps change focus. Getting away from the triggers and trappings of your daily life and the things that reinforce your thinking patterns makes a huge difference. Ultimately you will be able to surmount your environment, but while learning how to escape the pull of depression, make it easy for yourself and get out of your fishbowl. Getting out in nature can be the best medicine.

7. Your thoughts (and your physicality) effect BRAIN CHEMISTRY. Conversely your brain chemistry effects your thoughts and your (default) physicality. Guess what else affects brain chemistry…? FOOD! And water. Your diet has a HUGE impact on your brain. Between blood sugar, neurotransmitters, hormonal balance, your gut biome, and your nutritional health, your brain isn’t necessarily running the show. Not to mention FOOD INTOLERANCE. One of the under appreciated symptoms of food intolerance is depression. More on this in another blog.

Exactly what to eat for the best mood varies a bit from person to person, but a good rule of thumb is to eat super nutritious, light, easy to digest, fiber rich foods, like soups, with plenty of leafy green vegetables (which have an uplifting effect on mood), and stay away from sugar and processed foods as much as possible.

8. Once you address the physical and biological reasons you might be stuck in a depressive rut, it’s time to explore the mind. One reason you might be feeling low is because of unmet EXPECTATIONS. Without conscious planning we expect certain things. When we do something nice for someone we might expect a “thank you,” or some reciprocation. One of the reasons why the holidays are so emotionally challenging for some people is that there is a sort of unwritten, cultural expectation that holidays are a time for coming together, for love, happiness…and then their expectations go unmet and there are feelings of disappointment. One way avoid this is to re examine and adjust expectations.

9. As a human being one of our most essential needs is for that of CONNECTION. It has a dramatic effect on long-term health because it plays such an important roll in emotional well being. Those who are part of a community live longer and are happier than those who aren’t. The culture here in the USA tends to be very insular with a high premium put on independence and little thought given to interdependence (which is not the same thing as codependency). Finding ways to fulfill your need for real and meaningful connection is a huge boost to happiness and a good antidote for depression.

10. And not to be underestimated in the big picture is ALIGNMENT WITH PURPOSE. We all have something we feel like we were put here on this earth to do, consciously, or subconsciously. When you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose; when your actions align with your values and your mission, and you are actively contributing to the world around you–being an artist, a teacher, a parent, a leader, a healer, or whatever, everything will fall into place. There is no antidote for depression quite as powerful as doing something for someone else–really contributing to their happiness and well being for no other reason than to see them thrive. Because humans are interdependent beings and when one thrives, we all thrive.

Better Than Candy – The Halloween Candy Antidote

Halloween candy is the slippery slope that leads many into an out of control, sugar driven, holiday season.

It can be nearly impossible to resist; it’s cheap, legal, tastes good, lights your brain up, and makes you feel energized all at the same time. It is literally more addictive than cocaine. But, it has a wicked backlash effect on energy, brain chemistry, health and weight. I could go on and on about how bad it is, but really I just want to give you a simple little recipe for a better option to reach for when you are feeling tempted. It’s satisfying and has all of the nutrients and fiber that are supposed to be in that amount of calories–unlike candy. In case you think this is a recipe for trail-mix you are partially right. It’s similar–but way better.  🙂

 

Halloween Candy Antidote Recipe

Makes 4 cups

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup seedless raisins (organic)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 – 1/2  cup raw cacao nibs

Other options: Dried apricots, dried blueberries, dried unsweetened cranberries, pecans, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, mango, papaya, goji berries… Go for your favorites.

Directions:

Toast coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat until it is just starts to turn brown. Keep a close eye on it since this does not take long.

Mix in a bowl with all of the other ingredients.

Enjoy in moderation. (It is not calorie free.)

Pareto’s Law For Better Health And Easy Weight Loss

You may be familiar with Pareto’s law which states that 20% of the effort yields 80% of the results. This is applies to health and weight loss too.

Let’s face it, everyone wants to be healthier, and for many that includes losing weight. But not everyone makes it a priority and takes action. Maybe because of the time and energy it may require, which are at a premium in this busy bustling world, when being stretched too thin (no pun intended) is half the problem in the first place.Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.39.03 PM

When you get right down to it, failure to act on improving your health is based on only two things; fear of the pain you believe will come with your efforts, and the disassociation to the pleasure you will gain. In other words, the fear that it will be “hard and no fun” eclipses the vision of the desired result.

But if we consider Pareto’s principle, we can transform this belief almost instantly. If 20% of the effort yields 80% of the results, we can just focus on a few high yield items and call it a win.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.49.41 PM

No matter where you are in the health spectrum I’ll bet you could think of at least 20 things you could do to be healthier and lose weight. If you pick 3-4 items off the list to focus on, you will likely get almost as good of a result as if you did them all. Drinking more water may seem like too easy of a way to get out of going to the gym 5 days a week, but if you are not drinking enough, it may give you more benefit than the exercise. Walking for 30 minutes per day may seem like a copout compared to running a marathon, but the benefits to your overall health may be pretty comparable.

Just for fun make a list of 20 different things you could do to achieve your health and weight ideal. Then divide a piece of paper into 4 quadrants. Label the upper left quadrant “Difficult/high yield” and the quadrant below “Difficult /low yield”. Label the upper right “Easy high yield” and below that “Easy/low yield”.  For example, going for a relaxing evening walk may be easy, but it is high yield. Starving yourself is certainly difficult–and it is ultimately low yield.

Sort your list into the four different Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 10.17.07 PMcategories. The first place to look for your “to-do” items, as I’m sure you realize, is the easy with high yield results list.

Now take it one tiny little step further. Look at your whole list, and with a highlighter if you have one, or maybe just underline if you don’t, select the items that you find the most FUN. With the filter of easy and fun, select the 3-4 items that will do the most to give you the body, energy, and life you want. I would call that a win.