Archive by Author

Homemade Instant Pot Bone Broth (aka Liquid Gold)

Homemade bone broth has tremendous health benefits. It literally heals the lining of your gut. It aids in nutrient digestion, helps your body fight infection, and even contains glucosamine, which reduces inflammation and joint pain. Additionally it contains calcium and magnesium to help bones repair. What about store bought broth? Well, the stuff in stores typically contains MSG or other chemicals, and even if it doesn’t, the nutritional value doesn’t even compare to homemade. While you can use it in cooking, it lacks many of the health boosting benefits. Also, it costs more than making your own. Both in the short term (go ahead- do a cost analysis), and the long-term (hello…stave off illness, doctor visits, and medications).

Practical Uses for Bone Broth

Okay, so you get that bone broth is good for you. But what do you do with it? Here are a few ways you can incorporate that liquid gold into your everyday life:

  • Drink a mug of warm broth
  • Make a soup or stew with it (your stews NEVER tasted so good!)
  • Use it to add flavor to your sweet potato or cauliflower mash
  • Freeze it in cubes and throw one in next time your cooking up some hamburger meat
  • Use it to make delicious shredded chicken or chicken salad

Have you tried making your own bone broth yet? If not, why not? You wouldn’t believe how easy it is. I make it every week. Every. Week. And if I have time for it with two little ones and a couple of businesses, so do you. It literally takes 5 minutes prep time, and around 2 hours of cook time (pressure-cook) or 24 hours (slow cook). Check out my previous post on making bone broth from a whole chicken – it’s delicious! That recipe was easy, and it’s what got me into this golden deliciousness in the first place. But sometimes I don’t have time to de-bone a chicken, and just want to throw things in a pot. I like just throwing things into a pot and it turning out delicious – makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, and always impresses hubby! So here is a super simple way to make bone broth in your Instant Pot (and if you’re not an Instant Pot believer yet then you are really missing out. At this point you should be using an Instant Pot. Period.). *Note: I get my beef bones from a local farmer who sells grass-fed beef. Many farmers will be happy to sell bones separately, and they’re usually really inexpensive! ** you want your broth to gel once it’s been in the fridge! That’s a sign of high nutrient quality, and it’s great! If yours doesn’t gel, it’s still nutritious so don’t throw it out; try adding more bones next time!

Homemade Instant Pot Bone Broth (aka Liquid Gold)

Ingredients

  • Beef, chicken, or lamb bones
  • Veggies and herbs – I usually use an onion cut in half, a head of garlic cut in half, 2 carrots, 1 bunch of parsley, and any other veggies or herbs laying around
  • Bay leaf
  • Water

Directions

  1. Add bones to pot (fill at least halfway)
  2. Add veggies, herbs, and bay leaf on top
  3. Add water to fill line
  4. Pressure Cook Method: Press “Soup”, set pressure to “Low” and timer to 120 minutes.   Slow Cook Method: press “Slow Cook”, adjust to “Low” and set time for 20 hours
  5. Strain broth, discard bones and veggies. Store in glass jars in fridge.

Let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

Easy Instant Pot Stew (paleo, gluten-free)

Fall is just around the corner and it’s getting to be that time again…you know, the time to cozy up with a warm bowl of stew! Mmmmmmmm. I love stews. Don’t you? They are so so easy to make, first of all. I mean, the hardest part is chopping veggies, and really that’s meditative to me. It’s a time to stop everything else that I’m doing and just be present (because if I’m not present I might end up with half a finger). They are also delicious, and really hard to mess up. If you’re using good quality grass-fed or pastured meats and local organic veggies you really can’t go wrong. It’s actually amazing to me. You can literally just throw the meat and veggies into a pot with a liquid and they create this magical delicious meal. And then…the Instant Pot. Well, you know how in love I am with my Instant Pots. Yes, I have four. And yes, I use them all all the time. Anything you put into an Instant Pot turns into this melt in your mouth perfection of a meal in no time. And the Instant Pot is so smart it actually holds nutrient quality better than any other form of cooking! I could go on…but I won’t. But seriously, get your Instant Pot now, and if you already have one, make it handy.

Here is a recipe you can make that’ll last at least a few days, and only takes an hour from start to finish (and only about 10 minutes of that is prep time)! I always encourage you to get creative too – use veggies that you love, and use a LOT of them! Let me tell you how power-packed this recipe is. First you have all of the nutrients that occur naturally in grass-fed beef and organic local vegetables, but you also have the therapeutic, anti-inflammatory benefits of garlic and ginger in there too! In addition, I always, always use homemade bone broth, which supports the immune system and aids in healing the gut. To add a healthy fat, and creaminess, to this, I use canned organic coconut milk, from a bpa-free can, and unsweetened without any additives or anything else. Alright, not you must be convinced, so without further ado:

Easy Instant Pot Stew (paleo, gluten-free)

Ingredients

  • 2lb grass fed stew beef
  • 1lb grass fed ground beef
  • 3c bone broth (homemade is hands down the best choice, but in a pinch you can use an organic brand like this)
  • 1 can organic coconut milk
  • 4-6c chopped veggies (heres where you can get creative! I like carrots, radishes, onions, and celery)
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 inch ginger root, diced
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Parsley (opt)
  • Avocado (opt)

Directions

  1. Place beef in bottom of pot.

  2. Throw chopped veggies (including garlic and ginger) on top of beef.

  3. Pour broth and coconut milk over beef and veggies.

  4. Add spices and bay leaf.

  5. Turn knob to “Sealed” on Instant Pot and press the “Beef/Stew” button. That’s it.

  6. Top with avocado and/or herbs if you like.

  7. Eat – and share.

Please try this recipe – it seriously will become a fast staple this fall and winter in your house! When you use the ingredients I recommend, this is packed with nutritional benefits, and will even help stave off any nasty cold-weather bugs! Enjoy!

 

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

30 MORE Healthy Snack Ideas (paleo, dairy-free, refined sugar-free)

Our clients are always asking for snack ideas. It’s very daunting, this world of clean-eating, when you’re not really sure what you can eat and you miss all of your old favorites. We are a snacking society. Everywhere you go people are pulling out boxes and bags of processed and artificially colored “food”. Kids are given 2 snack times during a full schoolday; and snack machines are everywhere. And filled with anti-nutrients at best. I’m okay with snacks. As I said in my first post, 30 Healthy Snack Ideas, I LOVE snacks. But the word “snack” does not need to be synonymous with “junk food” or even unhealthy. Let’s redefine the snack. Let’s take the snack back. Let’s find healthy ways to get our snack on while still maintaining the integrity of what a snack really should be – what food really should be.

*We recommend shopping organic and local when possible to avoid pesticides and other harmful chemicals and to optimize nutrient quality!

Here are 30 MORE Healthy Snack Ideas for you to chew on. Pun intended.


  1. Avocado with salt.
  2. Almond butter or Sunbutter on a spoon.
  3. Apples with date paste (tastes like a caramel apple – really!)
  4. Dates stuffed with coconut butter
  5. Apple “sandwiches”: spread almond butter between two slices of apple
  6. Plantain Chips (clean, with salt and a healthy oil)
  7. Paleo muffins
  8. Coconut milk yogurt with fruit
  9. Banana slices with maple syrup and shredded coconut
  10. Pear slices with cinnamon
  11. Chocolate and almonds or pistachios
  12. Scallops or salmon wrapped in prosciutto (make sure the fish is wild caught and the prosciutto is “clean”)
  13. Veggies dipped in Spinach-Avocado-Herb dip
  14. Leftover meats
  15. These wraps filled with almond butter and honey
  16. Berry and/or spinach smoothie made with this collagen
  17. Tomatoes with basil and olive oil
  18. This Chia-Flax Super Cereal
  19. These sunbutter balls 
  20. These cassava chips
  21. This mango milkshake
  22. Diced apple with walnuts and cinnamon
  23. Almond butter with honey and chocolate pieces
  24. Macadamia nuts. I need not say more.
  25. A new discovery I’ve made is these Lara Bar Nut and Seed Bars – they are delicious and have a little protein to help keep you going (and they come in chocolate too :))!
  26. Olives. Not my favorite but I hear they make a great little salty snack!
  27. My Sunny Banana Bread
  28. My Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups
  29. Meatballs, like these
  30. BACON (it’s worth repeating)
Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Sunny Banana Bread (paleo, grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free)

We finally broke down and turned on the air conditioning. We lasted until the end of June, which is pretty good for living in Philadelphia where the humidity will suck the energy from you, reducing you to a pile of deflated sticky and sweaty mess. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Anyway, I missed the cool air, and am once again struck by how fortunate we are to have things like air conditioning. Really – how great is it that we can choose whether or not we want to use cool air in our house? Sometimes I think about things like that. It’s not weird.

During our A/C hiatus we also had to forego some things, like cooking in the oven. For some reason the air does not circulate well in our house, so the temperature stayed higher than the outside temperature, and any oven use increased the temp of the upper level of the house by at least a degree or two. So when we finally turned on the A/C, cooled ourselves down, and could once again function like humans, the kids requested banana bread. It’s no secret that we don’t eat much bread in our house, but when that craving strikes, I usually whip up a loaf of this paleo-friendly banana bread and it hits the spot! The kids love it. And it’s always fun to dress it up with coconut butter, honey, ice cream and or chocolate, or to make it into French toast. Mostly though, I love it just by itself, warm right out of the oven. *Just to note: because of the chemical reaction of sunflower seeds to baking soda, the bread will turn green once cooked. Do not be afraid! It is perfectly safe – and delicious – regardless.

And by the way, it’s easy too. Really easy. You’ll need a food processor, a whisk, a bowl and a bread pan.


Sunny Banana Bread (paleo, grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 medium, very ripe bananas
  • 1.5c sunflower seeds
  • 1/2c coconut flour
  • 1/2c tapioca flour
  • 2T avocado oil
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1T raw local honey
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2c chopped walnuts, optional
  • coconut oil, for greasing pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add sunflower seeds to food processor and grind down to a fine meal.
  3. With processor running, add oil and keep processing until it turns to sunbutter.
  4. Peel bananas and throw them in food processor with sunbutter. Combine until smooth.
  5. In large bowl, whisk eggs, and combine with the sunbutter mixture. Add in flours, baking soda and powder, honey, cinnamon and salt.
  6. If adding walnuts, add them now.
  7. Grease loaf pan with coconut oil. Pour batter into pan.
  8. Bake in oven for 30-35min, or until cooked through and browned on top.

Try it! And let me know how you like. Happy clean-eating!

6 Tips For Staying On Track Even On Vacation

Summer’s here, and so are many, many temptations. What is it about the summer sunshine that makes us just want to eat…well, bad? There’s the fried foods, the barbecues, and of course the ice cream…and then there’s vacation. For a long time vacation to me meant a vacation from everything – including all sense of rationale and all things healthy. French fries, pizza, danishes and donuts, all was fair game on vacation. No matter how healthy I had become in my eating and exercise habits, when I went on vacation, exercise and healthy eating did not exist. But what I began to realize (thanks in part to my first vacation with Japheth where he inspired (er, forced) me to do workouts each day) was that I really didn’t feel good when experiencing vacation this way. To the point that I was actually taking something away from my vacationing experience by eating poorly and then feeling sluggish, bloated, and gross for the rest of the trip. Things are very different now, and vacations are less about food for me and my family, and more about the experiences, sometimes food-related but most often not. I no longer come home to a post-vacation hangover and a closet full of clothes that fit tighter. It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally got a grasp on how to vacation without letting go of my healthy lifestyle choices! And so I’m sharing these hard-learned tips with you.


6 Tips For Staying On Track Even On Vacation

  1. Plan Ahead. I use the week before vacation to plan meals ahead. It doesn’t take long, and the payoff is huge. I decide what meals to make, how many meals we need, what snacks and grab-n-go items we need, and of course what “fun” foods to take to make the trip special. I like to make bulk meals, such as a large container of chicken salad, and/or my version of potato salad, as well as plenty of boiled eggs, homemade beef jerky, and/or liverwurst for quick meals when needed. If going for more than 2 nights I will usually take my trusty Instant Pot which can be used for cooking meats, steaming veggies, boiling eggs, or warming precooked sausages. This is especially handy if we’re staying in a hotel or somewhere that doesn’t have a full kitchen or oven.
  2. Make and Take “Fun” Foods. Making and taking our own fun foods helps to prevent us from the temptation to eat unhealthy foods while on vacation. For example, I might take a couple of bags of paleo-friendly chips, make a batch of brownies or fudge, or even take our ice cream maker and ingredients for a fun treat! Check out some of my favorite snacks to make and to buy.
  3. Plan a Picnic – or Two. We love picnics, and honestly for our active kids picnics turn out to be more fun than sitting down in a restaurant for an hour. When we picnic, not only are we surrounded by beautiful scenery, but the kids aren’t forced to stay seated or to stay quiet! And I actually enjoy packing a bag of food and drinks for the day, instead of having to worry about taking the time to find a kid-friendly and relatively healthy restaurant, parking, waiting for a table, and entertaining the kids before the food arrives. Even without kids, Japheth and I tend to opt for picnics over eating out, often dining on a blanket under the stars…
  4. Focus on Non-Food Experiences. One thing that has changed dramatically since I changed my way of vacationing, is the amount of quality – and mostly outdoor – experiences that I now engage in. Before, my vacations consisted of a couple of hours of activity a day, between restaurant or bar-hopping, and napping. With the way I eat now, I have more energy and rarely feel the need for napping, even on vacation! And by packing and eating our own food, we have more time to hike, play, swim, and explore everything around us. We find that we have much more time open during the day to see sights, to relax on our own, or to just enjoy moments with our children without the nagging feeling of hunger or need to time everything just right.
  5. Splurge…Reasonably. If you’re someone who has a hard time imagining a vacation being a vacation without certain “bad” foods that you’ve come to know and love, there are ways to still enjoy these foods without going too off track. For example, going out for a homemade ice cream cone at your favorite shop at the beach one night, or grabbing a burger and fries from an old family favorite one day, doesn’t mean you’ve failed. The point is to find ways to enjoy your vacation while still maintaining your healthy living choices, as opposed to going completely overboard and letting go of everything you’ve worked so hard at accomplishing during the other 51 weeks of the year. Which brings me to the next tip:
  6. Perspective. No one is asking – or expecting – you to be perfect. Every individual has their own way of doing things that works for them. For me, the way I vacationed before was not working for me. It made me feel yucky, for lack of a better word, and diminished my vacation experiences because of how food affects my body. That’s me. And probably many of you feel the same way when you take the time to notice. Just as with any lifestyle change, changing the way you view vacationing, and the way you approach vacationing may not be an easy task at first. It takes more work to plan and prepare meals than it does to go to a restaurant. You put more time in ahead of your vacation in order to have more time during the vacation for doing things that don’t involve food. And you have to have the willpower to let go of some of the things that you associate with a “good” vacation in order to help your body feel and function better. But once you make the shift, and approach the change with a healthy and reasonable perspective, you will never vacation the old way again!

My hope is that in reading this, you are inspired to try something different and healthier on your next vacation, while still enjoying this time set aside for yourself! I’d love to hear from you – what tips would you give for staying on track even on vacation?

 

 

 

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (paleo, dairy-free, sugar-free)

No summer would be complete without homemade ice cream. Whether it’s your favorite local ice cream shop, that special place you visit at the beach each year, or from your own kitchen, having a scoop – or two – of homemade ice cream just makes a hot summer day. While we enjoy letting the kids splurge now and then at a local ice cream shop (after all part of the fun is looking through the glass window at all of the colorful flavors!), we usually choose to make ours at home. Not only because we can control the ingredients and avoid refined sugar, gluten, dairy, and other chemicals and additives (no mint-chocolate chip is not naturally bright green!), but also because it’s fun. Mixing the ingredients, pouring them into the ice cream machine, watching it churn, waiting in anticipation…those are the things I remember as a child, and I hope my children will have those memories too!

Mint Chocolate-chip has always been a favorite of mine. The sweetness of that cool mint flavor combined with the bitter, crunchy chocolate chips has always been hard for me to resist! So when I started making my own paleo-friendly versions, of course this one was at the top of the list. For this version, I’ve made it even more yummy by adding a little cacao. It works just as well without it, so if you’re concerned about having the caffeine of the cacao in addition to the dark chocolate, feel free to omit it.

Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients


Directions
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for three to five minutes.
  2. Add peppermint extract and stir to combine.
  3. Allow the liquid to cool down completely. You can speed up the process by refrigerating.
  4. Pour into the ice-cream machine and churn following the manufacturer’s instructions. (** If you don’t have the patience to wait for it to turn to an ice cream consistency, this can be enjoyed as a milkshake as well)
  5. Add chocolate chips to ice cream during last 5 minutes.
  6. Enjoy immediately as a soft serve, or freeze for a couple of hours before serving.
  7. When frozen solid, allow the ice cream to thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving!

 

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

7 Workout Tips to Maximize Results and Efficiency

If you’re like most people, finding time to exercise is a challenge. In fact, for many of our clients, it’s such a difficult feat that they become discouraged and just skip it altogether. While exercising essential to health, when it comes to time constraints, it is often one of the first things to be pushed aside. For this reason, and many others, we are big proponents of high intensity functional fitness training. This type of training allows you to get the most out of your workout, and to workout anytime, anywhere, for any amount of time that you are able to. Yes, even 5 minutes. Who really doesn’t have 5 minutes? If you want the most out of your workout, in the shortest amount of time possible, read on.


7 Workout Tips to Maximize Results and Efficiency

  1. Do Not Always Rely on Equipment. We talked about the relative inefficiency of machines in this post. Reliance on machines is not only unnecessary but can even be detrimental to your overall health and fitness goals. If you’d like to use equipment, we recommend keeping a kettlebell or a couple of dumbbells at home or at work to use. If you don’t have these available, try using something in your environment: laundry detergent, gallon on milk, bag of kitty litter, a large rock, a pet or a child…the list is endless! And if you still don’t have anything available, the beauty of functional fitness is that you can actually do a very effective workout using body weight only. BAM! No more excuses.
  2. Do Whole Body Movements. One common mistake when working out is focusing too much on the large muscle groups: hamstrings, quads, back, etc. But focusing only – or primarily – on these areas can result in imbalances, pain and even injury. We recommend whole body (or compound or multi-joint), functional movements that affect and benefit every large and small muscle group in the body. Learn more about the many benefits of compound/multi-joint movements in this post. Some examples of these include air squats, burpees, and kettle bell swings.
  3. Be Ok with Sweating, and Breathing Hard. If you want the most out of your workout, and in a short amount of time, your workout needs to be high in intensity, you need to sweat, and increase your heart rate. Yes, it can be hard. But remember, it’s only for a short amount of time!
  4. Take Rest. Make sure you’re incorporating rest periods, in both short and long workouts. There are multiple factors influencing the duration and frequency of rest periods; this article breaks it down.
  5. Switch It Up. There’s no reason you can’t have a little fun with your workouts. It’s beneficial both psychologically and physically to vary up your routine and get creative. Vary up the movements, the style (tabata, power interval, etc), and the environment. The more interesting you make it, the more likely you are to want to continue.
  6. Don’t Skip the Stretch. We are big advocates of incorporating yoga into any workout routine, and it’s not unusual for us to add in yoga postures between and after sets. Make sure you take the time to stretch after working out, take several deep breaths with each pose, and allow your body to enjoy it. Don’t think of it as additional time added to your workout, but rather a necessary part of your workout.
  7. Be Kind to Your Body. This is a big one. Listen to your body and honor what it’s feeling. Modify the movements to avoid pain. Modify workouts to accommodate for injury or illness. Read more about why its important to keep moving, even when not feeling well, here.

So there you go. We hope you use these 7 Tips to Maximize Results and Efficiency in your workout routine. Just remember: exercising doesn’t need to be dreaded, it doesn’t have to be laborious, and it definitely doesn’t need to take a long time. If you need help getting started, or just need a little guidance to improve your performance, contact us for a free consult to learn about our personal training, private yoga sessions, or group fitness or yoga classes.

7 Ways You Can Help Save the Bees…and Why

Beeezzzzzz. I have to admit, it’s only recently that I have come to appreciate bees and all that they do and provide for us. As a child I learned that bees make honey, and that they sting. But the work of these amazing little creatures goes well beyond honey, and the stinging…well, some sting and some don’t; it’s their nature and their defense, and it’s a small price to pay for all that they give us.

Buzz Facts

Here are some bee facts that you may find interesting – and eye opening:

  • Bees pollinate 80% of flowering plants on Earth (Source: One Green Planet)
  • One single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day (Source: National Honey Board)
  • Bees are major contributors the floral landscapes that we know and love in nature (Source: One Green Planet)
  • Bees pollinate 70 of the top 100 human food crops (Source: Greenpeace)
  • 1 in 3 bites of food we eat is derived from plants pollinated by bees (Source: USDA)
  • Bees pollinate about 75% of fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the US (Source: USDA)
  • Bees have been producing honey from flowering plants for 10-20 million years (Source: National Honey Board)
  • Bees produce honey, which provides a multitude of medicinal and health benefits.

Foods We will Miss…

Here are some of the foods that rely on bee pollination in order to exist:

  • Almonds
  • Allspice
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Broccoli
  • Blueberries
  • Cashews
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Coffee
  • Cotton
  • Coconut
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Flax
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mangos
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Pumpkins
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

And this is only a partial list. My guess is that regardless of diet, the disappearance of these foods would affect every. Single. One of us. Not to mention our health as a nation.

7 Ways You Can Help Save the Bees

So what can you do to help? Here are a few of the ways that we as individuals can do our part to help save the bees and contribute to this movement:

  1. Plant bee-friendly flowers and herbs in your garden or yard, and encourage others to do the same.
  2. Keep the weeds. Weeds like dandelions are food for bees – try to avoid weeding as much as possible.
  3. Buy local and organic, from farmers you trust.
  4. Buy local, raw honey.
  5. Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides on your yard/garden, and encourage others – even farmers – to do the same.
  6. Sponsor a hive through The Honeybee Conservancy.
  7. Educate yourself and your children about bees and all that they do for us.

I grew up with very limited knowledge of bees and little consciousness when it comes to our environment in general and how all creatures work together and help each other. It is in spite of this, and because of this that one of my priorities as a parent is to help my children understand the value and importance of not just other humans, but of all creatures.

May all beings be healthy. May all beings be happy. May all beings be free from suffering, and may we help alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings.

What will you do to help save the bees?

 

 

Yoga 101 – What Every Practitioner Needs to Know

Yoga practice…how many times have I said in my classes “it’s not called a practice for nothin’!”. Cliche, yes, but still so true. Yoga is a journey, a practice, and it is endless. The asanas in themselves constantly add new challenges, and just when you think you have that Bakasana (Crow), Urdhva Danurasana (Wheel), or even Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) down, you learn that there are more variations and transitions to work toward. But then there’s the other limbs of yoga…the endless journey to quiet the ego, to calm the mind, to reach samadhi (enlightenment). We use the asanas and pranayama to help get us there, but this is what yoga truly is. And this is why yogis and yogis will tell you, yoga really is for everyone. Yes, even you who can’t touch your toes. Yes, even you who cannot sit still for more than two minutes. Yes, even you who wants none of this “mindstuff”. Yoga is for everyone, and frankly is we all spent more time accepting this and practicing rather than making excuses why we can’t, the world would be a better and more peaceful place.  So now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the basics of what everyone should know about yoga.

Yoga 101 – What Every Yoga Practitioner Needs to Know

Whether you’re a beginner or a novice, a man or a woman, an athlete or not, these apply to you. And yes, maybe some of you already know these things…but are you practicing them? I can honestly say that even as an instructor, I sometimes lose sight of some of these, and have to take a moment to revisit them periodically to keep my practice on track. It’s easy for that ego to sneak up on you, or for the mind to judge, or to forget that yoga is a lifestyle, not just an hour a week on the mat. Here are some basic reminders, what would you add?

  1. It’s ok if you can’t touch your toes. It’s also ok if you can.
  2. Even if you can touch your toes, bind in Marichyasana 2, or do full Lotus, that doesn’t make you “better at yoga” than the ones who can’t.
  3. If you care about being “better at yoga” then you need to practice more.
  4. If you don’t have time to meditate each day, then meditate twice each day.
  5. There is nothing easy about yoga. If you think it’ easy, you’re doing it wrong.
  6. If you think you can’t do yoga, seek medical attention immediately. Everyone should be able to breathe.
  7. If you’re sick or injured and think you can’t do yoga, seek medical attention immediately. Everyone should be able to breathe.
  8. If you think yoga is boring or for lazy people, find a style that works for you because everyone is different, and you need to practice better.
  9. If you’re more concerned with your Lululemon gear than the yamas and niyamas you need to re-evaluate your practice.
  10. If you’ve been practicing yoga and you don’t know what the yamas and niyamas are then you need to re-evaluate your practice.
  11. It’s ok to smile. Or even laugh. It’s ok – even encouraged – to enjoy your practice, smile while meditating, laugh at yourself, and not take yourself too seriously.
  12. It’s ok to fall. Whether doing tree pose for the millionth time or trying your first headstand, sometimes you’re bound to fall. No matter how focused you are. And that’s actually ok. Let go of judgment toward yourself, breathe through the frustration, and start again when your mind is more calm.
  13. Yoga is mostly about what happens off the mat, and only a little about what happens on the mat.
  14. Yoga isn’t just done on a yoga mat. Your yoga can be anything, anywhere. Maybe it’s golfing, hiking, cooking or drawing. Finding that mind-body-spirit connection, that calm mind, relaxed body…that what your yoga is. Go find it…and keep practicing!

8 Benefits of Honey and What to Look For

If everything is honey, and I am what I eat, I must be made of honey…and life is very sweet!     –Winnie the Pooh

It’s no secret that I love honey. I have always had a sweet tooth, and honey helped me tremendously when transitioning to clean eating, and away from refined sugar. Research now indicates that switching out your sugar for honey can actually result in numerous health benefits. Maybe that silly old bear was on to something.

Not Just Any Honey…

So, like with anything that we buy in our modern society, we have to be mindful about the type of honey that we buy, It’s not enough to buy the cheapest or the first honey you see in a store and congratulate yourself for making a healthy choice. Unfortunately even honey is not safe from big industry and the dilution of good quality to make more quantity. So what do you need to look for when buying honey?

  • Raw. Raw honey is pure, unpasteurized and unfiltered, and contains full nutrient benefit, unlike it’s processed competitors.
  • Local. Raw local honey can boost immunity and relieve allergies by allowing you to consume the very pollen that often triggers allergies, thus gradually desensitizing you to the allergy-inducing offenders. How cool is that?
  • Pure. Of course you want to make sure that the honey you buy is just that – honey. Check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any added flavors, chemicals, sugar…you get the gist. It should be honey. Pure, local, raw honey.
  • Farmers. While you may be able to find some good quality raw local honey in the grocery stores, it’s always a good idea to buy from your local farmers markets, and ask the farmers questions about their bees and their honey. This not only ensures that you get the purest and freshest honey, but at the same time you’re supporting the farmers in their mission to provide good quality, nutrient-rich foods for the consumers.

Benefits of Honey

So we all know honey is delicious. It’s sweet, it’s smooth, it’s beautiful, and it usually comes in a variety of flavors depending on the bees’ nectar source. And when you taste raw, local honey…it’s indescribable. So if that’s not reason enough to ditch the sugar, here are some of the many benefits of this heavenly sweetener:

  1. Can improve allergy symptoms and boost immunity.
  2. Contains powerful antioxidants polyphenols.
  3. Weight loss management. Studies actually show that, not only can switching from refined sugar to honey promote weight loss, but honey may actually contain an appetite suppressing quality which can lead to weight loss and obesity prevention.
  4. Improves scalp and hair. Honey can improve dermatitis when used on the scalp, and can be used as a conditioner for the hair.
  5. Moisturizes and smoothes skin, making for an excellent natural ingredient in skin care.
  6. Can boost energy.
  7. Helps relieve cold/flu symptoms. Honey contains properties that help soothe and relieve mouth and throat irritation. It’s one of the simplest and most effective remedies for sore throats and coughs.
  8. Antibacterial and antifungal. Honey contains antiseptic properties which make it ideal for treating wounds, and historically it has been used in fighting infections.

So honey is awesome. But before you go out and buy a vat of it like some people might do (not naming any names here), please note that as with any sweetener honey should be consumed in moderation. It is actually 53 percent fructose, which means that despite it’s many health benefits, consuming too much can be detrimental to your body. Best to use it medicinally, as a treat, and a sweetener for your tea; but when needed carbs or an energy boost opt for fresh fruits and veggies instead!