Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Red, White, and Blue. For more than flags and fireworks.

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Happy Independence Day!  While I may not be a model American citizen in that I didn’t bust out the flag, drink Budweiser and eat hot dogs at a BBQ, or rally to see any fireworks, I DID give a nod to July 4th in my bowl and in my blender.  If you are still feeling the effects of the holiday, you might lighten it up with one of these summer red,white, and blue recipes.   If you happen to live in San Francisco, I encourage you to motivate to the Alemany Farmer’s market to get these amazing strawberries (at my fav Tomatero Farm) and blueberries (at the opposite end of the market where they sell mountain blueberries in summer and that’s it!).  Enjoy!

Red, White, and Blue Yogurt Parfait

  • 1 cup (or whatever a decent serving is to you) organic, plain yogurt.   I use goat’s milk yogurt.
  • 1/2 cup organic strawberries
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries

(this makes the prettiest picture)

Optional (but recommended). If you want to increase the nutrition and your satiation consider adding:

  • tbsp chia seeds
  • tbsp sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs

Enjoy for breakfast, snack, or dessert!

Red, White, Blue, and GREEN Smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) organic strawberries   (I had frozen these from last week’s over zealous farmer’s market run)
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 to 1.5 cups organic baby spinach
  • 1 to 1.5 cups organic dark leafy salad greens
  • 1 cup filtered water  (or more to desired consistency)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Blend until smooth.   Enjoy!  (I usually drink a glass immediately and throw the rest in a glass jar for a snack later)

Are you toxic? Simple ways to get the junk out.

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Suddenly I have Britney Spears singing in my head.  Now you may too.  My apologies.

But seriously.  We’re living in a toxic world.  Pesticides.  Herbicides.  Hormones + antibiotics in the food supply.  Food additives.  BPA.  Home cleaners.  The news.  The person at work who stresses you out.

Do you experience any of the following?

  • Trouble losing weight
  • Fatigue
  • Food cravings
  • Poor sleep
  • Skin problems:  acne, rashes, eczema, psoriasis
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Muscle aches or join pain
  • Sinus congestion
  • Headaches
  • Irregular digestion: bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Stinky poo.

These are just a few signals your body is sending to alert you.  Your toxic load may be too high.   ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?

I see it time and again in my clients.  I’ve experienced it in my own life.  I used to be exhausted and always carried about 10 lbs more than I do now.  I look better and more radiant at 40 than I ever did in my twenties.  Clients who have been fatigued and unable to maintain weight loss report feeling energized and fitting into their favorite pair of jeans with ease.  They are glowing.  After just one week of making changes that are available to all of us.

Here are a few simple things you can do now to help keep your toxic load in check:

  • Drink more water.  Ideally filtered.  You want to wash them out and flush them down the toilet.
  • Breathe.  Deeply. More oxygen in your cells helps flush out toxins.  Breathing also helps move your lymph system.
  • Buy organic whenever possible.
  • Reduce toxic exposure to your food:  store leftovers in glass and transition to eliminate plastic.  Never microwave in plastic (ideally never microwave!).  Avoid cooking in aluminum and teflon coated pans.  Drink water from a non-leaching container.
  • Move your body:  movement gets your lymph flowing.  The lymph system is the garbage disposal unit for your body.  The only way it can flow is by moving your body and breathing.  Kick up the intensity of your workout and sweat a bit.
  • Eat cleansing foods like dark leafy greens, citrus, and garlic.  Check out one of my fav cleansing recipes (and staple in my diet) below.

Are you wondering if you are toxic?   I invite you to attend a FREE teleclass to learn more.  This information really can save your life.

Get all the details and how to register HERE.

Do you recognize yourself in the list above and are ready to feel (and look) amazing?   Cleanse!

I’d love to support you in revitalizing your life.  You really CAN change our life and health in just two weeks.  No gimmicks.  Just simple delicious food and lifestyle changes that help you clean out and empower you to stay that way.   Next cleanse kicks off this Saturday, 4/14!  (can’t make it?  I’d love to see you on May 12th).

I’m ready to finally get results!   Get all the juicy details of the Pura Vida Cleanse.

Don’t believe me.  Read cleanse client success stories on Yelp.

 

Marnie’s Kale, Walnut, and brown rice dish

Ingredients (organic when possible):

1 cup (or so) of cooked brown rice.
1 head kale (or any dark leafy green like spinach or chard)
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon (juice of)
Coconut amino acids or wheat-free tamari (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Kale:
• Remove stems and finely chop one head of kale (I typically use dino kale)
• Smash and finely chop 2 to 3 cloves of garlic (can also use onion)
• Heat 1 to 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan (ideally a frying type pan that has a lid)
• Saute garlic (and/or onion) for a minute or so
• Put in kale
• Optional: A tbsp or so of soy sauce, tamari, coconut amino acids, few sprays of Bragg’s Amino acids
• Toss to coat
• Put on cover to steam. (can put in a bit of extra water if needed)
• Steam for just a few minutes until kale is slightly wilted (but should still be bright green)
• Squeeze lemon over and toss (I use about a 1/2 of lemon)

In bowl:
• Put in the rice and 1/2 the walnuts.  Toss with another tbsp or so of olive oil. Can add unrefined sea salt and pepper to taste.
• Add the kale.
• Toss together.
• Top with remaining crushed walnuts.

ENJOY!

 

Sugar. It’s everywhere. Are you an addict?

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

If you answered yes, you’re not alone.  I’m a recovered sugar addict.  Gone are the days where going to the movies was really an excuse for me to swing into Walgreen’s and load up on Milk Duds and gummy bears.  Gone are the days were I would chain eat a lb. of Twizzlers and no synthetic cake frosting was too sweet for this girl.  Thank god.  It was a slow process and it wasn’t easy.  By changing my focus to eat real foods that I love, to incorporate sweet flavors in my meals, and most importantly to make sure I’m enjoying the sweetness in life, I no longer feel the deep, dark allure of sugar.  Dark chocolate?  Yes.  The occasional super special baked good treat?  Yes.  I savor these on occasion and with no guilt.  It’s taken years and I’m prone to relapse.  So I take notice, forgive, and move on.

I share this not to say “Yeah, me!” but to let you know I get your challenges.

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine,
or the slowest form of poison.”

- Dr. Ann Wigmore, ND

Refined sugar is the latter.  Knowing the power that sugar has over us and the health epidemic it’s creating, I’m delighted that sugar has been in the news.   Check out these two powerful segments from 60 Minutes:

Is sugar toxic?  (and addictive)

Sugar and kids:  The Toxic Truth

Changing your relationship with sugar is not about discipline or willpower.  You are not a weak or bad if you crave sugar.  Your body is sending you a clear message that something is out of whack.  Are you listening?

Changing your relationship with sugar is, however, imperative to your vitality and long term health.  Here are a few of my top tips to shift your relationship with sugar:

1)  Read labels.  Sugar is in most processed foods and this includes savory items like crackers and soup.  It has so many names (don’t forget High Fructose Corn Syrup).  So be vigilant.   Beverages are notorious and this picture says it all.

2)  Drink water.  Hydrate.  That’s right.  Drink water.  Not soda.  Not Gatorade.  Not Vitamin water.  Sugar cravings are often a sign of dehydration.

3)  Skip the artificial sweeteners.  You may think you’re saving a few calories but you’re setting yourself up for endless, insatiable cravings.  Oh, and they are toxic.  Check out this great article to learn more.

4)  Sleep.  When we’re exhausted the body knows that one of the purest forms of quick energy is Sugar.  Unfortunately, it’s short lived relief and always comes with a quick crash.  Notice if the next time you feel tired if you reach for the sweets. 2:30 cookie and coffee break, anyone?

5)  Incorporate sweet flavors in your meals on a regular basis.  Fruits.  Sweet potatoes.  Use spices like cinnamon (which also helps regulate blood sugar), nutmeg, and cloves.   I’ve included one of my favorite dessert recipes below.   It surprises people every time and I always receive rave reviews.

6)  Enjoy the sweetness of life.  Next time you reach for a pint of ice cream when you’re lonely, bored, or stressed pause and ask yourself  “What am I really hungry for?”   Affection from your partner?  Time with your girlfriends?  A yoga class?  A nap?  Treat yourself to that instead.

 

If you’re ready to be free from the powerful grips of sugar, I’d love to support you on your journey.  And it can be a rocky ride!  Here are three opportunities:

1)  Join my FREE Sugar Blues teleclass where you’ll learn more of the effects sugar has on your body, how it’s keeping you stuck, and practical ways you can create some shift.

2)  Do a cleanse!  Cleansing is what opened my eyes.  I realized I could have incredible energy, focus, feel amazing AND survive without sugar and bread.  I would not have believed it.  Two options for April!   Prepare food for yourself  OR have all your yummy meals delivered.  Register by 4/12.

3)  Schedule a complimentary 30-minute Discovery session to learn more about how I can help you.

 

Perhaps more importantly, when you do have sugar I hope you can slow down and savor every bite.  No shame.  No guilt.   Here is one of my favorites:

 Banana Coconut “Ice Cream”

Ingredients:

3-4 frozen bananas
1/4 cup coconut milk (in the can.  this is the best) or coconut water

Garnish options:
fresh or frozen berries
raw cacao nibs (this is what I usually use)
shredded coconut
chopped walnuts or slivered almonds

Directions:
1. Place frozen bananas and coconut milk (or coconut water) in heavy duty blender (Vitamix or Blendtec are ideal) or food processor
2. Blend until texture is smooth and creamy
3. Top with garnish of your choice
4. Serve.  This makes a few servings (so share with loved ones or freeze the rest)
5. Close your eyes, savor and enjoy.

Go green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  And no, I don’t mean green beer.  (Though if you do celebrate in this way please enjoy!)  I’m mildly obsessed with dark leafy greens and helping my clients find different ways to enjoy these nutritional powerhouses.  I’m proud to say I’ve created many a kale addict, so beware that once you start your body will be hooked.

After the farmer’s market this morning I popped into Whole Foods and snapped this shot of a graphic displayed at the register.  The Top 10 foods in terms of calorie density per calorie are all GREEN!  No surprise.

Here are three easy delicious ways to get more greens in your diet.  Oh yeah, and they are all cleanse friendly!  Yes, I am a huge fan of greens with breakfast.

Cilantro-Jalapeno Kale Salad

1 head of dino (aka lacinto kale) – stems removed and thinly sliced
1/2 avocado

Dressing:

1/4 cup packed cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons organic, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Pour dressing over kale and massage into the kale to tenderize.  Get in there and have fun really using your hands
Let dressing mingle with the kale for 2 to 24 hours. The kale will become softer the longer it sits.  Top with avocado and enjoy!

I love this dressing so much I make it in batches and keep in the fridge.  For those who make kale chips, this is great dehydrated (minus the avocado).

Inspired by www.nourishingmeals.com

 

Tropical Green Smoothie

I’m kind of over the rain so decided to take a mini-vacation via my VitaMix.

In a blender:

1.5 to 2 cups of filtered water
1/2 cup light coconut milk (in the can)
1/2 to 1 ripe banana
1 cup frozen mango (or pineapple or a combo)
1 to 2 cups baby spinach  (go for it!)
1 tbsp green powder (optional.  I use Vitamineral Greens)

Blend until smooth.

Collard Greens +  White Bean Soup

Earlier this week I found myself down with a cold.  All I wanted was something warm and soothing.  I had this soup for breakfast and dinner.  It did the trick.

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 handful sliced mushrooms (optional)
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 1 bunch collard greens (finely shredded)
• 2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or to make it easy I just throw in the stem)
• 1 carton organic low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 tbsp coconut amino acids (optional)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add water, mushrooms, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add greens, thyme, and broth. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until greens are tender. Add beans; simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

 

I hope you enjoy these recipes and experimenting with getting more greens in your diet.  If you feel you could use more guidance and inspiration, please click here to schedule your free discovery session.

 

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti squash: a new favorite!

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I love discovering new foods (well,new to me!) especially when they are super easy to make and become a new staple in my cooking repertoire. I don’t know how I missed spaghetti squash before my fantastic friend Brigitte Center served me a super-simple, delightful dish.  I recently added spaghetti squash to the Pura Vida Cleanse menu as it is a great comfort food, can help quell sugar cravings, and substitute for pasta.

Tonight I enjoyed this simple dish for dinner.  For more images and a great step by step guide on how to prepare spaghetti squash click here.

To bake the squash:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  With a sharp knife or fork, prick squash in  several places.   (don’t skip this!*)
3.  Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet or glass baking pan; bake until soft to the touch, about 1 hour.  (I put a layer of water on the baking pan)
4. When cool enough to handle, halve squash crosswise.  Scoop out seeds; discard. Scrape flesh into strands.

Some serving ideas:

1.  Toss in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.  Toss in sliced cherry tomatoes.  (pictured above).
2.  Toss in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.  Toss in some shredded or grated Parmesan cheese (or equivalent).
3.  Toss in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.  Toss in some crushed garlic, chopped tomatoes, chopped basil, and pumpkin seeds.
4.  Top with pesto or your favorite red pasta sauce.

You get the idea.  It is a great base and then have fun and experiment with various toppings.  You can serve as the main dish or a side.

Not yet convinced to try it?  You’ll also enjoy these health benefits:

The only fat you usually find in vegetables is whatever you put on them.  However, spaghetti squash contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease and cancer, reduce inflammation, and promote proper brain function.  It also contains vitamin A, vitamin C and several of the B vitamins which help the body fight free radical damage and convert carbohydrates to energy.  Spaghetti squash has the minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, manganese, selenium and zinc.  Magnesium and potassium help the body absorb and maintain calcium.

That’s a heck of a lot more nutrition than pasta!  Bonus:  1 cup of spaghetti squash is only 31 calories.

*  Brigitte subsequently had an incident.  Learn from her mistake!

P.S.  I also had an incident.  While shopping at Rainbow with a cleanse group, I accidentally picked up melons for everyone!  So be careful and be sure you get the squash.  There is a melon out there parading as an imposter.   (I cut up the melon and froze it for smoothies.  Another cleanser was not so fortunate as she baked it to disastrous results).

 

Kale Glorious Kale!

Thursday, February 17th, 2011
KALE (and its relatives) is a nutrient powerhouse and provides more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food on the planet. Although you can find kale throughout the year, right now is prime season! You may find it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.Dark leafy greens are the number one thing missing in most American diets.  Kale is just one, but happens to be my favorite.  It has one of the highest levels of antioxidants in any vegetable and highest levels of carotenes.  It is loaded with anti-cancer phytochemicals and if that’s not enough to convince you to give this beauty a try it also has chlorophyll, manganese, calcium, b-vitamins, fiber, etc.

Let’s focus for a moment on calcium.  Kale is an excellent source because it comes with all the minerals needed to facilitate calcium absorption.  Studies have proven that the calcium in kale is greater assimilate than the calcium in milk (as a side, the US has the highest consumption of dairy and the highest instances of osteoperosis, but that is for another time).

Buying Kale

The darkest green vegetables most likely have the highest levels of carotenoids and chlorophylls, so the darkest green kales should be the best. By far the most intense green kale is Lacinato Kale, aka Dinosaur Kale. Next darkest is Red Russian Kale; actually purplish around the edges, not red. I find this to be one of the most beautiful vegetables out there.   I find Curly Kale to be perfect for kale chips, my new favorite snack food.

You want to look for the freshest looking kale – there should be no yellow and it should not be limp.

Photos below:  Lacinto (or Lacinato), Red Russian, Curly

Using Kale

Kale leaves have thick fibrous stems. They stems are edible, so leave them in if you enjoy crunchy foods. Or you can take them out, if you are not used to eating lots of fiber, or if you want to make a more delicate dish.  If you are making a blended soup or green smoothie, leave the stems in.  I tend to leave the stems in – primarily out of convenience.

To chop kale, lay a bunch of kale on the cutting board and cut crosswise into strips (I suggest around ¼ inch). Turn the cutting board 90°, and cut again if you want smaller pieces. Or just tear into pieces with your hands ~ I find this method preferable when using curly kale.

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Ingredients:

Greens  (Kale, spinach, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, etc)

Olive oil  — Tbsp or so

Garlic  — 1 to 2 cloves  (to your taste)

Juice of lemon – ½ lemon or so to your taste (this is the secret ingredient as it cuts the bitterness of the greens)

Directions:

Cut greens fairly finely (about 1/4 inch slices)  ~ this has been key for me loving greens

Heat olive oil

Sautee garlic (optional ginger)

Put in greens

Put lid on to capture heat/steam

May need to add a tbsp or so of water for additional steam

Cook for a few minutes until greens are wilted. Should still be vibrant green and not too wilted.

Squeeze lemon juice and toss.

Enjoy!

Optional: add fresh finely diced fresh ginger (with garlic)

Optional: add a little bit of soy, bragg’s amino acids, tamari, or coconut aminos

Still not convinced?

For me, there were two keys that turned my dislike into love.  The first was chopping it into fairly thin strips/pieces.  When I used to try the whole leaf I found it too fibrous and chewy.  The second was squeezing some fresh lemon juice over it at the end of cooking.  The citrus cuts the bitterness and creates a wonderful balance of flavors.

Lastly, the bitterness of dark leafy greens can be an acquired taste. They say it can take up to seven tries before there is a shift.  The benefits of these foods are so great, it is worth the effort.  Trust me on this one and give it a try.

For more inspiration and recipes:
http://www.101cookbooks.com/ingredient/kale
http://rawfoodlivingdiet.com/tag/kale

Beets! Learn to Love ‘em.

Thursday, February 17th, 2011
I must confess I HATED beets growing up.  My friend Taffy and I used to do this crazy 3-day diet that promised a 10-pound weight loss only if you ate the exact menu that had been perfectly combined/balanced.  It included beets.  On that same day you could have bread so we would either 1)  chop them up and roll them in the bread in hope of disguising them or 2)  cut them up into tiny pieces and swallow them like you would a pill.  We dreaded them.
I am thankful that as an adult I love them.  If you don’t, I encourage you to give them a second chance.  Experiment and find ways to bring these purple or gold beauties into your life.  The beets at the Alemany Farmer’s Market this morning were simply ravishing.   They were so gorgeous I was inspired to write this post. I added one to my green (now purple) smoothie.  Delicious.Incorporate beets into your diet to promote optimal health.
Folate, nitrates, magnesium and antioxidants in beet juice, beet fiber and beet greens have been shown to aid in disease prevention and control.  Here are some of the health benefits:  raw or lightly cooked beets fight cancer (especially colon cancer).  Dark skinned vegetables such as beets are high in those antioxidants known to lower the levels of free radicals in the body.  Beets protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and the fiber is effective in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.  The red pigment in beets raises antioxidant enzyme levels in the liver and may promote detoxification in the intestines, blood and liver.  Beet root is high in magnesium, making it a good vegetable for women concerned with preventing osteoporosis.

A simple way to roast beets:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut off the greens.  Scrub the beets to remove most of the dirt.  If it is organic, I don’t bother to peel.  Cube.  Put in a bowl and toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.   Spread on a lightly greased (I rub around a bit of olive oil) cookie sheet or roasting pan.  Roast in oven, turning every 10 or 15 minutes until soft.  I find it usually takes around 45 minutes but can vary.

Don’t throw out the greens!
The greens attached to the beet roots are delicious and can be prepared like spinach or Swiss chard. They are incredibly rich in nutrients, concentrated in vitamins and minerals as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin.   That is what I love about buying beets at the market.  It’s a two-for-one.  You get the yummy root and a full bunch of greens to cook.

For more nutritional info and ways to enjoy this wonder food:

World’s Healthiest Foods:  Beets

Photos of the beets I purchased this morning and my purple green smoothie.  Divine!

P.S.  That 3-day diet was pure nonsense.  The very last time I tried it I followed it up the next morning with Ho Hos for breakfast.  I’ve come a long way.  Diets – especially crazy fad ones like that – NEVER work.