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Mermaid Smoothie Bowls

If you follow me on Instragram (@addiespahrkim) you know that I am totally obsessed with making smoothie bowls. So when I started to see these blue bowls in my IG feed, I had to know what was in them and how to make them. Many months later I am still obsessed with these nutrient-packed, anytime meals. This week I made them for me and my boys for breakfast and called it “the cool blue breakfast” because we’ve had multiple days of hot weather and with no A/C and our house stays pretty darn hot.

Below is the recipe, but first you have to get your hands on the key color ingredient: Blue Spirulina! This vibrant algae is not just an eye-pleaser, it has tons of health benefits. I used the E3Live Blue Majik Spirulina. I also found this but have yet to try Raw Nice Blue Spirulina – it’s a little less expensive.

Ingredients
For the smoothie bowl:
  • 2 large frozen bananas (chopped)
  • 1¼ cup almond, coconut or hemp milk
  • ¼ cup coconut -milk yogurt (I get the So Delicious brand of plain coconut yogurt)
  • 2 tsp E3Live Blue Majik (slightly rounded)
  • Handful of ice cubes
For the toppings:
  • Any Nature’s Path or other granola (I often use a Gluten Free granola)
  • Fruit: Any combo of raspberries, blueberries, diced strawberries, diced kiwi, dragon fruit, fresh peaches or nectarine
  • Hemp Hearts and/or Chia seeds
  • Can add a dollop of peanut or almond butter
  • Drizzle of honey
Instructions
  1. Start by preparing all of your toppings first. (Nobody likes a sloppy smoothie bowl!)
  2. Next add your frozen chopped bananas, ¼ cup yogurt, and ¾ cup of non-dairy milk to a high powered blender and blend until smooth – use the tamper if needed. I used a Vitamix which comes with the tamper device.  If your blender is having trouble blending up your smoothie then gradually add more non-dairy milk a few extra tbsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You can always stop and stir with a spoon between blending. And you can add more ice to thicken if you get too much liquid. There’s a little trial and error with it – but it always tastes delicious!
  3. Add your Blue Majik and blend again until smooth. Pour into a large bowl, add your toppings, and serve!

Blue Spirulina has been reported to have some of the following benefits:

  • Support of healthy inflammation responses after exercise*
  • Support of healthy joints and flexibility*
  • Support for antioxidant and cellular protection*
  • Increased energy, vitality and endurance*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease. This product has not been approved by the FDA.

All We Need is {Self}Love

For Valentine’s Week, I teamed up with one of my besties and fellow wellness ambasadors Denise for a “How to Be Your Own Best Valentine” event on Facebook.  The reason we wanted to do this event is because if you’re like us, you are constantly giving to those around you and putting your family’s and others needs first, and often don’t leave any room for your own self-care.  As wellness ambassadors, we see Self-Care as something that is more than important for well-being, it’s critical for your long-term health.

Self-care and self-love goes way deeper than pampering. It’s about engaging in soul-filling, body-fueling activities that keep you grounded, nourished and, let’s face it – sane!  And while some of the tools we are sharing today have to do with pampering ourselves, they are more about feel-good practices and foods that provide  more than an instant gratification. Some are keeping us healthy so we can handle our juggle acts in thrival mode; some are grounding and help us wind down from the juggle and grind; some help feed our minds and keep us goal-oriented, organized, and present! 

Why is Self-Care Important?

Self-care prevents burn-out, helps us refocus and reduces the negative effects of stress. 

“Self-care isn’t a reward. It’s part of the process.” To continue moving forward and accomplish things that are important to us, we need to also carve out time to fill our tanks. Psychologist Guy Winch, compares it to brushing and flossing our teeth… emotional self-care should be a part of our daily routine.

Chronic stress can take over our lives and have a great impact on our body’s ability to function well. And it increases our risk of a variety of health problems like anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, sleep problems, weight gain, heart disease and memory impairment.

Below I share both my and Denie’s Top Ten Self-Love Self-Care Tools. Links are added for certain products and other info

 

#1 ADDIE: Warm Lemon Water in the Morning

I drink lemon water or tea first thing in the morning to alkalize my digestive system and get me awake and warmed up. Dr. Axe – one of my go-to integrative doctors –  has a great graphic on the many benefits of lemon water.  Since I had to give up coffee years ago because of the health problems it was causing me, I had to find some other morning ritual to jumpstart my day. For all you coffee lovers, you know the pain I went through in giving up this beverage that I loved dearly, but the benefits of stopping far outweigh the pain I was enduring and my morning lemon water or hot tea (which I also drink almost every night after dinner) has become a welcome habit.

#1 DENISE: Not Giving a F@$!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson helps to challenge traditional thought, let go a little bit, and stop trying so hard. This was a Christmas gift to me from my husband, and I have been soaking up every page. I’m not a huge fan of the self-help genre, but this book feels a different. The writing is witty, captivating, and thought provoking. Mark Manson makes a ton of apt points, but for me, the take home message is about identifying the solid values that are important to you personally and caring only about those things. The rest just doesn’t matter. We so often get bogged down in the unimportant crap in our lives. This great read is a reminder to let that stuff go. And if you’re a fan of the F-bomb and stating things plainly, then this book is for you!

#2 ADDIE: Facial Vitamin Serum 

Beauty Counter Vitamin C Serum helps to brighten and moisturize skin. Great for hydrating and helping reduce fine lines. A friend recently gave me a sample of this to try and fell in love with the serum.   As someone who is very careful about the kind of skin products I  use, I love that Beauty Counter is a more natural option and this serum leaves my skin feeling silky and smooth – which this tired out, often sleep-deprived mama needs!

#2 DENISE: Do Not Disturb

I’ve recently started using this setting for iPhone. Set as an auto reply while driving or turn on in order to turn off and FOCUS on whatever it is you need to do (or not do). Sometimes, it’s okay to not be able to be reached. I have been using the Do Not Disturb function on my iPhone while I drive and while I am working or with family… times when I know just hearing the notification or the buzz, is going to interrupt me (even if I know I shouldn’t look, I do). You can also set it to send a response that you are driving or are unavailable. This way people understand. And you can set it so that any emergency contacts will come through. This is also a great function to use at night if you use your phone as your alarm so you don’t get woken up if someone  reaches out to check your weather at 4am your time!

#3 ADDIE: Smoothie Bowls Bring Nutrients and Beauty

Not only are these delicious they pack a nutrition punch that will boost your energy, help curb cravings and add some food beauty to your day! I became addicted to these bowls during my frequent visits to Southern California where the Acai bowl craze began with a company called Sambazon. I’m not going to lie, this way of eating is my vibe, and one of the big reasons I was so gung-ho to move to SoCal, which I did this past August. But what I wasn’t a fan of is how expensive these smoothie bowls are – averaging around $8-12 no matter where in the country you buy them. I now make my own at home with my Vitamin (which is so worth the investment if you’re an avid smoothie-maker like me). 

#3 DENISE: Instacart is Insta-Awesome

Outsourcing certain tasks can help save time & money.  Instacart is a great app when shopping for staples at places like Costco or if you’re just behind. Take some pressure off. I also use it when I get home from a trip and I know we are going to need certain staples right away.  For me, the cost is outweighed by the convenience and by the fact that it forces me to stick to my list and avoid impulse buys. I will always be a fan of going to the grocery store to cruise the aisles and get inspired by what’s fresh. But Instacart is a great tool in my busy life. 

#4 ADDIE: Pretzel-Sweating

Yoga and hot yoga have become an activity of choice when I want to move my body and clear my mind. Often seeing as simply stretching or chanting, yoga’s many benefits are  sometimes overlooked. Yoga helps with respiration, energy and vitality but also metabolic function which helps with weight maintenance. It also helps athletes perform better!  There is something really powerful too about being a room with others all focused on the moment and channeling the good energy that most yoga teachers inspire in their classes.

#4 DENISE: Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic with “mother”

Got a sore throat? Indigestion? Want to detox? 1-2 tbsp of ACV, honey (to taste), 2 tsp Lemon Juice, 4-6 oz warm water. Sip, enjoy and feel better. If only I had known about this one… the years of indigestion and bloating after a meal. Guys, this one is a cure all keeper. Just last week I woke up with a scratchy throat. I downed this cocktail, tripled up on my Juice Plus+ capsules and no more sore throat! Try it. (you can play with the measurements for your taste.) 

#5 ADDIE: Essentially Oiled Up with Doterra

I’m all about a petroleum-free lip balm and Doterra’s smell so good. And the essential oils – I use these plant-based miracle potions for everything from immune-boosting and virus-fighting to diffusing in rooms for fresh aromas and even in my laundry. I’ve tried many essential oils but Doterra are my favorite. They have incredible plant and herb sourcing so I know they are top quality and they have other products too that help promote wellness, like essential oil based hand sanitizers, cleaning products and even toothpaste that has natural anti-bacterials! 

#5 DENISE: Beyond Yoga: High waisted pants won’t fall down when you’re bending and stretching

Beyond Yoga‘s soft fabrics feel and fit great. No camel toe! No see through embarrassments. Can be machine washed and dryer recommended… AKA easy care! These pants make me wonder  what we wore before athleisure. I used to buy less expensive workout wear, but I’ve come to accept that quality counts. If you’re like me, having to change multiple times a day to get a workout in is annoying. Find workout wear that is comfortable, that you will want to wear beyond the gym or studio and it will save you a step. It’s not about what you wear but it is about how you feel. Wearing clothes that fit and you won’t be self conscious in will help you focus on your workout and on feeling good. That’s what we want, right!

#6 ADDIE: There’s Matcha Latte to be Drunk

Next to my smoothie bowl addiction is my green tea matcha latte addiction. This creamy and antioxidant boosting tea is a great alternative to coffee (especially for people like me that had to give coffee up completely). I drink Matcha with coconut or almond milk, sometimes lightly sweetened with vanilla and honey because it does have a chalky taste. Matcha can be consumed in more than just tea. Check out these fun recipes on other matcha treats!

#6 DENISE: Color Yourself Free

Be a kid. Harness some creativity. Check out. Just color. Bonus that these pages have motivational messages. (It’s okay to go outside the lines.) News flash: I’m not an artist. But I’ve discovered these help me harness my creative side. And some times being able to zone out and focus is exactly what I need to restore my mind!

#7 ADDIE: Planning with Intention

Danielle Laporte’s daily planner – helps me get organized with intention. If you haven’t heard of Danielle, then I highly recommend getting some DLP in your life. Not only is this badass woman an incredible motivational speaker and writer, she has built a brand around feel-good products that are really all about self-love at their core. I use her planner daily for time blocking, gratitude expressing, to-do list making, and have almost all her other product  offerings as well, including the temporary tattoos which are always a fun conversation piece when I show up at a party or to pick my kids up from school with one on and people think I just came from the tattoo parlor.

#7 DENISE: Superfood Mask-erade

Give your face some care at home with this all natural face mask from Youth to the People. Feels amazing! I’m not a facial girl but love feeling pampered. I love that this product is natural… superfood! Right up my alley. And it’s a clean product. I got this at Sephora but check it out online also!

#8 ADDIE: Music Meditation

Spotify for meditation mixes/calming music or new music inspiration for walking or hiking. While I’m a big fan of other music streaming apps, I love Spotify for the ability to create my own playlists from various artists and use them for all different moods and activities. It’s also really convenient that I can tell Alexa which playlist I feel like hearing and she can queue it up while I’m in the kitchen, most likely smoothie-bowl making 😉 

#8 DENISE: Golden Chai Latte-licious

Add turmeric or ginger to your latte or chai latte. Love this!  I’m addicted to these from Peet’s, but I’ve also been adding turmeric to my coffee or chai tea at home. Some times sipping on something warm and tasty can be a great way to relax and savor what we appreciate! 

#9 ADDIE: “Don’t Keep Your Day Job”

Cathy Heller’s “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” podcast to keep me motivated and inspired to build a career of passion. I stumbled.  I stumbled on this podcast in early January right after the new year. Cathy is a talented musician, write and busy mom that decided to create this motivational podcast just over a year ago and quickly climbed the charts. If you’ve taken a leap of faith to follow a passion-driven career like Denise and I, or it’s something you’ve been exploring, then definitely check out this Podcast. Even if you’re not shifting into entrepreneur mode, her realist ideas and inspirations will add some light to your day and help you get into the self-love mindset to be the best you that you can be! 

#9 DENISE: Pain Tape

Got nagging aches and pains? There’s not much that KT Tape can’t help. Reduces inflammation, promotes circulation and supports. Don’t settle for being sore and in pain. Try this tape. It’s magical! (If you are following the Olympics, this tape is everywhere.) 

#10 ADDIE: Needles, Needles, Needles

Acupuncture and micronutrient IVs for whole body balancing and immune boosting. If you haven’t incorporated the ancient eastern practice of acupuncture, I highly recommend it. I use acupuncture to treat a variety of health issues – anxiety, hormone imbalance, allergy and sinus issues, insomnia, general immune boosting. I have also done cupping for pain management in addition to the traditional needles for arthritis pain. It’s also a great way for me to slow.it.down and check out. Acupuncture can be incredible restorative and restful.  Check out community acupuncture clinics as an affordable way to try it out and still reap all the same benefits of scheduling with a one-to-one practitioner. Micronutrient IVs have gotten real buzzy the last few years and for good cause. These IV treatments are loaded with Vitamin Bs and C and other nutrients can help you fight illness, boost energy, and even help cure a hangover! 

#10 DENISE: Home Pedis

No time for a pedicure? Heal and protect those cracks and callouses. Secret: So my husband calls my feet leather moccasins. My kids got this for me for Christmas. Guys, my feet were in BAD shape. I’m talking deep cracks that bled. No more. I don’t always have time for a pedi, but the Ped Egg helps me keep my feet from tearing apart. And it motivates me to take some time to care for myself! 

So remember to Love Yourself First, and you’ll have much more love to give everyone else! 

Heart Health – It’s Berry Important

Happy Heart Health Month!

We should all be concerned with maintaining good health and taking action to reduce our risk of heart disease because it claims more than half a million lives in the United States on average each year.  The good news is that it also one of the most preventable.

As a health coach, one of my biggest priorities is helping educate people on the importance of choosing lifestyle habits that prevent many major diseases. But while the lifestyle practices that can reduce our risk of heart disease are fairly obvious, it doesn’t mean that they are always easy. The recommendations by all medical experts and organizations committed to educating on heart health are:

  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
  • Eating healthy unprocessed foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress
  • Knowing your family history

If you have a history of heart disease, it is important to know that it doesn’t mean you are destined to get it, but you will want to be extra sure you are living a healthy lifestyle and working with medical and wellness practitioners to get regular check-ups and blood work. You also want to make sure you have a diet that is mostly plant-based, full of whole foods, and avoids lots of processed/packaged foods and refined sugars. But honestly, this is advice that we should all take for optimal health and to live a long, vibrant life.

Something else important to know also is that our risk also goes up as we age. Establishing healthy lifestyle habits early can really reduce the risk factors for heart disease, but we need to continue our dedication even more as we get older.  For example, four out of five people who die from coronary heart disease are aged 65 or older. The risk of stroke doubles with each decade after the age of 55. Men tend to get the disease about ten years earlier than women, but death rates from heart disease and stroke for women are twice as high as those for all forms of cancer. This may be in large part due to heart disease’s correlation to other diseases like obesity and diabetes.

Bottom line – we should all be very proactive about maintaining good health so that we can avoid heart disease as well as other diseases that are lifestyle related.

How do we do this?

All of the healthy lifestyle habits outlined above are important, but three practices are key in my view:

  1. Eating the Rainbow
  2. Consistent Moderate Exercise
  3. Stress Reduction

Eating the Rainbow means eating a wide variety of colored fruits and vegetables. The phytonutrients in many vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables have links to various health benefits, including heart health. You want to make sure you are getting healthy fats and proteins as well but a variety of plant-based food is really the key to long-term wellness and diseases prevention – not just heart-related disease but all disease!

Check out some of the heart health benefits you get from these different colors of produce (and this is not even the whole rainbow of benefits):

Purple (or bluish): Blueberries, grapes, beets, and other produce on this part of the spectrum are nutritional powerhouses. Among their other properties, they’re high in anthocyanins, which are linked to multiple benefits, including cardiovascular health.

Red: Tomatoes, pomegranates, cranberries, and other red fruits and veggies, like their purple or blue cousins, are high in anthocyanins. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of lycopene, which may help reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.

Green: What makes spinach, broccoli, and those other green superstars so good for your heart? They’re excellent sources of carotenoids, which have antioxidant properties. They’re also good sources of vitamins A and K, calcium, potassium, fiber, and more.

For those of us that struggle to get our 9-13 recommended servings per day and eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (which is the vast majority of us), we can thank the Juice Plus+ Company for providing nutrition from up to 30 plants in powdered form that can be consumed in a capsule or chewable. My husband, kids and I take this every single day and as a mom and health coach I get tons of assurance that this along with other healthy lifestyle practices (see more below) are helping us beat any history of heart disease!

cartwheelConsistent Moderate Exercise means aiming for at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise 5 days a week BUT squeezing in some form of exercise – even if just 10-minutes a day can also be beneficial. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing. Anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise!   Aerobic exercise – such as running, biking, skating, playing tennis, or swimming – strengthens the heart muscle so it doesn’t need to beat as fast, allowing it to deliver blood more efficiently to your whole body. It also lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol, helping keep your arteries clear, and decreases your risk of conditions associated with heart disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.1

Even as a health coach I’m the first person to admit that getting to the gym is not something I can regularly achieve. I run a home-based business around the time my kids are in school and so I have limited hours every day to both work and exercise. But I don’t let that be an excuse. Whether it’s taking a walk for 30 minutes with my dog or with my kids while they ride their bikes around the neighborhood, or doing some intense cardio bursts at home, even if I have to break them into 3 10-minute intervals throughout the day. [Check out this 10-minute workout you can do even at the office]

I also regularly park my car at the very back of the parking lot so I have to wake farther or take the stairs whenever I can. I often do ab exercises in my car, especially now that I live in Southern California and drive a lot more than when I lived in DC walked all the time. That said – I do still carve out time to do yoga or a spin class or some other type of exercise at least a couple times a week in addition to the examples I just mentioned that are not in a gym or studio. And a big reason I make time for higher intensity or sweat releasing fitness is my third heart-health practice recommendation: Reduced Stress! This is such a big factor in heart health and if we don’t have a physical outlet for our stress we can affect way more than just our health.

There is tons of research on the connection between exercise and mental health. And think about it – when we aren’t exercising very often, we tend to lose steam more quickly in the day and are just not that motivated to do things that are active. If we couple this with poor eating we have a perfect recipe for becoming a couch potato, and that, for most of us, leads to weight gain and puts us at risk for all kinds of health issues – high blood pressure, stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other health problems, also all related to heart disease. And let’s face it – most of us get real grumpy when we don’t have a physical outlet to release endorphins and help regulate our cortisol, our lymph system, sweat out toxins that are building up daily…I could go on and on but I think you get the point. It’s not just about preventing disease, it’s about staying healthy so we feel good and maintain a level if happiness.

Other Stress Reduction Ideas

Beyond just exercising to reduce stress, however, is the concept that we also need to train our bodies to shift into a state of calm. This is not simply resting and getting adequate sleep (also important though for overall health). The practice of mindfulness and meditation is not just a woo-woo trend anymore. There is scientific evidence about the positive stress-reducing benefits. Find out more about why cardiologists are prescribing mindfulness for heart-health.

I’ll be completely honest here, I am still working on establishing a regular meditation practice because I know how very beneficial it is but also tend to be a bit hyper-active and am super prone to monkey-mind (thoughts jumping around, slight attention deficit disorder). I have a great daily planner that has space for me to write out my gratitude list (great for shifting out of negative thought patterns) and also being intentional  about how I want to feel, not just what I want to get done. I go in waves of doing this but I did create a sweet little mindfulness/meditation playlist on Spotify and will set my alarm 5-10 mins earlier, go into a quiet room, put on my playlist and just breathe for up to 10 minutes. This very simple practice can really set the tone for my day. I feel more connected and grounded and tend to have much more patience, which I know helps maintain a positive energy in a house full of boys (husband and two sons bring lots of active male energy, all.the.time!) 

So, as you can see heart health is multi-faceted! But since so much of it starts with what be put in our bodies, I’ll leave you with some heart healthy food and meal ideas:

Some Heart Healthy Foods

  • Beans and oatmeal are a source of soluble fiber, the kind of fiber that lowers LDL cholesterol.
  • Red grapes contain resveratrol, which keep platelets in your blood from sticking together.
  • Olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados all supply your body with healthy monounsaturated fats.
  • Dark chocolate has flavanols, which can help lower blood pressure and have antioxidant power. (Choose 70% and don’t go overboard!)
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseeds provide omega-3 fatty acids, which improve blood flow and help maintain triglycerides within normal limits

Here’s a menu for a heart-healthy day:

Breakfast:

Start the day with a bowl of oatmeal, a handful of nuts and your favorite fruit. I like apples or bananas in the winter and berries in the summer. For extra nutrition, you can mix in a scoop of Complete by Juice Plus+ once the oatmeal has finished cooking.

Lunch:

This lunch salad has a fun, healthy twist: the croutons are made of tofu!

Snack:

Roasted chickpeas make a tempting mid-afternoon snack. Pair with an apple for even more fiber.

Dinner:

Colorful roasted vegetables make filling half your plate with vegetables easy. Serve with a salmon filet and your dinner is ready, complete with omega-3s.

 

[1] What aerobic exercise does for your health. Mayo Clinic. 2017 Feb 27. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/aerobic-exercise/art-20045541?pg=2

Healthy Living Ideas for a Happy School Year

I recently hosted a webinar with my good friend and wellness advocate partner Denise on Healthy Ideas for a Happy School Year. Good nutrition and wellness practices should be a priority year round, but during the school year it’s particularly important because: we tend to be moving at our fastest pace; have tons of personal and professional activities and obligations to juggle; and, most of us live in seasonal climates that also affect our energy levels and immune function.

If you’re a busy parent like me, then you know both the importance and challenge of ensuring your family is getting good nutrition regularly to stay healthy and keep up with our fast-paced lives.  As a health coach, my goal is to teach families about quick and easy options for adding vital nutrition daily, boosting immune systems and energy levels, and carving out time for total wellness practices. I’m not going to tell you this is always super easy, but it is doable and well worth the effort to ensure your family is happy and healthy.

There are a number of reasons why my family’s health has become not only a top priority but also my job. As a sustainability consultant for the past 9 years, I was shocked to first learn how many toxic threats we face on a daily basis.  The other grim reality is that our soil quality is degrading and the nutrients in our food supply are diminishing every year. For example, we need to consume 26 apples today to get the same nutrition that 1 apple had in 1914! Heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases and autoimmune disorders are on the rise – and all of this impacts our quality of life in the near and long-term. Despite some of the depressing realities we face, there is growing research that our DNA is not our destiny and that adopting healthy lifestyle practices and fueling our bodies with good nutrition can do wonders for our health and allow us to still lead long and vibrant lives.

And to help you do that, I’m excited to share with you some key points and practices you can start using right away.  To help you remember the practices I think are most important, I came up with an acronym – MASH(H). MASH stands for: Mindfulness, Activity, Sleep, Healthy Foods and Hydration. Here are some tips and resources you can consider for each of these healthy lifestyle practices.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is growing in popularity both as a teaching tool in schools but also in other settings and households. There is an emerging body of research that indicates mindfulness can help children improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset and to make better decisions. In short, it helps with emotional regulation and cognitive focus

I also consider Mindfulness to include teaching our kids an awareness about healthy foods, healthy living and how to be in tune with their bodies so they can be proactive managers of their own health. Here is a great resource for mindfulness practices for kids!

Activity 

Making sure your kids are staying active and getting some form of exercise everyday is key to good health. This may require putting limits on screen time and video gaming and talking to your child about the importance of physical activity both for immune strength but also learning and emotional well-being.

Joining your kid for physical acuity is especially important for parents too. If you have trouble making it the gym due to your busy work schedule, plan evening physical activities you can do together before bedtime, such as an evening bike ride, going for a run while they ride bikes or scooters, or do exercises together in your home.

Sleep 

Carving out time for rest and adequate sleep is key for our kid’s growing bodies; it’s also critical for busy parents who are almost always operating at full throttle. Did you know that 5 years olds that wake up at 6:30am should be in bed by 7:15 pm the night before? A 12 year-old with the same wake-up time should be asleep by 8:45pm.

A good practice: Aim to have homework and activities done before bedtime and start a family wind down an hour before bedtime

Healthy Foods and Hydration 
Healthy Foods:

Good nutrition is the KEY to consistent good health. We should all be getting 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Here are some tips for packing in nutrients.

Make smoothies for breakfast. Add in plant-based protein powders to keep your whole family fueled and full. Add in superfoods like chia and flax seeds and acai frozen packets – or turn your smoothie into a bowl or mug meal topped with fruit and granola (See photo). Make healthy swaps for foods your kids love.

BREAKFAST: Nature’s Path (at most stores, even Target) has frozen waffles that have amaranth, chia seeds, and several gluten free options. Make french toast but use Hemp milk instead of cow’s milk for added omegas and a dairy-free option (which is better for avoiding allergies and other inflammation-related health issues).

LUNCH: Get a lunchbox with compartments so you can add cut fruit and veggies options along with crackers, pretzels or snack mix and cut sandwiches or bagels into small bite sized portions so they different fingers foods to choose from.

SNACK: Have fresh fruits and veggies cut up in a container in your fridge that you can add to a muffin tray after school or before dinner that your kids can graze on. You’d be surprised what they will eat if you just put it out and don’t say anything.

DINNER: Don’t over complicate. I will often get frozen fish from Target’s Simply Balanced brand (sustainably raised or wild caught) and make it with Target’s southwestern brown rice and quinoa mix (just add water and warm), and serve with some organic frozen corn that I warm up in coconut oil or grassfed butter, throw on some salt and pepper – whole dinner takes about 15 mins to prep. Could also make fish sticks from Trader Joe’s or Target, put out shredded cheese, black beans, lettuce, corn and salsas for an instant fish taco bar. Whatever your go to quick meal for kids – try to offer a veggie side or fruit with every meal.

Hydration:  Water is key for flushing our bodies of toxins and keeping us hydrated – which is important for staying healthy and avoiding illness.

Send your child to school everyday with a reusable water bottle with their name on it and fill them with filtered tap water. Do not buy plastic bottles of water (they can leach toxins into water and harm your child and you plus super bad for the environment and our oceans).  Take your reusable water bottle to work and freshen it up with lemon or peppermint essential oil or add some fresh lemon, cucumber or mint for a refreshing taste that motivated you to drink throughout the day.

 

Omegas – What is their wellness factor?

When I started my health coach training 6 years ago, one of things I heard over and over from my teachers was that we (humans) are deficient in fruits and vegetables AND essential fatty acids – both critical for maintaining a healthy immune system. So I was thrilled when I was introduced to a solution that bridges the gap in the number of fruits and vegetables my family and I consume daily through concentrated fruits and vegetables found in Juice Plus+ capsules or chewables.  Four years since integrating this amazing product into our daily health regimen, I am overjoyed that I can now get our omegas from Juice Plus+ also because this month they are releasing their own supplement. While there is plenty of research that shows we need omegas, there is also a lot of research showing that omegas can go rancid and getting a good quality supplement is key, both for you health and your investment. I can’t wait to share this new supplement in tandem with Juice Plus+ concentrated fruits and veggies and their plant-based protein powder.

Here, one of the Juice Plus+ Company’s leading medical experts, Dr. Richard Dubois, answers Frequently Asked Questions about the new omegas:

What are Omegas?

Omegas are fatty acids that have been shown to supports a broad array of health benefits – especially for the heart, brain, joints, skin, and eyes. The number after the term – Omega 3, for example – refers to chemical differences among the various types of omega fatty acids that impact how they are absorbed and utilized by the human body.

Among Omega 3s, what are DHA, EPA, and ALA, and how do they differ?

DHA (docosohexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) are the two main “long chain” Omega 3 fatty acids that are found primarily in algae and fish. ALA (alpha linolenic acid) is the main “short chain” Omega 3 fatty acid found primarily in plants such as flaxseed, chia, and others. Most of the proven benefits of Omega 3s have been linked to DHA and EPA rather than ALA, but ALA can have some additional benefits in the body.

Why do we use algal oil in Juice Plus+ Omega Blend rather than fish, like many other Omega 3 products do?

The algal oil in Juice Plus+ Omega Blend comes from a microalgae, Schitzochytrium, which is grown specifically for its rich DHA and EPA content. Fish actually get their DHA and EPA from eating algae, so we like to say that we are just cutting out the middle fish and going to the original plant source.

Does the algal oil come from the open ocean, and should I therefore be concerned about ocean contaminants in the algal oil?

No. The algal oil that we use in Juice Plus+ Omega Blend comes from algae grown in a contained and controlled environment, so that it is free of any contaminants.

What is sea buckthorn berry?

Sea buckthorn berry is a small orange berry grown in remote regions of the Himalayan Mountains. It is incredibly nutritious and is growing in popularity.

Why are there Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids in the product? I’ve heard that we get too much of them already.

As you know, we believe in trying to provide nutrition from whole food, in nature’s proportions, and Juice Plus+ Omega Blend is no exception. The Omega 6’s and 9’s come naturally from all of the plant-based oils in our Omega Blend, especially the raspberry and tomato seed oils. At their natural levels (as they exist in Juice Plus+ Omega Blend) and without being degraded or changed by processing, Omega 6’s and 9’s are very healthful.

How are the oils in Juice Pus+ Omega Blend processed?

As with the ingredients in all of our Juice Plus+ products, we do our best to process the produce as minimally as possible. For the seed oils in Juice Plus+ Omega Blend, this means that they are cold pressed. It is a similar process to that used to make high quality olive oil. The sea buckthorn berry oil, for example, is extracted using liquid CO2, which allows us to extract the oil from the berries without damaging them through the use of harsh chemicals or the release of toxins (either into the environment or into the product). The algal oil is processed using molecular distillation, which is a process that separates the smallest molecules of DHA and EPA, again without damaging the oils or releasing toxins.

Why does our capsule look different than other oil supplements?

Our Omega Blend is offered in a new, unique, state-of-the-art delivery form. It is a two-piece hard shell capsule, very similar to the capsules that hold our Garden, Orchard, and Vineyard Blends. But the two pieces of the Omega Blend capsule are fused together using a proprietary technique developed by our capsule partners that uses water instead of heat. Our capsule is thus better than traditional delivery forms for oils because the lower temperatures keeps the oils inside the capsules from degrading.

Is Juice Plus+ Omega Blend vegetarian?

Yes. All of the ingredients – including the new capsule shell – are vegetarian.

Is it vegan?

Yes. There are absolutely no animal products or byproducts in Juice Plus+ Omega Blend, so it is likely acceptable to most vegans. However, is not certified vegan because there are other requirements for certification above and beyond the fact that it contains animal products or byproducts. We are investigating those requirements to learn whether or not Juice Plus+ Omega Blend can be certified vegan.

Is it Kosher certified?

Yes.

Will it be NSF certified?

Yes. NSF requires testing of the first commercial batch of product, so we will be submitting that to NSF as soon as it is available. The first commercially-available bottles of Juice Plus+ Omega Blend will not feature the NSF certification seal on them; but as soon as the product passes the NSF certification process, that fact will be available on the NSF website. The NSF seal will then appear on bottles from future production runs.

How is the Juice Plus+ Omega Blend packaged, and what is the recommended daily consumption?

Juice Plus+ Omega Blend comes in bottles containing 120 capsules each. Just like Juice Plus+ Vineyard Blend, we package two bottles together per carton, which equals a four-month supply – just like Juice Plus+ Vineyard Blend. The recommended daily consumption is two capsules per day for adults and teenagers.

Is Juice Plus+ Omega Blend suitable for children?

Yes, of course – just as all of our Juice Plus+ products, as long as the child is able to swallow the capsule. As with other Juice Plus+ blends, children below the age of 13 should take one capsule per day instead of the recommended adult and teenage consumption of two. We do not plan to offer this product in a Chewable version at this time due to manufacturing and stability concerns.

Who makes Juice Plus+ Omega Blend for us?

It is manufactured by one of our long-term product partners. Confidentiality agreements preclude us from being any more specific than that.

Do we have any plans for clinical research on Juice Plus+ Omega Blend?

Yes. We certainly plan to include Omega Blend as part of our ongoing research program. We would not anticipate having a published study completed, however, until early 2019 at the soonest. We will not be conducting research on Juice Plus+ Omega Blend alone, however, just as we don’t have any freestanding research on Juice Plus+ Vineyard Blend – and for the same reason: we don’t want to encourage people to purchase either Omega Blend or Vineyard Blend as a standalone product. We want to keep it connected to our core product, Juice Plus+ Orchard + Garden Blends.

Why is there a Supplement Facts panel on Juice Plus+ Omega Blend, instead of the nutrition facts panel we show on Juice Plus+ Orchard, Garden and Vineyard Blends?

Because of the nature of the product and its focus on providing specific nutrients derived from plants – omega fatty acids – a Nutrition Facts label would be completely useless, offering little more than a series of zeros. Also, providing a Supplement Facts panel will facilitate quantitative comparisons with other omega supplements.

Acai Bowl Obession

If you interact with me at all in person or follow my Facebook or Instagram then you know I have a serious obsession with açaí [pronounced: aˌsaˈi or ah-sigh-ee ]. This started from our frequent visits to Souther California where we were introduced to the Sambazon Acai Cafe in Cardiff.

What makes this food so great?

Açaí is a palm fruit that grows on the banks of the Amazon river. It somewhat resembles a blueberry, and like a blueberry is packed with antioxidants but has some other superfood benefits as well. According to the Sambazon site: “The benefits of Açaí are all found in the pulp-which is naturally packed with antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids (like those in red wine). Unlike any other fruit, the real magic of Açaí is that it has a perfect combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, giving it a creamy mouth feel and loads of trace minerals and essential nutrients.

As someone who is always on the quest for delicious, healthy, nourishing foods, I have come to love açaí because of its nutritional value but also for it’s clean taste and the energy it gives my body. I often make a juice or smoothie as a meal but there are days I want something in a bowl or on a plate that gives me the same feeling of eating clean but that requires a utensil to consume and forces me to actually sit down and eat for a change.

For months I’ve been experimenting with different açaí creations based on those I have bought at juice bars/healthy bowl cafes and loved. The one that has become my favorite incorporates mint and activated charcoal*, which are great for people like me that always need extra help with digestion.

*Note on the charcoal: activated charcoal actually works best when consumed between meals if you are truly trying to clean up your digestive system a AND since it is a detoxing agent, it should not be consumed everyday. That said, activated charcoal is popping up in all kinds of health food trends and adding 2 capsules to your smoothie bowl is a great practice on occasion and will add some extra detoxing for things like pathogens and other environmental toxins that build up in our bodies. I am sure to take a good probiotic though when consuming charcoal so I am replenishing any good bacterias that might get flushed out with the bad ones thanks to the charcoal cleansing magic. If I get on a serious açaí kick and am making them every day, I only add charcoal 2-3 times a week. You can buy activated charcoal on Amazon or check your local health food store.

As I mentioned above, I have also been adding mint to the bowls. I have grown mint all summer in a container pot so access to mint has been easy but you can usually find mint all year round in the herb section of most grocery stores. I also grew lemon balm this summer in my Tower Garden and often add that with or in lieu of mint and love the fresh taste it adds.

Ready to create your own açaí bowl? Here is my go-to recipe for a clean, healthy meal a couple times a week!

Acai Bowl

Creating a Life you Love

Not loving your life is no way to live.

Okay, that is kind of a backwards way of saying that living a life you love is so much more worthwhile. But first you have to create it. And that is not necessarily easy.  It takes work and persistence.  But often with a few small tweaks to our daily practices and mindset, we can begin to transform what happens to us and around us.  Having clear intentions can often be enough to manifest change in our lives and bring us closer or right on the mark of all we desire in this world.

There has been a lot going on for me lately. I’m juggling many different responsibilities and undertakings and often feel really scattered – like I have my hand in too many different things both professionally and personally. I love my health coaching business and often feel like I need about 30 extra hours in the week to dedicate to making it a success and connecting with and supporting others – which is my why for that business. I still do sustainability consulting for the National Zoo because I love the people there and it is the last remnant of my green biz (my first endeavor into entrepreneurship in 2008). I continue to dabble in professional organizing/interior decorating because I get a total feel-good buzz from that and have a natural knack for creating a modern, inviting, clutter-free spaces. But my most important job of all is being a mom and wife. With my boys just 3 and 5 years old, I still make myself available to them as much as I can manage – which is pretty much all hours except for when they are at school from 9am-3pm, most weekdays. My husband is also a business owner in the restaurant world – his schedule is crazy demanding and ever-changing making me the CEO of oh-so-many things. Did I mention my sweet but incredibly energetic (even at 9 years old) dogs that are my first babies and often act like actual children and not just a couple animals living on our house? So, yeah, I have a lot going on but one of the first steps in creating a life I love was for me to know that I am a person who thrives best when I am busy and doing the things that pump my energy, fuel my soul, and lift my spirits in the madness of daily life.

I’m telling you all this because it helps to have context from the person offering you advice. Just like you, I have lots of days where things seem to be swirling around me and I am just focused on getting through the busy day. But no matter how busy I am (which I fully admit is a choice because I choose to take on so much) there are key things I do that have helped me to build a life of internal balance, clarity, gratitude, confidence, and one which thrives on wellness – and for me that can be defined more concretely as staying healthy and nurturing my body and mind so that I operate at close to optimal levels (no one is perfect ;-))

So take a moment and dig in. Can you align yourself better with these simple actions?

  1. Set an intention of how you want your life to be (more energy, less work, better relationship(s), less illness, more money, more exercise, less stress, a new city or town, a different house, an ocean or mountain view, more fresh air – you get the picture)
  2. Visualize that life. What does it feel like? (write down how you would feel and do this daily)
  3. Practice gratitude. We can’t get more of what we want if we aren’t already grateful for all we have. Make a list of three things you are thankful to have in your life. And do this regularly (daily if you can).
  4. Honor yourself.  Stop self-criticism. Know you are enough. We can’t do it all. Believe me. I try all too often and end up disappointed or feeling like I drop the ball, or have all these ideas but never have time to implement. And then I take deep breathe. I honor all that I accomplish in a day – with the love and support I give my family as the number one thing I have to remind myself to be proud of because most of my energy goes there.
  5. Fuel your body with energizing nutrients. There is no way I could keep up with everything as consistently as I do if I did not prioritize eating whole and nutrient-dense foods, limiting caffeine and alcohol, and aiming for consistent rest at night and body movement during the day, even if I’m only doing a 5 or 10-minute workout through an app on my phone, or chasing my kids on their bikes.

Creating a life you love is a practice rooted in authenticity and synchronicity. When we are authentic and confident in who we are, we become more synchronized with the world around us and the life we desire begins to bud, blossom and unfold vibrantly before us.

love and inspiration toward the creation of your glorious life!

ASK

 

Superfood Sweet Potato Smoothie

There is so much a I love about Fall foods – the colors, the warming flavors, the sweet aromas. With squashes, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are at their peak in Autumn I often get overwhelmed deciding which of these seasonal vegetable options to cook. My young boys are not as crazed about the flavors as I am and my restaurateur husband has been working like crazy and rarely is home for meals so I’ve had to get creative on how  to enjoy the Fall harvest (much of which I get from my weekly local farm delivery From the Farmer DC). Since I make a smoothie still several times a week I opted to take my roasted sweet potato and turn it into a delicious, creamy milkshake-like breakfast packed with some added superfoods to power me through the day!

SweetPotato Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 roasted sweet potato (wash a whole sweet potato, poke several holes around with a fork, roast at 400 F for 35-60 mins depending on size, or until soft or oozing slightly)
  • 1 ripe organic pear
  • 2 tbsp of organic cashew butter
  • 1 tsp of organic cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp of cardamom*
  • 3-4 pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp of hemp hearts
  • 2 cups Hemp milk
  • 4-5 ice cubes

* could use 1.5 tsp of Pumpkin Pie spice in place of cinnamon and cardamom

Make

  • Add sweet potato and pear to blender. Add Hemp milk and then rest of ingredients. Blend. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Smoothie1

Take a moment of Gratitude this Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving is a great time to be with the people you care about – whether family or friends. We often spend a lot of time focusing on meal preparation, hosting, or traveling to someone else’s home. Many of us have a tradition of giving thanks or offering a blessing. Regardless of whether you have a religious affiliation or not, creating a gratitude ritual can be good for your health and your mental well-being. Gratitude can have many stress-reducing benefits, help us sleep better, strengthen relationships with our partners and increase our patience with our children, among other positive well-being outcomes.

This Thanksgiving, ask those you celebrate with to name three things they are grateful for and challenge them to make a gratitude list at the end of every day (or most days) from that day forward. You’ll be thankful you did!!

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownie Bites (Delish, I promise!)

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownie Bites

I have had these at a fellow health coach friend’s house a few times and could not believe they had black beans. For one of my healthy living workshops, I wanted a sweet treat that was easy to make and eat and I had already spent a lot of time baking zucchini bread for another workshop early in the week. You won’t believe how simple this! And they are seriously so delicious. My husband and boys love these and it gives me some piece of mind for my 2 year-old especially that he is getting some protein and not all carbs – he could be happy eating french fries and bacon for every meal!

Ingredients and Baking Instructions

  • Get a box of gluten-free brownie mix (available at most big grocery stores or an organic market; my preference is King Arthur gluten free brownie mix which I get at Target
  • Preheat oven to box instruction, usually 350 degrees F
  • Prepare batter to instructions on box – however, swap the butter or vegetable oil called for on the instructions for refined coconut oil
  • 1 can or box of organic black beans – add entire can or box to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. There may be a few little bean specks – that’s ok.

Add the black beans to the large bowl of batter and stir. Grease a mini muffin tray with coconut oil (I used the Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray but often I just take coconut oil from a jar and grease using a paper towel or napkin). Fill each mini muffin tray until batter comes just below the top. You will likely need to make at least 2 batches or use two trays since adding the beans yields a lot of batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tops are not showing liquid. Remove and cool about 5 minutes and then transfer to a cook sheet lined with waxed paper for additional cooling time. You may need to re-grease the muffin tins before you add the next round of batter. When tin is cool, use a paper towel to wipe out remnants from first batch (does not have to be perfectly clean, just no large chunks).  To jazz these up even more, add mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter. You could also add unsweetened shredded coconut or chia seeds – depends on who is eating them and whether they have texture preferences. I recently added my Juice Plus+ Complete chocolate protein powder and it was an awesome addition and them even fluffier, almost like super mini souffles but a way healthier version!

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