Late Summer Skin Care Tip from Pam Crawford

Pink-Salt.jpg

The calendar says it's Fall, but temperatures in Texas continue to hover around 90 degrees! I asked my good friend and Pilates client, holistic skin care expert Pam Crawford, to share some skin care knowledge with us for these "late Summer" months. 

By this time of year your skin may be congested from using sunscreen over the past several months. Pam recommends a good exfoliant to gently scrub away the surface dead skin and product build up so moisture can penetrate the top layers of your skin. Follow this easy and effective recipe to smooth your skin and prepare for Fall : 

Mix equal parts finely ground sea salt (Himalayan Pink Salt is my fave due to it's high mineral content for nutrition and detoxification) with a high quality oil. Coconut oil is soothing and rich for dry skin, while Grapeseed oil is lightweight and better suited for oil skin types. 

Massage the mixture into your skin for a minute or so, using gentle circular movements. Rinse with warm water and continue to work the oil into your skin until it has absorbed. If you feel a bit oily, simply wash your face with your favorite gentle cleanser. Your skin will feel fresh and full of moisture. 

Stay tuned for a luxurious, skin-hydrating recipe from Pam in November.  In the meantime, learn more about Pam here.

Exploring the Power of the Hamsa

BLOG.Hamsa_-1.jpg

I have always been drawn to the Hamsa Hand. So much so that I have a Hamsa tattooed on my left arm! The Hamsa is a beautiful representation, in that no matter what religion or faith you identify with, it is a universal symbol reminding us of unity, connection and that we are all one. The hand, especially the open right hand, is a sign of protection that also represents blessings, power and strength. Used to protect against evil eye, a malicious stare believed to be able to cause illness, death or general unluckiness, Hamsas often contain an eye symbol. The eye in the Hamsa represents the eye that sees everything. The Hamsa brings its owner happiness, luck, health and good fortune. 

The Hamsa hand has a variety of different meanings depending upon the culture. The word "hamsa" derives it's name from the five fingers on the hand. In Hebrew the number five is "hamsesh". For Hindus and Buddhists, it symbolizes the interplay of the chakras, the energy flow in the body, the five senses, and the mudras that effect them.

Each finger has it's own energy: 

  • Thumb : Fire element; Solar Plexus
  • Forefinger : Air element; Heart Chakra
  • Middle Finger : Ethereal elements; Throat Chakra
  • Ring Finger : Earth element; Root Chakra
  • Pinkie Finger : Water element; 

These energies can be combined to change the flow of energy in the body and heal psychological and physical ailments.

Just like our Yoga practice can draw from various cultures and thought, the Hamsa is a symbol that is a significant universal image in various religions; Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. And, just like our Spiritual practice on and off the mat, the Hamsa reminds us that we are all connected and that we are all one. 

Preparing for Pitta Season

Summer-Sunshine.jpg

As the days seem to get longer and longer, and the sun stronger and stronger, it is a sure sign that we are moving into Pitta season. Made up of the primal elements fire (mainly) and water (secondarily), pitta has hot, oily, sharp, light, sour, fluid, and pungent attributes—many of the same sensory qualities that summer surrounds us with. As we enter the summer season, the other elements of earth, air and ether take a backseat to fire for many of us who have higher amounts of Pitta in our constitutions. If you or others you know are predominantly Pitta, you may notice that you tend to be a bit more fiery than usual. Signs of Pitta imbalance this can be represented in the physical body through acne, heartburn, skin irritations, diarrhea and more. Through the mind, it can be witnessed through irritability (especially after being exposed to heat), hypercritical of self or others, competitiveness, envy, and being easily angered.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you are a hot yoga loving Pitta-Yogi, then maybe during these summer months you should focus more on non-heated classes, as you have enough fire and heat in your body to warm yourself quickly than those of a Vata or Kapha nature.

Pitta governs digestion and metabolism, so the fire may flare first in the small intestine and the stomach—Pitta’s main seats in the body—with excesses of digestive acid and bile. Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, especially those with a high water content, can help you to cool down. Also taking sips of aloe vera juice or lots of coconut water throughout the day. However, it’s best to avoid icy-cold drinks (especially with meals) as they will douse your digestive fire and cause digestion to slow down.

If you are Pitta, although that habanero salsa sounds like a great addition to your fish taco, it’s better to skip on the spicy food during this season too. Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes calm Pitta, so eat more foods like apples, grapes, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers and cilantro. Eliminate or reduce your intake of alcohol, heavy meats, and fried, oily, salty, spicy, and sour food

It’s also important for Pittas to eat three meals a day during this season, and lunch should be eaten as close to noon as possible. If you need to go out into the sun, be sure not to do it on an empty stomach. My Farmer's Market Gazpacho is a perfect Summer recipe to balance the fiery-side of Pitta.

How To Release Knots In Your Back

Over the years as a Massage Therapist, the primary complaint of most of my clients was knots in their back; those aching, aggravating, tight spots that just never seem to go away. Something many of you can relate to.

Hours of sitting and working at your desk is an invitation for those irritating spots of tension to take up residence in your neck, shoulders and back. Unfortunately, some workouts can do the same.

I encourage my Pilates clients to get massages on a regular basis to help relieve muscle tension and release tight fascia - something everyone can benefit from. In fact, since I am still a Licensed Massage Therapist, I incorporate mini-massages into my private Pilates classes, focusing on tight muscles that need to be released, then stretched.  

I'm also a big supporter of massages for the additional health benefits such as increased circulation, improved lymphatic function, stress relief, injury prevention...this list could go on but that's all for another post.

If you're stuck with an achey knot in your back and don't have time for a massage here's a trick you can try: 

Tennis Ball Massage

I use this trick throughout the week to fight off the bundles of tension that live beneath my shoulder blades (teaching is not always easy on the body).

How To:

1. Lie on the floor and place a tennis ball between your back and the floor, in the area between your spine and shoulder blade. (Be sure to place it under a muscle, not on a bone or your spine).

2. Let your body weight lean into the ball and roll it up and down (laterally) along the tight muscle/knot in your back. Also try shifting your weight from side to side, moving the tennis ball horizontally.

3. When you feel a point of pressure (a knot) hold the ball in place and relax into it until you feel the knot release. Imagine your muscles 'melting' around the tennis ball. Take long, slow breaths as you do (don't hold your breath) because it may feel quite intense!

You can increase or decrease the depth of the massage by how hard you lean into the ball.

For a less intense version, try leaning against a wall instead of lying on your back.

Travel Tip: Throw a tennis ball in the car on long road trips and use it by placing it between you back and the car seat to release knots while on the road. Or if you're traveling by plane, take a tennis ball with you in your suitcase and roll out your back once you arrive at your destination. 

I hope this trick brings you some relief. Remember, knots may not go away over night...the key is to practice releasing your muscles on a regular basis. 

If you're holding tension in your body day-after-day or sitting/standing with poor posture, the knots will keep coming back. Releasing knots is a short-term 'fix'. The key to making sure the knots don't return, is addressing poor postural patterns, and strengthening weak muscles... which is a primary focus of Pilates!

Chocolate Peppermint Patties (Naughty or Nice)

Even better than store-bought versions. I suggest keeping these in the fridge or freezer for the best texture. The chocolate coating gets all snappy which is a wonderful contrast to the creamy middle.

Nice.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons agave nectar, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

How To: 

1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight, or for at least 2-3 hours. If your blender isn't great at blending things smooth, I suggest soaking overnight for the best results.

2. Drain and rinse the cashews after soaking.

3. Add the cashews, melted coconut oil, agave, milk, and peppermint extract into a high-speed blender. Blend on the highest speed until completely smooth. This can take a couple minutes.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grab mini cupcake/candy liners. Add a half tablespoon of filling into each liner. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you don't have any filling left (you should get about 22-25). Freeze, uncovered, for 20-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

5. After freezing, quickly pop the patties out of the cupcake liners and set each on top of their respective liner. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up even more.

6. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small pot over the lowest heat. When half of the chips have melted, remove it from the heat and stir until all the chips are melted. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly for a few minutes before dunking the patties.

7. Remove the patties from the freezer and dunk them into the melted chocolate with a fork. Tap the side to shake off excess chocolate and place on parchment paper. Do this step as quickly as possible so the patties don't melt. Update: Some of you are having trouble with the chocolate thickening up as you do this step. If this happens, I suggest heating the chocolate again over low heat to thin it back out. The cold peppermint patties are probably causing it to thicken with time. Another option is to just drizzle the chocolate on top of the patties.

8. Return the patties to the freezer until set, for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate coating is firm. Store leftover patties in the freezer/fridge until ready to enjoy!

* To be extra festive (and a little naughty) sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate before the last step.

Naughty.jpg

Thanks to Oh She Glows for the healthy, but tasty twist, on a classic!

No-Bake Power Bars

I'm always playing around with power bar recipes. And when I'm on the go, which is often, I want to grab something that is packed with nutrition and not too sweet. These bars are my new go to afternoon snack.

Power-Bars.jpg

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almonds (raw)
  • ½ cup golden flax meal
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup creamy roasted almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 4 drops stevia
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place almonds, flax meal, shredded coconut, almond butter and salt in a food processor
  2. Pulse briefly, about 10 seconds
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat
  4. Remove coconut oil from stove, stir stevia, honey and vanilla into oil
  5. Add coconut oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste
  6. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  7. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens
  8. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously
  9. Spread melted chocolate over bars; return to refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chocolate hardens
  10. Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve

Makes 20 bars.

Recipe adapted from Going Against The Grain by Diane Smith.

7 Fascinating Facts About Your Muscles

Muscles.jpg

Your muscles aren't just fibers and nerves. They're complex tissues that help you move and, in the process, torch calories and fat to give you a lean, fit figure. So do yourself a favor and get to know them—they're a lot more interesting than you might think.

1. Your muscles can be up to 70 percent water. So when you work out, you should always carry some H2O with you to keep them hydrated.

2. Muscle tissue makes up 35-40 percent of your body weight. Keep this mind before jumping to conclusions when you hop on the scale.

3. For every pound of muscle, the average person can burn up to 50 extra calories. Hmmm...Suddenly that number on the scale doesn't seem so bad…

4. Using heavier weights in your exercises won't necessarily make your muscles stronger. In order to make strength gains, practicing good form should be at the top of your get-fit list.

5. While you can't target weight loss, you can spot tone certain muscles. Just do workouts that are specific toward the body part you want to work on (shoulders, abs, legs), to start seeing more results.

6. A single step uses almost 200 different muscles, including your hamstrings, quads, iliacus, and psoas major and minor. 

7. Your muscles memorize movement patterns. It's important to change up your routine every 6 weeks to 'confuse' your muscles and keep seeing gains. But, if you end up taking a break from the gym—planned or unplanned—all your body needs is a few warm-up exercises to remember how to get into the swing of things.

Top 3 Ways Pilates Helps With Spinning

Spinning-.jpg

At first glance, Pilates and Spinning don’t appear to have much in common – doing 100’s on the Reformer is a world away from sprinting on a stationary bike. However, as a devoted Pilates student + trainer and Spin instructor, I’ve noticed how my Pilates training has improved my performance on the bike. Pilates builds a deep awareness of our muscles and breathing – it can act like a biofeedback loop that can have big results and impact.

Here are 3 ways Pilates can help you take Spinning to the next level:

1. Stability, form, and balance. Pilates builds a strong core, which improves posture and form on the bike. Strong abdominals anchor your body to the bike seat to power your legs and prevent locking out the arms. When standing on the pedals (or “out of the saddle”), the core muscles (especially the hip stabilizers) preserve good form and maximize the workout by preventing swaying from side to side and leaning too heavily on the handlebars.

2. Better breathing. When the flywheel is heavy and you’re pushed to your max, it’s really easy to let your upper body slouch and rib cage collapse.  But this inhibits breathing – obviously not good! Pilates training helps strengthen the upper back and teach back extension, enabling you to keep the chest open, shoulders back, and increases awareness of the lungs inhaling and exhaling so that enough oxygen keeps flowing to the muscles during the hardest part of the workout.

3. Stronger legs. Pilates lower body exercises – bridges, leg lifts, side kicks, and lunge series – work together to build long and lean quadriceps and hamstrings, the most used muscles in Spinning. Strong leg muscles power the sprints and climbs that are part of every Spinning class, and solid quads and hamstrings help to protect your knee joints, too.

Side Note: It's important to mix in both Cardio and Strength Training (yes, Pilates counts!) in your weekly routine to get strong and lean. 

The 6 Pilates Principles

There are 6 essential principles in Pilates that are important to keep in mind as you begin your Pilates journey or dive deeper into your practice.

These principles were not created by Joseph Pilates himself, rather they were brought about by those who studied under him in an effort to preserve and spread his unique method of exercise.

1. Centering

This addresses the key component in Pilates that everything begins and ends with the center. Some people call this the core, others call it the “powerhouse.” All Pilates exercises are energized and powered from the center (you can read more about what “the core” includes in this post).

2. Concentration

Pilates is not an exercise method where you can show up and zone out. One should bring their full attention to each exercise and what is going on in the body to work efficiently, effectively and with intention.

3. Control

Every Pilates exercise is to be performed with full body control. Using momentum or rushing through exercises at the expense of form and function is not Pilates. Pilates requires control of both mind and body.

Joseph Pilates

Pilates Principles
Pilates Principles

4. Precision

Exercises should be performed with precision and focus. The details matter. Working with precision will affect the muscles that you work and the effectiveness with which you work them. Failing to focus on the precise details will reduce the effectiveness of the method.

This is the beauty of Pilates. This is why we only have you do 8-16 repetitions rather than 30+. When done right, more is not better. In Pilates we work smarter, not harder.

5. Breath

Joseph Pilates encouraged full, intentional breathing in life and in exercise. The breath has the power to transform the body and mind. When practicing Pilates one should exercise the lungs by breathing deeply and synchronizing the breath with the movement at hand.

6. Flow

Pilates exercises should flow with grace and ease. Flowing through each exercise, from one exercise to the next and using all part of the body in graceful unison.

No-Bake Sticky Blueberry Bars

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 12 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Toppings:

  • 6-8 oz blackberries
  • 6-8 oz blueberries
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Coconut Cream Concentrate
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. First make your crust. Add all ingredients for the crust to a food processor.
  2. Put crust ingredients in an bread pan, press down until evenly distributed.
  3. Now heat up a small saucepan under medium heat. Add your blackberries and blueberries, along with your maple syrup.Be sure to continuously stir so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.
  4. Once you have almost a runny jam, add your melted/softened coconut cream concentrate along with cinnamon and salt.
  5. When all ingredients are incorporated, pour mixture on top of crust and press flat. Put in the fridge to harden for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Cut into squares and serve

Thanks to PaleOMG for these killer bars

The Endless Web : Fascial Anatomy & Physical Reality

Book Description

Release Date: Nov. 11, 1996

Fascial FitnessThe result of more than two decades of research and practice, The Endless Web presents in clear, readable language a comprehensive guide to understanding and working effectively with the myofascial system, the 'packing material' of the body. Myofascia is a flexible network of tissue that surrounds, cushions, and supports muscles, bones, and organs. It also acts as a riverbed containing the flow of interstitial fluid, and is a critical influence on the immune and hormonal systems. In daily life, this connective tissue is an underlying determinant of movement quality, modd, alertness, and general well-being. The Endless Web is a fully illustrated guide to understanding how myofascia works, it supportive role within the body's anatomy, and how gentle manipulation of the myofascial tissue is central to lasting therapeutic intervention and how it can be integrated into any bodywork practice.

 

Sold on Amazon.com

15 Hydration Facts for Athletes

Water is a wonderful performance enhancer. Unfortunately, too many athletes overlook the power of this essential nutrient. Perhaps it's your turn to give water a try? This article offers droplets of information to enhance your water I.Q., optimize your water balance, and help you feel and perform better.

Hydration-for-Athletes.jpeg

1. You don't have to drink plain water to hydrate. 

All fluids count, as do foods that have high water content. For example:

  • Oatmeal is 84 percent water.
  • Low-fat milk is 90 percent water.
  • Coffee is 99.5 percent water.
  • Lettuce is 96 percent water.
  • Tomato is 95 percent water.
  • Broccoli is 89 percent water.
  • Low-fat vanilla yogurt is 79 percent water.
  • Ice cream is 60 percent water.

2. You cannot function without water.

Your body cannot survive without sufficient water, as noted by the fact that athletes die from dehydration. Water is the solvent for your biochemical reactions.

3. You need water for digestion.

Water is required to moisten food (saliva), digest food(gastric secretions), transport nutrients to and from cells (blood), discard waste (urine), and dissipate heat (sweat). Water is a major component of the muscles and organs; about 60 percent of a male's body weight and 50 percent of a woman's body weight is water.

4. Your body parts have different water contents.

Water constantly moves through your cells. About 4 percent to 10 percent of your body-water gets replaced every day with "fresh" water. For example:

  • Blood is approximately 93 percent water.
  • Muscle is about 73 percent water.
  • Body fat is about 10 percent water.

5. Bioelectrical impedance (BIA) methods of measuring body fat actually measure body water.

This formula estimates the ratio of water to muscle and fat. Hence, if you use a Tanita Scale or Omron device, be sure to maintain adequate hydration. If you are dehydrated, you'll end up with an inaccurate (higher) estimate of body fat.

6. Your body produces 8 to 16 oz. of water per day.

This occurs during normal metabolic processes. During a marathon, a runner's muscles can produce that much water over two to three hours. When muscles burn glycogen, they simultaneously release about 2.5 units water for every 1 unit of muscle glycogen; this helps protect against dehydration.

7. Your coffee is a source of water.

Although once thought to have a diuretic effect, current research indicates coffee (in amounts normally consumed) hydrates as well as water over a 24-hour period. That is, after drinking coffee, you may urinate sooner, but you will not urinate more than you consume.

Army research on caffeine and dehydration confirms coffee is an acceptable source of fluids for athletes, even during exercise in the heat. Hence, coffee and other caffeinated beverages such as tea or cola count towards your water intake.

8. An increased concentration of particles in your blood triggers the sensation of thirst. 

If you are a 150-pound athlete, you'll start to feel thirsty once you've lost about 1.5 to 3 pounds of sweat (1 percent to 2 percent of your body weight). You are seriously dehydrated when you have lost 5 percent of your body weight.

9. Body water absorbs heat from your muscles and sweat dissipates heat.

The evaporation of 1 liter (about 36 oz.) of sweat from the skin represents a loss of about 580 calories. Sweat keeps you from overheating during exercise and in hot environments.

10. You can measure your water losses after a workout.

To determine how much water you lose when you sweat, weigh yourself (with little or no clothing) before and after one hour of hard exercise with no fluid intake. The change in body weight reflects sweat loss. A one-pound drop in weight equates to loss of 16 oz. of sweat. A two-pound drop equates to 32 oz.—that's 1 quart. Drink accordingly during your workouts to prevent that loss.

11. When you sweat, you lose water from both inside and outside your cells.

The water outside the cells is rich in sodium, an electrolyte that works in balance with potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte inside the cells. Sweat contains about seven times more sodium than potassium, hence sodium is the most important electrolyte to replace during extended exercise.

12. Dehydration can hinder athletic performance.

Athletes who lose more than 2 percent of their body weight (3 pounds for a 150-pound athlete) lose both their mental edge and their ability to perform optimally in hot weather. Yet, during cold weather, you are less likely to experience reduced performance, even at 3 percent dehydration.

Three to 5 percent dehydration does not seem to affect muscle strength or performance during short intense bouts of anaerobic exercise, such as weight lifting. But distance runners slow their pace by 2 percent for each percent of body weight lost through dehydration. Sweat loss of more than 10 percent body weight is life threatening.

13. Water can reduce constipation and help with urinary tract infections.

There is also no scientific validation of theories that excessive water intake will improve weight loss, remove toxins, or improve skin tone.

14. You don't need eight glasses of water per day.

No scientific evidence supports the "eight glasses per day" rule, so you can simply drink in response to thirst. You can also monitor the volume of your urine. If your urine is scanty, dark, and smelly, you should drink more. If you have not urinated during your work or school day (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.), you are severely under-hydrated.

15. Bottled water is not always better than tap water.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, nearly half of bottled waters come from municipal water supplies—not from the mountain streams pictured on the labels. This suggests standard municipal tap water is high quality.

Rather than spend money on bottled water, turn on your tap. This will help stop the flood of 95 million plastic water bottles that get discarded each day, of which only 20 percent get recycled. Drink plenty of water—but think "green."

Dehydrating Foods to Avoid

hydration.jpg

Proper hydration is critical for performance, especially in the summer when higher temperatures and humidity causes athletes to sweat more.

When the body loses water, dehydration can set in and cause blood volume to decrease, which can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness and difficulty regulating body temperature. 

Even the most conscientious athlete can hurt their efforts to stay hydrated because of the food they eat.

Here are a few dehydrating foods and beverages to avoid during the summer racing season.

Salt

Sodium is necessary for maintaining fluid balance in the body. However, large amounts of sodium ingested through cured fish, meats or deli meats, soy sauce, fried foods and snack foods like popcorn or chips can leave you feeling thirsty.

Always choose items with lower sodium when available. For instance, if you're out for sushi, try the low-sodium soy sauce. Don't forget to drink extra water when eating these foods too.

Protein

Athletes have slightly higher protein needs than the average sedentary individual. Yet, there's no good mechanism to store protein in the body if consumption surpasses need. Often people who consume large quantities of protein, while restricting carbohydrates, end up with increased ketone levels. Ketones are then excreted through your urine, and if your body is excreting more urine than usual, you need extra water to supplement all that was lost.

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages are high in calories (7 kcal/gram) and can cause dehydration—two bad side effects for athletes during summer racing season. A general rule is to consume one glass of water or club soda between alcoholic beverages. It may calm your buzz, but your body will thank you the next day.

Sugary Foods and Drinks

Have you ever wondered why you need a tall glass of milk to wash down a delicious brownie? Foods with high levels of sugar impact fluid balance in the body. Sweet foods and drinks drive up our thirst mechanism because many of them contain sodium. Turn to water and foods with high water concentration like celery and watermelon to quench your thirst and your hunger.

Caffeine

Caffeine is considered a diuretic. In some people, caffeine does not increase urinary excretion nor cause increased heart rate. However, for those who don't normally consume caffeine, having it during training or on race-day is a recipe for dehydration.

Virgin Watermelon Granita

Water-melon-granita.jpg

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups frozen watermelon
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2 tbsp vodka (optional)

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender, pour in your favorite glass, and garnish with mint leaves, lime and/or watermelon wedge. Enjoy!

Note: True granitas take a bit more work. This is the quick + easy variation and tastes just as good. If you want an adult version, try adding in 2 tbsp of your favorite vodka. Cheers!

The Many Benefits of Honey for Our Skin

Honey.jpg

The many benefits of honey for our skin...

  • Contains favonoids - super anti-oxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory - both inside the body and topically
  • Humectant - draws moisture to the skin - keeps skin soft and protected
  • Anti-bacterial - great wound healer for scratches, burns, bites, etc (also great zit healer!)

Honey is one of my favorite "go-to" ingredients for all things skin related.  It is right up there with coconut oil.  Have a strange rash? Honey.  Have a zit? Honey.  Have a burn? Honey. Have dull, dehydrated skin? Honey.  You get the picture! 

Be sure to get raw, unpasteurizedhoney.

Lemon Raspberry Pancakes (Gluten-Free)

lemon-raspberry-pancakes-e1399406911323.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey

For the pancakes

  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • ½ cup almond milk + 3 tablespoons (carton, unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • coconut oil, for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the first three ingredients: raspberries, lemon juice, and honey. Mix together and let simmer. Once raspberries have broken down, bring heat to low to let thicken slightly.
  2. Whisk together pancake ingredients: eggs, almond milk, honey and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
  3. Then, while continuously whisking, add coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking powder and baking soda and a pinch of salt to the large bowl. Whisk until batter is well combined.
  4. Grease a large pan and place over medium heat. Once pan is hot, use a large ladle to pour a pancakes size pancake on the pan. Then use a small spoon to scoop out a tablespoon of the raspberry jam mixture and swirl it around on the top of the pancake.
  5. Once pancake has cooked and bubbles begin to surface on the top of the pancake, flip it. The pancake should need to cook for 2-3 minutes each side.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the pancake mixture.

Yields 4-5 four-inch pancakes

Thanks to PaleOMG for this tasty brekkie.

Tom Kha Gai aka Chicken Coconut Soup Deliciousness

tom-kha-gai-chicken-coconut-soup.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 3 (2)inch pieces lemongrass, bruised to help release the flavor
  • 2-3 (1)inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 Thai chili peppers, thinly chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, thinly sliced (may substitute shrimp)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)

How To:

1. Bring all ingredients to (including chili peppers if using) to a boil.

2. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour or so to really get those flavors melding.

3. Add in the mushrooms and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer.

4. Add in the chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through.

5. Finish off with some cilantro and extra chili peppers (optional) and enjoy!

Thank you to Paleo Comfort Foods for this yummy Paleo winter soup.

Coconut & Cacao Protein Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed pitted Medjool dates (13-14 large)  
  • 1/4 cup hulled hemp seed
  • 1/4 cup chia seed
  • 1/4 cup sesame seed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut  **omit if you need to avoid nuts/coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 scoop Jay Robb egg white protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs (or mini dark chocolate chips)

How To:

Add dates into processor and process until a chunky paste forms.

Add in the hemp, chia, sesame, cocoa, *coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, protein powder and salt. Process until thoroughly combined. Pulse in the cacao nibs. The dough should be sticky when pressed between your fingers. If it’s not sticky enough to shape into balls, add a small amount of water (a teaspoon at a time) and process until it comes together.

Shape dough into small balls (about 16) and roll the top half of each in the remaining coconut flakes.  Freeze for 20 minutes or so until firm. Store leftovers in the fridge until your next snack attack hits.

Thank you to Oh She Glows for these sweet treats!  

Golden Beet Salad

golden-beet-salad1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 Fuji Apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Almonds, Slivered
  • 3 Golden Beets, boiled
  • 5 cup Spring Mix Salad Greens
  • 2 tsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar

How To:

Thoroughly scrub beets clean under cold water.

Place beets in a large pot of water, and boil until fork tender (about 45 minutes).

Remove skin from beets, then chop into bite-sized pieces.

Allow to cool before adding to the salad.

Rinse and chop the Fuji apple.

Toss spring mix greens with the apple and slivered almonds.

Add in the cooked beet chunks.

Drizzle salad with avocado oil and white balsamic vinegar, and serve.

Thank you to The Food Lovers Kitchen for this perfect summer recipe.