I have a big announcement that I've been waiting to share with you all!
As of this month, I am the newest Nourishment Instructor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine for their Thrive Community Program!
Being able to teach even MORE people how to cook, bake and eat gluten-free and dairy-free is a dream and I love this journey more and more everyday.
If you're local to Arizona, come join me April-June, where I am scheduled once a month to teach the basics of GF/DF cooking and baking. I will be focusing on how to create the perfect Italian Dinner, a delicious Weekend Brunch and a special class on integrating Anti-Inflammatory cooking into your day to day menus.
You'll get to learn how to make the dishes seen here on Nosh and Nurture, a few surprise treats and of course, you'll get to taste ALLLL the deliciousness first hand in a state-of-the-art kitchen facility at one of my FAVORITE schools in the country!
Located in the new building on the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Campus in Tempe, Arizona, my class schedule is as follows:
You can get more information of the classes offered, pricing details and register here:
Pairing up with the Aetna Foundation for the Healthiest Cities Challenge inspired me to share with you some ways that me and my family infuse health and wellness into our everyday. Implement one of these each day, or each week, for a couple of months and they will become a healthy habit!
01. Start Your Mornings Slow -
Each morning I take my time to get ready for my day. Prayer, devotionals, cuddles with the puppies and a nice breakfast are key to centering me and setting me up for my best day working from my home office or heading out for events or meetings with clients.
02. Connect With Your Inner Child -
Playtime isn't just for elementary school and recess. Even as adults we need to take the time to connect to our inner child and play. For my full post on ways you can play as an adult, click here.
03. Drinking Water & Meal Planning -
Make sure that you’re getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and water each day. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you incorporate healthier food options for your snacks and meals. (credit Aetna Foundation) For assistance in healthy, effortless meal planning, contact me.
04. Make Playtime Count -
When it comes to playing with the kids, opt out of video games and TV time and do something that will stimulate you all mentally or physically. Whether this is a craft project or getting outside for some old fashioned sports and sunshine, it will benefit you all more if activities such as these become part of your regular routine.
05. Physical Care -
Aside from your daily workouts, activities like getting regular massage, joining a sports team, or yes, even regular sex with your spouse can greatly boost your endorphins, pumping the feel good chemical through your body, thereby lowering stress levels naturally.
06. Get Involved -
Volunteering, meeting new people and staying connected to your friends and families is shown to improve health outcomes. With a strong support system, you can also help each other make healthier choices and organize ways to stay on course. Websites like Volunteer Match or Big Brothers, Big Sisters are great places to start to connect to new people and help your community in the process.
07. Micro-Breaks -
Life can get busy and overwhelming, but simple acts like taking a few deep breaths, standing and stretching or taking a walk can help calm the mind and relieve stress. Remember to take breaks even on busy days, not just the slow ones and if you work from home, having animals is great because it helps force you to take mini-breaks. (credit Aetna Foundation)
08. Daily Workouts -
Of course one of the most important aspects of daily wellness is exercise. Aetna shares some great tips to making working out fun: Break it up throughout the day! Watching TV? Have a competition with your family members during commercials: Who can get the most steps up and down the stairs? Or who can do the most push ups or sit ups? Another way to make it fun is to put on music and dance! Me and Mr. Charming also turn up our iPods when we clean the house so we can clean and dance around, burning extra calories and making chores fun. Taking an after dinner walk as a family is also a great way to get in your fitness while bonding.
09. Power Down -
Hearing this one at the Aetna Foundation event reminded me that this is a weakness for me and something I want to implement in our home.
Put your smart phone and yourself in sleep mode. Try to create a relaxing bedtime routine or develop a sleep schedule to help you get the best night’s rest possible. This includes unplugging from electronics an hour or more before bed time. Remember that you can turn off notifications when you go to sleep. It keeps you from waking up when your phone receives messages throughout the night. Also remember to shut down the Wi-Fi! It forces everyone to have quiet time and it can have a positive impact on the morning routine. (credit: Aetna Foundation)
10. Help Your City! -
Help your city become the healthiest it can be by joining the #HealthiestCitiesChallenge. For more information read my blog post on ways to increase health and wellness citywide in your area.
Going completely gluten-free in 2011, (and doing it cold turkey), was both one of the hardest things, and most rewarding things I've ever done. Food, for many of us, is more than just a means of survival. Even if we have a healthy relationship with food. It can be a social aspect of our lives, or a true lifestyle if it's a career for us or if we spend time in the kitchen baking or cooking for our families or guests on a regular basis.
So when you have to make a major diet change, of any kind for any reason, whether it be medical or for diet, it's going to take some getting used to.
It was hard for me in the sense that, in the beginning, I had no idea what was safe. What I could and couldn't eat. I did a lot of research and learned quickly, but those early months brought upon a lot of panic and uneasiness about shopping, dining out, attending events and travel.
If you have any questions, I'm always here to help. However, this post isn't going to be focusing on the how or the what's of what to eat, it's to focus on some of the mistakes or challenges that many new gluten-free foodies and clients of mine face that I wanted to address today. (P.S. I dislike the word mistake, as all of this advice comes out of love and we are all navigating these waters one day at a time, in our own way.) This is just here to serve as a helper along the journey.
Mistake #1 - The Processed Food Trap
This one is number one because it is the one I see most often when I am helping my readers through the gluten and wheat removal process. They find comfort in the boxes emblazoned with a "now gluten-free" label on it. Now while some of these items are fine, most boxed and processed foods lack real nutrition of any kind. Developing an intolerance to gluten can come about for many reasons, but for me and many of my clients, it was a breakdown in our gut health. Gut health cannot be restored through processed grains from another family, or through nutrient-lacking, sugar laden products that are so readily available today.
The best thing you can do when making your transition, is stick to whole, natural, healthy foods such as tolerated vegetables, fruit, healthy meats and fish, opting for gluten-free packaged goods in very low moderation so that you don't feel deprived.
Mistake #2 - The In-Home Contamination Issue
Many of my readers and clients say, "I have to go gluten-free, but my (husband, parents, kids, etc.) don't want to or don't have too. How can we co-exist?" Or the unfortunate instance to where they say they've gone gluten-free but continuously feel sick after eating at home with family members who aren't gluten-free.
One of the tasks I took on when I switched over, was claiming "my" safe spaces in the kitchen. Mr. Charming for the most part is gluten-free, out of support, for his health and because I cook most of the meals, haha, but he isn't 100% and does have his own snacks, occasional bread or waffles, etc.
I purchased my own toaster (this one is key because it's not cleaned like other dishes, such as pans, plates, etc are.) for starters because of waffles and other morning goods I need to heat up after a weekend of baking. I also have my own Ninja, which I know is pricey to own two, but we don't like to dishwasher clean them after each use, and it makes it easier for him to be able to use his milk-based proteins if he wants too and I don't have to worry about residual powder in my smoothie. I also have my very own shelves in the pantry. Crumbs are evasive little buggers, and those with Celiac or an allergy know they can't have even just a sprinkle of gluten, so your own shelves, preferably at the top are best. That way all of our food stays separate and his cookie crumbles don't touch my packages.
Other precautions we take are no double dipping in condiment jars. I have my own almond butter and mayonnaise. We also don't share off of plates, drink from each others glasses, etc. It may seem like a lot at first, but once it becomes a habit it will become second nature. It feels like a normal routine to us now and isn't seen as an inconvenience at all.
Mistake #3 - The Dining Out Question Conundrum
Being prepared and doing research ahead of time can make dining out a pleasurable experience. This one took some learning and trusting for me, but once I had my tools ready at my disposable I found dining out enjoyable again and actually became a professional gluten-free food reviewer nation wide.
Find Me Gluten Free is an amazing app that allows you to find gluten-free places in your area and read reviews. The reviews are number one to me when choosing a new restaurant in a new city. Also, visiting restaurants websites and reading their menus, and even calling, can be a huge help in booking.
Mistake #4 - The Unprepared Traveler
This one I see a lot, I get many people telling me they were stuck at "the airport, hotel lobby, amusement park... etc.) with NOTHING to eat. My biggest tip for you, SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS. Always have a snack for every two hours you'll be gone and then an extra emergency one if there is a delay or it turns out the place you planned to go doesn't have safe food.
Using the Find Me Gluten Free App is always a God send in this situation too. I always map out where the closest markets are and the closest gluten-free or vegan eateries are in the area I'll be traveling too so I can make a plan to go straight there and stock up on food. Not without a stash of protein bars, fruit, veggies or nuts in my purse, just in case.
Mistake #5 - Not Speaking Up
Having a food intolerance or allergy isn't the time to be shy. Whether it's at a restaurant or a friends or families home, it's always better to ask questions, ask for a list of ingredients or ask to bring your own dish. Asking in certain situations may be uncomfortable, but better to be uncomfortable for a few moments than sick for days, or worse.
This one was especially hard for me in the beginning because I always like to be a "good guest". So I ended up starving at most social events, haha. Then as I started to open up and take back my life as an "out of home diner" I learned that most people DO care and would RATHER you ask than starve or risk getting sick at their event.
Mistake #6 - Not Embracing The Versatility
This one took the longest for me in my process. I stayed really safe with a bland rotation of the same foods for many months. It was when I started exploring my kitchen with a fresh, healthier perspective that I got to learn about God's amazing food supply and the creations I could make that could still satisfy that "home cooked meal" desire we all have inside.
Cooking delicious GF/DF meals for family and friends is a challenge I love taking on. When I see their faces light up over my lasagna (you can't even tell there's no cheese in here!") or my banana bread french toast (best. thing. ever.) it warms my heart to know that there is purpose in this journey. There is purpose in your journey too, find the blessings in it and get creative.
All of these are learning curve moments, and I was victim to a couple of them myself in the beginning. As we grow in the change, it becomes easier to handle and we begin to learn to love to cook again. Finding new ways, new recipes and holding a new appreciation for just how powerful food can be to our bodies. Either as poison or as a life-giving, nutrient dense experience.
The question I get asked the most is, "how do you live without (insert food here)?"
I simply answer, "I live healthier, happier and easier without that in my life."
Plain and simple.
Join me this Saturday on TMI Radio on the Deeper Than Music radio show while I talk about the importance of nutrition for performers in studio, on the road and for overall good health. This talk also pertains to speakers and professionals who travel.
We will also be talking about my professional background in music, how I came to nutrition in this new endeavor, how I'm still involved with NVE Records/Universal Records and much more!
I hope you tune in and call in! I look forward to sharing my love of nutrition and my love of music in the same space!
4. Keep A Journal. By keeping a journal, I am able to share food ideas as well as my specific struggles along the way. I can reference back to how it went the last time each time I embark on a new cleanse, and it gives me hope to read about the days I felt lighter, lost weight or felt super energized!
5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Remember that you are doing this for YOU. For you to feel GOOD. To feel LIGHT and HEALTHY. If you mess up, it’s OK. Be kind with you
& if you havn't yet, read my Honest Girl's Guide To Surviving A Sugar Cleanse
Last year I guest posted on Around My Family Table on my Honest Girl's Guide To Surviving Sugar Cleanse. And as many of you are working hard at your resolutions, getting healthy and striving to stay healthy if you're on a good health path, I wanted to share it here in this space this year.
t’s that time of year again. When we all set out to refresh. Wipe the slate clean. Become A “New” Person, whatever that last one means. This intention is masked with words like “resolutions”, “goal setting” and “complete turnaround”, and while the effort we make is commendable, sometimes we are setting ourselves up for disappointment if our January 1st To-Do list isn’t completed by the next time the ball drops.
Today I wanted to focus on healthier goal setting, specifically one of the most popular trends on every social media feed and that is “Completing a Sugar Detox” or a “Sugar Cleanse”. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a basic whole food diet that eliminates starches, breads, pastas, starchy vegetables and sugar in any form. As someone who has personally done a sugar detox in the past, and as someone who doesn’t consume dairy, my diet looked a little something like this.
– Grass-Fed and Free-Range Organic Meats
– Organic Vegetables and Some Organic Fruits
– Nuts and/or Seeds
– Healthy Fats (Avocado, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil)
Diets rich in these foods with help to cleanse and reset your system from all the holidays treats that it had to endure over the last few months and it will help you realize what you crave, what you’re sensitive too and what you can most likely live without.
As someone who has been through this, I am here to paint the honest picture of the roller coaster that you might, er, will endure, and how to fight off your sugar dragon like a superhero.
Morning Drink: Each morning I start with a warm mug of water with either a lemon slice or 1 TBSP. of Apple Cider Vinegar. Lemon helps cleanse your system, while Apple Cider Vinegar can help with flushing bacteria or yeast out of the system. This week I'm doing ACV all the way.
Garlic & Onion Everything: While everyone's cooking pumpkin into everything this year, I am adding heaps of garlic and onion into all of our dishes when I can. Just today my poor hubs said "I didn't take my lunch to work, because we have to eat in a meeting and I can't be smelly". Garlic and onion are stars at combating viruses, reduce inflammation and are very cleansing.
Herbivore: I'm also adding spices such as oregano and thyme. Oregano cleanses the respiratory and urinary systems and cleanses out candida. Thyme aids in urine volume output which helps to detox, and is good for the respiratory system.
Get Moving: I will admit and be 100% real with you. Fatigue likes to be my best friend sometimes. Especially when my body isn't detoxing (Thanks, MTHFR) (I'm not swearing it's a condition I have...) and working out is not my favorite thing. If I could just eat healthy and be super fit, that would be aces. But alas, food is 80% of it, while 20% of it is moving. Working out also helps detoxing, it eliminates stress in the body, keeps all of our systems moving and healthy. So, I joined a new gym this past weekend and I walk, use the elliptical, light weights and do Holy Yoga.
Oil Pulling: I have a full post on oil pulling and how it's benefited me, but its so great for detoxing our bodies and keeping up our oral health.
Massage & Therapy: I get regular massages. Bi-weekly I get a variation of Swedish for the relaxing properties and deep tissue to help get out any tension I'm carrying. I also go to a Pelvic Floor Therapist which has been a life saver.
Reflexology: When I am feeling irregular (welcome to my life of TMI, haha) reflexology on my feet along my ":Intestinal" points works like a gem! Staying regular is CRUCIAL for detoxing. And while we're already on this topic, get a Squatty Potty. Enough said.
Shower Time: I start my showers with dry brushing and while in the shower I alternate hot and cold water as it cleanses the lymphatic system.
Clean Air: Make sure to get outdoors regularly and use a good air filter in your home. We have a great one in the bedroom, along with organic mattress and pillow covers.
Drink All The Water: Drinking 8 glasses of clean, filtered water is one of the most important things you can do EVERYDAY.
MIND & SOUL
When I Rise: I start every day with devotions. I read a daily devotional to set my intentions with God's word, and I read bible verses and pray with breakfast.
Holy Yoga: Yoga is extremely detoxifying. Both mentally and physically. I however, wanted to be connecting to Jesus when I went through my workout so I found a local Holy Yoga class and its been amazing.
Crack A Book: Reading calms me and learning new things invigorates and re-inspires my passions. Reading in a quiet, well lit area brings contentment.
Our Inner Child: I did a whole post on the importance of play, and its crucial to our health. Adult coloring, traveling, playing in the yard, hosting game nights. The activity doesn't matter, just have FUN.
CBT: Last year I regularly saw a therapist to work through anxiety and the loss of our little. I still check in with her for maitenence appts to keep my mind clear. She's also Christian and we pray and read God's word together.
Quality Time: Spending quality time with loved ones is a great way to detox your whole body. Endorphins are magical & wondrous.
Meditation & Breathing: Deep breathing is everything in detoxing. We often breathe so shallow, taking time to be mindful a few minutes a day to breathe in fully, connect with God and clear our mind of the day is as important as the food, herbs and water we consume.
Next On The Detox Plan:
Always looking for ways to aid my body in detoxing, I've asked Santa for a rebounder (translation: adult trampoline) which aids which also gets the lymph system moving.
The gym I joined has a dry sauna which is king in ways to detox. I plan to start slow and steady under the care of my doctor and increase my time in the sauna.
I also have more tests scheduled on my detox pathways. Always growing, learning, but most importantly praying for healing.
You may have noticed detox baths (usually a mix of warm water, Epsom salt and essential oils) are missing from my list. I found each time I did one I got sick. My doctor told me they are probably to intense for me right now (which is why everyone is different) and that a foot soak is probably a better way for me to go right now.
Anything missing that you swear by to detox this time of year? Or do you have a favorite from the list? Also, for those of you that have experience rebounding or hitting the sauna, what's been your experience?
Living in Hollywood, I enjoyed salads, vegan subs and whole wheat pastas and chicken when at home. So I thought I was golden to eat whatever I wanted on my "off time". I loved sipping a sugar-laden latte (before I knew better) and biting into a posh bakery cupcake. I enjoyed late night movies with friends eating local L.A. Chinese takeout & red wine. Rich cream sauces topped my salmon dinners. I had gotten it wrong. Decadence over dedication. To my body, and to God.
I firmly believe that we can find purpose in our pain, and developing health ailments was a way to force me to change the way I ate and the way I look at food. I believe it all had a purpose. It wasn't easy, even a little scary, it takes dedication, it takes diligent planning every single day, but its not without purpose.
It's what led me here. To this blog. To meeting you. It's what led me back to school. It's what led me to learning more than I ever thought I could about food, our food system, our bodies. It's what led me to helping me family eat better. It's what led me to be able to calmly answer those who are scared when they learn they can no longer drink milk or eat bread. I believe its what led me to conceive a child giving us hope for a family one day.
That is all what one calls purpose.
And it's all from a wonderful and purposeful God.
Through biblical principles we can deduce that it is beneficial and even morally right to emphasize a healthful diet.
We know God cares for our well-being and that our bodies need to remain in good health to carry out the work God has planned for us as seen in Exodus 2:10.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Psalms has so many beautiful verses on God's provision over us, and His animals, with the food He's blessed us with. I've learned through God's word and eating organic to respect the seasons. I no longer eat strawberries when there's a chill in the air because it was God's plan for them to be sweet treats of summer. Same with the cyclical life of grapes and squashes. As we cleanse our bodies of GMO and non-organically grown food we learn to plan our menus around the seasons.
And there is something so beautiful about that.
Psalm 104:27 These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.
We can still find joy in His gifts. We can still make beautiful dinners for friends at our table. We can still create beautiful dishes that inspire others to eat clean. We just need to remain mindful of the source of which our food comes, how it benefits our health and bodies so that we may remain steadfast in our works for His kingdom's Glory.
*I do believe there is always a time and place for prescription medications and they can be a blessing in certain situations. Please always speak to you doctor and naturopath on healthy alternatives and know when your medications are needed.
Some people are totally against it, others find it intimidating (you don't have to, get my easy recipes here!), others argue about the way the sugars of liquid-form fruits work in your body (and as a nutritionist, I understand these points too, which is why I always add veggies to mine for balance) and others find them to be a luxury.
Especially when you add in protein powders. Protein powders can be quite pricey, especially the good quality brands with high health benefit profiles, and so in turn many associate protein = luxury item.
But to me, it's a non-negotiable and it comes down to my priorities. If I'm blessed enough to have the means to stay on mine regularly, I choose to make it a priority, every morning. I feel better, I feel healthier and I perform better when my body is getting all of the nutrients, vitamins and amino acids it needs. And whether you're on the Standard American Diet, an elimination diet or special diet, its easy to miss out on essential nutrients your body needs.
I start every day with one of three smoothies. On weekends, when I cook a gourmet breakfast, I have my smoothie for lunch. I like to put them in rotation so that my body is regularly getting high doses of not only the things I'm deficient in, but things that my Dr. has prescribed for me, things that help my body to heal, to be energized and things that keep my immune system boosted.
- The first is a prescribed, anti-inflammatory formulated powder that is obtained through my Naturopath.
- The second is a new one for me, also prescribed, it's a pre-natal, fertility smoothie loaded with high levels of methylated B-12 and Folate to aid my MTHFR and fertility.
- And last but not least, the fitness star, is the protein and amino-acid packed Everlast protein powder that helps me when I'm working out, running, in yoga and in dance to give me energy and help to repair my body and muscles. If you are vegan, and can tolerate rice, this is a great option. It's a vanilla-flavored blend of pea, rice and hemp protein and packs a whopping 22 grams of protein per serving. That's over half my daily requirement for my weight! AND, NO GMOS and NO SUGAR. It's naturally sweetened with Stevia. It shares so many characteristics of the ones prescribed to me, I felt confident in adding it in to my rotation.
Going above and beyond that, this week I'm also extending them to my blog readers and social media followers. ALL the perks.
Visit www.EverlastNutrition.com to see all of the goodies & if you want to snag some for yourself just enter in my promo code NOSHEVERLAST to take advantage of all the goodies listed above.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out! Also if you join the mailing list before September 1st you could be one of ten chosen to get Everlast Vegan Protein COMPLETELY free to try it out!
This is a sponsored post as I received complimentary product from Everlast Nutrition for review. All opinions, as well as photography, are my own. Nosh and Nurture believes in authenticity and only in products that nurture well-being and health.
Yoga, for me, has always been a way to brush off the morning sleepiness, prepare for my day, pray and stretch out tightness that has settled overnight. It’s also a retreat when I’ve had a long or stressful day, or my pelvic issues are acting up and I need to open my hips. I love being able to go into our little home gym and put in a good thirty to sixty minutes with my mat. Which is why I am SO excited about this week’s AMAZING giveaway that YOU GUYS get to be a part of.
Cat from The Rustic Willow allowed me to include my readers in her AMAZING Yoga Giveaway in celebration of her one-year Blogiversary. I'll let her explain the goodies.. take it away Cat!!
In celebration, the folks at Aurorae Yoga have agreed to give away a Yoga Kit, which includes one yoga mat in the color of your choice and one soy candle in the scent of your choice to one lucky winner! (U.S. Only) They're SO sweet to do this for me and I'm so stoked to be able to offer these wonderful prizes to you!
Aurorae prides itself on offering a wide variety of products that are both environmentally friendly and safe for both humans and animals. Their yoga mats are free of Phthalates, Latex and Silicone and all of their products are all SGS approved. Additionally, their candles are may from 100% natural soy wax.
Whether you're an expert in yoga or just starting out, the giveaway is a great addition to anyones fitness collection.
To enter just follow the link to the Rafflecopter by clicking here! Good luck!