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Thursday, January 31, 2013

I learned CPR – Foods to Help Prevent Heart Disease

I took a CPR course this weekend; in order to get certified as a personal trainer it is a requirement. Honestly it just seems like a really great thing to know. The course was like $50 and lasted 2.5 hours; I went with my sister - we made a day of it!

Heart health is a touchy subject for me. My mother and sister have heart issues they were born with and it is believed my grandmother died (before I was born) due to a heart complication; they didn’t have the technology at the time to figure out exactly what she died from. Luckily with more ways to monitor these things and the knowledge we have about food and our health, even those who are born with conditions or are thought to be predisposed due to their genes can take preventative measures. Since my sister and mom both practice healthy plant based diets they are off meds and in good shape! 

This may or may not come as a shock to you but a healthy plant based diet can not only prevent heart disease but also reverse it according to Dr. Esselstyn, among many other doctors, based on a 20 year nutritional study. I feel the need to repeat that - PREVENT AND REVERSE heart disease.“The 17 patients in the study had 49 cardiac events in the years leading up to the study, and had undergone aggressive treatment procedures. Several had multiple bypass operations. After beginning the eating plan, there were no more cardiac events in the group within a 12-year period.” NO MORE CARDIAC EVENTS after starting the plant based eating plan. This is a no brainer.

According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine: Every day, nearly 2,600 Americans die of some type of cardiovascular disease, an average of one death every 34 seconds, and 7.1 million Americans have had a heart attack during their lifetimes – and this can all be prevented with a healthy plant based diet.

On to the heart healthy food! 

Rosemary Roasted Carrots and Beets

  • 5 small beets
  • 3 carrots
  • Juice of one half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon maple sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Cut vegetables to bite sized pieces. Mix all ingredients and roast in the oven for 30 min at 400 degrees. The veggies should pierce easily with a fork when finished.  (If you don’t want to use oil use water instead! Just monitor the dish to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate burning your pan.)

Beets protect against heart disease because they are rich in betaine which has the ability to reduce homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is the toxic amino acid that increases risk of cardiovascular disease. Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can combat free radicals that cause heart disease.

Make yourself and your heart a priority! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beating the Cold Season and Carrot Ginger Breakfast Cookies

Everyone is sick. It’s all over the news, facebook, and getting in the way of our daily routines. There are some really easy ways to prevent it and kick it quickly before it puts you out.

  1. Ginger – on top of being great for treating colds and flu it may reduce chances of some cancers, eases the stomach, boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation, helps with motion and morning sickness on top of some other great benefits. Make yourself a shot of lemon, ginger and cayenne pepper once or twice a day until your sickness is gone. I juiced the ginger by hand - if that’s not dedication I don’t know what is! (But you can always use your juicer or go to a juice bar)
  2. Neti Pot – follow directions on the box. Do NOT use tap water. These are great for clearing out a stuffy nose without using harmful medications.
  3. Warm Water with lemon.
  4. No sugar! It greatly weakens the immune system when you need it to be strong. This includes orange juice: due to a similar chemical structure, the sugar in OJ actually competes with Vitamin C to enter cells. Therefore, the more sugar you ingest, the less Vitamin C is absorbed!  To get Vitamin C eat leafy greens especially kale it contains more Vitamin C than oranges anyway.
  5. NO Dairy. In the course I took with T. Colin Campbell he talked about when you consume dairy it creates a net metabolic acidity in the body. In order to neutralize that acidity, your body draws salts such as calcium and phosphorus from your bones so it can return to its naturally alkaline state. The result is weakened bones and teeth – this also weakens your immune system. Dairy promotes the production of mucus and can make existing mucus thicker in your nose and sinuses, leaving you completely congested. It may also cause a runny nose or the ever annoying post nasal drip.

I do all of these things on a regular biases in addition to a well balanced plant based diet and I haven’t been sick in years. Making yourself a priority will help you dodge cold season all together. 

And for a fun way to get more ginger in your diet (although juicing it is preferable)... 

I tried out this fantastic breakfast cookie recipe the other day and fell in love with them. Once I realized they are basically a bowl of oatmeal in cookie form I felt even better about them. Then ate too many, then went hard on myself at the gym…

Anyway, they are a great winter breakfast addition, after your water with lemon of course! I made these then immediately regretted not using my new mini muffin tin. So I did what anyone else would do, made another batch.

1 cup gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine grain salt
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (omit to make it nut free – try adding sunflower seeds)
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup maple syrup (at room temperature)
½ cup unrefined coconut oil warmed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 egg replacer (1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp of water and refrigerated for 15 minutes)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and oats. Then add the nuts and carrots. In a separate smaller bowl, use a whisk to combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, ginger and egg replacer.
  3. Combine the two mixtures until well incorporated.
  4. Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoon at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.
  5. Or use mini cupcake tins for mini muffins.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Garlic Mashed Parsnips and Cauliflower - Tips to Reach Your Resloutions

Happy New Year everyone! I can't believe how long it has been since I've posted, I semi-apologize for that. I went to PA to visit with my family over the holidays (which was perfectly filled with family/treats!) and upon returning I've been a little preoccupied with happiness to be on my computer. But I missed writing and sharing my knowledge so here I am.

Part of the glory of the new year is being given open permission to reinvent yourself, to make improvements in your life, and meet goals with the support of pretty much the entire world. If your goal has anything to do with health and nutrition please feel free to use this blog as a resource or even email me directly ( I am personally trying to eat more sea vegetables, learn more about super foods, and do more (or any) cardio - I already went hiking twice this week! I also want to read a new book every month and try something new every month.

I was inspired by my mother's amazing holiday feast of Shepherd’s Pie to make a mashed potato alternative. I was in the mood for some comfort food the other day but didn't want to compromise my good habits. Here is what I came up with:

over a bed of greens for good measure!

2 parsnips
1/4 head of cauliflower
1 clove garlic diced
1 small onion
salt and pepper to taste
  • steam cauliflower and parsnips until very soft.
  • sauté garlic and onion until soft - about 3 minutes.
  • combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • using a potato masher or a hand blender mix until a mashed potato like consistency.
  • garnish with chives.
  • top with your favorite sauce. I used a "cheese" sauce from one of my favorite books, The Saucy Vegetarian.
Parsnips are a root vegetable and are sweet in taste when cooked. They are very soothing, aide in digestion (by bringing more blood in to the abdominal region), aide in elimination, promote warmth and sustain normal heart activity.  Since potatoes have little nutritional value and contain irritants including mildly toxic alkaloids, parsnips are a fantastic alternative.

Cauliflower is 24% protein contain high amounts of vitamin c and potassium. When cooked properly they can help curb a sweet tooth!

When I was training tour teams I would always talk about opportunity. Each young person we got to talk to was an opportunity to make a difference, to end suffering and improve lives. I like the idea of the new year as an opportunity for everyone to set goals or resolutions and  have the support to accomplish them.

Use your support system. I am teaming up with another trainer and we have agreed to hold each other accountable for our resolutions; we are checking in and working together to get what we want. I highly encourage you to make yourself a priority this year and find someone to check in with; a friend, counselor, nutrition coach, trainer, life coach, family member, any one that can support you in becoming the best version of you.