March Food Focus: Quinoa

March quote

Proximity is power – Tony Robbins

I’ve been super busy the past two weeks. I attended Tony Robbins’ virtual event, Unleash The Power Within. It was a phenomenal event and life changing. I want to share something with you that I learned from Tony.

5 Keys to Success

  1. Feed your mind
  2. Feed and strengthen your body
  3. Find a role model and then make a plan to reach your goals
  4. Take massive action. Do this daily.
  5. Give more than you expect to receive

 Chewing (Mindful Eating)

When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted—working, reading, talking and watching television—and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems.

There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food.

  • Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets.
  • Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food.
  • More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings.
  • It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full.
  • In fact, chewing can promote increased circulation, enhanced immunity, increased energy and endurance, as well as improve skin health and stabilize weight.
  • Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. It helps us to give thanks, to show appreciation for the abundance in our lives and to develop patience and self-control.

The power of chewing is so great that there are stories of concentration camp survivors who, when others could not, made it through with very little food by chewing their meager rations up to 300 times per bite of food. For most of us 300 chews is a daunting and unrealistic goal. However, you can experience the benefits of chewing by increasing to 30 chews per bite. Try it and see how you feel.

Try eating without the TV, computer, Blackberry, newspaper or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing.

This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of advertising, news, media, email and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day—why not learn to savor and enjoy it?

Food Focus: Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins. It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc.

While quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called Chenopodium or Goosefoot, related to chard and spinach. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and has a similar effect as other whole grains in helping to stabilize blood sugar.

It has a waxy protective coating called saponin which can leave a bitter taste. For best results, rinse quinoa before you cook it or even soak it for a few hours or overnight. When cooked, it has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Try it in soups, salads, as a breakfast porridge or as its own side dish.

For quinoa, and whole grains in general, the majority of digestion occurs in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your grains well and with awareness. A great meditation is to find a calm place, without distractions, to sit down for your meal. Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. See how this simple practice can help your digestion and overall focus for the rest of your day.

Recipe of the Month: Quinoa Brown Rice Pilaf

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

2 1/4 cups water, organic chicken, or organic vegetable broth

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

pinch of salt

Directions:

1.   Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.

2.   Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, cover and reduce heat.

3.   After 15 minutes add brown rice, stir; then add cranberries and walnuts to top; do not stir.

4.   Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.

5.   Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.

Namaste,

Shaline

#quinoa #healthyeating #wholefoods #healthcoaching

Oops…Here’s an example of a stress-reducing diet

Oops. I forgot to include an example of a stress-free diet in my post re: reducing stress with foods.

Putting Together Your Diet Plan

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.

When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ – usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run.

Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.

A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries

Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts

Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens

Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate

Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables

Before bed: Chamomile tea

Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good idea! Change it up by replacing grass-fed beef with organic chicken. Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.

Namaste,

Shaline

#wholefoods #cleanfoods #healthcoaching #stress-free #nutrition

Why Some Raw Vegetables Cause Gas and How to Avoid It

Raw food has so many benefits. It’s rich in enzymes, all the vitamins remain intact, and typically it’s easier on the digestive system than cooked food. Until it’s not… you see there are just some vegetables that are difficult to digest raw. Particularly vegetables in the cruciferous family- cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower etc.

The reason these vegetables are difficult to process and often cause gas is because they contain high levels of sulfur and fiber. This is part of the reason cruciferous vegetables are so nourishing. The sulfur fights back against harmful free radicals and they have a powerful detoxifying effect.

While the enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants in vegetables are extremely beneficial, they’re useless if your body can’t process them. In the beginning of your digestive journey, when you’re working on rebuilding your gut flora and strengthening the intestinal lining, raw vegetables aren’t the best thing.

Too often, your body ends up spending more energy digesting these foods than they receive from them. As you work on strengthening your digestive system, take it easy with raw veggies.

Here are a few ways you can get the benefits of cruciferous vegetables without the gas and bloating…

  • Ferment your veggies to unlock their nutrients, check out phickle for some great recipes
  • Juice them
  • Lightly steam, saute or roast your veggies and top with a bit of coconut oil or ghee for better nutrient absorption
  • Blend them into a smoothie
  • Chew your veggies thoroughly, at least 20 times before swallowing
  • Digestive enzymes help me when I eat foods that might cause gas or bloating

Over time as you build up your microbiome and repair the lining of the intestines it’ll be much easier to process raw vegetables. These things take time so be patient with yourself and don’t let the process stop you from enjoying these health promoting vegetables.

Add all ingredients to your blender and process until super smooth.

If you’re seriously interested in getting healthy, restoring your digestion and boosting your energy then check out my new comprehensive program, 8 Weeks to Restore your Gut Health. In my program you get a ton of delicious satisfying recipes as well as strategies that will help rebuild your intestinal flora.

In the meantime, join me on my Facebook page where I’ll be sharing more information, tips and recipes to help you live a happier, healthier life.

Namaste,

Shaline

#guthealth #microbiome #healthcoaching #shalinemiller