Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Ritual


This is a great holiday ritual that I got from a fellow health counselor, love it!

At dinner tonight, pass around an orange or clementine.
Have each person peel off a portion of the rind and
share one thing they’d like to “peel away” from their life.
Then have each person eat a section of the orange while
sharing one new wish or intention for the winter. Put the orange rinds (along with some cloves or cinnamon sticks)
in a pot of simmering water on the stove.
Your house will smell deliciously yummy all night.


What a fabulous idea! Beautiful to do either at a Christmas or New Year's dinner.

I'd like to peel away any self-doubt and resentment from my past. And I'll set the intention to wake up by 6 AM every day so that I can accomplish everything I want and need! Wish me luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eating Guidelines


I'm on Day 13 of my 21 Day Holiday Detox and boy do I feel fantastic!

At the beginning of any new program, I always give my clients and participants some great guidelines for mealtime. They're not strict rules, but merely things to be mindful of. Check out the origins of these tips in America:

In 1898, Horace Fletcher, at 40, considered himself an old man. He was 50 pounds overweight, contracted flu every six months and constantly complained of indigestion and a tired feeling. After a deep study, he made some important discoveries and prescribed the rules for a so-called diet fad of the early 1900s, "Fletcherism," which are as follows:

1. Chew your food to a pulp or milky liquid until it practically swallows itself. (He suggested 23 times!)
2. Never eat until hungry.
3. Enjoy every bite or morsel, savouring the flavour until it is swallowed.
4. Do not eat when tired, angry, worried, and at mealtime refuse to think or talk about unpleasant subjects.

Horace Fletcher followed these rules for five months. As a result he lost more than 60 pounds and felt better than he had for 20 years. He became known as "The Great Masticator" (Masticate=chew). Unfortunately, when he died, a new fad came about: counting calories. Argh!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Flaxseed oil could reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Hey ya'll. New research that further proves how amazing flaxseed oil is for our bodies. It helps fight depression, balances the good/bad fats and cholesterols, and helps with the joints. This new study looks into flaxseed oil and osteoporosis!

Flaxseed oil could reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Detox baby!

Thanksgiving is literally right around the corner, so go ahead, hang out with the fam and friends, enjoy your favorite foods. But eat yourself sick, feel the bulge, crash on the couch, and you're headed for trouble.

You will DEFINITELY need to lighten up the diet for a bit after such an intense myriad of foods being thrown into your body, and most of them are not necessarily healthy either. This puts a huge strain on your liver, and if you're like most people, you've already drank your way through summer and all the way to Halloween, never giving your body a break.

Not to mention all the chemicals and pollutants we're exposed to. And gross tip for you: We store those toxins in our body fat, and then we make extra fat to protect us from more toxins! Doing a cleanse is one of the fastest ways to have transformation and see change. If you want to seriously change your life and health for the better, and feel amazing BEFORE the New Year arrives, here are some reasons why you MUST cleanse.

1. Our bodies are like cars, they need tuneups due to accumulated toxins, acids, sugars, and mucus. If you don’t clean them out, your body will begin to work overtime trying to rid yourself of all these heinous substances, and ultimately, you will become exhausted! If you want to get more energy, if you have poor complexion, dull eyes, irritability, nervousness…ya definitely need a cleanse.

2. Our bodies have self-cleaning mechanisms in place, but we are under more stress than ever because of all the toxic chemicals from the air and products, and we have fewer and fewer nutrients in our foods that would normally clear away those toxins. If you were living on a fresh mountain and eating organic food every day you probably wouldn’t need to do a cleanse, but with acid rain, dirty water, etc. it’s a good idea.

3. Cleansing is a sacred time for healing, regeneration, and renewal. In many cultures detoxing is a spiritual process, and you learn a lot about yourself during a cleanse. How you do one thing is how you do everything. If you procrastinate, stop halfway through on the cleanse, it is mirroring what you’re doing in life. If you don’t follow through, you won’t be able to trust yourself, and this will carry into every other aspect of your life.

People tend to not have integrity, and usually aren’t forthright. If at the end of the day you cave or don't follow through on your promises, you won't feel very good about yourself. And that’s when you need extra support and a program. By reaching out, getting the support you need, and finishing a cleanse all the way through, you will feel so empowered and become a magnet for other people.


So, are you thinking you need a detox? There are so many out there, and I've done so many of them. With some cleanses you drink only liquid, some only certain foods, some only certain products, some are prepackaged, and some are in kitchen.

The most effective and most realistic is comprised of whole natural foods with simultaneous mind/body education and support. I am leading such a cleanse next week! Click here for more info about my 21-Day Holiday Detox!

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, hold off from doing a cleanse, but if you want to get pregnant, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to do a cleanse before you try. There are 287 chemicals that get passed through the embilical cord to the baby, so it would be best to rid yourself of the nasties before passing them on to your child. Plus you'll find it easier to get pregnant when your body is properly nourished with good nutrition.

You should do a cleanse a minimum of 2x a year, and maximum 4x a year. You'll find you'll naturally crave doing one with the changes of the seasons. There will never be a perfect time to do a cleanse, your calendar will never be clear, and there will always be some kind of excuse you can use. So don't procrastinate any further, no matter what you have going on.

Come join me for my 21-Day Holiday Detox! I will be participating as well, and I've been through it multiple times, so I know exactly what to expect and how to help you accomplish your goals! Check out http://www.yogimichelle.com and click on 21-Day Holiday Detox!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coconut kefir, WHAT??!!

So a few months ago, I posted about the amazing brand SO Delicious, famous for it's dairy-free desserts, and I told you to "[t]hrow out your milk and run, don't walk, to Whole Foods. They now carry coconut milk in a carton!!!" I'm still totally digging the coconut milk, particularly because the unsweetened version doesn't have any natural or added sugars, perfect for the detox I'm building up for.

The big news I have is that they now make kefir!!! Ah but what is kefir you might ask? It is a fermented milk drink, a product right in between milk and yogurt. It's basically thick milk with probiotics (healthy bacteria) such as acidophilus that are extremely beneficial for your digestive system. Kefir has been used in many Eastern European ethnic diets, and is one of the keys to those cultures' incredible longevity rates.

Since most people have milk or soy intolerances, the coconut milk kefir is a brilliant solution. The coconut milk yogurts do have added sugar, so drinking the unsweetened kefir will fill your intestines with the good bacteria and crowd out the bad guys. Just like the coconut milk, it doesn't have the same protein as dairy or soy products but it's high in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are excellent for your hair, skin, and speeding up your metabolism. You'll see the MCFAs listed as saturated fat on the box, but it's good and vital fat your body is craving for!

You can add brown rice protein or Vega protein powder if you're needing some sustenance. More on those guys later. Adding cinnamon, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and chopped nuts also make the kefir delicious. Or throw it into a fruit smoothie for rich, creamy, but healthy deliciousness.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Digestive Walks

video

Check out this video of the puppy, and some info about walking after meals to improve digestion!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Headshot and Health Survey!



Like my new headshot?  It came right in time for my new health survey!

I've posted it all over Facebook, but in case you haven't, make sure to take my anonymous health survey HERE!  

It is a simple and easy survey to help me better understand the wants and needs of my tribe.  Then I will shape and tailor my new programs and products for YOU!

Of course, always feel free to email me with any suggestions, questions, or comments.  All are appreciated!

Have a beautiful rest of the week and a glorious weekend :-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kelloggs is totally coocoo...

Kelloggs is now touting Cocoa Krispies as healthy and beneficial for your immunity!  Sugary crap is good for your immune system??? I think not.  Mike Adams, owner of NaturalNews.com, wrote a commentary that gives a ceremonious stab at the new claims: Cocoa Krispies

Sad, very sad. Another way for food companies to manipulate society.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Optimist Creed

This is a really special piece from Christian D. Larson that my favorite yoga teacher often reads during class.  Thought I'd share it with you, enjoy :-)

Promise Yourself…

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coo-coo for Chocolate!

Halloween's coming up real fast, and you probably have had all kinds of candy thrown at you already whether at the office, grocery store, home, sneaky places like the nail salon...and it's always the milk chocolates, lollipops, Starbursts.  

If you're going to eat any candy this Halloween, make sure it's DARK CHOCOLATE!  Yes, it's good for you!  Read this article by Dr. Mercola.  Of course he's pitching his own brand of chocolate, but he makes an excellent point.  His videos aren't nearly exciting as the article, so skip down and read through the terrific benefits of dark chocolate!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Appreciate your friends!

Yesterday was my 25th birthday.  I started the day with a delicious and healthy veggie omelet at Marmalade Cafe, then took my time poking around Whole Foods and Trader Joes for groceries.  I spent a couple hours on the phone with my family and friends from the East Coast, and gleefully read all the birthday messages on my Facebook wall.  And then came the birthday party.

I arrived at the restaurant at 7:25 PM, and from there all the way until 1:00 AM, people began to filter in.  Friends from old jobs, my yoga community, education courses, college, my regular karaoke joint...they were all there and mingling with each other! And those who couldn't show up in person texted and emailed me amazing heartfelt wishes.  It was incredible.

And because my friend Joanne knows I'm sensitive to gluten, she baked a flourless chocolate cake that was so delicious! How thoughtful was that?!  

Even friends who I haven't seen in years showed up, which caused me to realize, that even in your darkest moments, when you think you're alone and feel as though you have to go through life by yourself, you always have your people who truly, deeply care about you.  Who will step off their flight from Hawaii and come right to your party.  Who will show up even if they don't know anyone or are exhausted from work.  Who will listen when something didn't go well or you need to vent.  Who will always tell you that you look beautiful.  

You just have to always look at the sunny side of things, cherish your loved ones, and treat others how you would want to be treated.  And be grateful for every single person in your life, for they are all your teachers and a reflection of your own self.  I feel so grateful and humbled, thanks to all my amazing, talented, intelligent, kind, and endearing friends for kicking off my 25th year on this planet in the most powerful way.

And yes, last night I drank wine, I sang karaoke, and yes, I danced my face off.  

Monday, October 19, 2009

Are we near the end?

Have you seen the billboards for the 2012 movie?  The one about how we're all gonna die on December 21, 2012?  This doesn't help the fact that the number of websites on the topic have exploded, and people are preparing for the worst, even though it's 3 years away.

If you're totally confused and don't know what the heck I'm talking about, basically the theory is that our time is up on December 21, 2012.  That is when the Mayan calendar ends, and people are also saying that there is some meteor heading our way that will demolish us.  

Before you start freaking out, just read this article.  It's logical, practical, and will ease your mind.  2012

A couple girlfriends and I were discussing it over dinner tonight, and I said that I'd rather die that way then decay in a wheelchair.  Sure there are things I'd still like to do, but I've had a pretty sweet life, and I do a decent job of staying present and appreciating the little things in life.  So if it's my time in 2012, so be it.  In the meantime, I'll be doing my thing, going to yoga class, and singing at karaoke.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

HCFS stands for what?

High fructose corn syrup. A sugary nastie that is used to sweeten canned and bottled sodas, teas, juices, power drinks, and tons of processed foods. This is one of the WORST substances in your body, as it has been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and the list goes on.

Beware of commericals and media that state HFCS is a natural sweetener just because it's made from corn. That is their marketing gimmick! The reason they use corn, AND the reason every processed food and drink now uses HFCS, is because it is so cheap to make and buy!

Check out this article from Dr. Mercola about HFCS and how it's raising your blood pressure!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Uh-oh, chemical nasties!

If you're not eating organic fruits and vegetables, PLEASE read this article.


Yes it might add more dollars to your grocery bills, but eating organic produce will take off dollars from your future medical bills. I guarantee it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Before you diss karaoke...


So many of you who know me are aware that I've kinda got this thing for karaoke.  Almost every Sunday, even if it's just for one song, I drive over to Pancho's in Manhattan Beach to get my sing on. And often I can get good friends like my buddy Hilary to break out their dance moves with me :-)

There are many reasons why I can't stop going.  I mean, I LOVE to sing, and when you LOVE to do something, it's very difficult to stop.  And there are some regulars who I see every week, thus familiar faces and laughs shared every week.  Plus years of performing in high school and college helped me learn to enjoy being on stage immensely.

For those of you who don't get it, think it's dumb or cheesy, or maybe you just have stage fright, I decided to do a little bit of research into the benefits of karaoke.  Check this out:

-universities are currently studying the positive effects of karaoke, such as "increased respiratory strength, endurance, control, and capacity, as well as emotional and physical release," and therefore how karaoke could help people with disabilities.

-singing releases endorphins, the happy hormones our bodies produce to make us feel good.

-being on stage increases confidence, and especially when supported by the crowd, participants feel socially accepted and a sense of belonging.

-plus when you get to laugh and have fun with your friends!

So practice some songs at home, grab a bunch of friends, and head over to karaoke!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feeling stressed?


Whenever I'm stuck in my own head or thinking too much, I go for a walk or a drive to clear my head (when I'm not at yoga or the gym of course!).  It REALLY helps!  I spent Tuesday in the car and walking with my friend Dana.  We hit up Abbot Kenney in Venice, CA and drove up through Malibu, stopping to eat at a great oceanside restaurant called Paradise Cove.  And now I feel so refreshed and much more productive with all my work.

Meet up with a friend or take yourself for a scenic viewing! No matter where you live, there is beauty in every landscape.  Go for a walk in the park or woods, or if you live in a city, maybe go to a gorgeous museum, or take a drive to the suburbs.  Why take an expensive vacation when there's so much to see and places to relax around you?

If you're really in a hole, you could always stare at my pictures!  I'm kind of obsessed with taking photos of nature.  The one above is from Malibu.  There are some other nice scenic ones at my fun website http://www.yogimichelle.com. Or check out my photos on facebook!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Read up on your health!

One of the reasons I started this blog was to give you the most up-to-date nutrition and health info. So always keep checking back for more posts. However, it would behoove you to also do some investigating yourself. Be an educated consumer. DO NOT believe everything the newspapers and magazines tell you, because often they are either wrong or are paid by drug and food companies, and thus are completely biased.

The site I use for THE most innovative, honest approach to health and wellness is http://www.naturalnews.com. The founder of the site, Mike Adams, is extremely passionate about health and nutrition, and has set up a team to scour the internet and scientific studies for the most accurate information. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All you need is love...



My friend Emma and I went to Joshua Tree for Bhakti Fest, a yoga and music festival, and we met MANY interesting people from all walks of life. These people were so open, spiritual, and absolutely full of love and gratitude for the healthy drinks we were passing out. (Check out my friends' company cell-nique.com for more info!)

One lady stopped by the booth, she was at least 90 years old, but totally lucid and with it! Her face was wrinkled but with lovely smile lines, and I asked her what her secret for longevity was. She chuckled, tilted her head, and answered:

Love. She said you need to have infinite love for everything and everyone. There is no good nor bad, nothing is better than another. Love every moment and everything you do.

I thought that was pretty powerful. I went home and quickly popped in "love and longevity" into Google, and found this guy Dr. Stephen Post who started The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. I couldn't believe it! He's proving how love affects every area of our lives, especially including our health! The home page of the website asserts that "[a]ll the goodness of life is nurtured in the soil of love, for love comforts, heals, creates, liberates, and elevates our lives in a way that nothing else can."

A quote from one of the full papers: "The evidence to be accumulated herein supports the following hypothesis: One of the healthiest things a person can do is to step back from self-preoccupation and self-worry, as well as from hostile and bitter emotions, and there is no more obvious way of doing this than focusing attention on helping others. This transformation of being and of doing seems to promote emotional and physical well-being, and odds are, will add some years to life."Stephen G. Post, Ph.D.

I'm planning on loving and smiling well into my nineties. How about you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Still feelin figtastic...

So I'm not much of a dairy person, but I was feeling like I needed some good bacteria for my belly, so I bought plain organic Greek-style yogurt.  If you're gonna have it, this is the best since it's low in sugar and high in probiotics.  

I wanted to share this with you, because it was ABSOLUTELY delicious.  Get this:  I'm still hooked on the figs, so I diced 4 figs  into a cup or so of the unsweetened yogurt, drizzled a bit of agave nectar, and voila!  An unbelievable dessert or snack.  And much healthier than the sugar filled ones.  

Play around with fresh fruit, granola, whatever suits your fancy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gimme a F, gimme an I, gimme a G...


The figs was one of the first crops to be cultivated in history, even before wheat and rye! Sciencemag.com reports: "It is generally accepted that the fig tree was domesticated in the Near East some 6500 years ago. Here we report the discovery of nine carbonized fig fruits and hundreds of drupelets stored in Gilgal I, an early Neolithic village, located in the Lower Jordan Valley, which dates to 11,400 to 11,200 years ago. We suggest that these edible fruits were gathered from parthenocarpic trees grown from intentionally planted branches. Hence, fig trees could have been the first domesticated plant of the NeolithicRevolution, which preceded cereal domestication by about a thousand years."

Primarily grown and valued in the Mediterranean, there are now there are over 700 different types and names of figs!  California is the third biggest producer in the world after Turkey and Greece, but mostly we grow the golden, slightly nutty-flavored Calimyrna and the dark, sweet Mission varietals.  

This delicious fruit is high in dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and definitely has a natural laxative effect on the digestive/elimination system. Latin and South American folk medicine uses the figs to treat diabetes, kidney disorders, tumors, and skin issues.

Figs can be eaten fresh or dried.  Eat them by themselves, chop and throw into salads, cook into soups and desserts, and use the puree instead of oil when baking.  Be sure to rinse with cold water and remove the stems before consuming.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cilantro it up!

Why do I LOVE cilantro?  First of all, I mean let’s face it, it is absolutely delicious!  How can you have good guacamole without some chopped cilantro?  Fresh cilantro has such a cool, crisp taste.

Secondly, little did you know, but cilantro is one of the best foods for detoxification.  Ok I’ve probably lost most of you at this point, I’m sure a lot of you are in your 20s and don’t really care about detox.  Well we’re the ones who should care the most!  With all of our eating out at restaurants, drinking at bars, and dancing our faces off, we can use all the support we can get.  So let me tell you what you’ll be getting from these little sprigs and leaves.

Cilantro is the leafy part of an herb called coriander, and it has: calcium, iron, potassium, lutein, vitamin A, vitamin C,vitamin K, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, antibacterial properties, and it aids in digestion! WOW! Also many holistic practitioners use it for heavy metal detoxification.  

Throw sprigs into soups and salads, blend into salad dressings, and strangely enough it tastes amazing in omelettes!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How's your body image?


If it's not good, it could be costing you your health.  Worrying and anxiety causes low-level stress in the body, resulting in bone density loss!  Your bones will actually be depleted of minerals that are excreted through your urine!  So drink all milk you want, but if you are constantly berating yourself or you're stressed, you could still get osteoporosis!

When negative thoughts arise, especially those about your body, ask yourself if that is something you would say to a loved one.  If you know about the Law of Attraction, what you put out you get back, so if you're worried about becoming or being fat, you're just bringing on more fat!  So cherishing yourself with love will heal and nourish your body more than any exercise or healthy food can.

Relax with friends, take a bubble bath, get plenty of fresh outdoor air to oxygenate your body as much as possible, take a yoga class, and if you're gonna eat it, love what you eat!  It's that simple!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Trust YOUrself

Ever feel like your body is in conflict?  Like your brain says one thing and your gut says another?  Maybe you don't feel right about doing something but your brain tells you to do it because you have to, or someone won't like you if you don't?

This is a battle between your mind and your intuition.  The mind is tricky, for it processes millions of thoughts, reactions, events, and experiences from the past as a way to guide you.  You may hear your parents' voices in your head, "You need a secure job with a good salary and benefits to be safe."  But you've always wanted to be an actor, your heart and your gut tells you it must be so.

Or you see your parents' and friends' bad relationships and you think, "I will never get involved in a relationship so that I don't get hurt."  But then that perfect person comes along and you start to melt a little.  Though your head keeps putting up distrust as a guard, you want this person in your life.

Most of us go through life never really listening to our bodies, our intuition, what we're feeling.  We're programmed to be logical, and think in a linear fashion.  However if this continues, if you stifle and stuff down your feelings, that is when illness and chaos can occur.  You live your life according to what you think you should do, what you have to do, and then BAM! You've got a cold, or an upset stomach, or you lash out at your loved ones.  

In this society of go go go, push push push, do do do, sit down for a second and ask yourself, "What do I need?  How am I feeling?  What's best for me?" without judgement from the mind or worrying about what others would say.  You have the right and the responsibility to listen to yourself, because at the end of the day, all you can safely say you know and have is you. 

Check out this intuition meditation from Yoga Journal.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm in love...

...with garlic all over again!  Today I stumbed upon a FANTASTIC product called Majestic Garlic.  It was in the raw foods section at Whole Foods, so I picked it up and looked at the ingredients.  Everything is all-natural, fresh, looked pretty good, so I brought it home with me.  Took a little taste, and it kind of reminded me of a really garlicky mayonnaise, or the garlic dip from Greek restaurants.  Dipped sauteed veggies in it, and oh MAN was it FAB-O!

I flew over to my computer, went to the company's website, and ordered more!  They have so many different flavors, including Goji Berry, Cilantro, Curry, Jalapeno, and the list goes on!  And they're local to Los Angeles, located up in La Canada by Pasadena.  Sweet!

Go to www.majesticgarlic.com for more info, and to order from anywhere across the nation!  You must must must try it out!  And it's raw garlic, so it will boost your immune system and help you grow strong, healthy nails.  Do it!  

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My new favorite beverage!

Throw out your milk and run, don't walk, to Whole Foods.  They now carry coconut milk in a carton!!!  The brand SO Delicious, famous for it's dairy-free desserts, expanded to coconut milk ice cream sweetened with agave nectar, and now they have milk in a big white box for your usual everyday dairy needs.

Most people have milk intolerances and don't even know it.  Try the coconut milk on your cereals, in your cooking, at least for 10 days and see how you feel.  It doesn't have the same protein but it's high in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are excellent for your hair, skin, and speeding up your metabolism.  You'll see the MCFAs listed as saturated fat on the box, but it's good and vital fat your body is craving for!

And if you need something cold and creamy, I definitely suggest trying their coconut and chocolate flavored ice creams.  They make them with both soy milk and coconut milk, but stay away from the soy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Agua agua!

Water is one of our best friends.  I noticed my basil plant getting a little droopy and wilted, it looked so sad!  All I had to do was dump in a cup of water, and within ten minutes, the guy's posture had totally improved.  Basil was shooting his leaves out in all directions and standing proud against the wind.

While I know my plant isn't human or with a personality, I can say that proper hydration has a similar effect on humans.  How many times have you ran over to the water fountain at the gym to quench your thirst?  Isn't it so gratifying?  Imagine if you could have that happy, satisfied feeling all day long.

In nutrition school I received a fabulous CD by Dr. Fereydoon Batmanhelidj.  After trying to get past his mouthful of a name, I listened to the recording only to be completely astounded.  The guy was held in prison in Iran, and in this stressful environment, he cured thousands of his fellow prisoners' chronic illnesses by having them DRINK MORE WATER.  Unbelievable!!

His book, Your Body's Many Cries for Water, is bold, compelling, and is the answer for most of our bodily ailments.  Check out his website to read the evidence.  

In the meantime, I shall continue to drink my boatloads of water a day.  It helps me feel terrific! The amount of water you need depends on your activity level, the climate of the area you live in, your height and weight.  8 cups a day is average, so figure out what's appropriate for you.  You may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom, but trust me, this is a good thing your body will thank you for.  Think of each trip as relieving yourself from all the toxins and wastes in your body.  Happy drinking!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Toxins make you fat!

Not that I'm a proponent of people calling themselves fat, but if you've got some weight to lose and things just aren't moving, you might want to consider these three things that are keeping your body from shedding pounds:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Less gas from cows!

Crazy story...So Vermont farmers stopped feeding their cows toxic soy and corn meal, and instead gave them oxygen-rich alfalfa and flax seeds for omega-3s.  The result?  Less cow gas!  Their bellies feel so much better, their coats are shinier, and their dispositions much sunnier. And since cow belching contributes to around 2% of our greenhouse gas production, this could help the climate too!

Hmm...if cows have seen that kind of difference from changing their diet, I wonder how the majority of America would feel?

For more: Cow belching!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Uh-oh agave!

So we all know that sugar is bad, especially processed white sugar.  Many of us foodies have turned to natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup that still have minerals intact, and these days the big buzz is around agave nectar.  It's touted as a low-glycemic sweetener, safe for diabetics.  We were all super excited when agave came out, and now it's replacing corn syrup in a lot of health food products.

AND YET, there's a catch.  Isn't there always?  I mean, sugar is still sugar.  Agave is mostly comprised of fructose, which is the same as in high fructose corn syrup.  And agave is still a processed sugar, since it's pulled from the plant and heated.

So just be careful when reading and hearing about this sweet stuff.  Dr. Mercola thinks it's just a bunch of marketing.  Check out his article:  Agave

Friday, June 26, 2009

How to Moonwalk Like Michael Jackson | eHow.com

I don't want to contribute to the frenzy over MJ's death, BUT considering how much I loved his music and sick dance moves, I couldn't help but to acknowledge the legendary moonwalk.  Try this at home kids! 

How to Moonwalk Like Michael Jackson | eHow.com

For inspiration:  Watch these wannabes!
And OH MAN! Check this performance out!  The Ultimate

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pro Yoga

Check out LeBron James teaching kids about yoga and nutrition!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMi0LOh3wZQ

Many pro athletes supplement their sports with daily yoga or pilates practices to increase their flexibility, focus, and stamina.  Another reason to do yoga!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wayne is right on!

If you haven't checked out Dr. Wayne Dyer's books, you must. That's all I have to say about that. Just do it.

I feel like the media is fueling this locomotive panic train with negative stories about our economy. Dr. Dyer wrote a wonderful blog piece in April:

From http://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/go-with-the-love

I had to smile at Abraham’s response to the scary rollercoaster of economic news people are facing these days. “Chill out and go to work!” It’s a great way of reminding us to take a deep breath and focus on what’s really important. Here’s something to think about: There are no times of financial crisis. It’s just the way the world is, and you always have a choice about how to react to it. Don’t listen to negative news and don’t be consumed by the worry, the fear, the anxiety, and the anger. Go within and know that you don’t need another penny to have a fulfilled and happy life. To believe that you need what you don’t have is a definition of insanity, according to my friend Byron Katie. Go within your own heart and don’t allow yourself to be brought down by the negativity.

There are only two emotions—fear and love. Go with love. Love yourself, love God, and know that you have within you the capacity and the power to weather through all times, not only to weather through but to make them work for you, and to turn them around. If enough of us begin to act and believe and live this way then negativity and fear will no longer be part of our consciousness. You can live peacefully even when there is tumult around you. Just know that you have the power to weather anything.

Namaste,

Wayne

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Naturalize your products!

With breast and other cancers on the rise, we really ought to be conscientious not only of what we put in our bodies, but ON our bodies.  Years and years of putting aluminum filled deodorant next to our breasts=probably not a good idea.  And the harsh chemicals in shampoos, conditioners, and body washes are abrasive to your skin and hard for your liver to process.

It's true when they say your skin is your biggest organ, and it literally absorbs everything you put on it.  The substances go into the bloodstream and down to the liver to be processed.  Think about all the makeup, lotions, perfumes, hair products, etc. you use on a daily basis.  Your poor liver!

I've gotten turned onto some great natural products that are much gentler on your body.  For shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and deodorant I use Hugo's Naturals, which is at Whole Foods, some grocery stores, and online.  Their products are fantastic, really work, and smell delicious!  For lotion I use Beautiful Soap & Co. hand and body lotion.  Their mango poppy flavor smells like you just walked off the plane into a multitude of Hawaiian flowers.

And for toothpaste, most brands contain hidden sugars and fluoride, which can inhibit your thyroid and cause all kinds of gastric issues.  I use Dr. Ken's All-Natural Maximum Care toothpaste.  Don't worry it still whitens your teeth!

Monday, June 15, 2009

alkalize or die!

And that is literally the title of one of the books I picked up in nutrition school.  I don't believe in using fear tactics to get people be more mindful of their diet, but they do have somewhat of a good point.

This weekend I began a 3-week cleanse to give my liver and intestines some lovin'.  Included in this cleanse is making sure I check my pH level daily to make sure my body isn't too acidic.  It's like checking the pH of a pool and cleaning out the bacteria or fungi so that you can swim in cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing water.  Like the pool, your body can host thousands of little critters if you give them the environment they thrive in: acidity!

When foods are digested in your body, they either have an acidic or alkaline effect. Fruits and vegetables tend to fall along the more alkaline side, while meats, dairy, and grains are more acidic.  So try to eat more whole natural foods, and check your pH daily with a special tape you can buy at health food stores.

One trick to immediately balance yourself is to drink half a lemon squeezed into a glass of warm water upon waking.  This will also boost your liver and get your metabolism revved up into gear for the day.

I'll keep you posted about the cleanse!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inside Awareness

Yesterday I watched the movie What The Bleep!  I can't believe I hadn't watched it sooner.  Think The Secret (a cutesy Law of Attraction movie) but much more complex.  It delves deeper into quantum physics and the science behind the mind-body connection.

The most astounding part of the movie, for me at least, was when the lead actress comes upon an exhibit in a subway station about the effects of thinking on water.  Displayed were pictures of water molecules that negative sayings like "I hate you!" had been thrown upon, in contrast to water molecules that had been blessed or given positive sayings like "I love you."  The difference was incredible.

The negative thinking molecules were ugly and blotched, while the positive thinking molecules looked like beautiful snowflakes, intricate crystals.  

AND THEN, they told the actress to think about this:  The body is primarily made up of water, so imagine what our thoughts are doing to the molecules of water in our bodies.  Are you molecules destroyed or beautiful?  What are you mentally feeding your cells?

Any time you beat yourself up, curse your body, or despair about the future, you are destroying your cells and literally making them ugly.  Why do you think people feel amazing after a yoga class or in the presence of spiritual teachers?  Because you have been surrounded by love, and you need it so badly.  

Or how about when you sit down and eat a meal when you're angry or sad?  You're stuffing your body with negative emotions.  Food always tastes delicious and satisfying when you're eating with family and friends you love on a special occasion, and everyone's laughing and having fun. Thus your body and cells are nourished on the physical and emotional levels.

As always, just food for thought...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Invitation

My yoga teacher likes to read from The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  It is such an inspirational piece, I thought I'd share an excerpt from it.  Check it out at your local library or amazon.com.

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Embrace change.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."- Helen Keller

Almost two years ago I packed two suitcases and flew to California to start a new life.  I remember being a bit apprehensive yet smugly confident the few weeks before departing. 

It would have been safe and comfortable for me to live near my parents' house in Connecticut, go home for Sunday dinners, hang out with all my college friends in New York or Boston, used my connections to build a solid client base near home...But I knew it was time to go, and California was calling me in the strongest and strangest way.  

There was definitely an adjustment period, but otherwise I was unruffled by the move across the country.  People couldn't believe I'd made such a "bold" move.  But I shrugged my shoulders.  I'd never seen it as a risk nor questioned myself for I knew this change was vital to my happiness and development.

Three months after I moved here, I met someone and lost myself in a breathtaking, incredible relationship.  I began to change, let go of my boundaries, and it was scary at first, letting myself be completely open and vulnerable in so many ways.   Yet soon I slowly forgot my own visions and dreams.  I took jobs that weren't in alignment with my life purpose because I was scared I wasn't good enough on my own.  Then I hurt my hip, broke my leg and sprained my knee all within a year, and lost the ability to run and practice yoga.  It seemed the only good thing I had left was my relationship.

It was wrong and unfair of me to rely on someone else who was trying to piece his own life together, but I thought his love for me and the security of our relationship would make everything better, would be enough to fill me up.  Looking back, even in the deepest moments of our love, I was unhappy because I wasn't taking care of ME (which meant neither my life nor my body.)  It was easier to focus on someone else than do the hard work on myself. 

Initially I was devastated by the breakup and so frightened to be without him.  Lately it's turned to a glorious feeling of exhilaration.  My future is so bright and certain now that I am tuning in to my own needs and dreams.   And I'm starting to recognize myself again, the girl who embraced all of life's adventures.  I am able to run, do yoga, partake in all kinds of new fitness classes, and am taking on my health and career with renewed vigor.  

So whatever change comes about, don't fight it.  What you resist persists.  Rather, embrace it, and look for how this moment is shaping your life in the most perfect way, the way it's meant to be.    Take it from me:  it will totally be fine.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Essential sleep

Everyone needs sleep, and more of it, these days.  Our days are so jam-packed with activity, our bodies need to recover, rebuild the immune system, and detoxify.  If you're having trouble sleeping, check out these tips from Stanford University.

CAN'T SLEEP?

Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to sleep. Tossing and turning. Your mind is racing, going over everything that happened today. Night noises keep you awake. What can you do? There ARE things you can do! Read on and learn some new tricks to sleep well. These tips are also known as "Sleep Hygiene."

  • Sleep only when sleepy
This reduces the time you are awake in bed.

  • If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy
Sit quietly in the dark or read the warranty on your refrigerator. Don't expose yourself to bright light while you are up. The light gives cues to your brain that it is time to wake up.

  • Don't take naps
This will ensure you are tired at bedtime. If you just can't make it through the day without a nap, sleep less than one hour, before 3 pm.

  • Get up and go to bed the same time every day
Even on weekends! When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better.

  • Refrain from exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime
Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep.

  • Develop sleep rituals
It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, have a cup of caffeine free tea, do relaxation exercises.

  • Only use your bed for sleeping
Refrain from using your bed to watch TV, pay bills, do work or reading. So when you go to bed your body knows it is time to sleep. Sex is the only exception.

  • Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine. Cigarettes and some drugs contain nicotine. Alcohol may seem to help you sleep in the beginning as it slows brain activity, but you will end end up having fragmented sleep.

  • Have a light snack before bed
If your stomach is too empty, that can interfere with sleep. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, that can interfere as well. Dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer. Tryptophan is probably why a warm glass of milk is sometimes recommended.

  • Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime

A hot bath will raise your body temperature, but it is the drop in body temperature that may leave you feeling sleepy. Read about the study done on body temperature below.

Trouble Sleeping? Chill Out! - A press release from the journal Sleep about the significance in body temperature before sleep

  • Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable
A hot room can be uncomfortable. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If light in the early morning bothers you, get a blackout shade or wear a slumber mask. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs or get a "white noise" machine.

  • Use sunlight to set your biological clock

As soon as you get up in the morning, go outside and turn your face to the sun for 15 minutes.


Friday, May 22, 2009

She's a brainiac!

Check out my brain! video

I participated in a study that was examining normal vs. autistic brains.  They also took a DNA sample, and will compare the DNA and brain structures to see if there are marked differences between normal and autistic.  Pretty sweet!

I've done a lot of research on how we can help autistic people through nutrition, but this study reminded me that it is such a complex situation, and there are also scientific factors behind it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh soy...

One morning when I was thirteen, my mother slapped down a plate of river bass for breakfast, and I screamed, "Gross!  I'm not eating this, I'm a vegetarian!"  Thus began years of confusion in the food department.

Vegetarians always get the bad rap for not getting enough protein in their diets, and many of them turn to soy products.  Heck there's a soy version of every meat out there.  I was dining on soy hot dogs, soy nuggets, soy burgers, soy cold cuts!  And drinking soy milk.  And eating soy nuts.

Soybeans actually have phytoestrogens in them, which means I was getting a TON of extra estrogen in my body.  When you're a teenager, extra hormones is never a good thing.  My poor parents.

Luckily I've gotten off the soy craze.  Those products make me bloated and more emotional than I already am, and they really aren't all they cracked up to be.  Soy is cheap and used as a filler in everything!  Plus it's been known to screw up your thyroid and fuel cancer growth.

If you must have soy, make sure it's organic to avoid pesticides and genetically modified soybeans.  And check out this article about different soy milk companies' ratings.  http://www.NaturalNews.com/026294.html

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eat Brown Not White Rice!

I found this inside my brown rice box:

5 Reasons to Love Brown Rice:
-The fiber in brown rice helps promote regularity and lower the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
-People who eat whole grains like brown rice tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don't.
-Brown rice contains antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that help protect against coronary disease.
-It provides a healthy boost of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants and phytonutrients.
-Grains are rich in carbohydrates--the body's main fuel supply--so we need a fair amount daily.


White rice has been processed, stripped of fiber, B vitamins and minerals, and sometimes bleached.  I think this one's a no-brainer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do Yoga!


Check out this great article from Yoga Journal about the essential benefits of yoga!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

BUGS!

Do you frequently eat at restaurants?  Do you prefer take-out to cooking your own dinner? You might want to think twice...

I just had my body tested and they found all kinds of little bugs in my intestines, and they said it's from eating outside of my home!  I couldn't believe it!  Luckily I've already made the shift to cooking 90% of my meals, but I think about all the people who eat out every day!

When you go to a restaurant, you have no control over your food.  The cooks may or may not wash all the vegetables, or even their hands after going to the bathroom.  GROSS.  This leads to bacteria and parasites in the food, thus right into our bellies.  

So perhaps think twice before sushi... 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To sunscreen or not to sunscreen...

I was feeling quite under the weather recently, so I accompanied a friend to the beach in hopes of soaking up the sun's vitamins and getting some energy!  We laid out our towels, put a little bit of lotion on here and there, and relaxed for a few hours.

When we trudged home up the hill on our bikes, we noticed slight tightness and pains on our stomachs and bums.  We lifted our clothes to see RED LOBSTER PINK skin! Yowzas!

But is sunscreen the right solution?  Will I get skin cancer if I don't use it next time???  I don't think so.  Dr. Mercola doesn't think so either.  Check out all the nasty ingredients in sunscreen that your skin absorbs and sends right to your liver:
  • Para Amino benzoic acid (PABA)
  • Avobenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Octocrylene
  • Octo methoxycinnamate
  • Octyl salicylate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Padimate O
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Trolamine salicylate
  • Zinc oxide

These are all synthetic chemicals, not natural, so your body doesn't know what the heck to do with them and has a hard time processing them.

Sunscreen also blocks your skin’s ability to make vitamin D by more than 95 percent. And we need vitamin D for healthy bones and immunity.

Of course you don't want to burn every time you sit in the sun, so start by going out a little bit more each day.  And most of us know that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m is when the sun is strongest, so you can stay out of it then.

It's also important to feed your skin with lots and lots of omega-3s from fish oil and flax oil, and saturate your body with fruits and vegetables.  Fill yourself with antioxidants to sweep up any damage from the sun.  

Happy sun time!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

That human touch...

I firmly believe that we Americans are amongst the most touch-starved societies in the world.  It's not all our fault, it's just somehow become the norm these days.  Touch someone too much and they think you're weird.  Touch someone at work and they might take it the wrong way and report you for sexual harassment.  The fact that the phrase PDA (public displays of affection) is in existence is a clear indication of this fear around intimacy.

Check out these stats I found:

There are generally Two kinds of cultures classified as High Touch and Low Touch. Countries like France, Italy, and Greece are High Touch; New Zealand, Australia, Britain, and, yes, the U.S.A are Low Touch.  What's the difference. Well check this out.
 
One study showed a stark contrast between cultures by noting the number of touches exchanged by pairs of people sitting in coffee shops around the world: 
 
In San Juan, Puerto Rico, people touched 180 times an hour
in Paris, France, 110 times an hour; 
in Gainesville, Florida, 2 times per hour; and 
in London, England, they never touched
 
 
On a pre-school playground watching children they found 
 
Affectionate Touching -         Paris - 23% of the time
                                         Miami - 3% of the time
 
Aggressive Touching             Paris - 1% of the time
                                         Miami - 37% of the time
 
Now, who invaded Iraq?  Was it France or was it the US and Britain? 



Perhaps it was our upbringing, how or if our parents were affectionate with us.  Or perhaps it was a traumatic experience that closed us off forever.  Whatever the case may be, over time, we will find ourselves seeking nourishment elsewhere, and often in more toxic forms.  This is when people turn to anti-depressants, alcohol, cocaine, cigarettes, junk food...They need that high, that euphoric feeling when the endorphins and dopamine are shooting throughout the body.  

I say, give someone a hug already!  Go get a massage, or ask someone close to you for one.  It's amazing what a little human touch can do. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hemp, and no we're not talkin marijuana!

I was looking for simple but healthy tortilla chips in Trader Joe's the other day, and lo and behold, they now have Hemp Tortilla Chips with black sesame seeds.  Cowabunga! (Wow I haven't said that since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies came out.)  

So interesting how hemp has become another touted trendy health food like soy, probiotics, organic foods, etc.  It is, in fact, not just a food for the dreadlock divas and granola guys.  It's great for everyone, despite the bad rap about it being related to it's THC-filled brother.

Hemp seeds are rich in easily digested vegetable protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants like vitamin E, and an array of minerals.  Some traditional cultures even use this seedy guy for clothing, paper, lantern and vehicle fuel!  But I would just stick to throwing some onto your morning yogurt or oatmeal, and even cookie batter for some extra protein, fiber, and nutrients.

Check out those dynamic tortilla chips at Trader Joe's, and look for hemp seeds and protein in Whole Foods.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Power of the Artichoke!

Spring is the time for liver cleansing, and what better vegetable than the artichoke to assist you!

 Excerpted from epicureantable.com:

Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, 'cleaning' the blood, as well as the bladder. The Egyptians highly prized it as a health and diet food and Plinius described it as the 'food for the rich' because of the health problems contributed to a 'rich' life style - excessive in rich foods, fats and wine that led to liver illnesses (such as cirrhosis), gout and a general run down condition.

Today we know that the artichoke is very high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function (thus helping to lower the blood cholesterol), arteriosclerosis, gout, supports the treatment of hepatitis and improves the gall secretions. It can slightly lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood). As it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins it also has the added side effect of an improved skin luminosity. 

In a poor diet of excessive drinking (most especially strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver's ability to regenerate its cells. Obviously, nothing can help advanced cirrhosis of the liver. Most liver problems by the way, are self-inflicted.

The liver's main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An overstressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition - a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.

What to do? Take an honest appraisal of your diet, recognize unhealthy habits and develop a better understanding of the importance of a properly functioning liver. After serious drinking and weeks of fat-rich foods, do something good for your liver. Give it a break and help it to recuperate. 

When artichokes are  in season, go on a short term Artichoke 'Cure' (treatment, diet)! Discover new recipes and eat them as a main meal for several days. Repeat for as long as they are in season, varying the menu with small amounts of meat and other vegetables. Artichokes only have about 25 calories. Eat fish and poultry 3 times a week and cut out red meat for while. Avoid all animal fats during this time, use olive oil instead and avoid all strong alcohol. A few glasses of red wine a day helps the red blood cell production as well, however abstain from even wine for the several days to a week before adding a small glass with your meal. Another positive side to artichokes and improved liver function is that weight loss is easier as the metabolic assimilation of food is more efficient. 

Infusion: use the leaves you normally throw away. You will need about 12-15 leaves per half litre (approx. 2 cups) of boiling water. Pour over the chopped leaves and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Strain and drink 2 cups during the day. You may sweeten with honey if you like. However, an easier method is to purchase an excellent extract by the W. Schoenenberger, Salus or A. Vogel companies from the health food shop).

Versatile: once trimmed, the versatile Spanish or Italian artichoke (remember you can eat the whole choke) can be cooked whole, sliced lengthways, halved, quartered or chopped, pre-cooked in a little water or broth and used in rice dishes, potato dishes, salads or as a topping for pizzas. They can be fried, steamed, boiled, stuffed, chopped with other ingredients for a filling for tomatoes, served with sauces. Chop the hearts very fine and they can be used in vinaigrette, mayonnaise, mixed with cooked egg or grated cheese or used in omelettes.  Then there's quiche, pasta and risotto dishes - you are only limited by your imagination!

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

I can imagine, that if you didn't grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you've always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

METHOD

How to Cook an Artichoke

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

artichoke-1.jpg artichoke-2.jpg

2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.

5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.

artichoke-3.jpg6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to Eat an Artichoke

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

artichoke-5.jpg artichoke-4.jpg

2. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

artichoke-10.jpg artichoke-11.jpg

Continue until all of the petals are removed.

artichoke-6.jpg artichoke-7.jpg

3. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the "choke") covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

artichoke-8.jpg artichoke-9.jpg