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7 Reasons You Should Eat a Paleo Diet

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The concept of “eating Paleo” has been around for a few years now, and you probably have some sense of what it refers to: cavemen, meat, etc. But what’s really behind the relatively recent diet movement? And is it something you should consider trying?

The Paleo diet takes us back to the basics of how our caveman ancestors ate, with the reasoning that our bodies were designed to properly digest and get nourishment from these types of foods. Following this diet as intended means thinking about the types as well as the quality of the foods that you eat. Our ancestors during the Paleolithic period had to hunt for and gather their food, which means they only had access to wild animals, wild vegetables, and limited amounts of wild fruits. Their foods were not adulterated with pesticides and chemicals.

Ask Health Coach Maria: What is Ayurveda?

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Hi, I’m Maria Marlowe, a Certified Health Coach and author of Detox without the Deprivation. This is my weekly “Ask Health Coach Maria” series, in which I answer frequently asked questions that relate to health and wellness. Have a question? Ask me here. 

Ayurveda literally translates to “science of life,” and is a health and healing system from India that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. As a holistic approach to overall wellness in life, this system not only teaches you how to cure an illness, but also how to avoid illness altogether, with a focus on maintaining a vibrantly healthy life. 

I’m personally a huge proponent of Ayurveda, and incorporate many of its tenets into my health coaching practice. The following three principles, which set the foundation for Ayurveda, also set the foundation for my practice. 

6 Reasons to Drink Kefir (Hey, It Can Be Vegan, Too!)

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Kefir is a cultured milk beverage that has a slightly sour, or tart, taste and a texture similar to liquid yogurt.

A popular component of traditional diets in Eastern and Northern Europe, kefir has become increasingly recognized in the western world for its many health benefits. Yet it still remains outside the mainstream, with many people unaware of its healing properties, unsure of how to consume it, or even concerned that they can’t eat it due to dietary restrictions.

So let’s clear up the kefir confusion. Read on for 6 reasons why kefir is awesome, and how to incorporate it into your diet!

1. Ultra pro-biotic. Like yogurt, kefir is loaded with beneficial bacteria and yeasts. But while the probiotics in yogurt tend to simply feed the good bacteria in your gut as they pass through you, kefir actually goes a step further and is able to colonize your intestinal tract with new friendly bacteria. This makes kefir an excellent food for enhancing digestive health.

Greek-Style Lentil Salad

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Traditional Greek salad is so delicious on its own—the creaminess of the feta against the crunchy cucumber and sweet tomatoes is a perfect combination. And adding lentils is an easy way to up the protein. This classic salad is just the lunchtime pick-me-up I need to give me energy to attack the rest of the day. Add grilled salmon, chicken, or shrimp for even more of a protein boost if you're extra hungry.

 

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

2 cups lentils du Puy

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Zest of 2 lemons

6 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

1 small red onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, grated or minced

½ pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

½ greenhouse cucumber (or mini seedless cucs), cut in ¼ inch cubes

6-8 oz feta cheese

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Instructions 

1. Place the lentils in a saucepan with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Strain and set aside.

How to Cook Tofu Like a Pro

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Tofu got a bad rap in its early days as a bland, tasteless necessity of a vegetarian diet. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then, and you can now find all sorts of exciting and delicious ways to prepare tofu. This is especially fortunate because it’s such an inexpensive and excellent source of protein.

Tofu is made from fermented soy, and you can be purchased in a variety of forms including silken, soft, firm and extra firm. Most major grocery stores stock it in 1-pound blocks packed in water.

At first glance, tofu can look a bit off-putting. Looking at a jiggly white block floating in a few inches of water, it’s pretty difficult to think of it as a delicious and appealing dish. But with a little imagination, and not very much effort at all, you can turn it into a satisfying, lip-smacking meal! 

How to Massage Kale [VIDEO]

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I know we all love kale here, but it might seem like overkill to give the leafy green a massage. But in reality, massaging kale is actually a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and an important step in preparing kale to eat!

Raw kale can be coarse, so if you don’t plan on cooking it before eating, you need to take some steps to tenderize it first. Massaging kale helps smooth out raw kale’s roughness, making it the perfect crispness for a delicious salad—or anything else you want to use it in!

In this video, Hailey from Wellness Today gives you some pro tips on how to nail down your kale massaging technique. Check it out below!

 

Have you ever massaged kale? Do you have any expert tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Healthy Breakfast Quinoa Recipe

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It can be hard to get back into a healthy routine after the cold, comfort-food-filled winter. I can’t just stop eating sweets and extra salty food in a day; it takes a few to ween myself off. I finally feel back on track, eating like my normal self and feeling more energetic and less bloated.

In order to get to this place, I had to exercise some serious self control last week and start to cook more healthy recipes like this one. 

Although it’s the most important meal of the day, busy people (myself included) have a hard time fitting in a healthy breakfast that actually fills us up until lunch time. I love this breakfast quinoa recipe because you can make it on a Sunday and eat it for the next three days no problem. On Monday morning, breakfast took me only a few minutes to make because I just had to heat up my leftover quinoa and add a dollop of almond butter. 

Unlike oatmeal, quinoa doesn’t get mushy or dense, plus it packs in an extra punch of protein. I make my version of this semi-sweet with maple syrup, but if you’re trying to stay completely sweetener-free, it’s just as delicious without it. I add chia and flax seeds to get extra Omega-3s, fiber, and digestive support. 

Ingredients

Power Smoothie Recipe: Drink Up Matcha Green Tea’s Benefits

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Green tea has long been a popular superfood, but to tap into its most nutritionally powerful form, you may need to think beyond the teabag. If you’ve never heard of matcha, it’s a fine green tea powder that has been used in Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries and by Zen Buddhists who valued the tea for its unique therapeutic properties. These traditions hold that drinking this tea is the ultimate path to clarity, energy and better health, and they just might be onto something! 

Choco-Mint Mini Cupcakes (Grain-free, Vegan)

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I made this choco-mint cake for a gluten-free retreat, and it was a hit. Shirley Braden of Gluten Free Easily suggested making it as mini-cupcakes instead, and she was right! Somehow, everything is more glorious with frosting on top. Go figure.

The recipe features a not-so-secret ingredient (avocado!) which lends a wonderful creaminess. Don’t worry–I won’t tell if you don’t.

 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pureed ripe avocado (approx. ¾ of an avocado)
  • 3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (70-85% cacao), melted
  • 1 cup of maple syrup
  • ½ tsp mint extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/3 cups of almond flour
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot flour or cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt

Heavenly Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 whole avocado (approx. ¾ cup)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate (70-85% cacao) 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

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