Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Warming Chicken Pho Recipe

I am addicted to Chicken Pho!  Ever since I began eating more warming foods to help my Qi movement and rid my body of the cold dampness that has been plaguing me, soups, especially pho, have become an integral part of my diet.  This pho recipe makes a particularly warming soup with ingredients such as garlic, ginger, onion and greens that have warming properties.  I make it at least once a week.  In fact, I made it for lunch today.  As an added bonus, my 3-year-old loves it, too!  It also makes a great weeknight meal by being simple, fast and easy clean-up.

I make a couple of different versions...a super homemade one with bone broth and a more quick and easy one with store bought broth...depending on time and ingredients on hand.  I also switch out my green veggies based on what I have and what is in season.  This recipe is based off of one I found on allrecipes.com that I altered to fit my diet.  I love making this delicious soup with the leftovers of a whole roasted chicken.  I use the carcass to make bone broth and the remaining meat for the soup.

1 Box of Asian Brown Rice Noodles  (I like Annie Chun's Maifun Brown Rice Noodles)
6 Cups Chicken Stock (I prefer homemade bone broth but use low sodium organic free range chicken broth if I am out of bone broth.  I also add pink Himalayan salt to taste if I am using the boxed low sodium broth.)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce or Gluten Free Soy Sauce
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Teaspoons of Fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
Juice of 1 Lime
5 Green Onions (white and green parts), chopped
1.5 Cups Cooked Chicken (more or less depending on taste)
1 Cup Bok Choy or Savoy Cabbage roughly chopped

For Garnish (optional):
Additional chopped green onions, sliced jalapeƱo, hot sauce, lime wedge, fresh basil and bean sprouts

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.  Note: These noodles cook really fast (2-4 minutes) so once they are done drain, rinse and set aside.  Bring the broth, fish sauce/soy sauce, garlic, ginger, lime juice and onions to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the chicken and greens then cook until heated through (about 10 minutes).  Divvy up the noodles into individual bowls, ladle the soup over the noodles, add garnish and enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dandelion Root Tea - My Healthy Caffiene-Free Coffee Alternative

Have you tried Roasted Dandelion Root Tea?  It is my healthy alternative to coffee in the mornings.  I simply love it!  With its stimulating effect and slightly bitter flavor it feels and tastes so similar to a morning cup of joe.  I love coffee!  I used to enjoy a cup or two every morning.  However, I began 2015 caffeine-free and found Roasted Dandelion Root tea to be a great alternative.  Since I have ovarian cysts, PCOS and cystic breasts, my OB/GYN and Midwife recommended I remove caffeine from my diet.  However, as a mother of a preschooler, cutting out coffee was a daunting task.  Therefore, when I stopped drinking caffeine with my cleanse (click here to read about the cleanse I did), I decided to continue my caffeine-free ways and seek healthier alternatives.  Thanks to one of my favorite blogs, Elana's Pantry, who combines chicory root, dandelion root and cinnamon to create a dandelion coffee, I decided to try dandelion root tea after I couldn't find chicory root at my local grocery store.

Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea has some amazing health benefits.  It is naturally caffeine-free but has stimulating and detoxifying properties to it.  This "weed" aids in digestion, helps the kidneys cleanse the body and improves liver function.  It is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  The tea can help regulate blood sugar, boost the immune system, reducing bloating, relieve constipation and assist in weight loss.  Furthermore, Organic Roasted Dandelion Tea has possible cancer-killing properties (studies are still being done).

**Dandelion Root can interact with certain medications and should not be used if you have specific allergies to certain plants, especially dandelions.  Always speak to your health care provider if you are pregnant or nursing.**

To purchase the Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea I enjoy click HERE or check you local grocery store.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"It's All Good" Cooking Adventure

Get ready to embark on an adventure with me....if you choose.  A year ago, for Christmas 2013, my husband bought me the greatest cookbook I have found to date.  Never before have I owned a cookbook from which I could make the recipes with little to no substitutions to fit my dietary needs (I have a severe candida allergy, a moderate gluten allergy and a dairy allergy).  Not only are the recipes overall simple and easy to follow, they are also delicious...at least the ones I have tried.  While I have tasted many of them, I have not come close to trying them all and have found myself making my favorites over and over.  Then I realized that I want to try all of the recipes...even the ones by which I am intimidated.  This is where the "adventure" comes in to play.  Not unlike Julie in "Julie and Julia," I am going to make all of the recipes in Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, "It's All Good."  I will still blog and write about my usually health and wellness topics, which will probably come up in the "It's All Good" Cooking Adventure blogs as well, for the recipes in the book very much follow my style of healthful eating.  If you do not already have the cookbook, you can purchase it HERE for less than $20!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dr. Sponge ~ The best way to clean your skin!!

Have you heard of Dr. Sponge or Konjac sponge?  It is my new favorite way to clean my skin.  Not only does it leave my epidermis feeling clean, moist and nourished, this amazing face and body cleanser is soap-free, biodegradable, eco-friendly and all-natural!  What's more, this cleanser is so sensitive it is even great for babies; in fact, it was originally made for infants.

Dr. Sponge is made from the exotic Asian plant, Konjac, which is commonly used in food and dietary supplements.  This nurturing plant, with its plentiful supply of beneficial vitamins and minerals, is excellent for the skin.  The natural texture of the sponge gently cleans while lightly exfoliating your skin to keep it nourished, healthy and happy.  Dr. Sponge combines the plant with other healthy ingredients like aloe vera and lavender so you can purchase a sponge directed to your skin type.  "Dr. Sponge works great at cleaning pores, removing make-up, dirt, oil and blackheads, leaving your skin refreshed and revitalized," according to the Dr. Sponge informational packet.

Dr. Sponge offers seven different options in skincare treatments including: Original for all skin types, Aloe Vera for dry skin, Charcoal for oily or combination skin, Lavender for stressed skin, Lycopene for mature skin, Pearl Powder for dull skin and Green Tea for dry or normal skin.  All of these options are available in the facial sponge and body sponge.  I use the Aloe Vera variety and love how smooth, clean and moisturized my skin feels.  Furthermore, the sponges are pH balanced.  

What makes this product even better is the price!  At only $8 per facial cleansing sponge this beauty product will last two to three months when stored properly.  (Instructions included in each box).

To buy a Dr. Sponge click here.

Local (Hilton Head and Bluffton) people can also purchase them at Pure Natural Market on the island.  https://www.facebook.com/PureNaturalMarket.  If you haven't checked out Pure Natural Market it is worth a visit.  It has an amazing assortment of healthy and eco-friendly products, and be sure to try one of their delicious, organic smoothies!

I hope you enjoy your Dr. Sponge as much as I do!!  Let me know how you like it!

For more information please visit www.drsponge.com.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Flor-Essence Detox/Cleanse

I decided to begin this year in a trendy manner.....with a cleanse/detox.  It had been something I had been researching for a while, and I found the program I wanted (with the help of my holistic healer). However, the timing wasn't right to begin (Holidays, where I was in my cycle, etc.).  Thus the trendy beginning to 2015.  I feel great!  I absolutely loved this detox program.  It is gentle, easy and has me feeling more energized, clearer, more grounded and all around better.  It was easy for me to adapt to this plan, for I already have a pretty clean diet.  The main things I needed to cut out were caffeine and alcohol, which I was enjoying the sugary kind (wine and champagne) over the Holidays.  Below is a day-to-day synopsis of how I felt during the purification program as well as a link to buy the kit.

I chose the Flor-Essence 7-day Purification Program for its all herbal, all natural and gentle detoxing properties.  This is a great option for people who are interested in beginning better health and cleaner eating without jumping off too high and for those who already have a generally clean diet and are simply looking for a little detox boost, like myself.  The program is designed to cleanse the colon, kidneys and liver.  It is important to eat real, whole foods while on the detox in order to reap the full benefits.  After all, it doesn't help to cleanse if you are putting toxins right back in your body.  The program calls for no sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or fast food.  Also drink plenty of water!!  It begins with tea, which can be made as weak or strong as you like, to be enjoyed in the morning (before eating anything) and before bedtime.  15 minutes after ingesting the tea, take the Pro-Essence supplement (kidney detox) both morning and night.  Then it is directed to drink the Flora-Lax before each meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Note: the Flora-Lax contains oats that are not certified gluten free so if you have a severe sensitivity to gluten you may want to find another cleanse.  It is believed that oats are tainted with gluten as they are cut using regular flour in the factory (unless certified gluten free).  Before I get into the nitty-gritty of it all I want to note that nothing in the program box tastes bad.  Everything is quite neutral in flavor.  However, be prepared to add some time to your morning routine with all of the drinks in the morning.

Day 1: I felt very motivated with high energy and a positive mood.  It began my week of having to pee all of the time...think pregnant lady...that's how often I had to pee.  I was also always thirsty, which went hand-in-hand with the instruction to drink plenty of water.  I had a slight headache on-and-off all day and slight soreness in my lower back.  I felt like I had enhanced sense of taste and smell and ended the day with massive sugar cravings, which I did resist.

Day 2: (Warning there is dialogue concerning bowel movements).  By day two the Flora-Lax started to do its job cleaning the colon.  I had two large bowel movements each day from this day on to the end of the cleanse, all of which were of healthier consistency.  (And that's it...no more poop talk...until my three-old gets out of school, I'm sure).  I slept really well the night before and woke up feeling rested, motivated and energized.  I did notice I had more body odor this day and for the rest of the cleanse.  My on-and-off headache continued.  My mood swings disappeared.  I was feeling great!

Day 3: This was the hardest day for me during the cleanse.  Even though I got to sleep in a little bit, I felt tired, cranky and simply "off" all day.

Day 4: I felt great!!  Positive, patient, calm and centered!  No more headache either.

Day 5: Another great day!!  I felt grounded, calm, focused and energized.  Love it!  I want to feel this way all of the time!

Day 6: I felt slightly off on day six.  I worked to keep grounding myself.  I felt a little congested through the night, and my son didn't sleep well that night, which means I didn't sleep well either.  I had my first acupuncture appointment (blogs on that subject coming soon), and felt generally tired and ready to nurture self all day.

Day 7:  The last day!!  I was back to feeling great!  Energized, focused and motivated!

Some small side notes: There are more Pro-Essence Supplements (pills) and tea than needed for the seven days and the Flor-Lax was short a serving.

Overall I feel it was worth the cost of the cleanse (under $40).  It is a great way to get yourself back on track or start getting yourself eating healthier and jump starting a healthier lifestyle in a gentle manner.  Below is a link to buy the 7-day cleanse.  Enjoy and let me know how you like it!  **As always consult with your physician before attempting drastic changes in your diet, lifestyle or if you have any medical conditions.**
**Do not cleanse while pregnant or nursing**

Buy Flor-Essence 7 Day Purification Program here

Monday, November 3, 2014

Healthy Tip - Spaghetti Squash

November is here, and it has arrived with a bang!  Freezing temperatures around the US (even in the normally mild Southeast) have many of us craving warm, comforting foods.  One of my favorite healthy winter foods is spaghetti squash.  When cooked the flesh resembles noodles, hence the name spaghetti squash.

The next time you are planning to whip up a batch of spaghetti use spaghetti squash instead of noodles.  It is a nutritious winter squash full of nutrients like Vitamin C, Folic Acid and Potassium.  It is also low in carbohydrates and calories.  We love spaghetti squash this time of year.  Not only do we use it with spaghetti sauce (see my healthy meatball recipe HERE), we also enjoy topped with chili or stew.

Spaghetti squash is also easy to prepare.  Simply use a sharp knife to prick some holes throughout the squash and bake it (on a baking sheet) in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour (turning the squash halfway through the cooking process) or until the squash is tender.  Cut the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (and set aside) and fork out the noodle-like flesh (this is the part to eat).

(photos courtesy of MarthaStewart.com)

This is also a great way to get your kids eating more vegetables especially in the winter.  My son cleans his plate when we serve spaghetti squash!  He loves it!  Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Amazing Almond Butter Smoothie (gluten and dairy free)

Every year when the weather begins to warm up, I get on a smoothie kick.  This year is no different.  While we have been having temperatures in the mid 70’s, my son and I have been enjoying smoothies on a daily basis.  In fact, many days we have more than one.  Lately we have been experimenting with new recipes, hence the recent influx of smoothie recipe posts.  I am always looking for healthy, dairy-free, gluten-free, kid-friendly smoothie ideas.  Recently Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’sAll Good, has been a great source of inspiration.  You can view it and buy it HERE.  This smoothie is a spin on one of her many delicious recipes in the book.  It is packed with protein, satisfying, sweet and great for kids.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

My two-and-a-half year old son absolutely LOVES almond butter.  He eats it by the spoonful so this smoothie is his new favorite.  It is great for breakfast, an afternoon snack or even dessert!

1 Frozen Banana
1 ½ Cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 Tbls Almond Butter
1 ½ Tbls Cacao Powder
1 Tbls Sweetener of your choice (Agave, Honey or Pure Maple Syrup) or 1 Date
A Few Dashes of Ground Cinnamon (to taste) (Helps regulate blood sugar)
A Handful of Ice (to desired consistency)
1 Tbls Organic Gluten Free Oats (optional) (Great for nursing mothers or after a workout)

For Garnish:
A Sprinkling of Bee Pollen (optional) (for added allergy protection…great in the spring and fall)
A Sprinkling of Gluten Free Oats (optional) (for added hydration…great for nursing mothers)

Serves 2

Place of the ingredients into a high-powered blender and combine until smooth.  Pour into glasses, sprinkle on garnishes and enjoy!  You can buy BPA-free stainless steel straws (like pictured) HERE.

More Delicious and Healthy Recipes:
Low glycemic index smoothie recipe
"The Best" Smoothie Recipe
Healthy Low GI "Chocolate Shake Smoothie
Gluten Free Meatball Recipe
Green Juice Recipe
Homemade Healthy Cereal
Dairy-free, low glycemic index soft served ice cream recipe