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VEG Transition Recipe: Steam Sauteed Kale w/ Bell Peppers

September 25, 2013

KALEI really do not mind preparing vegan dishes from time to time, but for whatever reason, it actually pains me to cook the life force out of my greens!  Last week my cooking class assignment was to make steam sauteed greens. Because I got to do what I got to do to get my degree I made this simple meal as instructed, and it took no time at all. Although I much prefer to season and massage my greens and eat them raw, this is a really great recipe for anyone looking to add more greens into their life, transition into veggie living, or those who have an aversion (gasp!) to raw greens. The combination of the carmelized onions and the bell pepper adds a sweetness to it, and throwing in some garlic and ginger makes it even yummier. Just make sure NOT to overcook your greens so you still have some of the glorious nutrients available. This is a great side dish to a main course or you could pair it with an additional hefty food like quinoa and call it a meal. If you despise greens give it a try you may find a new easy and simple way to add some more essential veggies into your life. -XoXo Raw Girl 

             Steam Sauteed Kale w/ Bell Peppers

1 bunch Green Kale roughly chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic diced

1/4 ginger root diced
Splash of good olive oil

 

1/2 Onion chopped

1 organic red bell pepper chopped 

 

Sea Salt

 

Heat a pan, or wok with a lid. Add a dash of good quality olive oil and then add in your diced onions. Cook the onions until almost translucent and then add in your peppers. Cover the pan and let the peppers and onions steam for a minute. Add your greens on top and add in your garlic and ginger with sea salt to taste. Cover and steam until cooked but not overcooked. Serve and enjoy!

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EAT 2 LIVE 101: Making Health a Priority

September 23, 2013

RAW GIRL FLOWER

 

One of the most common complaints or excuses for not adopting a healthier lifestyle is lack of time. I’ve heard it again and again. You have to many engagements and commitments between work, kids, school, and juggling that with whatever life throws at your day planner. I get it. The problem is, nothing worth having can be achieved without some sort of sacrifice or investment and that includes radiant skin, and a healthy disease-free body. If you find that whenever life gets full your healthy living goes out the window, that may be a red flag that you need to learn new ways to deal with stress. Most of medicate or feed our faces when the ish gets the fan.

This month I have been reminded greatly of this truth as my life has taken on a more hectic pace and more commitments have surfaced. When all the new activity first began, stress took a hold, but by last week I finally found my groove and it was  daily meditation practice and feeding my body the right fuel that has kept me grounded.  Even if you are busy and ESPECIALLY if you are busy, it is essential that you eat consciously to give yourself the right amount of fuel to perform at your highest level. Below’s a list of ideas to get you thinking about how to make healthy living number one on your to-do list. It’s up to you to take the daily actions and carve out the time that you need, but trust that if you do, the investment you make now will pay dividends in the future. -XoXo Raw Girl 

  • Schedule and track your workouts with apps or write them in a planner or calendar, make your other commitments work around your fitness “dates.” There are so many great apps out there now to help you track and maximize your workouts. If you are like me and are still a traditional pen and paper kind of boy or girl, you may want to try tracking your workouts in a day planner. I have a fun system that works for me in which I track my workouts and mediation practice daily by marking the day with star stickers. When you get to the end of the month it’s always great to have a clear visual of what your commitment has been like.
  • Plan your meals days or even a full week ahead and shop accordingly. It’s easy to by random things we don’t need or shouldn’t be eating from the grocery store when we don’t have a plan. With a list and some forethought, it will be easier to bypass all the temptations and end up only with the health essentials by the time you reach the checkout line. You might also add some change to your piggy bank in the process.
  • Stock your workplace with health snacks so you are are not tempted to become an office cookie monster whenever someone brings in treats. This is a big one for a lot of people I know doing the nine to five hustle. If your office doubles as a part-time bakery with people bringing in desserts, sweets, and non-veg friendly fare, you’ve got to be on your A-game. Humans are not meant to be sedentary, and when we sit at desks for long periods we get bored, and out of boredom start snacking. You can easily nip the office love handles by having health snacks in desk drawers, having frozen fruit to blend into smoothies (if there is a fridge), or even fresh juice.
  • Find one stress relieving or mindfulness practice and commit to it daily for a set period of time. It helps sometimes to create a challenge for yourself and say I am going to meditate every day for 30 days. Most times often than not, by the time you reach day 30, your practice will become so engrained you will not want to stop.
  • Never travel without your health living rations in tow. It’s never ever fun to be a veggie lover in a food desert with no green oasis in sight. Make sure if you have longer days or if your heading on a road trip you pack ahead of time so that you can stick to your true life insurance plan (ie: EATING TO LIVE). Doing this not only will keep your stomach from growling, it’ll also keep your mood balanced so that you can indeed be a healthy and happy example while everyone else is indulging in their vices.
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DC Vegan Spot: District Tea Lodge

September 20, 2013

TEASFinding a new veg spot sometimes feels like discovering an oasis. On Monday I was taken on a little adventure by a friend and ended up at District Tea Lounge. This is one of my favorite finds of late because not only are they in DC and a few blocks away from the Georgetown area, they serve raw, gluten-free eats, have Kombucha on tap, and have a friendly staff, which given them three gold stars in my book.

Raw Brownie

We sampled the mint lime Kombucha which they get in from Capitol Kombucha, and a raw brownie, which was really yummy and made from all natural goodness. What I like about the place is not only is everything an awesome deal price wise,  they also place heavy emphasis on using local ingredients, so the menu changes as the seasons do.  If that’s not natural, I don’t know what is. In addition to all of the wonderfulness I have already mentioned District Tea Lounge also has teas blended by an herbalist according to Ayurvedic principles and the meals they serve are sattvic meaning they are comprised of foods that promote clarity and enhance or support regular meditation and yoga practice. Looking forward to going back and having a full meal; will plan to report back. -XoXo Raw Girl 

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Collard Green Salad w/ Grapefruit Vinaigrette

September 16, 2013

cooking_1To kick off my Master’s program this first semester one of the classes I’m enrolled in is a cooking class. Best part so far was receiving a some awesome knives in the mail, a cutting board, apron, and other goodies.  I made this salad and vinaigrette last week for one of my first assignments to practice a few of the cutting techniques for that lesson. Eating collard greens as a salad is amazing, but for me the trick is to always use a bit of oil, vinegar (or lemon), and sea salt to massage the greens prior to adding toppings or dressing. This not only make the greens more flavorful, it also just makes it easier for the body to break them down. If collard greens are still too much for you to handle alone, try mixing in spinach or arugula. Below is the recipe for the vinaigrette which amazingly enough has a creamy texture that is really nice. For the salad, dice up your collards whatever way you like them, and add toppings. I used fresh baby tomatoes from the garden, yellow pepper, and avocado. -XoXo Raw Girl  

Grapefruit Vinaigrette

2 grapefruits

3 cloves diced garlic

1 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

Pinch of Sea Salt

1/4 cup olive oill 

1-2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Blend, pour onto salad, enjoy!

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Yoga: Utkatasana or Chair Pose

September 13, 2013

Utkatasana A.K.A. Chair Pose / Powerful Fierce Pose

Chair PoseBenefits

Strengthens back, thighs, spine, ankles. Reduces flat feet. Stretches shoulders Boost immune system.

Steps

1. Begin in Tadasana (mountain pose) with arms lifted and fingers sparked. Engage all of your bandhas and bring length to spine lifting up and out of the pelvis

2. On the inhale lift your toes and activate the legs

3. Exhale and lower your hips as if you are getting ready to sit in a chair.

4. Look down and see all 10 of your toes. If you do not see your toes work to send your knees closer to the back wall

5. Continue to lengthen your sacrum downward sending your belly button toward your spine to prevent over arching.

6. Reach out through the fingertips and draw your shoulders away from your ears.

7. Send your gaze forward keeping your chin parallel to your mat.

8. Allow your inhales to bring length and your exhales to sink you deeper into your hips.

Precautions

Those with hip or knee problems use caution and try entering the pose with the back agains the wall or a block between the thighs.

~ Namaste, Sihnnu

You can find Sihnuu on Instagram @yogasihnuu

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The Healing Power of Massage

September 9, 2013
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Need a chill pill? The majority of us could use several the way we rush about from engagement to engagement and double book ourselves into a frenzy. I’m not pointing any fingers without taking a good look at myself in the mirror first. Life can get hectic, and it’s important to listen to the signs that our bodies give us to slow down, smell the roses, and perhaps get a massage! Why are massages great? Besides the fact that they promote relaxation, massages may relieve you of that kink you’ve had in your neck for a month, or help you sleep better, the answer is very simple. Humans need human touch. Keep in mind that your skin is your bodies’ largest organ. Not only do we need touch, but it’s been scientifically proven that massage has powerful effects on the healing progress of a wide range of ailments.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association several studies have show that massage can positively affect back pains, burns, carpal tunnel syndrome, lung cancer, cardiac patients after surgery, boost immune function and relieve stress in women with breast cancer, assist students in relieving academic stress, assist with recovery and soreness of athletes, and relieve overall anxiety and depression. If you are suffering from a stress relation disease, massages should be in your arsenal along with yoga or meditation. If you have certain types of cancer, inflammation of the veins, certain skin conditions, an infectious disease or cardiac issues you need to consult a doctor before considering massage therapy.

While in New York, I had a hot stone massage that changed my life. I came in stiff and sore, and left skipping with the soundtrack from the Sound of Music playing in my head. The world really seems like a better place when you muscles are relaxed. So just as you find the time weekly, and daily to breathe, stretch, and go within, make sure you get someone to rub on you. Even if it’s for a few minutes, it could make a great difference in promoting a healthier happier you. -XoXo Raw Girl

Below are a few  scientific studies that prove that massage can speed up healing :

A groundbreaking study of 40 preterm infants included the practice of giving a gentle, 15-minute massage three times a day for several days to a number of the group. The results were astounding; infants given massages  gained 47 percent more weight, became more responsive, and left the hospital six days earlier than controls (Pediatrics, May 1986).

A controlled study of 20 HIV-positive men who received a 45-minute massage five times weekly for a month showed that natural killer cells increased (suggesting positive effects on the immune system), and that anxiety, stress, and cortisol levels were significantly reduced (International Journal of Neuroscience, February 1996).

In another study, thirty-two children with asthma received  massage or relaxation therapy from their parents for 20 minutes before bedtime for 30 days-and only the massage group experienced increased peak air flow, improved pulmonary function, and decreased levels of stress hormones.  (Journal of Pediatrics, May 1998).

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Raw Girl’s Adventures in NYC

September 6, 2013

photoLast weekend I had a very lovely time in the big apple. Part of what made it so wonderful besides the great company, was all of the yummy vegan fare I had from new and old favorite spots. Although I am always hyperaware of the “toxic” environment, the veg cuisine makes me happy enough to get through a weekend.

As soon as I arrived in the city, the Kombucha Brooklyn hunt began! Ever since I was introduced to their brand at Wanderlust, I’ve been madly in love. After hitting up a few places that sell it, only to find out they were out of stock, I finally scored the most amazing Kombucha flavor I’ve ever had at Graffitea in the East Village, burnt chamomile. If you can get your hands on this flavor, do, just for the experience. It has such and amazing full bodied flavor, that’s hard to explain. After one sip, I was dreaming about ordering it by the caseloads. Instead I may have to bite the bullet and start finding time to brew my own. Shout out to the lovely ladies at Birdbath Bakery in the village who gave us free vegan chocolate chip cookies because they were out of buch.

drink-your-saladWant to kill your parasites with one juice? Had a crazy potent juice from Juice Press called “Drink Your Salad,”  which is spicy (warning!)  and includes ripe tomato, carrot, celery, beet, parsley, kale, spinach, lemon, along with a pinch of cayenne, onion, garlic, and sea salt.  There’s also one called “Volcano” which includes a two ounce shot of cold pressed ginger, oil of oregano, lime, and cayenne extract. Without a doubt, one of those a day for a week would help you clean house of parasites, or just recalibrate your immune system, FAST! If your aren’t concerned about the buggers and need to satisfy your sweet tooth, the desserts are also pretty awesome. I tried their raw sweet potato pie and also tasted the raw key lime pie. The raw sweet potato pie was hands down, my favorite.

One of the nights out on the town, I went to Cafe Blossom with some friends and had a wonderful meal. My favorite things on their uptown menu thus far are the beet ravioli and autumn sweet potato rolls. So delish! Can’t wait to try more next time.

photo-1Besides all the good eats out on the town, one of my favorite people on the planet had us over for a lunch that included flaxseed crackers, raw hummus, red peppers, cucumber ceviche, raw sesame cashews that tasted like cracker jacks (also from Juice Press), and (gasp!) an avocado/mango guacamole that was unbelievable. After all of this good eating and lots of reconnecting with some of my favorite people, I was treated to a hot stone massage. Best. Idea. Ever. More on that later. -XoXo Raw Girl 

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