RANT: why simplify?

I consider myself a fluctuator.  You know, a sorta healthy weight until the proverbial “___ hits the fan”, life gets stressful, then it starts ….

I’m not sleeping enough, I’m eating junky foods, and lots of it, then BAM! I swell up like 2 sizes….until stuff cools down and I’m able to get back to my routine of healthy living.

But then again, isn’t that’s what’s happening to all of us?

lower_your_stress_level

When you are stressed, you are not as good to your body.  You eat too much, and it’s usually too much of the bad stuff (did somebody say mozzarella sticks?!).   When you are stressed your sleep suffers, you don’t get enough water, nutrients, exercise, or time for play.  When you are strapped for time, you eat convenient foods, not good-for-you foods.  When we are frazzled, we’re not as nice to our loved ones, which causes them stress (and worsens our own).  When you body is stressed (you tired of me using that word yet, is it causing you stress?) it holds on to every calorie it can and packs on the fat tissue because it’s preparing for the worst (long winter without food? drought? famine?) Then shedding pounds becomes nearly  impossible!

I really think, as a nation, we aren’t all over-weight, we’re just all crazy-stressed!

Slammed with work, financial woes, kids’ schedules, social obligations, unrewarding jobs, unhealthy or broken relationships, facades to keep up, our own self-imposed stressors, taking on too much, ailing parents, car trouble, the list goes on…

stresssymptoms

So if stress makes you fat and unhealthy, then wouldn’t it make sense that de-stressing and simplifying your life would make you more healthy, trimmer and overall much happier?

What are ways you can simplify!?

(stress photos from Mandyrandall.com and Boundless)

RECIPE: Chia Seed Pudding

Chia Seed pudding is a great way to get your sweet fix on while packing in the mega nutrients, not the calories!

This recipe and photo comes a la the ladies at POINT, the baddest work out in Portland!

chia seed pudding

CHIA SEED PUDDING:
1 Cup unsweetened almond or unsweetened coconut milk
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp REAL maple syrup (less if you prefer less sweet, your could also use agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or maybe honey if you heat it up enough to blend easily)
Whisk everything together and let it sit in the fridge overnight. If you prefer less of a tapioca-like texture you can blend everything in a blender … just be sure to add the chia seeds last to prevent clumping.

RECIPE: Healthy Easy Egg Rolls

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I used to tear up an All-you-can-eat-Chinese-buffet!  Atop my plate-o-gluttony, were usually not one, but two,  precariously perched fried egg rolls.  Not sure when or were I fell in love with these grease-laden mystery tubes, but they probably ‘had me at “fried”‘.

Thank goodness I can easily forego Chinese buffets and their previously tempting egg rolls, now, knowing how disgustingly synthetic and chemical-ly (made up word) the contents are.

Now I nosh on a higher quality fare, like this little gem I invented recently.

It’s so easy I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner…

Chop 1/2 red pepper, 2 mushrooms and 1/3 small onion (more or less depending on your relationship with onions)

Sauté onion and mushrooms in 1 tsp of oil while you

Whisk 2 eggs, 1/4 cup cheese (I’ve used parmesan, swiss and goat cheese), the chopped red pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper together.

Pour whisked contents into pan for scrambling

While scrambling, cut stem out of a swiss chard leaf*, which you will then use to wrap your egg scramble. 

Viola!

Healthy, easy, yummy egg roll!

(*I suppose you could use any edible leaf, but chard tops the ANDI score charts, and holds together well so give it a try)

RULE: Sitting is the New Smoking

A recent article in Runner’s World (a world I do not live in BTW) warns “the more you sit, the poorer your health and the earlier you may die…NO MATTER HOW FIT YOU ARE”

The latest studies show sitting, for long periods of time, like more than 6 hours a day, can be just as detrimental to your health as smoking.   Prolonged sitting is horrible for your spine, makes your muscles atrophy and results in obesity.  Hunching over a desk results in terrible posture, tight shoulders, a weak core, neck and low back pain, not to mention your computer screen’s damaging effect on vision.

fat ass in chair

This is bad news for the 100+ million Americans who sit about 9 hours, each day. We sit at the breakfast table, then in a car, train or bus commuting to work, then sit at a desk, counter or computer for 8 hours, then sit on the return commute to get home in time to sit at the dinner table and then follow all that sitting time with a little more sitting in front of the TV.

The same health concerns apply to kids who sit on the way to school and then for 6-8 hours at school and then sit some more while doing homework, dinner and TV time.

They say even adult ‘binge exercisers’, those who bang out an hour at the gym each day, cannot undo the colossal amount of time they spend on their rear ends.

To offset all of this sedentation,  some schools are using stools instead of seats, so kids will have to engage their core muscles while seated.  Some people are choosing to bike to work or take long walks on their lunch breaks.  Some companies are providing standing work stations.  Although, long periods of standing are also tough on the spine and circulation (think varicose veins), so some really slick work places are providing standing work stations with treadmills!  Employees can their walk on while they work (I smell a workers comp injury).  Some people are simply opting for jobs where they can be outdoors.

So, until we all figure out a way to walk, jog, repel, ski, dance, glide, skate, ride, box, roll, skip, jump, climb, sail, float, zip or paddle through our days….we just need to remember to get off our cans and MOVE OUR BODIES.  Not once a day. But as often as possible.  Unless early death sounds alluring.

Hourly office dance parties anyone?

 

 

[I nabbed this photo off the wild world web, I do not know who it is and I did not take this photo, but bc there are no identifying features and because 78 million Americans are obese, it could be anyone]

RECIPE: Decadent Dessert Truffles

Who doesn’t need a chocolate fix every now and again…and again…and again?!?

This recipe was passed along to me by a fellow chocolate addict from A Raw Food/Vegetarian website, and they are delish.  Don’t let the raw, vegetarian tag scare you–just means they are extra-healthy.

A little longer than I like for prep time, but just because I’m impatient doesn’t mean I shouldn’t pass them along to you all!

bon bons

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Soak Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 14 bonbons

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dates, tightly packed, preferably medjool
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped soaked nuts, (almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia)
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, cranberries, blueberries)

Preparation:

Place the dates in a food processor and process on high speed for 10 seconds. Add the coconut oil, agave nectar, cardamom, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla and process again for 10 to 20 seconds or until the mixture is thoroughly combined and the consistency of marzipan. Add the cacao powder and process again for another 10 seconds.

Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the chopped nuts and dried fruit and mix well. Use an ice cream scooper with a release lever, or a spoon, to scoop out your desired size of bonbon onto a parchment paper lined plate or tray. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

You could probably get away without soaking the nuts…you decide [and insert joke about it here]

RECIPE: Wheat Grass Smoothie

Don’t freak out if you:

A) Don’t know what wheat grass is

B) Know what it is, but would rather eat someone else’s finger nail clippings than try it

C) You think grass is for hippies and bovines

D) Are willing to try wheat grass but don’t know where to get it

Wheat grass is not wheat! It’s a low-carb, low cal, alkaline,  green,  gorgeous, nutrient-packed blade of health, and can be bought in the powdered form or in the actively growing form (both pictured here) at your local health foods store.  Think of it as an amazing vitamin source with healing properties.  A shot of wheat grass can cure most hangovers!

If you’re a wheat grass chicken, you could theoretically leave it out of this smoothie recipe, or you could seek it out and let the healing begin!

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1 cup water

1/2 cup frozen spinach

1 inch x 1 inch snipping of wheat grass and/or 1 scoop of powdered wheat grass

1/2 lemon squeezed

4 heaping Tbsp of apple sauce

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup frozen blueberries