Thank Your Body Eat, move, and live naturally. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 16:00:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A lesson in dreams, timing, and patience. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 16:00:14 +0000 After a decade of waiting, I'm finally realizing one of my dreams.

Once upon a time I had a dream to change the way women see and use their bodies. And by “once upon a time” I mean 2003. I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. Even as I started my career as a university professor, deep down I wanted to be my own boss. I just love the creativity, freedom, and unlimited potential involved in creating your own path. On a number of occasions I would start plotting ideas for workshops, classes, and retreats where I could help others through my work as a movement therapist. In 2009 I took a major step toward that dream and started preparation for my own wellness center. This wellness center was going to be awesome. I spent a year putting together a thorough business plan. I had a binder full of financial sheets, projections, budgets, marketing plans, and more. I talked to banks about business loans. I read books. I researched locations for the center. The hardest part was telling my incredible colleagues and beloved students that I wouldn’t be coming back the next school year. But once that was done I felt liberated by the possibilities in front of me. Even with the economy in the dumps and a husband who was also “self employed” (meaning neither of us had a secure income), everything about what I was doing felt so good, and so right. I had a dream and I was determined to make it happen. Then things changed. My husband and I had made an appointment to sign the lease for a space for the center. It was awesome. It was a block away from our house and a beautiful open floor plan. When I woke up the morning of our signing, though, something felt… different. Something shifted and all of a sudden nothing about what I was doing felt right. Nothing. We walked away from the lease and I put away the business stuff I had been working on for more than a year. I was angry. I still had a month left of my teaching obligations at BYU. I remember going to my office the next morning and closing my door. I cried. I was mad. Why had this thing felt so right for so long only to suddenly come to a crashing halt? I dropped my head into my arms and prayed, asking for answers because I had felt guided all along the process. The thought then came to me, very clearly: This experience gave you a reason to leave your job. There’s something else you need to be doing right now. It’s hard to explain that moment, but instantly everything shifted again. I felt peaceful and willing to just move forward. Timing is everything. Not long after that we started a very different journey. My husband and I felt it was time to start a family. Within the year our little girl was born. By this time my husband had taken a job to make sure we could pay the bills. It wasn’t his dream job, by any means. He, like me, is an entrepreneur who wants to do his own thing. But we needed some sort of secure income for the time he did what he had to do. The thing was, he didn’t like his job. At all. And I hated seeing him go off to work knowing he wasn’t doing something that fulfilled him. That’s when I hatched a plan to figure out a way to make my then hobby blog into a business. I had no clue what I was doing, but I had time and a willingness to learn. Over the next few years we witnessed many miracles and tender mercies as we were able to fully support our family off of the labors of this blog. We weren’t rich, but we could pay the bills. My husband was able to quit his job and we’ve been very fortunate to work together. As I said, we love being the boss of our lives. Thank Your Body has given me a voice to reach more people than I ever could have imagined. Still, for the past year or so I have felt that same nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. While I believe in healthy living and stand behind everything I write here on this blog, I knew that my heart was still with my movement therapy dreams. I wasn’t necessarily ready to open a wellness center, but I have continued to want to reach women and teach them about the power of movement and their bodies in some way. Patient Rewards Today is an incredible day. After nearly 10 years of working and dreaming I am finally opening the doors to a program I’ve put my whole soul into. Seriously, this program is brimming with my sweat, tears, time, (and money). The best part? Despite how hard it was to put aside my dream of a wellness center, the lessons I’ve learned through my blog has provided me a whole new inroad to help even more women. I could never have created this program 5 years ago. I could have never had the tools and knowledge to reach so many people. And I definitely couldn’t offer this program at such a low price if I had stuck to my original plan. All this to say: Dreams do come true but sometimes they take a lot of time and transform into something very different than you ever could have imagined. Something even better. Will you join me? I would be honored if you’d take a couple minutes and check out what I’ve been working at for the past 10 years. If it’s a good fit for you I would love to work with you! Even if it’s not, maybe you know someone who could benefit from this program. I would be over the moon if you’d share it with your family and friends. My mission is simple: I want more women to love how they feel about their bodies.  I’ve seen my own life transform through movement....

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Recipe: Gluten Free Sausage and Apple Stuffing Sat, 21 Nov 2015 08:00:00 +0000 This gluten free sausage and apple stuffing is a healthier alternative to traditional dressing. The apples are subtle, but make it so savory and moist.

Thanksgiving is full of wonderful food traditions! But when you go gluten free (especially those first few years) the holidays can trigger feelings of loss and even grief. It’s easy to find yourself mired in thoughts about all the things you’ll never eat again…no more pies, no more dinner rolls, and no more stuffing! If you’re experiencing these feelings right now, you’re not alone. I felt the same way my first Thanksgiving sans gluten! Luckily, I’ve since discovered that there is no reason why you can’t enjoy all the things you did before…you’ll just have to make some adjustments, be a little creative, and do a little research. One of the things that I missed the most about gluten-full Thanksgiving was the stuffing. I only ate it once a year, but boy did I enjoy when I did! For a lot of years, I just did without. Then a few companies started coming up with pre-made gluten free bread cubes (you can find them here), and I was thrilled to bring a few packages home in anticipation of finally having a Thanksgiving dinner without lonely turkey. The thing is, those stuffing cubes are (to put it lightly) not cheap! And, although stuffing is a once-a-year treat, little bread cubes also not the best thing to be filling up on. After a little research, we found a recipe for stuffing that calls for a lot of vegetables and even some fruit in addition to the bread…and it’s so much tastier than plain stuffing!   Gluten free sausage and apple stuffing is a wonderful addition to your holiday menu. Fresh onion, celery, and green apples make up quite a bit of the stuffing, and organic additive-free sausage gives it a savory, delicious flavor. I was skeptical about the apples, as I really just wanted a traditional stuffing. You really don’t taste apple, though…it gives the stuffing a wonderful depth of flavor, and keeps it moist (even when you reheat it the next day). If you don’t tell anyone that there are apples in it, they probably won’t guess! After the first few years, I realized that I could avoid hunting down pre-made bread cubes and paying more than I’d like for them if I made the cubes myself. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, and it does add a few steps to the process of making dinner. For me, however, it was worth it…and you have more control over what kind of bread you’re going to use if you cube it yourself! You can either lay the slices of a loaf of GF bread out on the counter over night (if you live in a dry climate) and let them get hard, or you can toast them in a toaster or in the oven. Then, just cube them with a knife (you can stack several slices of bread and cube them all at once, it doesn’t take as long as you’d think). If you’re a plan-ahead type of person, you can even stash the heels of your bread in the freezer all year long and then put them to good use for Thanksgiving.   The great thing is, you’ll use far more cups of cubed apples, onions and celery in this recipe than you will bread. Everything is cut to about the same size, and all the flavors will mingle so that you’ll feel like you’re eating mostly bread…when in reality, there are 14 cups of apple and vegetable to just 5 1/2 cups of bread. Add to that a pound of sausage (I use organic chicken sausage made at our local grocery store), lots of savory spices, fresh organic butter and some chicken stock and you’ve got stuffing that tastes amazing but has far more nutritional value than the traditional, boxed type. And if you’re not gluten intolerant, go ahead and make it with regular bread! It’s a wonderful recipe that goes great with any type of bread…sourdough would be amazing.   Start by getting out your largest bowl, a nice sharp knife, and a large cutting board. You’ll be chopping for a while! If you’re a good multi-tasker, put a pound of organic, additive free sausage in a pan and cook and scramble it until it’s done all the way through, stirring it off and on while you dice the bread (if you’re not using pre-made). Then, dice celery, onions, and peeled green apples…you’ll want to dice them the same size and shape as the bread. Toss all these things together in the bowl. Add the sausage and some of the drippings to the vegetables and bread. Then, melt some butter in the same pan and stir in seasonings…rubbed sage is the key seasoning in most stuffing recipes, and this one is no exception. Sage, garlic, rosemary and thyme go in with the butter. You won’t need any salt, as the sausage will provide plenty of that. Stir the spices into the melted butter, and then add a cup of chicken stock to the pan. Carefully drizzle this mixture over the bowl full of chopped bread, apples and onions while you stir to make sure that everything is completely combined. If the mixture is too dry, pour a little more chicken stock over it. Once the stuffing is mixed together, pack it lightly into a large, buttered baking dish. Cover it with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40  minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes, or until it starts to brown on top.     Looking for more delicious real food recipes? I’ve got your back! I’ve put together 85 incredible dishes that are full of flavor, super yummy, and good for you, too. From main dishes to desserts (and everything in between) you’ll have some fun new eats that I know you’ll love. Best part? The ebook is only 2 bucks. It’s a total no-brainer, right? Right. Click here to check it out.   What’s your favorite kind...

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Recipe: Homemade Honey Lemon Cough Drops with Ginger Tue, 17 Nov 2015 08:00:00 +0000 Feeling sick? Studies show that honey fights a cough better than OTC cough syrup. Try these yummy homemade honey lemon cough drops with ginger!

‘Tis the season…it seems like now that Winter is here, everyone is coughing, hacking, sniffling and sneezing.  Sadly, my family is no exception: In the last few weeks, we’ve been fighting a virus that comes complete with fever, sore throat, and a nasty cough.  There are a ton of products you can buy to medicate a cough, but did you know that a recent study found that honey is actually more effective in relieving night-time coughing in children than the leading ingredient in cough syrup? That’s right, the children who were given a dose of honey at bedtime got a better night’s rest than those who were given honey-flavored dextromethorphan (the “DM” in over the counter cough syrups). When I read about that, I couldn’t help but seek out a recipe for honey cough drops! I found a great one over at Little House in the Suburbs and played around with it a bit. For these natural, yummy drops I combined the anti-bacterial, cough suppressing power of honey with phlegm fighting lemon juice and tummy-settling ginger root. The result? Cough drops that are all-natural, safe, and very effective. They taste great, too! The honey used in the study was buckwheat honey, chances are that another type of honey will also work but if you’re going for full on cough-fighting power, the buckwheat honey might be worth a try. If you’ve ever made hard candy, you know that it can be a bit tricky…this is especially true when you’re preparing the honey cough drops, as the honey scorches easily! You’ll need a candy thermometer. And, since we’re making honey candy here, why not use a hexagon mold like this one to shape your drops? Cute, and each little beehive-like cell is the perfect size for cough drop. First, measure your honey, lemon juice, and fresh-grated ginger into a sauce pan. Stirring constantly (pull up a chair, you’ll be here for a while), bring the mixture up to 300 degrees. You’ll see that once it starts to really boil, it becomes very foamy and climbs up the sides of the pot. Remove it from the heat now and then and just keep stirring it until the foam reduces. Once it hits 300, remove it from the heat right away. This process takes a little intuition, but it was easier than I expected. Once the honey is hot enough, drop a bit of it into a glass of ice water. The honey mixture should form a hard ball, like candy. Fish it out and try it, if it is still chewy rather than crunchy it’s not ready yet and you need to heat it up again carefully before giving it another try. Chewy can be good, too…but the drops won’t hold their shape as well. When your cough drop mixture is ready, let it cool off just a bit (the foam will die down and become liquid again) and then carefully drizzle the mixture into your mold. Let the mold sit in a safe place to cool (don’t be tempted to speed things up by popping them into the freezer, it’s better to just let them cool at room temperature). Also, don’t do what I did and put the pot under cold running water after you’re done with it…you will end up with a candy-coated pot that will need to soak for days! Run it under hot water that’s been going for awhile, or better yet put it in the sink and pour some boiling water over it. When they are completely cool, pop the cough drops out of the mold. You can leave them as they are, but they do tend to stick to each other. One option is to drop them in some powdered sugar (here’s how you can make your own from natural, healthy Rapadura). For an extra immune system boost I mixed a little powdered vitamin C in with the powdered sugar, which gives the outside of the cough drops a sweet-tart taste. The easiest way to dust the cough drops is to drop them all in the powdered sugar, swirl them around, and then pour the whole mess into a sieve and sift away all the extra sugar. There you have it! Cough drops that taste great, are good for your body, and work better than cough syrup!  I’m feeling better already. Note:  It’s recommended that babies 1 year and younger not be given honey, as it can cause infant botulism. What’s your favorite natural remedy for a cough?   Pssst…While we’re talking about improving our health, let’s talk about something really important. While the majority of my posts here on Thank Your Body deal with food, non-toxic living, and exercise there is one super duper important element that far too many people forget when they work on a healthier lifestyle: CLUTTER. We live in a world with so. much. stuff. While that stuff can seem pretty benign, the truth is our clutter affects our health in a really major way. (Not to mention how much money it’s costing us!)   If you’re looking at improving your life may I suggest you take a nice long look at your clutter situation. If you feel overwhelmed (which so many do!) I highly recommend learning more about my book, The Clutter Trap. It has helped a lot of people get to the root cause of clutter. The freedom you’ll find will serve to help all your healthy habits you’re seeking to live by. Click here to check it out.

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Recipe: Homemade Powdered Sugar Wed, 11 Nov 2015 08:00:43 +0000 Homemade powdered sugar is super easy to make, and if you choose a quality sweetener it's also a lot better for you. Learn how to make it!

When we made the switch over to real food and real sweeteners, I thought my day of using powdered sugar were over. I mean, nothing seems more processed that that white powdery dust, void of all nutritional value but perfect for delightfully light and delicate baking. Thankfully, I was wrong. Enter: Homemade powdered sugar. Homemade powdered sugar: A better alternative. This recipe is almost too easy to be called a recipe. And the best part is that you can use pretty much any granular sweetener that you like: Rapadura/Sucanat, Coconut Sugar, ect. Although, depending on what sugar you choose, the color may vary. I used rapadura so my end result was a light brown color. But it still works great as a substitute for commercial powdered sugar.   Let’s do this! Easy, right? Of course you can double or triple this recipe. You’ll get more powdered sugar than what you put in, volume-wise. For example, you’ll get about 1 1/2 cups of homemade powdered sugar for one cup of granular sugar. Of course, sugar is still sugar, and I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “health food.” But homemade powdered sugar is definitely a better choice compared to store-bought powdered sugar (especially because most store-bought brands contain GMOs). Using Rapadura, for example, provides more minerals that plain white sugar. But I’d still use it sparingly. During this holiday season, however, it can be great to have a go-to replacement for those special occasions. What will you make with homemade powdered sugar?  

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Reduce home toxins by 60% (and you’ll never guess how easy it is!) Mon, 09 Nov 2015 08:00:30 +0000 Want to reduce home toxins by 60% Did you know there is a simple solution to do it? One that has a whole bunch of other benefits? Read more!

Ready to reduce home toxins by 60%? Yeah, I thought so. And you’ll love how simple the solution is. Ready for it? I’m going to tell you right here in the first paragraph: Take your shoes off. That’s it! Reduce home toxins that easily. Seems to good to be true, right? But it is. The truth is that research has shown that 85% of the soil and contaminants inside your home can be found within 10 to 12 feet of the exterior doors. Think about all the places your feet go throughout a day. The grocery store. The gas station. The park. Now think about how many other feet are also trekking around those places. Feet that have been who-knows-where. What’s coming in? Research has shown that there may be a whole lot more coming into your house than you might be aware of. Things like insect fragments, lead dust, pesticides, pollen, dust mites, animal dander, hair, human skin flakes, fungal spores or cigarette ash. In other words, a lot of gross and a lot of home toxins. In fact, a recent study indicates that cockroach exoskeletons and droppings found in household dust can trigger asthma. Fact: Around 30 to 40 percent of the contaminants inside your home are brought in from outdoors. This can be especially problematic for children who are crawling and sitting on the floor a lot who are exposed to home toxins even more. Reduce home toxins: Take your shoes off. In a recent warning about lead exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically recommends taking your shoes off when you come inside. According to a report called the Door Mat Study, lead-contaminated soil from the outside causes almost all the lead dust inside homes, and it notes that removing shoes at the door cuts lead dust by 60 percent. Even  better: This study also explains that this simple act of taking off your shoes may reduce exposure to lawn and garden pesticides, wood smoke, industrial toxins, mutagens, dust mites, and other allergens, too. Other barefoot benefits Growing up, we always took our shoes off in our house (although it was because my mom had five kids and cleaning fetish). In college, as a modern dance major, I had to take my shoes off before entering the studio every day. I soon grew to love being free from restrictive shoes. Going barefoot (or even wearing socks) allows your feet to move through its whole range of motion. It’s better for your feet, posture, and health. (And then there’s the whole earthing thing, too!) Oh yeah, removing your shoes will also: Decrease time cleaning. (The professional cleaning industry estimates that we track 85% of the dirt in our homes in from the outside on our shoes or paws of pets. ) Reduce wear and tear on flooring, especially carpets. So there you go! A super simple way way to reduce home toxins by 60% while providing all sorts of other benefits, too. Plus, I love my little shoe bench. In my book that’s a SUPER WIN! Are you concerned about home toxins? Do you take your shoes off?    Sources: Roberts, J.W. & Ott, W.R. (2007). Exposure to Pollutants from House Dust. In Ott, W.R., Steinemann, A.C. & Wallace,  L.A. (Eds.) Exposure Analysis, 319–345. New York: Taylor & Francis.  

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Crab Apple Crisp Fri, 30 Oct 2015 07:00:00 +0000 Crab apples are safe to eat, and are a great fruit to use in desserts. Learn to make crab apple crisp from all the fruit you didn't know you could use!

The other day I caught myself admiring the gorgeous crab apple tree sitting outside the window.  The color of the tiny bright red fruits was stunning against the turning of the autumn leaves and blue sky.  It is the season for apple crisp, but my apple tree is too young to produce.  So I started wondering if crab apples were edible.  A quick internet search revealed that I was pretty safe taking the chance. So that night I made crab apple crisp! Before taking the plunge I plucked a crab apple from the tree and bit into it.  It was toe curling bitter, but tasted like a type of apple.  Undeterred, I picked a bunch and started preparing them by removing the stems and most of the seeds, which was tedious.  The larger the type of crab apples, the better.  Crab apples are generally safe to eat, though like apples, the seeds do contain a type of cyanide.  However the amount is so small you would have to thoroughly chew and eat quite a few apple or crab apple seeds to experience any toxic effects. To make crab apple crisp, you can use any apple crisp recipe you would like, although I would try to stay away from recipes that avoid sweeteners, as crab apples are usually a lot less sweet than regular apples.  The bitterness of the crab apples reminds me of cranberries; you wouldn’t generally pop a bag open and eat them plain, but baked in desserts they are wonderful.  Below is a recipe I used:   Looking for more delicious real food recipes? I’ve got your back! I’ve put together 85 incredible dishes that are full of flavor, super yummy, and good for you, too. From main dishes to desserts (and everything in between) you’ll have some fun new eats that I know you’ll love. Best part? The ebook is only 2 bucks. It’s a total no-brainer, right? Right. Click here to check it out.   Do you have any favorite recipes for crab apples?   Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson

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10 All Natural Cold Bustin’ Remedies Thu, 29 Oct 2015 07:00:00 +0000 Looking for natural cold remedies? You've come to the right place. Here are several effective ways to kick a cold naturally and safely.

Natural cold remedies were not something I looked into growing up. When I felt bad I reached into our medicine cabinet and choked down some awfully tasting and artificially colored concoction. Sadly, I had many bad colds in my teens and early twenties… I even broke a rib once from a bad cough that took months to go away. Not fun, and NOT good. The thing I have loved most about my transition to real food and health living was how rarely I get sick now. Even with two young children and a lack of sleep (thank-you-little-baby) I have been able to stay clear of major illness. It’s something I don’t take for granted. But still, no matter how “virtuous” your diet is (and trust me, mine is a pretty solid 80/20… not even close to perfect) sickness happens. And with cold and flu season upon us it’s good to have some arsenal up your sleeves to combat the little buggers at first symptom. And that’s why I’m sharing ten awesome all natural cold remedies!   10 All Natural Cold Remedies 1. Elderberry Elderberry has been a popular cold and flu remedy for a long time. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion. Elder may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties.” Since elderberry contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties, elderberry appears to boost the production of some immune cells and may also help stop a virus from spreading (source). Here are some ways to use elderberry as a natural cold remedy: Elderberry Tea from from Earth Friendly Goodies Elderberry Gummies from Naturally Mindful   2. Garlic Garlic has long been favored as a way to stimulate the immune system and help fight viruses. Some research even suggests that garlic may reduce your risk of catching a cold in the first place! For best results use raw garlic, either crushed, diced, or minced. Here are some garlic tips for natural cold remedies: No Flu “Tea” with Garlic from Homemade Mommy Garlic, Honey, & Lemon Tea freom the Nourishing Gourmet   3. Chicken Noodle Soup When you are sick, certain types of white blood cells are released into your system to fight the infection. This process can cause inflammation and the release of mucus, which is what causes your miserable stuffy nose. The theory is, compounds found in chicken soup inhibit the chemicals that cause the inflammation…which makes you feel better!  Another reason soup is so good as a natural cold remedy is that bone broth is a great source of minerals… something most people are deplete of when ill. Recipes Here’s my favorite chicken broth recipe And here’s an amazing chicken noodle soup recipe   4. Neti Pot I love my Neti Pot… and with good reason! Using a saline solution, this small ceramic pot helps irrigate (or flush out) the nasal passage. It thins mucus so it can drain more easily. It helps relieve congestion, pressure, and other sinus symptoms. You can find neti pots online here.   5. Warm Herbal Tea Herbal tea can pack a double punch when it comes to natural cold remedies. Hot liquids can relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe irritated throats. Add some powerful herbs that are good for colds and you’ve got a winning combination. Learn more about herbs for helping with cold symptoms.   6.  Cod Liver Oil When our immune system is impaired is when we are must vulnerable to get attacked by a big ole’ nasty cold virus. Vitamin D has been shown to support a healthy immune system. In fact, people with low levels of vitamin D have  been shown to be more susceptible to cold and flu viruses (source). Vitamin D is also a great way to help get rid of a cold after you’ve got it. And that’s because it’s a antimicrobial that helps fight viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Sadly, so many people are highly deficient in vitamin D… and Cod Liver Oil is a great source of vitamin D and A. I always take a little extra Cod Liver Oil when I feel a cold coming on.   7. Ginger Root Ginger is pretty amazing. It’s a powerful food that can help with digestive and stomach issues, and can also help with headaches that may come along with your cold. Natural cold remedy recipes using ginger: Honey Lemon Ginger Tea by Lightly Crunchy Ginger Cold Buster by Marin Homestead   8. Detox Bath Having a cold generally is accompanied by stress… or is it stress that brings on the cold? Either way, giving your body some down time and a relaxing epsom salt bath can help detox the body while also relieving inflammation. My favorite detox bath recipes: 2o Something Allergies… and Counting Down has a whole lovely post to get you started here.   9. Essential Oils The best way to bust a cold is to not get one in the first place! Essential oils can support a healthy body  (learn how to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices here.) Certain oils like wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils have been known for their ability to keep the body healthy.   10. Vitamin C (the real food way) As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C can help boost the immune system and is really important for respiratory tract health. While there are lots of Vitamin C supplements available, I rather boost my diet with Vitamin C through real food. (If you do take a supplement,  be careful as many are derived from corn and are GMO). When I need a boost of Vitamin C I prefer to make some honey sweetened lemonade as lemons contain 22% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C. Other foods high in Vitamin C include: Broccoli Leafy Greens Red Bell Peppers Parsley Papaya Strawberries Kiwi Cauliflower   And of...

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Recipe: Healthy Peach Crisp Sun, 25 Oct 2015 07:00:00 +0000 Healthy peach crisp...make it gluten free and vegan with organic peaches, oats, coconut and almond flour. Delicious with ice cream or whipped coconut cream!

We’re coming up on the end of the peach season here, and that means fewer perfect, ripe peaches and more…less than perfect peaches. But there’s no need to let the “factory seconds” go to waste! Healthy Peach Crisp is a great way to use bruised, funny-looking, or just-past-its-prime fruit. At the peak of the season the peaches right off the tree or fresh from the local market are so delicious that all you want to do is eat them plain, or maybe grill them and serve them with a little fresh cream. But late in the season, I don’t feel at all bad about cutting them up and putting them over some fresh raw vanilla ice cream or baking them into a crisp. There’s something very cozy on an autumn evening about a plate of hot peach crisp, touched with warm cinnamon, and topped with ice cream! Besides peaches, this recipe calls for organic rolled oats (we used gluten free), a little almond and coconut flour, cinnamon, some organic brown sugar, ground flax seed, and grass fed organic butter or coconut oil. First, peel and chop the peaches. Freestone peaches are wonderful because the pits pull right out, and when peaches are ripe the skin will slip right off. Preparing the peaches is a sticky job, but not a hard one. When the peaches are chopped, stir in a little almond flour and, if you’d like, sprinkle a bit of organic evaporated cane juice or honey over them. If you’ve got sweet, ripe peaches you probably don’t need the sugar…but if your peaches aren’t not as ripe or flavorful as they could be, you may want to add some sweetener. Set the peaches aside, and then mix together the dry ingredients with the butter to form a crumbly mixture. Layer the peaches in a baking dish, and then sprinkle the crumble over them. That’s it! Pop it in the oven for about 1/2 hour, and then serve it piping hot with a scoop of raw vanilla ice cream if you’d like. If you’d rather make this vegan, you can use coconut oil instead of butter and top it with coconut whipped cream…delicious!   Looking for more delicious real food recipes? I’ve got your back! I’ve put together 85 incredible dishes that are full of flavor, super yummy, and good for you, too. From main dishes to desserts (and everything in between) you’ll have some fun new eats that I know you’ll love. Best part? The ebook is only 2 bucks. It’s a total no-brainer, right? Right. Click here to check it out. What’s your favorite…peach crisp or peach cobbler?     Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson

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Adventures in New Zealand: Our epic first meal. Mon, 19 Oct 2015 07:00:00 +0000 Finding real food in New Zealand: Our epic failure of a first meal.

When I first started my journey toward healthier living, finding real food was really exciting–and pretty convenient. I had access to delicious grass fed meats, organic raw milk, and several organic farms all within a short distance. I was able to accomplish my weekly grocery shopping with ease (and on a budget, too). I can so do this, I thought. Then we moved about 45 minutes north. Nothing major, but still, my raw milk was no longer convenient. Boo-hoo, right? Then we moved about an hour and half away from that home to a tiny little valley with a single small market. Getting real food meant a drive through the canyon. And the nearest little health store was anything but close. My family swayed back and forth between little compromises in the name of convenience and long family drives in the name of better food. Real food became much more of a commitment. And a challenge. Then we moved to New Zealand. Hello, changes! Our first day after landing in Auckland was a joke. Don’t get me wrong. The people, scenery, and vibe of Auckland were awesome. I mean, I’ve never met friendlier folks in my life. At every turn someone offered to help us. Apparently we had that “I’m a really clueless American” look our faces. But still, in terms of finding real food I wasn’t prepared for the challenges of that first day. Let me tell you how it all went down. Our plane landed around 6 a.m. local time (which felt like noon for us). We had been traveling for what was basically an eternity… because, duh, we have two very small children. Nobody slept well on the overnight flight. We were all hungry. We took a shuttle to a little holiday home just outside the city. Both children had fallen asleep on the thirty minute drive there. We arrived at our temporary home and unloaded our suitcases. As we woke the kids it was clear that they were hungry and tired. First the four-year old began to cry. “I want some monkey diiiiiiiip!!!!” (“Monkey dip” is her made-up name for hummus. The delirious child wants hummus. Of all the random things to be screaming for.) Her bellowing cries were deafening. Nothing would calm the child down. “I want some moooooonkeeeeey diiiiiiiip.” Her tears began mixing with the snot that was oozing from her nose. (Sobbing produces the most glorious of human fluid mixtures. Am I right?) I just wanted to make the wailing stop. Get this girl some hummus! I thought. Oh right, we didn’t have any hummus. We didn’t have ANY food, in fact. Not even a packet of peanuts from the airplane. That’s when child #2 began his tantrum. The little guy, not even 2 years old yet, started yelling “Mom” over and over until my ears began to bleed. I looked up at my husband. He grabbed a quick photo to document the lovely moment. Beautiful. I know. By now it was nearly 9 a.m., meaning my kids thought it was 3 in the afternoon. Neither child was too keen on the meals provided on the plane nearly six hours ago… so their little bellies were understandably hungry. Tom and I are not huge travelers, so we can chalk up our disregard for packing more snacks to inexperience. Lesson learned. But we still needed to deal with our current situation. “What do we do?” asked Tom. “We need to find some food. Quick,” I said. Obviously I’m a genius. Find some food. Good. Do that. But all of a sudden our world was turned upside down… literally. We had no car. No phone. No clue where ANYTHING was. But we had legs and a lot of hope. So we started walking. We locked up our little cottage and each grabbed a wailing child. I was also hungry and secretly wished I could just throw my own little tantrum… or take a shower. Instead, I pulled up my big girl panties and kept smiling… sort of. We walked to the end of the street. To our left was the ocean. We didn’t have our fishing gear so we figured our best option for food was to go right. We proceeded up the street. The children cried louder. We got to the end of that street. We looked left, no sign of food. We looked right, no sign of food. Awesome. It’s like a fun game of chance. We tried our luck and decided to go left. About 15 minutes into this pilgrimage we saw a man coming our direction. We asked him for directions. We needed food. ANY food. Please kind sir, tell us where the closest food is!!!! “There’s a McDonald’s just down the street. About a ten minute walk,” he said. McDonald’s. Really? My first meal in New Zealand was going to be from McDonalds!? Time stood still for a moment as I processed the range of emotions that jumped into my heart. On the one hand I was thinking, Sweet. Let’s run and get there faster. My kids needed food. I needed food. And while I generally don’t count McDonald’s as “food” it was better than the nuclear meltdown happening in front of me. At the same time I felt a deep irony that this new epic adventure was going to be christened with pretty much everything I hate about the American food system. I was upset. Why did this beautiful country allow McDonald’s here in the first place? Why are there double arches everywhere. Bah! But I was also humbled. I realize that the kind of food my family has been fortunate enough to eat regularly is part of a huge privileged I take for granted every single day. I considered all those times when I would unconsciously judge a person for eating at places like McDonald’s. I was reminded that maybe that’s all they can afford. Maybe that’s all they know. Maybe they are just hungry and don’t have access or time for anything else. I was reminded that the kind of healthy living I aim for and talk about is a distinct example of the kind of inequality that exists...

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3 Simple stretches for better posture: Takes less than five minutes. Fri, 16 Oct 2015 07:00:40 +0000 3 simple stretches for better posture. Good to know!

Stretches for better posture? Is it really that easy?  Yes! It seems that whenever I tell people that I am a movement analyst that they immediately sit up taller, pull their shoulders back, and then sheepishly tell me that they know they have bad posture. Rest assured, I’m not judging your posture. But I do know that there are a lot of people who would like to have better posture. Good news, folks! There are some simple stretches for better posture that you can do in less than five minutes a day. Stretching for better posture Achieving better posture usually is a result of a number of factors. Core support, muscular imbalances, tension patterns, body connectivity, and the like all play in our alignment. And ultimately, our posture needs to be seen as dynamic or mobile instead of static. Thinking of posture as a position will only lead to tense muscles. Rather, better posture is achieved when we remember the body’s inherit mobility. But I often get people asking me for simple ways to improve their posture. And while stretching can produce some amazing results for a lot of people (and generally help all people to some degree), just keep in mind that if you want to see lasting and transformative results, you may need to dig a little deeper. Common “bad posture” issues First, let’s look briefly at what typical bad posture looks like. Again, this is very generalized, but the most common issues I see result in the following alignment: The shoulders are pulled forward. The head is jetting forward. The core is passive. How many of you are sitting like this right now? (Hopefully none, right?) During my classroom teaching days, I saw plenty of students slumped like this at their desk (and they were all dance majors who should know better!). The real problem is that overtime this habitual position begins to attack on our muscles. The pectoral muscles get very tight. The back muscles get weak. And when those two things happen, this posture not only feel like a bad habit, but it can create ongoing back pain as well. Stretches for better posture 1. Lift and release the shoulders This first activity isn’t so much of a stretch as it is a preparation and mental exercise. Begin by lifting your shoulders up high, imagining them coming up toward your ears. Next, release the shoulders downward, allowing gravity to do its thing. Don’t push the shoulders down, just release. Feel your spine long and free as you do this. This simple exercise is a great way to bring more mobility into an area that often gets “forgotten.” It also reminds your brain that your shoulders are designed to hang. You don’t have to hold them up. 2. Shoulders back This stretch helps open up the pectoral muscles, expands the heart, releases the back, and gets your blood flowing. Stand firmly on two feet. Interlock your fingers behind your back and then slowly lift your arms. Only lift your arms as high as they can go without lifting your shoulders. Again, feel your spine lengthen as you stretch. Imagine your heart pouring forward and your shoulder blades and tailbone dropping down toward the earth. A variation of this stretch is to stand in a wide position, bend at the hips, and let gravity help release the shoulders as it pulls your arms downward. However, if your hamstrings are too tight that you find yourself bending at your lower back instead of at your hips, stick with the standing stretch. 3. Pectoral Stretch This stretch is really important if you have tight pectoral muscles. Simple stand at a wall with one palm on the wall. Keeping the arm straight but not locked, slowly rotate your body around until you feel a stretch across your shoulders and collar bones (clavicle). Don’t worry if you can’t rotate very far. A good stretch should not be painful, but do take it as far as you can while maintaining a comfortable breath. Stretch at least 3 times a day for better posture You can perform each of these stretches in just a minute or two. Try the shoulder lift and release 3 – 5 times, and then hold the other two stretches for 15 – 30 seconds (making sure to do both arms on the last stretch). For best results, try to do all three exercises at least three times throughout the day. It’s also a great boost anytime you are feeling “weighed down.” So there you go, 3 simple stretches for better posture.     Want to learn more about posture, movement, and how both can lead toward a pain-free life? Make sure to check out my book Live Pain Free.    

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