Simple Ways to Clean Up Your Diet

by August 3, 2009

Rethinking your eating habits can be an intimidating task.

Here are some quick and easy ways to get on the path to a healthier life.

  • Trash anything that contains ingredients that you cannot easily recognize, has high levels of sugar and sodium and anything with the word HYDROGENATED on the label. (Future goal: Stop using white foods- flour, sugar, rice and replace them with whole grains and natural sweeteners.)
  • If you do nothing else, get rid of the soda, both regular and diet. Soda is not only empty calories but a contributor to severe health problems such as diabetes and osteoporosis. Replace with water, or water infused with fruit, herbs or tea (see this month’s RECIPES.)
  • If you want a treat, choose wisely. Chocolate and ice cream, in moderation, are not off limits. High-quality treats made from organic chocolate or dairy are superior in taste and nutrition. You will make up for their slightly higher cost by truly using these foods as “treats”, rather than everyday indulgences.
  • Limit dairy products and make sure that they are organic. Conventional milk products are known to contain synthetic hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty stuff.
  • Just Say No to processed meat: Hormones, sulfites, nitrates… ick!
  • Visit a farmers market; practically everything there is healthy, beautiful and delicious. Which brings us to:

A Healthy Kitchen Shopping List

  • Kale, Collard, Spinach, Chard, Dandelion, all are delicious, easy to prepare and full of nutrients.
  • Whole Grains: Brown rice, whole oats, quinoa, millet, barley, to name a few. Experiment and have fun.
  • Fruits and Veggies: Organic and local, if possible. Choose a variety of colors and textures.
  • Good Oils: Olive, Coconut, Sesame. Cooking with healthy oil helps you to absorb vitamins and makes everything taste good too.
  • Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds: A satisfying snack and source of protein
  • Meat and Fish: If you do eat meat make sure it is organic and try to stick to fish and poultry.
  • Organic herbs and spices, growing your own is also a great way to save money and enjoy the freshest flavors.
  • Raw Honey

And remember, ultimately, our goal is to WANT to eat the foods we need.

Don’t Worry About the Weather

by July 8, 2009

Summer has been slow settling in this year, and I have been wondering why I have not joined the ranks of people complaining about the weather. The only explanation I have for this is the change that I have experienced since beginning a meditation practice.

I used to fixate on the weather, letting the rain or cold ruin my day or, even worse, my vacation.

Since I began a meditation practice, I no longer give so much power to circumstances beyond my control (i.e. Mother Nature).

Typically, our thoughts are either stuck in the past or racing ahead to the future; in either case, our minds are on overdrive and unable to think about or enjoy the present. This puts tremendous stress on our bodies; our breathing is shallow, our heart races and the stage is set for numerous health problems.

Don’t Worry About The Weather

By taking the time each day to rest our minds, clearing them of all our thoughts and daily chatter, we become refreshed and rejuvenated.

Recharging through daily meditation improves our mood, mental clarity, and general health.

Meditation does not necessarily mean sitting cross-legged on a cushion. For many, being in nature, lying in a hammock or even focusing on a physical activity works best. You should choose something that allows you to be deeply relaxed but doesn’t require thought (i.e. running, but not reading).

Try taking a moment on the train, on a park bench or at home: close your eyes, focus on your breathing and let your thoughts drift away.

Last summer, as I finished my yoga practice and was blissfully meditating, surrounded by the beauty of Lake Leelanau in Northern Michigan, I heard a voice from the cottage behind me proclaim,

“I could maybe do yoga, but not if I had to meditate!”

Sometimes the things that seem so foreign at first, become what transform our lives.

I still laugh when I think about that comment- the notion that meditation could be a punishment. I guarantee that once it becomes part of your routine, you won’t know how you lived without it.

Much love,
Barbara

How to Meditate – The Ultimate Guide

 

Minty Relax Ade

by July 8, 2009

This simple Minty Relax Ade drink is a perfect way to stay refreshed and hydrated during the hot summer months. Mint, lavender and lemon balm all aid in relaxation and digestion while the citrus cleanses and strengthens the immune system.

Minty Relax Ade Ingredients

  • Handful of fresh lemon balm, mint, and lavender
  • Juice of one lemon or lime
  • Honey, Agave nectar or green stevia to taste
  • Filtered Water
  • Glass quart jar or heat-resistant pitcher

Directions

  • Boil water in a kettle
  • Place all ingredients in jar
  • Pour boiling water, fill quart jar halfway and use a wooden spoon or other blunt instrument to muddle ingredients. (Muddling releases the oils and flavors of the herbs and fruit.)
  • Fill the jar to the top with cool water and steep for 10 minutes
  • Strain into glasses, with ice if desired, and garnish with lemon, fresh mint or even fresh or frozen berries

Options

Any fresh, leafy herbs can be substituted in this recipe, such as basil, cilantro or parsley. If you do not have access to a garden of your own, try your local farmer’s market.

After serving, you can fill your jar with cool water and steep a second time in the refrigerator.

Healthy Drink Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

by July 8, 2009

Coconut oil makes a great addition to smoothies, adding healthy fats and a smooth move. This Healthy Drink Pineapple Coconut Smoothie is a refreshing recipe for a yummy breakfast or nutritious afternoon snack. No dairy is used here and you will be surprised how fluffy and creamy this cooling vegan drink is.

Coconuts are high in fiber and low in calories. One drink of coconut contains almost as much potassium as 4 bananas.

 

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

1 cup  of fresh or frozen pineapple
11 oz coconut Water
1 T virgin coconut oil, organic if possible
1 ripe banana

Combine all ingredients in a blender, add ice if desired.

Optional Extras:
Fresh or Frozen Mangoes, Berries, Peaches
Shredded Coconut

Or anything else your heart desires!

Enjoy!

Much love,
Barbara

23 Health, Fitness and Weight Loss Benefits of Coconut Oil (With Bonus Recipes)

 

Healthy Fun in The Sun

by July 8, 2009

When did the sun, the source of life itself, become a symbol of fear?

For me, it was the late 80s when I was faced with malignant melanoma and became a poster child for sunscreen. Little did I know that 20 years of slathering on chemical laden sunscreens, and depriving my body of vitamin D, was doing more harm than good. Current research shows that daily sun exposure on bare skin, at safe levels, is actually vital to our health. Sunlight is the best and easiest way for the body to create and absorb optimal levels of Vitamin D, which according to new research drastically decreases our risk for several forms of cancer and other chronic diseases.

So, what is a safe level of sun exposure?

Most people can safely tolerate between 15-60 minutes of sunlight a day. You should slowly increase exposure if you have not been out regularly. Darker complexions may handle longer exposure, and need more sun for optimal absorption. Never let your skin burn; when it begins to turn pink, that means your body has absorbed all the vitamin D it needs. Never visit a tanning salon; light from a tanning booth is NOT the same as the sun, and can be harmful to your health.

How do I protect my skin when I have to be outdoors all day?

Traditional sunscreens contain many harsh chemicals, that when absorbed, are more harmful than helpful. Our skin is our largest organ, so avoid putting anything on it that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.
There are times when we find ourselves outdoors all day, and need to protect against dangerous sunburns.

Here are some natural tips for Healthy Fun in The Sun

*Use common sense; find shade and wear protective hats and clothing when possible

*Use a chemical free sunscreen with micronized zinc oxide as a main ingredient. This is a safer and effective alternative to chemical lotions. (A favorite of mine is made by Pratima Skin Care)

*Many oils, such as sesame and neem, are natural sunscreens. Coconut and olive oil also nourish the skin and help to absorb ultraviolet light.

*Eat a healthy diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. These nutrients will help to protect you inside and out.

*Many prescription drugs, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners increase your vulnerability to overexposure. Take care if you ingest any of these substances regularly.

This summer, enjoy the great health and mood boosts that safe sun exposure can provide!

Information on safe sun exposure from Dr. Mercola

Healthy Fun in The Sun Barbara Sinclair Health and Healing with Dr. MercolaGetting enough vitamin D from sun exposure is a good idea, but if you do this incorrectly, you may increase your risk of skin cancer.

Maximizing Your Vitamin D from Safe Sun Exposure

 

Products I Use and Recommend for Healthy Fun in The Sun

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