Why Arugula should be in your diet

Why Arugula Should be

I don’t know about you, but the produce department in my local grocery is killing it with the options these days!!

My normal routine is to head to the farmers market every weekend, but some times I can’t get there, or have inspiration for some thing else and head to my local chain grocery. These days I have been seeing a world of new and exciting foods on their shelves. I decided to create a series on all this great produce, what it is, why its good for you and how to prepare it. Here is part 1 on Arugula!

Arugula is a leafy green, you will find it near the greens in loose bunches or in those pre done salad bags. My daughters favorite is a Arugula Spinach mix! If you go ounce to ounce Arugula provides more Nitrates then any other veggie source. Nitrates lower blood pressure. When your blood pressure is lower your blood flow in increased, and more oxygen is delivered to your body, energizing all your cells, reducing your muscles need for this good stuff during exercise. In short, it makes it easier for you to get a better work out in!

Arugula is a great source of vitamins A, C and K. As a matter of fact, Arugula is one of the best sources of vitamin K, which leads to better bone and brain health.

Arugula has a great peppery flavor, which has a cooling effect on the body,  and like other  leafy greens, it helps keep your body hydrated, making it the perfect choice for those hot summer picnics and barbecues.

And guess what? Arugula, the modest little veggie that it is, gives all of these amazing benefits to your body, and is almost no calories! 1 cup of Arugula is 6 calories!!! 6 calories! For all that goodness!

How I love to prepare it –

The obvious answer is a salad, and I do prepare it that way a lot. We almost always have Arugula in the house, and if I am running around, or finishing up some writing, I grab a big bowl and load it with any veggies left on hand, and some oil and vinegar or lemon juice and its perfect.

For a quick meal, I toss it with some hot pasta, olive oil, and lemon zest. A little fresh ground pepper and Pink Himalayan salt and perfection! Lately at my house we have been making a lot of cast iron skillet pizzas, and a little arugula mixed with some olive oil and seasonings is amazing on the pizza just after its pulled out of the oven. If your trying to sneak in all that goodness to your children or a picky partner, stir a handful into your marinara sauce, they work together well, and your family will never notice.

P

Why is every one so crazy about Coconut Oil?

Why is every one so crazy about coconut oil?

It seems like every one is talking about Coconut oil, here are my reasons why its great for you, and what you should do with it!

Using Coconut Oil in your cooking can give you added energy! Coconut Oil has medium chain triglycerides – unlike their long chain relatives found in meat and dairy, these MCT’s are not stored in your body, they high tail it to your liver where the get to work converting into energy. 2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil per day increases energy levels by 5%!

It’s a anti-microbial, It kills viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi by dissolving their cellular walls. Adding a daily serving to to your diet can increase your body’s resistance to illness, improve digestive health, and even help to heal ulcers of the stomach lining.

Coconut oil Reduces Belly fat! Isn’t that reason enough to add it to your grocery list? It regulates your appetite and improves digestion, making it much easier to reduce your daily intake of calories  and lose weight at a healthy rate.

It is a natural mood enhancer. Coconut oil helps you to feel more motivated and energetic which can also assist with weight loss. Coconut oil aids in balancing hormones that reduce stress and anxiety – two of the leading causes of weight gain.

Its great for your hair and skin too! Full of vitamin E, coconut oil is a great moisturizer that helps to heal damaged skin, and reduces signs of aging. Coconut oil offers natural protection from harmful UV rays for both skin and hair.

Whether you use it for hair, skin, or both, it smells fantastic!!

Now that you know why you should love it, here is what to do with it!

  • Add a few tablespoons to your smoothies, sandwiches, or salads. Any where you would use butter or oil. Its amazing for a stir fry!
  • It makes a great deep conditioner for your hair! A little goes a long way on this one, 1 tablespoon is plenty for most.
  • Use it as a butter replacement for baking.
  • Its a natural lotion. Rub it into your skin for head to toe moisture.
  • Use it instead of shave cream, for a nice close shave that doesn’t dry you out!
  • Tame your frizzy hair!
  • Try it to remove your eye make up.
  • Season your cast iron skillet.
  • Calms skin after sun burn.
  • It reduces the itch of mosquito bites!
  • On cuticles to help nails grow.

 

Have you tried Coconut Oil?

 

 

Cozy up to a good book! Summer Reading List – Health and Wellness

theahimsalifecom

Summer reading list

Summer has arrived! There is nothing I love more then a lazy sun filled summer weekend spent cuddling up on the couch with my puppy Olive, a warm cup of tea and an amazing book.  Below are some of my favorite health and wellness books.

 

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Do Your Om Thing Bending Yoga Tradition to fit your own life

by Rebecca Pacheco

I loved this book. A little bit humor, a little bit yoga philosophy, Even if you do not have a yoga practice I guarantee you will get a lot out of the amazing lessons the author weaves through out this book. So inspiring! As soon as I finished, I started to think about reading it again.


 

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Success through Stillness: Mediation made Simple

By Russel Simmons

Buy this book right now. It will change your life. I simply can not recommend it more. I watched Russel Simmons on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. He talked about Mediation and this book, before the show was over I was already downloading it. I read it on vacation in one sitting. Russel Simmons breaks meditation down into easy bite size morsels, stripping away any misconceptions, he makes it so simple to work into your daily routine. But the book is way more then a “how to”.  Russel Simmons talks about his life, his success, and you even get a little yoga info too. Buy it, you will be glad you did.


 

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The Kind Diet A Simple guide to Feeling Great Loosing Weight and Saving the Planet

by Alicia Silverstone

I read this book a while ago, and still take time to flip through it again and again. It just never gets old. The Kind Diet is filled with stories, tips, tricks, recipes, and reasons why you should make a change to live cleaner and greener. I have made about half of the recipes and they were all delicious!


 

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Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

First off this book is gorgeous! The pictures are mesmerizing. Yoga girl is part coffee table book, biography, yoga guide and has a few delicious recipes to boot! I just just started reading this book, and I can already tell I will be keeping it handy for a quick inspiration.

What are your favorite books on Health and Wellness?

♥Pamela

 

 

 

Why you should sign your kids up for a Yoga class today

Why you should sign your kids up for yoga class today

Kids + Yoga = Calm centered children.

Sounds great right?

Are you constantly giving your child things to keep them busy at the doctors office? in the check out line? in the car, or basically waiting for any thing?

Do you download games on your phone, or buy them portable video games so every thing goes smoothly? Well Mom and Dad you need Yoga in your child’s life, like immediately.

I bring my children to Yoga with me as much as I can. Mine are older, but now that I see the benefits Yoga has on their lives I wish I had started them earlier.

I on own journey through (and to) Yoga I originally thought of it as just that, My journey. I went off on my own to do my home practice, or to a near by studio by myself, for a little me time. The benefits of practicing Yoga for me, are life altering. Through my practice, I kept on seeing ways it could help my children in their life as well.

Breath – When your child is stressed they yell and scream, they throw spaghetti a crossed the room , jk, Their breathing is stressed too. They breath quicker and more shallow. Pranyayama teaches us to slow down, breath deeper through our nose, and calm down. Yoga has also been found to help kids deal better with anxiety.

Strength –  Practicing Asanas help make them more aware of their bodies, how to move with intention. These postures make them more flexible and strong, which helps prevent them from future injuries.

Quiet the mind – In yoga we learn how to practice Stillness. This helps them listen, and make good decisions.  Poses like Savasana will teach them how to take a mental break. Calm down and get centered, and learn patience.

Take care of your self – Yoga teaches us to take care of our selves, your bodies our mind, and our spirit. Its for everybody and every body. No matter what size or shape you are, Yoga will help build your child’s self esteem.

Sleep –We see it all the time in magazines, books, and TV, No one is getting enough sleep, even our kids. Yoga can help shift the mind from lifes daily stresses, doing a few night time poses can help your child relax, unwind, and get more zzz’s

Focus –  Moving through each Asana, one at a time, paying attention to their bodies, listening for instructions, all of this focuses the mind, and helps children focus off the mat as well.

 

How should you get your child  started?

There are tons of videos and books that specialize in teaching Children, and can help you  start a home practice for your child. All of the studios I frequent either have a children, or family class as well. Just visit or call up your local studio and ask!

Have you tried Yoga with your children? Let me know in the comments!

Why you should drink Lemon Water every day

OCT

 

Adding Warm Lemon water first thing in the  morning is one of the easiest most beneficial things you can do for your self, long story short, it changed my life!

Here are my top 5 reasons you should add it to your morning routine!

  1. Reduces Inflammation. This is major to me. Arthritis, IBS, allergies and much more, all cause inflammation. Which is why I added it in the number 1 spot.  Lemon water removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation. Its just plain good for your joints, and reduces pain.
  2. Cleanses your body – Lemon water enhances enzyme function, which stimulates your liver to help detox your body. During sleep your liver is working over time to cleanse the body of all those nasties, waking up to a nice warm glass of lemon water will reward your body after a night of hard work.
  3. Gives you a boost of energy – Lemon water reduces the acidity of your body, making a more balanced Ph, which helps energy flow.
  4. Helps your immune system- Vitamin C! The first thing to drop when you are stressed is your vitamin c levels, making it easier for you to become sick. drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is a great way to help your body more properly absorb this vitamin.
  5. Aids in Weight loss – Drinking water will help, drinking lemon water will change every thing. It has added fiber which will help you stay full longer, and aids in digestion.

Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning can help flush the digestive system and re hydrate your body.

After a long night with no hydration your body wakes up with a craving it to get your day started, and get your body functioning!

-Pamela

Movie Review! Bag It

 

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My review of Bag it the movie.

 

Q.What is the worlds number 1 consumable item?
A. Plastic shopping bags

I was recently told about the movie Bag it! A documentary about plastics, specifically plastic shopping bags.
I try to bring my reusable bags with me where ever I go. But like most people, I am not always prepared for an impromptu stop, and am asked the famous question, paper or plastic? I know enough to feel bad, and swear I will try to do better next time, but why?
Bag It does a great job of explain it all with loads of facts, lots of experts, and most of all a great funny attitude for a serious problem.
The movie is broken down into easy to digest pieces, what is the problem with plastic? where does it go? Is it bad for us, and why? We follow Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a quest to find out more about the plastic we have come to rely on.

Jeb is not a radical environmentalist with an agenda, but a lovable guy next door type with a few questions he wants answered. He goes well beyond plastic shopping bags, and the cities who have successfully (San Fransisco) and unsuccessfully (Seattle) banned them. Since the movie came out Seattle has passed a ban on plastic bags that went in effect July 2012. Jeb covers environmental impacts of all plastics, what these plastics are doing to us, the earth and the animals, and what we should do about it. His search for answers changes the way he lives his daily life, Will it change yours?
It was clear, funny and inspired me to get up immediately and put some smaller bags in my purse so I am always prepared.
Bag It! is available on Amazon Instant if your a prime member, or you can rent the movie. Its worth a watch. 

Watch the trailer here!

 

I am Grateful – Cook Book Review

Cook book review – I Am Grateful Recipes and lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude
After my amazing food filled trip to Santa Cruz I was excited to get home, and get cooking in my own kitchen, with my Cafe Gratitude Cook Book. or should I say Un Cook Book.

So far I have made four recipes from the book. If you are unfamiliar with Cafe Gratitude, let me get you up to speed as quickly as I can.

Cafe Gratitude is a Raw Vegan restaurant, and so delish! I am lucky enough to have the location in Santa Cruz, with in driving distance from me.  Cafe Gratitude has this amazing vibe. The menu selections are all named affirmations, so when you order instead of “I will have the macrobiotic bowl”, you say “I am Whole”, and the waitress always says it back. When I visited the San Francisco locations they would always have a question of the day they would ask as well, but I have not had that experience in Santa Cruz.

There is great documentary called May I be Frank, The star, Frank stumbles into Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco, and meets Ryland, the cafe’s manager. Ryland asks Frank, the question of the day, what is one thing you’d like to do before you die? Frank answers ‘I want to fall in love one more time, but with a body like this, no one will love me, because i don’t love myself.’ What follows is 42 days of Frank, with the help of the staff at Cafe Gratitude, take on his weight, health, relationships and loving himself in just 42 days. Definitely worth a watch!

 

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Back to the Cook Book!

I am having a little love affair with Kale right now, who isn’t? so the first recipe I tried out was I Am Giving, a marinated Kale salad. It was put together in almost no time, and tasted amazing! I left out the hijiki seaweed it called for, due to an allergy of mine, and didn’t add any thing in its place. In the book it has you put it all together and serve right away, but I prefer my kale ( I used curly) a little softer, so i made it about a half hour to 45 minutes ahead of time, to let it get a little less firm. The kale was perfect for me. I loved it, and Hubby loved it! We had quite a bit left over which I ate in a wrap the next day for lunch with a bit of brown rice and that was great too, the kale really holds up well in the fridge.
Next I whipped up  I Am Attentive, a spicy tahini sauce. Again, due to it being raw food, it was a cinch to prepare, I just put all my ingredients in my VitaMix V(Thank you Hubby!) and whirled it around for a few seconds. Done! I used the sauce on a rice bowl I threw together using a brown rice and quinoa mix, kale, avocado, cucumber, scallions, basil, and some cilantro. The sauce was hearty and just the perfect amount of spicy. I had left overs of this as well, which was surprising considering every one went back for more, so I put it in a dressing bottle and the fam has been using it on sandwiches and lots more rice bowls.

In short every thing I have made from this book has been great, some of the recipes can be a little complicated, but from what I have tasted so far I am sure they are worth it, if you have a lazy Sunday afternoon to spare. Next I think I will try some of the yummy desserts, or maybe some of the raw crackers!

I am Grateful Cook Book – 4 out of 5 carrots!

 

Traveling Vegan

the ahimsa life.com

 

Traveling for work, while trying to stay healthy, and live a Vegan lifestyle can be done.

In my old life, I could travel any where from 3 days, to 15 days a month. I have learned a thing or two about eating clean, and exercising on the road. The good news is that every time I go on another trip I am seeing more, and more healthy options at hotels, airports, and convention centers. Here are some of my best tips.

Load up BEFORE you leave home. I travel with a few items from home to make life on the road easier.

1) Dr. McDougall Instant soups, my favorite Hot and Sour YUM!! This little baby can be your breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a pinch. It is a little high in sodium, but well worth it when you are hungry and the hotel has no options. It can be made easily, only hot water is needed. I prefer using the in room coffee maker to heat up the water, but some rooms have microwaves you can use as well.

2) Tea bags – any flavor you like. Some times just making a cup of tea, and reading a good book before bed is one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself when you are far from home.

3) Instant Oatmeal packets. Again, thank you in room coffee maker! I like these Dr. McDougall ones, they are vegan, and delish. They fill you up, and make you all warm inside! You can get them in cup, or packets, the packets travel easy, I just make them in the provided in room coffee cups.

4) Yoga classes online! Traveling for work, I always have a laptop or iPad with me.  YogaGlo, YouTube, and YogaJournal.com are some of my fave places to get my Asana on while away from my home studio. You can buy a travel mat that folds neatly into your suitcase, or be like me and use a pair or yoga socks, or the bathroom towel as a mat.

5) Reusable water bottle. I always bring mine empty through security, a lot of airports have water bottle filling stations now, and if for some reason your does not, it will come in handy while you are traveling. Traveling can dehydrate you terribly, so keep filling!

At the Airport.

The first thing I always look for is a Cibo Express. You will always find options there, from fresh fruit to sandwiches, wraps, noodles and baked goods! I take one to eat now, and one for the plane, or when I land.

There has been a wave of health conscious restaurants opening up in airports as well, here are a list of a few of my favorites…

San Francisco International Airport – Terminal 2 – The Plant Cafe – fresh juices, fresh salads, and two words… BEET BURGER! Yum! BONUS!! SFO has a Yoga room for you to get your practice in before or after your flight! (Yoga rooms are also available in Dallas, and Albuquerque!)

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Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 4 – Real Food Daily – Organic, Plant based, perfection!

O’Hare International Airport – Terminal 3 – Burrito Beach – Lots of clearly marked Vegan options for you to create your burrito masterpiece.

When you get there…

If I have the time, I try and find the nearest Whole Foods, or Health Food store. You can request a mini fridge for your room, if there isn’t one, and stock up on some essentials, bananas are great travel food, you do not have to wash them, and they require no refrigeration. grocery stores have great pre done items for us Vegans, sandwiches, salads, hummus, and chips, pita or carrots. Whole Foods has an entire Veggie bar where you can load up on noodle dishes, and all sorts of salads.

When dining out…

Believe it or not some of the best places I have been dragged to by my job have been steak houses. They always have amazing veggie sides, and big baked potatoes. When in doubt at any restaurant I always talk to the waiter, let them know you are Vegan and they can usually point out some options on the menu, and if your in luck, maybe the chef will toss together some thing for you that is off the menu. So many times they have offered to do this for me and I end up being asked all night by my table mates what I was eating and if they can have some.

Travel safe!

♥Pamela

 

Snacking and a healthy lifestyle.

what's yours?

 

I love to snack! For the most part I tend to eat a little all day long.

I have found best way to snack smart is to make sure I am set up for success before I am hit with a case of the munchies.
In my old life, I traveled a TON! Cars, shuttles, and airplanes. See my post on staying healthy while traveling. If I am on the go, and on the ground,  I stop in a local grocery store. Sure, I have to get out of the car, but I get extra steps on my FitBit and I get some real food. Grocery stores are stocked with ready to go cut fruit, veggies and snack time fresh items. Here is a great list of some of my favorite healthy snack options whether you are on the go, or staying home.

Ditch the juice eat some fruit. Whole fruit contains fiber, which makes you feel full for longer. Apples, Bananas, grapes, melons and berries. Don’t forget, if you are a road warrior like I was, or just on the go with the kiddies, make sure that produce is cleaned before you eat it. I love these handy Grab N’ Go fruit and veggie wipes.

Miso soup– a nice warm bowl of this stuff is scientifically proven to rev up your metabolism, and give you an extra boost of energy.

Make your own trail mix! recipe here.

Apple and peanut butter- It’s important to buy a natural peanut butter, read the label, it’s not a healthy snack if it is full of chemicals and sugars.

Hummus – with carrot sticks. The chickpeas in hummus are full of Protein and fiber.

Almonds- healthy fats and vitamin E to help you recover post work out. These nuts have also been proven to boost fat burning abilities.

Frozen Grapes – these are like bite sized popsicles! I love them, especially on a hot day.

Whole grain toast with avocado slices. Whole grains, can help lower cholesterol, and if you can’t guess, a great source of fiber. Avocados! I love avocados, seriously, I do. just check out my post on them here. Avocados can help stabilize blood sugar, and help fight heart disease, and thats just two of the many reasons you should be adding avocados into your diet. For a bit more flavor, add a dash of pink Himalayan salt, it helps balance your PH, helps your intestines absorb nutrients, and strengthens your bones!

Water, water and more water! Don’t forget to drink your water!
What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Be Well,

♥Pam

 

Yoga – creating a home practice

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Busy work schedule, kids, dinner, laundry. All of these things can keep you from the gym or yoga studio. Starting a home practice might just be the answer you have been looking for to keep your practice going. Here are my tips on how to start a home practice.

  • Pick a place you will not be disturbed. This may be a extra room, maybe the living room before every one wakes up, or when they all go about their business after dinner. Believe it or not, I know one person who has a large master bathroom and unrolls her yoga mat there.
  • Stick with it. Trying to fit your yoga practice in where ever you can is good, but making a time and sticking with it is better. Even if you only have time for child’s pose, trust me, it helps.
  • Start your session with a plan. If you are an experienced Yogi you might have a series of asanas memorized or you can do poses from memory that your body craves. If you are a beginner, bring you iPad or get a DVD to help. There are also tons of books, and free yoga classes on line, even decks of cards with asanas to make it easier for you.
  • Turn your phone off! This is your time, take it for your self.

Most importantly, Have fun. Starting a home practice does not have to be intimidating, have fun with it!

-P