For years I waxed poetic about my morning coffee. The flavor, the aroma, the ritual of it every morning. It was an anchor in my day and got my heart started in more ways than one. I made the switch to decaf a few years ago due to chronic insomnia and the fact that I am, apparently, a low caffeine metabolizer, it was still coffee all the way. There was enough caffeine to get me going and there was no compromise in flavor or enjoyment. Never in a million years did I think my morning obsession would have any serious competition.
Whether it’s in your head or written down somewhere, most of us have a list of those go-to recipes or meal ideas that are family favorites and pretty easy to put together, even at the last minute. Those meals have changed over the years to accommodate expanding palates palates and various dietary needs. Although some items will always be on the menu (like my grandmother's brisket!), now there’s a whole new crop of faves including zoodles with homemade pesto, shepherd’s pie and this recipe for crispy pork carnitas.
You may have heard me waxing poetic about yoga lately. That’s because me and yoga got it going on right now. After years of having a very sporadic relationship with yoga (See “Yoga and Me: a love story (part 1) I decided to give it another concerted effort in the form of a 30-day self challenge this past January and I gotta say, me and yoga are digging each other.
Have you heard of adaptogens yet? The Wellness community has been buzzing about them for a few years now but like many things that seem "new" in health and wellness, adaptogens have been used for thousands of years by ancient healing practices like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I'm a little bit obsessed after using them for the last year and really noticing a difference in my energy levels (up) and my stress levels (down). I started by adding them to my morning matcha and now find ways to incorporate them into my day in other ways as well. Even my husband is smitten and insists that he is more productive when he adds adaptogens to his bulletproof coffee. Our favorites are ashwaganda (for anxiety and insomnia), a blend of adaptogenic mushrooms and he shou wu (also known as Fo-Ti and translated as "Mr. He's black hair", it is anti-aging and a blood tonifier).
I am always on the hunt for interesting recipes. My social media feeds are littered with delicious looking meals, I read cookbooks for fun and I’m that annoying person who tears the recipes out of the magazine at the dentist’s office. The idea that you can take a bunch of simple, naked ingredients and turn them into something delicious, satisfying and nutritious still delights me now as much as it did when I first started cooking. This is one of the reasons I did a program at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition last fall. It was a 14-week training that took me deeper into my understanding of the nutritional and healing properties of food and how to help people incorporate practical and simple cooking skills into their lives to positively impact their health.
Have you ever heard the quote, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone?” If so, I’m guessing that you probably nodded agreeably, noted that it is indeed true but that you’re too busy to think about changing things up right now. You’ll think more about it tomorrow or after you finish working or driving the carpool or getting through your to-do list or whatever. Well, today is “tomorrow” and I’m going to challenge you to think about it right here.
It's official: I am obsessed with my Instant Pot. For those of you who don't already know about the cult of the Instant Pot, it's an electric pressure cooker that can also be a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker (haven't tried that yet) and it has a sauté feature. It's freaking awesome! I got mine about 14 months ago and while I used it sporadically for the first 9 or 10 months I got really into in this past fall and now it's seeing some action at least a couple of times per week.
Happy New Year friends! I hope you all had a delicious and relaxing holiday and that you’re ready to kick off the New Year feeling rejuvenated and ready for action. I absolutely love this time of year because a brand new year feels full of possibility and possibility is the gateway to change. I don’t think of it as “New Year, New Me” because I like the me that I am - I’ve worked hard to become her! That said, change and growth go hand in hand and I’m all about growth. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (which often don’t last through the month), I prefer to approach the idea of change as cleaning out some of the inside clutter.
Nothings says "autumn" quite like pumpkin. When I was a kid the only kind of pumpkin in my world was a Halloween jack-o-lantern. We were not a pumpkin pie eating family - in fact I'm pretty sure that the idea of eating pumpkin in any form l was a "gross". That was just something that Laura Ingalls and her family did and we all knew that was just olden days stuff. Admittedly I did grow up in a Philadelphia suburb in the 1970's so if it didn't come out of a can or the freezer then I probably didn't eat it.
I am leading my Yes, THIS! Wellness Retreat again in October with my friend and colleague Dr. Louise Rose and I would love for you to join us. It's on the Oregon Coast (so beautiful in the fall!) and it's the PERFECT place to engage in some exquisite self-care. If you've never taken yourself on a retreat before (and even if you have) I urge you to consider this one.
Happy September! It's back to school season (insert Happy Dance gif here)! This is my favorite time of year for all kinds of reasons. Back to school means fall is coming!! If you know me then you know that fall is my season. Boots & sweaters, lower temperatures, dense issues of Vogue magazine and best of all, soups, stews and fall produce! After all these years I still have a hot crush on butternut squash, brussels sprouts & chanterelle mushrooms. Being in the kitchen makes me happy and cooking fall foods makes me even happier.
I was recently talking with a group of people about Wellness and it was revealed that several of them did not have a clear understanding of what Wellness was "supposed" to mean. They had many varying opinions. Some seemed to think that Wellness was a vague and over-generalized concept, some felt it was strictly about being in good health and others felt that it referred to how healthy they were or if they exercised and ate a "healthy" diet.I choose to go with The National Wellness Institute's definition of Wellness as "a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential."
We all get stuck sometimes - even us coaches. But for all of us, the ONLY way to get unstuck is by making different choices or choosing a different response to an ongoing situation.
In other words, making some kind of change is the way to get unstuck.
Change requires accountability and uncovering what's holding us back. It’s usually not just about journaling our intentions, closing our eyes and then manifesting our hearts desire. Knowing what we want and taking steps (even teeny tiny ones) towards it is the only way to make it happen.
I've been on a bit of a chia pudding kick again lately - probably due to the abundance of fresh berries in the summertime. I'm all about anything that can be a vehicle for those berries! We can easily go through a couple of half-flats per week at our house. This morning I had vanilla chia pudding with a heap of gorgeous blueberries and some cacao nibs and as I was taking a picture for Instagram (as one does) I realized that while I have shared some recipes for chia pudding in my newsletter, I have never shared one on my blog.
My friend Lisa C. turned me on to this delicious quinoa salad that is fast becoming a staple at my house. She makes it a little differently each time depending on what's in her garden and in her fridge. Her rule of thumb is to use a mix of colors and textures with "a punch of sweet and a little bit of crunch." After cooking the quinoa in veggie or chicken broth she'll add things like small cubed/steamed beets, slivers of kale, diced cucumber and bell pepper along with currants or golden raisins and then pistachios, almond slices or toasted pine nuts. You can also add feta or goat cheese or some grilled chicken to make it even heartier. The final ingredient is a whole mess of finely chopped herbs like flat leaf parsley or mint or dill. Don't be afraid to experiment using whatever is available to you. This salad is really versatile!
Since I've been spending more time working at The Riveter I've noticed how many people run out and grab lunch instead of bringing something from home and I know from experience that eating out all the time can start to seriously add up. If you are spending an average of $10 per day, 3 x per week on lunch then you are spending in the vicinity of $15,00 per year on lunch. And if you're eating out more or spending more than that like most people, well, you do the math. Bottom line: it's a lot of dough (and not the tasty kind). Plus, you don't always know what you're getting when you eat out and that can impact your weight and your health.
Has this ever happened to you? You're late for an appointment and looking for parking. You end up driving right by a prime spot in front of your destination because there's a car on your tail and you feel bad about abruptly stopping, so you decide to drive around the block and go back for the spot but when you get there someone else has already grabbed it. This happened to me last week and my first reaction was to say to myself (using the unkind voice that lives in my mind), "Lisa, you idiot! You should have taken the spot when you first saw it." But lately I've been training myself to notice that unkind voice and what it's saying so I caught the thought pretty quickly. I consciously switched my inner dialogue and told myself "Lisa, it's OK. You are not an idiot. I love you." I immediately started to feel better.
There's an epidemic of sleeplessness in our culture that comes from too much cortisol and other hormones, ridiculous amounts of sugar in our diets, too much stress, too many screens and multitudes of things constantly clamoring for our attention. I have been an insomniac for over 20 years and as a result I've become an expert in some great ways to kick insomnia to the curb.
Last month I got to perform in a local community theater production of Guys and Dolls. Performing in musical theater again had been on my "wish" list for about 25 years and I am so freaking glad that I got to do it! Musical theater was a big part of my identity when I was younger. I was in everything from Bye Bye Birdie to Oliver and I loved singing and performing. Up until my sophomore year at college I was often in plays until I got way too cool and spent all my free time listening to music, dying my hair black, wearing armloads of silver bangle bracelets, going to clubs at 11:00 pm to hear bands and obsessing over cute British bass players- but that's a story for some other blog post…
While I absolutely love to cook and spend a lot of time tinkering with recipes and ideas in the kitchen, I have never been much of a baker. In part this is because baking is more of a science. Back in the day, when I tried things like baking bread but I always seemed to kill the yeast and when I made layer cakes they usually came out uneven and messy. But a larger reason for my not baking was if I baked something then I would eat it - and keep eating it. Cookies and sweet treats have always been a weakness for me. There was always the "bake and release" option but I didn't love baking enough to do it in my spare time so mostly I didn't bake.