A Super Simple Way to Prepare Farm Fresh Vegetables

farm

You know that wonderful feeling that bubbles up when you go to a fresh farm stand on the side of the road and you load up on your favorite vegetables? Still covered with dirt, very much “in season” and obviously locally grown.  Juicy, ripe healthy tomatoes, corn, spinach, broccoli, beets, carrots, onions, cilantro, radishes, peppers, squash, etc., stacked chin-high in old wooden crate bins.

You haven’t even started cooking and your soul feels nourished. The smells, the colors, the textures. Yes, this is how food is suppose to be. Like you’re deliberately shopping for something very wholesome and pure for yourself. In my mind, this is where nourishment begins.

radish

I have a favorite “health food” grocer in town but I stay away from this isle on the left. The plastic jars, the amber bottles and the supplements with names and claims that are absolutely daunting to comprehend. This aisle gives me a headache. I find it incredibly ironic that a “natural” market would have so many processed products. Take a real mindful look at the photo above. Do you get the same feeling when you are bagging a bunch of fresh radishes as when you are  reading the back of a supplement box? Probably not.

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I obviously love vegetables and share one of my favorite and easiest ways to prepare them so you can nourish yourself all week long.

Grilled Vegetables Marinated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Roasted Garlic

Step 1

Put on your favorite play list, pure a glass of wine and wash, chop and dry your favorite vegetables.

Step 2

Heat up the grill while you chop and saute fresh garlic in a teaspoon or so of olive oil. The more garlic the better as far as I am concerned.

Step 3

Grill vegetables, let them cool a bit and then toss with garlic. Add a bit of oregano, garlic salt, pepper, fresh basil and turmeric to taste.

Pack them for lunch and eat them with dinner all week long.

Tips

Don’t procrastinate and wait a few days to clean and cook your harvest or you will feel guilty about wasting them. With the exception of potatoes and onions, real food doesn’t last for weeks in the fridge.

Do bulk up and prepare enough for the week.

Do chop and slice them according to how they will cook on the grill and keep the red onions thick or they will fall into the fire.

Do store in glass containers that are oven proof so you can continuously warm them up during the week.

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My favorite

New Snaplock Lid: Tempered Glasslock Storage Containers 20pc set~Microwave & Oven Safe

Cooking-is-Love-Julia-Child-Modern-Quote-Living-Room-Vinyl-Carving-Wall-Decal-Sticker-for-Home

Do add love and mindfulness to your cooking and eating

 

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Read How to Eat (Mindful Essentials) by Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Insanely Useful Weight loss and Training Gear Investments

I’m not necessarily a gear girl because I absolutely believe it’s not the tools, it’s how you use them, however, on the other hand, I truly appreciate great quality when I find it. I wish I would have discovered a complete list of the best of everything when I decided to turn things around.

I have found the following weight-loss and training tools have stood the test of time, lasted way longer than I expected and helped me lose 25 pounds while getting stronger over the past year.

athleta Athleta Be Free Capris and the Relay Capris are both flattering with an awesome fit, even as I lost the weight. Perfect for warmer weather and summer months, even through 95 humid degrees in Florida summer heat.

Under ArmourUnder Armour Women’s Heatgear Capri Pants got me through the frigid temperatures last winter in New York, whether I was up at 5:30 am driving in my jeep to the gym or running to Soul Cycle in Union Square.

Extremely Mindful Eating – guarding Calories In & Out

I truly don’t believe I would have dropped the pounds if it wasn’t for tracking my calories. Now, I’m on my third Fitbit because I lost the first two “zip” models that you clip on your sports bra or pants, so I don’t recommend them at all. I have found that the wrist band stays on and when synced with the app is a truly mindful weight loss tool.

 Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, Black

When I first started wearing my LG Headphones around my neck I got some pretty strange looks, but they have become incredibly popular and since I’m the kind of geek that has practically strangled herself with her earbud wires wrapped around the Elliptical arm, well, these babies are both blue tooth and powerful.

LG Electronics Tone Pro HBS-750 Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headset – Retail Packaging – Black

Supposedly drinking 2 to 3 liters of water a day will speed up your metabolism (read the NCBI study here), but regardless, staying hydrated is critical and also helps fill you up.  I dropped $24.00 on this Ello Glass water bottle at Whole Foods, and like everything else, I found it for much less on Amazon – under $10.00. It’s durable and dishwasher safe. Better for the planet, but also for your body.

 Ello Pure BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Lid, Coral Fizz, 20 oz.

Practicing Mindful Portion Control

I haven’t eaten off a regular size plate since I started enjoying nutrient-dense, high-fiber slow-carb meals. Small plates help keep portion sizes under control.

Boston International Ceramic Appetizer Plates, Nautical Flags, Set of 4

Speaking of fiber, I found Goya Beans, specifically black and small white beans added to every meal (just a few table spoons will do) are just what you need to keep the scale moving in the right direction.

Goya Premium Small White Beans 15.5 oz

It all started with changing the way I ate, which was absolutely mindless and mostly in front of my computer. The diet that changed my life, is The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.

The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman

He’s the grandfather of self-improvement and performance coaching. Yes Anthony Robbins and yes his book Ultimate Power helped frame my new empowered mindset.


Unlimited Power : The New Science Of Personal Achievement

As fun as they are, do not buy the headbands at Free People or Urban Outfitters. They unravel and slide off, even during Pilates and Yoga and they don’t absorb jack. Try Mava’s instead.


Set of 6/4/2 PCS Multipurpose 12 in 1 Headbands for Athletic and Casual Wear, Highly Comfortable Seamless Bandana, Balaclava, Scarf, Face Mask, Best Moisture Wicking Headband With UV Protection, Suits Both Men & Women, Mava Premium Quality Headwear (Set of 6)

While they became a thing about five years ago, I am still in awe at how comfortable, light weight and long lasting my Nike Free trainers really are.

Nike Free 5.0

uni

And as the weather turns cooler here in the northeast, I love my Uniqlo down vests and jackets for working out. They are inexpensive, long lasting and wind resistant.

Do you have any workout favorites? Anything to recommend? I’d love to learn what helps you perform.

Pattern Interrupt, Pushing Through and Improving Your Workouts

russian-twist-exercise-illustration

Usually habits are really useful. When we are on “auto pilot”  our brains have become so efficient at doing something we can tune out our conscious minds, which can be helpful sometimes, like when brushing our teeth, but not when working out.

More about the upside of habits in this awesome book:The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The Problem with Mindless Patterns

Habits and patterns can also be a real problem. We can eat mindlessly and therefore overeat. We can tune out important people and not actively listen. We can exercise without paying attention and not get the most out of our workouts.

Russian Twists

I’m focusing on a bit of mid-course correction while making sure I don’t become weary from unconscious behavioral patterns during my morning exercise routine. The minute boredom sets in, I am reminded to “pattern interrupt”. It keeps things fresh – and improves results. So I do something different – I step up my stride, moving faster; add 20 more squats with calf stretches and try new exercises, like today – the Russian Twist (see illustration above) for toner abs.

Chi Walking and Core Movement

I’ve also been practicing engaging my lower abs throughout the day, especially when walking, jogging, running and sprinting. It has taken my routine to the next level.

When you correct your posture, you will be able to tighten your abdomen while you are walking. Leading your stride from your pelvis or what some call “Chi Walking” teaches us how to redirect the workload of propulsion to our core muscles around the pelvis and lower trunk area.

Pushing Through

When you are working out  every single day, it is easy to find yourself in a state of apathy about the mundane routine. Four things that help me push through –

Focusing on my super hero strength.  Yes, that’s me, in my mind, when working out. Lara Croft. Beautiful and brainy, with a fearless quest criss-crossing the globe, in an amazing attempt to save the world. 

Lara_Croft_film

Break it down into small increments. 200 squats in a row my ass. I do 10 sets of 20 deep squats and jog in-between. Before I know it, I’ve completed 200 squats with a tighter tush.

Goblet_Squat

Feel your body and get to know the slow, soft burn. Get to know what small progress feels like in your muscles. Where there is energy, there is life and growth – Seneca. More philosophy and wisdom here: Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)

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Don’t focus on the time. Cover the clock and speed up the pace, even if it is just a bit quicker.

What are your workout tips? 

Do you have tips to push through to the next level? Something awesome to help make workout routines more fun? I’d love to know what you recommend. Leave a comment below.

 

Happiness is a Skill, The Dangers of Impoverished Thinking and Coconut Muscle Mylk

bikeCall it what you will, bliss, contentment, excitement, enthusiasm, well-being, enchantment — happiness is a skill, a skill that needs to be trained and practiced daily.  My mind and body training includes a daily ritual (beginning around 5:30 am) of gratitude prayer, stoic philosophy studies, meditation practice, workout training (running, hiking, biking, swimming and high intensity interval training) and learning something new every single day.

Self- experiment for the day – to pay very careful, non-judgmental attention to the contents of my consciousness in the present moment. To watch my mind – to bring my soul into harmony with itself, and not let my purpose be out of tune. Seneca wisdom Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) Why all this mind watching? Because it’s a over-crowded zoo in there.

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Through the Lens of Thought
What lens are you using? The way we see and think about things is the most powerful force that shapes our lives. Any impoverished thoughts that are brought into our perception are like poison for the brain. This would be thinking that is deprived of richness or strength; thoughts that are limited or depleted.  Yeah, these thoughts have to go.   Inspired by the wisdom of  Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

 

Lolas

Biking Plantation Run & Coconut Muscle Mylk from COMO Parrot Cay

Rode the sweet four-mile palm-covered path to the fresh coconut plantation on Parrot Cay. Yes they grow their own and serve it up for breakfast daily.

Coconut Muscle Milk

This delicious drink speeds muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and replenishing electrolytes and nutrients with 1 banana, 1/2 cup young coconut water, 3 slices of coconut meat, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of almond milk, handful of flax seeds, 3 dates and a few cocoa beans. Blend and replenish.

Superfoods, Supplements and Maintaining Optimum Well-Being

GreensEvery single time I walk into my local health food store I ask myself the same question. If this is a health food store,  why are there so many plastic bottles, amber glass jars and cardboard boxes? Before my eyes, a sea of sameness – multi-vitamins, boxes of daily supplements, packs of protein powders – compared to the very small amount of actual fresh produce. It’s daunting.

I have never taken nutritional supplements, let alone a damn vitamin, partly because I can’t swallow pills. Especially horse- size pills. I also can’t seem to buy in to the whole Ashwagandha to calm the mind  and Huang Qui to support energy and vitality. For some reason I just don’t know if organic Bacopa will help my off-the-chart level of anxiety.

However, with so many new supplements on the market, I have become kind of curious about what might be beneficial. Will drinking these things buy me a few more minutes of life on the planet? Will it be like – well, she lasted to 12:05, thank goodness she drank her greens.

There seems to be so much jargon and “information” about what to take depending on the lifestyle you live. Also, even though I have heard that our vegetables and animal-based protein do not contain the same amount of nutrients they once did, I am a healthy, mindful eater.

What the “experts” take

I attended a special trade event for Sprouts Farmer’s Market this past weekend and had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of store managers from their locations around the south and midwest. I asked two of the vitamin category managers from Sprout’s Los Angeles stores, land of the protein smoothie, what they take on a regular basis and both said they loved Paradise greens.

Paradise Greens2

So I ran to their table and I grabbed a few packets to try at home. Now that I have a moment to open their catalog and visit their website I realize I should have asked  which greens? The Orac Energy Greens? Slimming Greens? Protein & Greens? Oh no.

Now, I know Tim Ferriss, really seems to like Athletic Greens, especially when he misses a meal, so I have decided to compare ingredient profiles.

Wow, this might take a while, as I sip, (wait I am suppose to sip this green protein drink right?) my very first Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Energy Proteins & Greens.

The label alone will take me months to decipher. Please, if any of the nutrition experts out there want to weigh in – I’m all ears. What are the best supplements to take if any (providing one consumes a balanced and healthy diet) and why?

Paradise Protein & Greens

paradise

Athletic Greens

athetlic greens

 

 

Maintaining Weight Loss, Healthy Eating on the Go and Spicing up any Damn Diet

spices

I have friends and family that live in the (new) Brooklyn. They are the cynical Williamsburg creatives.  So, when they asked me how I managed to shed 25 lbs, I’d channel my inner hipster-poser persona and told them I was adhering to a low cal, gluten-free, nutrient dense, slow carb, high-fiber, anti-inflammatory, heart-healthy, process-free, no sugar diet. Say what?  They would just look at me.thumb

Weight Loss Maintenance & Practicing Radical Self-Acceptance

I’ve been at my healthy goal weight since the end of May and I am not striving to meet the media standards of a perfect body. I don’t compare myself to anyone; I’m just really excited about finally paying some attention to myself and appreciate the gradual process of self-improvement; the small steps that I take each day while unveiling my best self. I am anxious about enough things in my life, I don’t need to add anxiety while transforming to a calmer, more peaceful person.

Get Inspired, Read
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Food Journaling

So what really works for me? Food journaling and staying really active. Read: like sweating every day for 60 – 90 minutes a day active. I say “works” and not “worked” because you can’t possibly think it’s over when you hit your goal weight. Oh, no, you’ve just begun. This is about lifetime change with lasting results. Now comes the daily discipline part. Almost harder than reaching the weight loss goal.   I started with the LoseIt app and now I use the Fitbit Charge. It is my third FitBit. The first two “Zip” style Fitbits just popped off my sports bra while I was out hiking. But that’s kind of just like me. Would you know I still look for my last lost Fitbit when I lunge through the intermediate school field? It’s been six months and I’m still tracking back my last steps. Talk about OCD.

Eating healthy on the go

I’m traveling to some of the hottest (and I mean degrees) places this month – Arizona, the Caribbean and South Florida; so the key to continued disciplined success with the slow carb lifestyle is planning ahead, especially while eating on the go. Just thinking about the food options at JFK makes me nuts. Now, the first thing I do when I get to my destination is hit the grocery store, to buy wine, because you can’t buy wine in a supermarket in NY. I think it’s so amazing that you can buy wine, and like a decent Sauvigon Blanc, at Publix in Punta Gorda.

No Need for Snacking

So there is no snacking on the slow carb diet. Just eat more of what you made for lunch and/or dinner.  However, when I slip into my let’s-worry-about-everything-going-really wrong mind, I imagine myself being stranded in the airport, hurricane conditions, with no food and freaking out about what I going to eat. So I always have a snack, but I rarely ever eat it, that crumbled (and probably stale) Nature Valley Peanut Butter bar thing at the bottom of my bag.

One thing about nuts

While they are healthy for you and permitted on the Four Hour Body slow carb diet in small quantities, I never snack on nuts, they are just too fattening. Best you don’t eat them at all. Don’t even start.

Curious about The Four Hour Body? Read more

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

Dining Out

Dining out includes scouting cafes and restaurants (prior to your arrival) that have great salads. Salad with chicken,  salad with shrimp or chicken with vegetables, Thai chicken with vegetables, steak fajitas, riceless sushi, lettuce wraps, and when in a bind, a burrito bowl, hold the rice, at Chipolte.

When I am cooking at home I have found it’s the seasonings that spark joy with the slow carb diet. I typically grill and slice chicken breast and/or steak and toss them in the skillet with Goya small white beans and broccoli florets with spinach. My family is so sick of this meal. Oh well.

A word about all those beans on the slow carb diet – the easiest I found to digest Goya Premium Small White Beans 15.5 oz .

Here is what I ate for six months straight this past winter to lose the weight.

Breakfast

two scrambled eggs, beans and spinach or broccoli

(or whatever left over veggies I had in the fridge.)

Lunch

see chicken with broccoli above. Don’t forget the beans.

Dinner

see lunch.

The best thing to do is not make food a “thing” any more.  Make like you are a car and the food is your fuel. But just to keep things interesting, I change it up with some spices.

My favorite spices so far (and I am open to suggestions, so please share)

Dave’s Gourmet 6 Pure Dried Chiles, 1.97 Ounce

McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning, 29 ounce

Casina Rossa Truffle and Salt by Nicola de Laurentiis, 3.5 oz

Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Sweet Lime Pepper – 2.5 oz

Additional Tips from fans of the Four Hour Body

Everything you need to know about the slow carb diet @medium @liftapp.

Traveling and the Slow Carb Diet Slow Carb Diet.

A note about garlic

I do this thing with garlic in all my dishes. I chop it and brown it (slightly) and put it on everything except my eggs. Warning, I just read that leaving the garlic in the olive oil to “cool” at room temperature is dangerous – something about botulism. Who knew? So eat it hot. Roasted chopped garlic is a great replacement for fattening bacon on a bunless burger.

Are you a slow carb eater? I’d love to hear what has been successful for you.