Quick & Easy Organic Black Bean Quesadillas

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Quesadillas are one of Sofia’s favorite foods, so I am happy that this is toddler approved! This is a quick and easy recipe to make during the week when you really don’t want to cook…

What you will need:

  • Whole Wheat Tortillas, or Corn Tortillas if you want gluten free
  • Organic Veggies of your choice, we chose Peppers and Onions
  • Organic Cheeses, I use a blend of Cheddar and Mozzarella
  • Olive oil for pan
  • Avocado for topping if desired
  • Spices: Pink salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne

Directions:

  1. Wash and Dry Veggies, chop them to desired sizes!
  2. Rinse half of the can of beans
  3. Drizzle olive oil in pan over medium high heat and add veggies and beans.
  4. Season with cumin, S&P, Chili Powder
  5. Once veggie Bean Mixture is cooked, remove from heat
  6. Wipe out pan and add a drizzle more of olive oil
  7. Place one tortilla in pan and add half of the cheese, cover with the cooked veggie-bean mixture, add remaining cheese
  8. Place 2nd Tortilla on top
  9. Wait until desired crispiness on bottom side and then flip
  10. Once both sides have desired crispiness, remove from heat, plate and top with whatever your heart desires (I used avocado here but a favorite of mine is organic Lime crema– 2 tablespoons of sour cream, lime zest, juice from half a lime, mix together…it is seriously so yummy.
  11. Enjoy!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

 

 

Which eggs are you buying?

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Eggs are one of the best proteins you can eat to fuel your body. According to an article titled, “The Truth about your Eggs”

The six grams of protein in each egg has the highest biological value—a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs—of any food, including beef.’ (Check out the article here.)

Eggs are superfoods! They are high in B12 vitamins, which helps improve mood swings, attention issues and more. BUT- there is a HUUUUUGE BUT– where you get your eggs/the eggs you purchase make a huge difference.

First of all, in the mass production world, chickens are typically stuck in cages, given antibiotics on the regular for the diseases they get for being stuck in those cages or crappy living situations because all the chickens can’t move and are pooping everywhere. Those eggs have been found to have high traces of ARSENIC (because it promotes the size of the chickens) and ANTIBIOTICS. Not to mention they usually cut the beaks off these chickens early on so they don’t hurt each other 😦

A 2010 study published in the journal Veterinary Record found that the eggs from hens confined to cages, as they often are in factory farms, had 7.77-times greater odds of harboring salmonella bacteria than eggs from non-caged hens. (The Truth About Your Eggs)

 

Now and days, marketing strategies try to trick you into thinking you are getting your eggs from a fresh farm down the road with UN-REGULATED words such as “Cage-Free” or “NATURAL”.

What does Cage-Free mean?

While it technically is true that cage-free eggs are better for you because they aren’t kept in super small cages, these animals are not free from being fed food with arsenic and antibiotics or treated humanely. 😦 There is no independent third party that certifies or checks if they are actually cage-free so it can just be a marketing scam.

What does Free-Range or Free Roaming mean?

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they are required to be outside or treated humanely (ie no debeaking etc…) and similar to cage-free there is no third party certifying the eggs as free-range or free-roaming…

Natural?

Most things that say Natural without the word “organic” means that they are marketing scammers and don’t trust them for ONE second. Natural is unregulated by the FDA and it means absolutely nothing. In the eggs case, it means yes you are getting an “egg.” But I call BS on all of these labels and I’m mad at companies that use these mechanisms to treat people who are trying to make the best decisions for them and for their families!!!

ORGANIC!

Organic food is REGULATED and held up to high standards. Typically you will find that organic eggs often have a third party stamp of approval as well as the USDA ceritification. Egg producers are subject to annual audits that must prove themselves as organic and then must pay a fee every year (Seems a little backwards, right?…why aren’t the companies producing poisonous eggs being regulated and required to pay a fee every year?)

The eggs I buy are Organic, cage-free, free-range/roaming. They are between $5-$6 compared to conventional eggs which are around $3.00. They taste better, they are healthier for you and they even come with a little newsletter. If you are buying eggs I encourage you to at the very least, purchase ORGANIC EGGS! Even better, go to your local farmers market and ask them if they are selling organic eggs. It helps to talk to the farmer, who knows the chickens by name!

I hope this blog post opened your eyes a little bit to which eggs are better for you.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Anti-Inflammatory One-Pot Rice Cooker Meal!

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I LOVE MEALS THAT BASICALLY MAKE THEMSELVES. Who doesn’t love that? I found this recipe on everydayayurveda.org and changed a few things around. Please check out the original recipe here.

Here is what you need:

  • Rice Cooker or large pot
  • 1 1/3 cups of Basmati Rice
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • Can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1/2 Bunch of Organic Kale
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of Turmeric powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Whole Coriander Seeds (find it in the aisle with spices)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Whole Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Basil for garnish
  • Sriracha (optional)
  • Ghee (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wash Kale, De-stem, and chop up the leaves
  2. Chop up onion
  3. Cube Sweet Potato
  4. Finely Chop Garlic
  5. Pour Rice into rice cooker
  6. Pour Water into rice cooker
  7. Add kale, onion, garlic, sweet potato and all spices
  8. Turn on rice cooker, go relax.
  9. When rice cooker beeps that it is finished, take out mixture and put in a large mixing bowl (fyi the turmeric might turn your bowl yellow! It will come out)
  10. Pour can of coconut milk over mixture and mix evenly
  11. Serve in bowl and add fresh basil, salt and pepper.
  12. Optional, as seen above add Sriracha! or top with a Tsp of Ghee!

This recipe is so quick and easy, the only not so fun part is chopping and clean up! Let me know if you try it. It was pretty yummy. Kiril served his with Chicken but shrimp would be another good animal protein to add if you’d like. Or tofu for us veg people! Happy eating!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!

xo

Goodbye summer, hello pumpkin everything.

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Happy first day of fall! This is my all time favorite season in Virginia. Growing up in Florida, I never really got to experience “sweater season” in fact, the go-to Florida “it’s-chilly-out-outfit” is a sweatshirt and flip flops. So, it might still be almost 90 degrees out today (global warming…) but autumn is here and you know what that means? PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. Hopefully the weather begins to cool down soon…

To celebrate the first day of fall I made these yummy pumpkin muffins – yes, they are from a BOX! Everyone can use a helping hand every now and then. I am all for making things from scratch but Simple Mills is a great company that uses quality ingredients. I care way less about calories and way more about INGREDIENTS. I added chocolate chips and shredded coconut to these.

They do not contain any preservatives so make sure to store extra in the fridge! For those of you who asked, I shared the coconut oil non-stick spray I use above. I found this brand of simple mills muffins at Homegoods at a much cheaper price than they are typically so I encourage to check out your local TJ maxx/homegoods for some good deals on quality products. Otherwise, I order in bulk from Amazon because both Sofia and Kiril love them!

Happy eating and happy fall!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo.

Throw out your soap!

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I know a lot of my posts have to deal with what you put inside of your body, but what you put on your body matters just as much. The FDA recently came out saying that there is no scientific evidence that “antibacterial soaps” are safe…(cue my smh face and eye roll). This is why I question everything, even when the FDA deems it as “safe”. According to EWG, The FDA banned triclosan, triclocarban and 17 other antibacterial ingredients in hand soaps, effective September 2017- check out the rest of the article here.

According to the American Cleaning Institute, 74% of American Households use Antibacterial Soap- and when polled about soap, Mothers of households were the most apt to become “angry” if antibacterial soap was not on the market (See Dr. Mercola’s article here.) Most antibacterial soap companies use fear based marketing suggesting that other soaps are not good enough, you will get sick more often, you will spread more germs unless you use their 99.9% bacteria killing soap… It’s a great marketing slogan because it has worked so well (for their profits…) – but it has lead to a brainwashing of a product that is not healthy or good for your body at all. In fact, existing on your hands right now is GOOD bacteria. The stuff that fights away the bad guys. The .01% of bacteria left on your hand after using an antibacterial soap (in most cases) is the bad stuff. How unfortunate!

Antibiotics are VASTLY overused, not just in soaps that we find in schools, restaurants, houses, etc., but in livestock, in the products we use and the food we eat. No wonder there is a new fear of SUPER BUGS – bacteria so strong, no antibiotic will kill it…yikes.

Yes, you should use soap when you wash your hands, especially when using the bathroom or handling raw meat. A few years ago, I had a hunch that the $1.99 sale of Softsoap at the grocery store meant that stuff was probably not so good for you so I did some research and decided to switch to Mrs. Myers (pictured above) or Seventh Generation. There are several products out there that are safe and effective. I encourage you to check them out! (ask me if you have any questions!)

PLEASE stop using anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, too. My two favorites are from the Honest Company (available online or at Target) and Pure Spirit Potions (available on Etsy!).

If you are interested in making your own soap check out Wellness Mama’s article here about “The slippery slope of Soap.”

Hope this is informative and helps you make decisions that are best for you and your family.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!

xo

 

Take and Go, Egg Muffins!

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Last night I taught yoga and Kiril usually says that’s the night he and Sofia “scavenge” for food…ha. But instead of scavenging he decided to make these egg muffins. I wish I could take credit because they are so yummy – but he did use my recipe 😉

Go Kiril!

What I love about this recipe is that you can refrigerate or even freeze these muffins, pop them in the microwave and you have a healthy snack or small meal ready to go.

Take and Go Egg Muffins Recipe

What you need:

  • 6 Eggs, preferably free range organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp of organic half and half
  • Veggies (we used broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and onion)
  • Coconut oil for pan frying
  • Muffin Tin
  • Coconut oil non-stick spray for muffin tin
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Pink Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Turmeric for anti-inflammation if desired

Directions:

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
  2. Whisk eggs, half and half, salt and pepper, turmeric
  3. Rinse and chop up veggies
  4. Heat medium sized pan with some coconut oil
  5. Add veggies to pan and stir fry until the onion is translucent and the broccoli is bright green, season with salt and pepper
  6. Spray muffin tin with non-stick coconut oil spray
  7. Add veggies to each muffin slot
  8. Pour egg mixture over each opening, fill about 3/4 of the way up
  9. Place in oven, for 15 minutes, add shredded cheddar cheese and then cook for additional 10 minutes (25 minutes total)
  10. Enjoy!

As you can see, Sofia loves these egg muffins, too. Toddler approved! #winning… They are so simple yet so scrumptious and filled with nutrient rich veggies.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!

xo

My anti-inflammatory Kitchen

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Multiple studies have been conducted indicating that inflammation is the trigger for most diseases and illnesses. It goes beyond just what we eat- it’s the chemicals we put on our bodies (think lotion, shampoo, conditioner, etc), the impurities we breathe in our air, the stress we have in our daily lives, our genetics, etc.

What can we do to combat inflammation? Change what we have the power to control. What we eat and drink is a HUGE factor in the fight against inflammation. Remember, you are what you eat. So try not to be a 99cent mcRib…

Ayurveda advises us to try to eat foods that are in season and local as much as possible so when you can, try to. Here’s a chart from nowSrilanka.org to help with the seasonality of foods:

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Foods to AVOID According to Harvard Medical School and my own experience:

  1. Red meat (burgers, steaks, etc) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  2. Processed Foods
  3. Sugar
  4. Refined Carbohydrates (white bread, pastries)
  5. Fried Foods
  6. SODA – all types of soda, even seltzer water (the carbonated water causes acidosis, therefore inflaming the body)
  7. Sweetened beverages, including most juices
  8. Margarine, shortening and lard
  9. Fast foods
  10. Table Salt (I replaced our with Pink Himalayan Salt a few years ago and love it)
  11. Anything GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms)
  12. Soy…

STOCK YOUR KITCHEN WITH THESE:

  1. ORGANIC Green Leafy Vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, collards)
  2. Organic Tomatoes, Red Peppers
  3. Olive Oil (real olive oil, most bought in the store are fake mixed – read more in this article here)
  4. Nuts – avoid peanuts where possible, try almond and walnuts
  5. Organic Fruits such as Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, apples
  6. Fatty Fish such as Salmon (must be wild caught, otherwise farm raised can cause inflammation, I used to buy ours from Whole Foods until I gave up fish)
  7. Turmeric, coriander, Fresh Ginger
  8. Organic Green Tea
  9. Chia Seeds (great to add to smoothies!)
  10. Garlic (I am a huge over-user of garlic, I love it in everything. TIP: if you feel sick slice up a garlic clove into pill sized pieces and swallow whole – yes you might have stinky breath but you just gave yourself a natural antibiotic!!!)
  11. Plain, organic yogurt (sweeten yourself with fresh fruit and organic jams that are only sweetened with fruit juices)
  12. Coconut Oil -how could this not make my list 😉
  13. Simple Mills Products – check out their website here, I get them from Amazon!
  14. Gluten Free or whole grain organic breads
  15. Organic Lemon Juice (see post about it here.)

 

Let me know if you have any questions! I want to recommend any books written by Dr. Andrew Weil — find them on Amazon. His approach to the anti-inflammatory diet is really helpful to understand.

Here’s to a healthy (anti-inflamed) and happy you!

xo

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

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This is my all time favorite smoothie (can you tell it’s Sofia’s too?). This one is great for combating inflammation in the body – I am a huge believer in using spices in everything including smoothies. Turmeric and Cinnamon enhance the flavor while also fighting off infection and disease in the body.

Tips: FREEZE your bananas- I always buy extra bananas and when they ripen I put them in a freezer bag. But make sure you peel them first – hehe Danielle 😉 …

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

  1. 1-2 Frozen Bananas
  2. 1 Cup of Greens of your choice (all I had in the fridge was salad so I used it here but I usually use spinach or kale)
  3. 1-2 cups of unsweetened organic almond milk
  4. 1 tbsp of nut butter (almond, cashew, or peanut)
  5. 1 scoop of protein powder (MY FAVORITE is Sun Warrior in vanilla)
  6. 1 tsp of Agave Sweetener or honey
  7. 1 tsp of Organic Turmeric
  8. Cinnamon for sprinkling on top of smoothie

I don’t use ice because the frozen bananas make it cold enough and that way it doesn’t get watered down. Blend all ingredients together and top with cinnamon! Enjoy!

 

Here’s to a happy and healthy you. xo

 

Why you need a tongue scraper…

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Historically, the tongue scraper dates back to ancient history with its emergence in India. There is basically no disadvantage to tongue scraping. It is SO good for you. It just adds a little extra step in the process of oral hygiene.

When we sleep, our body goes through a period of detoxification. Toxins can build up on the tongue overnight so it’s particularly a good idea to start your morning with a tongue scrape. 2-3 times, nice even pressure but not too hard will take stuff off your tongue you didn’t even know was there!

As you can see in the video Sofia is a big fan, whenever she sees us with our tongue scraper she says, “Me! Me me me me me!”

Instead of just taking my word for it here are some facts for you from the Banyan Botanicals Institute in their article, the Benefits of a Tongue Scraper:

Benefits of Using a Tongue Scraper

  • Clears toxins & bacteria from the tongue
  • Helps remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath
  • Helps eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue
  • Enhances the sense of taste
  • Promotes overall oral & digestive health
  • Gently stimulates the internal organs
  • Increases your awareness of your state of health

So where can you buy a tongue scraper? A lot of health food stores offer them but I would be careful to get one that is made from stainless steel. I ordered one for every member of my family here.

The tongue and mouth is the first step in the digestion process. Ayurveda believes that disease begins with improper digestion so ideally taking an approach to ensuring a healthy mouth is your first step to disease prevention.

I challenge you to try it and let me know what you think!!! I swear by it and can’t believe it took me this long to start using one.

Here’s to a happy and healthy you!

Jess

 

For more reading on this topic check out:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12028/5-reasons-why-everyone-needs-a-tongue-scraper.html

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-tongue-scraping

 

Sofia’s Ayurvedic Eggies

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Sofia loves her eggies — My friend Gia provided me with this ayurvedic style recipe. Super simple- the most important part is that you use clean, organic ingredients.

Sofia’s Ayruvedic Scrambled Eggies

Ingredients

  • Ghee (Clarified Butter) — buy some here.
  • Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper (I sprinkle just a little bit of it)
  • Pepper
  • Organic Turmeric (less than 1/4 tsp)
  • Organic Half and Half
  • Organic, cage free, free range eggs
  • Organic Cheddar Cheese (optional)

Recipe

  1. Heat Pan with 1+ tsp of Ghee
  2. Whisk eggs, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper together in bowl
  3. Add 1 tbsp of half and half while whisking
  4. Pour into pan and scramble
  5. I top with organic cheddar cheese and served with Raspberries (optional)
  6. Enjoy!

 

The benefits of Turmeric are incredible–it is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory spices available. However, when you combine it with black pepper and animal fat (Ghee) it becomes even more powerful and better for you! Also, this recipe is super yummy. I eat this for breakfast almost every day! 🙂

Here’s to a happy and healthy you!

xo