Singing Bird Holistic Health Coaching

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

2 cups arugula

1 10.5 oz package of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bunch of asparagus

1 can artichoke hearts, drained

1 orange bell pepper, diced

¼ white onion, finely diced

½ can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

½ 8.5oz jar of sundried tomatoes in olive oil

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp. mint, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. capers

¼ cup olive oil

2 lemons

½ tsp. Trocomare herb salt

Pepper

Salad2

DIRECTIONS

Rinse quinoa according to package directions. Combine with water in a medium saucepan (ideally with a steamer bucket…we’ll get to that later) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.

Wash your asparagus and trim off the rough ends. Cut into 1.5” pieces. Add to the steamer bucket over the quinoa and steam for about 5-7 minutes while the quinoa is cooking. Let the asparagus and quinoa cool.

Drain and lightly rinse the sun dried tomatoes (I don’t like it when they are super oily). Roughly chop.

Add everything but the olive oil, lemons and salt and pepper to a large salad bowl. Drizzle on the olive oil starting with about half of the measure amount. Squeeze in the juice of two lemons, and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Toss well. Taste the salad and see if it needs more dressing. If so, drizzle on the remaining olive oil and toss again.

 

 

What I Learned my First Day of Entrepreneurship

TheSecretOfAction

I woke up at 6:30am this morning. No alarm required. Having been in multiple time zones over the last several weeks, my internal clock simply decided it was time to get up. Eric kissed me good-bye and headed to work as he usually does. I looked at Sophie still soundly asleep next to me and thought, “This is my first official day as an entrepreneur. Now what?” The realization dawned on me that I had nowhere to be and no one to answer to. Unsure of my first move, I picked up my latest book (Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects in case you were wondering) and quietly tucked myself back under the quilted bedspread.

I worked at my previous job until July 3rd and the very next day we hit the road for a whirlwind vacation spanning multiple continents! We drove to Dallas to visit family and drop off Sophs with my parents, and then flew to Sweden. While there we were on the go from the minute we touched down, seeing family across Stockholm and in Finland that I hadn’t seen in years. We drove from Texas this past weekend, and arrived back at home last night. Our place looks as we left it: clean dishes, now dry on the counter, a few condiments holding down the fort in the fridge, and clothes strewn about that didn’t make the cut for the trip. On the outside everything appeared to be as it always has been and yet it all felt undeniably different.

Before we left, my schedule was jam-packed. Working full-time, a final business trip to San Antonio, lectures to listen to for class, building my own health coaching practice, seeing friends, preparing for the trip…I didn’t have time to think. I told my husband that I was only looking at my calendar in weeklong chunks because otherwise I would get overwhelmed. Now, left to manage my own schedule, my day (and week) seemed remarkably open. I took stock of the apartment this morning and the question of “Where do I begin?” sounded big and hairy. Crawling back into bed and finishing my book definitely seemed like a solid option.

I am sure many of you may have encountered something like this before, maybe with a necessary task you have been delaying or finally going to that exercise class. I often find the hardest part of anything is getting started. Once I take that first step, the momentum carries me forward and I wonder why I was so slow to start in the first place. Getting over that hump, that initial resistance, is crucial.

StartGreat

But how do you actually do that? Well like all those Nike ads proclaim, you JUST DO IT. I wish there was a secret formula I could share with you, but the best and only way to combat resistance, procrastination, or whatever you want to call it is to simply begin. Take the first step, however small and insignificant it may seem. I have a yoga DVD in which the teacher says something akin to, “It doesn’t matter where you are; start there. It’s better to start somewhere, because if you don’t, you’ll be nowhere.”

So here I am, starting my new life as an entrepreneur somewhere by taking one small step and writing this post.

Are you a skincare addict? If so, read this…

Our skin is our largest organ and through it, the average woman absorbs roughly five pounds of chemicals per year. Many of the most common chemicals found in beauty and skincare products have been linked to horrible potential side effects including cancer, skin irritation, and hormonal disruption just to name a few. Many people don’t realize that what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in it!

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Stacey Stilts, founder and owner of Greenline Beauty on Melrose Avenue. Greenline Beauty specializes in skincare and cosmetics made with only pure and natural materials. I got to ask her my most pressing questions on how to make the best choices for your skin. I am guilty of breaking a couple of these cardinal rules (ahem sunscreen), but will be working on it!

L: Why is it important for people to be conscious of using natural products on their skin versus a standard brand name they can pick up at Target?

S: Our skin is the largest organ of the human body, it absorbs everything. Among other things, our skin protects us from sun, water, infections, injury, pain, heat and cold while also storing energy, healing itself, acting as a shock absorber and producing vitamin D.

L: What are the top no-no ingredients that everyone should be on the lookout for?

S:

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES): 

These chemicals can alter the immune system and cause hair loss, eye irritations, damage to the digestive system, nervous system, lungs, and skin. They are often found in personal care products that foam-up. If a product claims to “come from coconut” check the label for these synthetic substances.

  • Talc: 

Has been linked to ovarian and testicular cancer.

  • Paraben Preservatives (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Eethyl): 

These chemicals are often used as a preservative to extend the shelf life. They are highly toxic and can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes.

  • Mineral Oil: 

This doesn’t sound so bad, but it is a byproduct of petroleum, which will coat the skin like plastic. It also takes away the skin’s natural ability to rid itself of toxins and slows down cell function, which can cause premature aging. If you have kids be aware that most baby oil is mineral oil.

  • Diazolidinyl Urea and Imidazolidinyl Urea: 

These are preservatives or toxic chemicals that contain formaldehyde. They have been known to cause contact dermatitis, burning, irritation of the mucous membranes, and inflammation.

L: What is the biggest mistake you see people make when it comes to their skin?

S: Not using SPF. Anyone over the age of six months should use a sunscreen daily. Even those who work inside are exposed to ultraviolet radiation for brief periods throughout the day, especially if they work near windows, which generally filter out UVB but not UVA rays.

L: If you could give someone dealing with skin issues, like acne, one piece of advice, what would it be?

S: Evaluate 3 things in your life:

1-Stress

2- Environment

3-Diet

L: Do you believe there is a strong connection between someone’s food and lifestyle choices and their skin health?

S: Yes, Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look and age.

L: What are some of your favorite skin care and cosmetic lines currently?

S: ISUN, Tammy Fender, Kimberly Perry, Dr. Alkitis, Sodashi, Juice Beauty

L: Where we can we buy some of your amazing stuff?

S: Green Line Beauty  7123 Melrose Ave LA , CA 90046 www.greenlinebeauty.com

As you can hear, Stacey clearly knows her stuff and she has greatly helped me with my own skin issues. I’d like to thank her so much for taking the time to talk with me and I hope that you have found this information as valuable as I have!

 

Fish Tacos with Figs and a Balsamic Reduction

FininshedTacoSquare

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. tilapia filets (about 4-5 filets)

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup of honey

6 ripe black mission figs

4 oz. goat cheese

2 avocados

2 cups of wild arugula

8-10 corn tortillas

sea salt

pepper

garlic powder

onion powder

1 tbsp. grass-fed butter

FigsCut

DIRECTIONS:

In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar and honey over medium-high heat, stirring often. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until it begins to thicken.

Rinse your tilapia filets with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle generously with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder (see below).

Heat the butter in a large grill pan over medium heat. Add your tilapia filets and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until inside is opaque when cut open.

While the fish is cooking, cut your figs and avocadoes into slices or wedges. Heat the corn tortillas in a shallow pan over medium-low heat for about 30 seconds per side or until warm. Do not overheat, as this will make the tortilla a little too crispy!

When everything is done cooking, assemble your delicious tacos! Lay the tortilla on a plate. Add half a fish filet per tortilla, then top with a handful of arugula, a few avocado and fig slices, and a crumbling of goat cheese. Top each taco with a drizzle of the balsamic reduction and voila! These tacos will be singing Iggy Azalea in no time!

Carrot Fries with Orange and Ginger

INGREDIENTS

2 bunches of rainbow carrots (10-12 large carrots)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

2 Tbsp. orange zest

2 Tsp. mint, chopped

1 Tbsp. finely chopped, fresh ginger

Sea salt

Pepper

Red pepper flakes

CarrotsFinished

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash and peel your carrots. Then cut into fry-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil, orange juice, orange zest and ginger. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once. Remove carrots from the oven, toss with mint and sprinkle on red pepper flakes, if desired.

 

 

Asparagus and Eggs with Manchego and Prosciutto

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch asparagus, washed and ends trimmed

½ lemon

Sea salt

Pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Manchego cheese

Prosciutto

2 pasture-raised eggs (buy the happy eggs people, it’s so worth it)

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F. Lay your washed and trimmed asparagus on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, and the squeeze the juice of ½ lemon on top. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper, and then toss together with your hands. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, in another pan heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add your eggs and cook either sunny side up or over easy, depending on how runny you like your yolk. You definitely want it to run a little bit because it adds a little sauce to the dish. Sprinkle your eggs with sea salt and pepper to taste as well.

Now to make a proper brunch, plating is important!! Start by laying one to two slices of prosciutto on each plate. When the asparagus are ready, transfer 5-6 stalks to the plate and lay over the prosciutto. Cut a couple of thin slices of manchego and put them on top of the asparagus. Make the sure the asparagus is still hot so the cheese melts a little bit. Then top each with one egg!!

Here I served it alongside a couple of slices of heirloom tomato drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Super easy and delicious.

Avocado Toast

INGREDIENTS

1-2 pieces of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread, toasted

½ avocado, mashed with a fork

4-5 cherry tomatoes, cut in half or thickly sliced

4-8 slices of English cucumber

Trocomare Herb Sea Salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Toast2

DIRECTIONS

Smother that creamy avocado goodness all over your toast. Lay the cucumber and cherry tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with Trocomare (you should really buy this the next time you are Whole Foods, it does wonders for veggies, salads, and sandwiches) and top with fresh cracked pepper. Serve open-faced and enjoy!!

Beware that sometimes the cucumber slices and/or the tomatoes try to make a slippery escape. Remain vigilant at all times.

Sweet Potato Ground Beef Hash

Hash1

INGREDIENTS

2 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into small cubes (my yams were roughly 8 in. long, for frame of reference)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp + ½ tbsp. butter

½ yellow onion, finely diced

1 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves

½ lb of grass-fed ground beef

¼ cilantro, roughly chopped

¼ tsp. sea salt + more to taste

¼ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. cumin

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, split into two 1/8 tsp sizes

3 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 lime, juiced

1 avocado, sliced

DIRECTIONS

 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil together with 1 tablespoon of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes/yams, stir and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are just tender, stirring often. Add the yellow onion, green pepper and black beans and cook for another 5 minutes.

 

Meanwhile heat your other ½ tbsp. of butter in a separate pan over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add one pressed garlic clove to the browning meat.

 

When the meat is cooked through, add to the pan with the sweet potatoes, and reduce heat to low to keep warm.

 

Then it’s time for the coup d’état! The aioli! Put the mayo in small bowl. Add the lime juice and whisk until mixed. The texture should be a little thicker than a heavy whipping cream, but still be drizzle-able, if that makes sense. Stir in 1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper and 1 pressed garlic clove.

 

Right before serving, mix the cilantro into the hash. Spoon onto plates or bowls, top with a few avocado slices, and drizzle the aioli on top.

America’s Favorite Recreational Drug

Pastries_Sugar

I bet you’ve tried it. Actually, I venture to guess that you will have some today. Once that urge sets in, it’s hard to say no; the addiction is too strong. Am I talking about heroin? Marijuana? Alcohol?

Nope. As Dr. Mark Hymen called it during a recent interview, SUGAR is America’s favorite recreational drug. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. That is over 150 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s A LOT of sugar.

Studies released this year found that sugar is as addictive to the brain as cocaine. Makers of processed food have used the addictive nature of sugar to their advantage for years. They know people love the taste, will like their foods more if they add some of the sweet stuff, and the addiction will keep buyers coming back for more. Sounds like the tobacco companies of yesteryear, doesn’t it? It might seem sinister, but I promise you that when it comes to the majority of foods you see at the grocery store, the deck is stacked against you. They aren’t made to be good for you, or even sustain you. They are made to make corporations money.

So who cares if we are consuming a lot of sugar, it is really that bad for us? I do and yes it is!! New studies have revealed the true nature of sugar, and it ain’t pretty. First, sugar is considered to be an “empty calorie”, meaning that it is nutritionally deficient. Especially when consumed in drinkable form like soft drinks or fruit juices, it adds extra calories to your diet that you don’t need on top of what you are already eating. Thus we get fat, or so the logic goes.

But maybe it’s not that simple. What if all calories aren’t created equal? What if sugar is bad beyond just being extra calories lacking nutrition? Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are made up of glucose and fructose molecules. Fructose is processed by the liver, where as glucose is metabolized by every cell in the body. For example, if you eat a piece of white bread it will break down into glucose without affecting your liver. But the effect on your body will be different if you have a Coke made with high fructose corn syrup. And if enough fructose hits your liver in a short period of time, by say drinking that large soda, your liver will also convert that extra sugar to fat.

High sugar consumption has also been linked to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes. Insulin resistance is related to higher rates of heart disease and even certain types of cancer. Basically it’s the first step down a very dark road. According to Doctor Hyman, developing insulin resistance is preventable with the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. “When your diet is full of empty calories, an abundance of quickly absorbed sugars and carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.), the body slowly becomes resistant to the effects of insulin and needs more to do the same job of keeping your blood sugar even.” Click here to read the entire article on how to prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/20/are-diabetes-and-insulin-resistance-reversible/

Basically, the more sugars you eat (both fructose and glucose) the more insulin your body needs to produce in order to maintain a steady blood sugar. At a certain point, it just stops working. At that point, you are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

And if that is not reason enough to start drastically curbing your sugar intake, sugar is also pro-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation in the body is being linked to a plethora of common ailments, including heart attacks, strokes, and once again, cancer. To get a better understanding of how blood sugar, insulin, and inflammation all go hand in hand to make us sick, I highly recommend reading this article: http://www.sott.net/article/242516-Heart-surgeon-speaks-out-on-what-really-causes-heart-disease.

 

 

 

Fresh Vegetable Salad

SaladFinal

INGREDIENTS

2 cups edamame beans (thawed if previously frozen)

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

2 cups jicama, cubed

½ cup haricots verts or green beans, chopped

3 ears of corn

1 cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped

2 avocados, cubed

2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Corn

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add corn, cover and cook for three minutes. Remove corn from hot water and place on a plate to cool. Once cooled, cut the corn kernels from the husk.

Combine edamame beans, bell pepper, jicama, green beans, corn and cashews in a large salad bowl. (A note on the beans: I bought a frozen package of edamame from Whole Foods, followed the package instructions and heated them on the stove, and let them cool before adding them to the salad.) Add the rosemary, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Add the avocado and gently mix into the salad.