Monday, March 28, 2011

Elana's Peppermint Patties!


Do you ever feel like you are keeping a secret, because you know how to create better, healthier versions of favorite childhood treats? I feel that way sometimes... well, actually, right now! ;)

Because of this...

Remember those York Peppermint Patties?

I remember my great grandma would always have a bag handy, and she would never have my sister and I leave without a handful each. :)

However... do you know what ingredients are in those?! Sugar, corn syrup, semi- sweet chocolate (chocolate, sugar, cocoa, milk fat, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR), emulsifier, vanillian, artificial flavor), invert sugar, egg whites, and oil of peppermint.

Yikes! Chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavors, & animal by-products. No thanks... these days we know better!

Anyways, you can probably imagine my excitement when I came across a healthier version of these mints via Elana's Pantry. Her recipe is amazing!

What are your favorite treats from childhood? And, have you made a healthier version of them? :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rainy Day, Candles, & Green Tea

Brrrrrrrrr... it just started raining! And it's really coming down! Apparently we are having at least one more winter storm for the year!

But I am staying warm and cozy! I brewed myself a cup of relaxing green tea (thanks to L-Theanine!), lit a candle in my office, and am now blogging while listening to my Integrative Nutrition lectures. ♥

Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that if you are interested in enrolling at Integrative Nutrition, there are 2 more days to sign up for the next quarter! And, they are also giving away iPad 2s for new students who enroll by March 25, 5 pm  EDT. More info can be found here.

Now, about green tea... I know it may be nerdy, but I always like to know the health benefits of everything I am eating or drinking. We all know green tea is good for you... but why exactly?

Benefits of Green Tea

"Green Tea's health benefits are largely due to its high content of flavonoids — plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants. Green tea is the best food source of a group called catechins. In test tubes, catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder." Source: Harvard Health

What about L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is an amino acid derivative commonly found in tea. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and has psychoactive properties. (Whaaat?) L-Theanine has been shown to reduce mental & physical stress and improve cognition and mood. It may also help the body's immune response to infection by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of cells. Source: Wikipedia

What's your favorite tea?

I hope you are having a great week! Happy Spring! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vegan Brownie Fudge!

Greetings! :)

I hope you had an amazing weekend! It's been cold and rainy in Palmdale... perfect for relaxing by the fire, watching movies, working on Integrative Nutrition coursework, spending time with family, cooking, and making fun vegan treats in the kitchen!

Anyways, my friend Amber invited me over for dinner tomorrow... so naturally, I wanted to make a healthy, guilt-free dessert! :)

What I came up with is a treat that is half brownie, half fudge, partially raw (the base), and the rest just vegan (the topping).

Vegan Brownie Fudge
For the base layer-
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup carob powder
  • 1/4 cup almond milk 
    Directions: Process the ingredients above in a (heavy duty) food processor. Press into an 8x8 square pan lined with parchment paper. To help make the brownies lie 'flat' in the pan, I placed parchment paper on top and  pressed on the mixture until it was even. Place in freezer to firm for approximately 30 minutes.

    For the topping-
    • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
    • sprinkles
    Directions: Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Spread onto brownie layer. Add the sprinkles! :) Let the chocolate topping return to a solid state, or place in the refrigerator to quicken the process. After the chocolate has become solid, carefully lift the brownies out of the pan and place on cutting board. Cut brownies into squares... and enjoy!

    What do you do on rainy days? Did you make anything exciting in the kitchen this weekend?

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Institute for Integrative Nutrition: Update

    Happy Friday wellness lovers! I hope you are having an amazing start to your weekend! :)

    Today I wanted to give an update about the nutrition school I am currently attending! Many of you have  asked questions about it... so hopefully this will be enlightening!

    About Integrative Nutrition
    Integrative Nutrition is the world's largest nutrition school, where they teach 100 different dietary theories. Even more importantly, they teach how lifestyle factors have an even greater impact on your overall health & wellness than nutrition alone! I have been enrolled since January 2011, and am loving every minute! Every week, I listen to hours of lectures on an iPod, complete coursework online, and interact with faculty and fellow students on a weekly basis. A key highlight... the curriculum guides you through setting up your own health coaching practice as a "Certified Health Coach." They also connect you to a mentor, who has already graduated from the school and currently has a successful health coaching practice because of their education at Integrative Nutrition. And the best part? You get to work towards a career where you are in charge, can earn a living doing work you love & believe in, can work from your home office, and most importantly... inspire others to improve their overall health & wellness, which overall helps to make the world a happier and healthier place!

    Also, graduates from Integrative Nutrition were recently featured in the article in the March 2011 issue of Oprah Magazine! You can read the article here.

    If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them for you! I have only positive things to say about the school.... enrolling was one of the best decisions I've ever made! I get to study my passion and fulfill my dream of becoming an entrepreneur!!

    If you are seriously interested in becoming a student, let me know! (I might be able to get you a scholarship!) I can be reached at

    More information:
    Integrative Nutrition Website
    Integrative Nutrition Catalog
    Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches Take Miami 2011 (YouTube)

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Successful Cleanse!

    Happy Wednesday! :)

    Whew! I made it... I completed my first liver and gallbladder cleanse! 

    Before I started, I read The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse by Andreas Moritz.

    He claims "Most people unknowingly suffer from a dangerous buildup of gallstones in the liver and gallbladder. These stones clog up the body's cleansing organs, creating a toxic environment incapable of maintaining good health. You become fatigued, your tissues inflame, you gain weight, and your immune system stops fighting off illness and disease. The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse teaches you how to easily and painlessly remove gallstones in the comfort of your own home."

    To give you an idea of what the liver and gallbladder cleanse entails, here is the time line I followed:

    The Week Before: Consumed a vegan diet, for the most part avoided "cold" foods, drank 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 4 times/day. Supposedly the malic acid helps to soften the stones, making them easier to pass.

    Day of the Cleanse
    8:00 am- Hot quinoa for breakfast.
    1:00 pm- Steamed veggies and basmati rice for lunch. Stopped eating after 1:30.
    6:00 pm- 6 oz. water w/ 1 tablespoon epsom salts
    8:00 pm- 6 oz. water w/ 1 tablespoon epsom salts
    10:00 pm- 1/2 cup olive oil mixed with 3/4 cup grapefruit juice

    The Next Morning
    8:00 am- 6 oz. water w/ 1 tablespoon epsom salts
    10:00 am- 6 oz. water w/ 1 tablespoon epsom salts

    *I continued drinking the apple cider vinegar throughout the day.
    *After drinking the mixture at 10 pm, I jumped immediately into bed.
    *The book recommends having a colonic prior to the cleanse, or performing an enema the evening of. I did not do either of these things.

    My Thoughts:
    I have to say... the actual cleanse was not nearly as bad as the anxiety leading up to it! I was pleasantly surprised!

    The Epsom salts were the worst part... the first 2 glasses were easy to get down. By morning, I was not feeling up to drinking the last 2... but I managed! :)

    And, I actually thought the olive oil/grapefruit mixture tasted great! As long as you mix it well, you can hardly taste the olive oil.

    To be honest, I was a little scared when I read that after drinking the olive oil/grapefruit mixture and lie down in bed, it is common to actually feel gallstones coming out of your gallbladder! The book describes this as a "rolling marble" sensation. And it most definitely is! Within the first hour, I felt this sensation about 5 times!

    There was absolutely no pain at any time during the cleanse. I did feel a little nauseous this morning when I began drinking the final dose of Epsom salts, but it didn't last very long, maybe 20 minutes. As soon as I sipped some leftover grapefruit juice, I felt better.

    The Results:
    7 stones so far! Most were about 1/4" in length. (Some people get rid of hundreds of stones on their first cleanse!)

    I am definitely glad I completed this cleanse! It was a very interesting experience and I am interested to see what improvements it brings to my health & well-being! :)

    Have you ever done a liver/gallbladder cleanse? What did you think of it?

    *Disclaimer* Please note that this information is provided as an account of my personal experience and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own intuition, nutritionist, physician, or trained professional. If you have special circumstances or in doubt whether this is for you, consult a professional before starting this program.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    "Spring Cleaning"

    Hello there! And happy Wednesday! :)

    So, the temperature is rising to 78 degrees tomorrow... hello Spring! Every spring, I get in a "spring cleaning' mode. I clean my house, organize my closet, etc. But I also want to "clean out" my body!

    I've been sipping "Get Clean" tea (dandelion & milk thistle) that I found at the Vitamin Shoppe!

    And in 6 days, I am going to do a liver/gallbladder cleanse/flush! Yes, it seems as scary as it sounds...

    2 years ago, I picked up "The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse" from the local health food store.

    I read it in less than a day, and it was scary fascinating!

    I checked the reviews on Amazon, and apparently it's a great book and tons of people are having success with it!

    So yeah, ummmmmm... wish me luck! And I will keep you posted! (I am a little nervous!) :)

    I am interested to know... has anyone else checked out this book? Or actually tried the cleanse?

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    Time for Juicing!

    Happy Saturday! I hope you are having an amazing weekend! The weather in Palmdale is so perfect right now... all I want to do is spend time outside! :)

    As I mentioned, it was an emotional week, and by the end of it I did not feel well at all... (nauseous, exhausted, migranes) However, I am feeling so much better!

    I've been enjoying fresh juices every morning, eating mainly fruits & vegetables, walking every morning, gardening, relaxing, spending time with my family, doing yoga, practicing "health history consultations" with insightful IN students, and applying to new jobs! And, tomorrow... hiking with friends! ♥

    Anyways, back to the juicing... I can't believe how amazing fresh juice can make you feel! And spring is a perfect time to start adding fresh juices to your diet! They are so light, cleansing, refreshing, and full of vitamins & enzymes!

    More benefits of juicing can be found here!

    I wanted to share some simple combinations I've enjoyed this week, and I hope they will inspire you to get your juicer out! (Or get one.) :)

    Cucumber Lemon Ginger Juice
    (serves 2)
    • 2 cucumbers
    • 3 stalks of celery
    • 1" ginger root
    • 1 lemon

    Sweet Carrot Orange Ginger Juice
    (serves 2)
    • 5 carrots
    • 1" ginger root
    • 1 lemon
    • 2 oranges
    And now... for the more tolerant "advanced"~

    Green Detox Juice!
    (serves 2)
    • 2 cups greens (I used a mix)
    • 5 stalks celery
    • 1 orange
    • 1" ginger root
    • 1 lemon