Kale Salad with Avocado Dill Dressing

I’ve made many different versions of this recipe for workshops at my studio, but this mixture was a major hit that everyone asked me to post.  Its so quick, easy, and visually appealing.

2 bunches fresh Kale, take out middle rib and tear leaves, then rinse.  (I used one batch of purple kale and one batch of green…I prefer not to use baby kale for this recipe)

1 handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped

1 small avocado

juice of 1/2 lemon

a couple dashes of honey

2 tbsp vinegar (I used champagne vinegar, but any white, or apple cider  vinegar would do)

2 cloves garlic (optional)

S/P to taste

1 organic tomato, diced

1/2 cucumber, sliced or diced

1 small onion, diced

handful of sliced almonds

Directions:  Put the Kale in a bowl with everything but the tomatoes, onion, cucumber and almonds as you will toss them in later.  By masticating the Kale with the garlic and liquids, it will become a bit softer and will be easier to digest.  It will look brighter as well as reduce in quantity in the bowl.  Your hands will get a nice exfoliation as well as soften from the avocado and lemon juice…..but may be a little smelly if you added garlic.  Toss with the rest of the toppings for  a bright, healthy presentation!

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Potstickers

If you’ve ever been to the Blue Bamboo Restaurant, then you know Chef Chan is quite famous for his culinary delights and book: “Hip Asian Comfort Food”.

I found this recipe in that cookbook and of course….revised to my liking with an extra Holiday Twist!

2 lbs sweet potato, baked and flesh scooped out  (I used 4 med size sweet potatoes)

1 tbsp organic butter

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 small onion, sliced and sautéed

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp organic maple syrup

1 package of wonton wrappers (round or square)

1 egg, beaten

grape seed or canola oil for frying

I mashed all of the ingredients together, then scooped about 1 tsp of the mixture onto the wonton wrapper, sealed the edges with the egg using my fingers, then folded in a triangle.  Mine were hardly as pretty as pictured in the book in the beginning, (he used round wrappers and I had square), so I made them a bit more decorative by pressing a fork onto the edges.  It only takes about 2-3 min in the oil on med-high heat to cook a batch.  They were amazing.

Tuna Ceviche with Homemade Plantain Chips

Tuna Ceviche with Plantain Chips

I recently went to dinner with my husband at The Blue Bamboo, Founded by Chef Dennis Chan.  I’m not sure why we haven’t been to this great restaurant before, maybe because its all the way on Southside and we are at the beach, but we are sure glad we went!  In glancing at the hip Asian menu and a being totally impressed, I was informed Chef Chan wrote a book of his favorite recipes.  Of course I jumped at the chance to buy it and Chef Chan came out to sign it for me.  Turns out he and my husband went to the same high school around the same time, go figure.  Dennis is a sweetheart to talk to and I am certain the food there has good energy!

I revised this recipe a bit, but most of it came from his cookbook called “Hip Asian Comfort Food”.

1 1/2 lbs tuna loin, diced

1/2 red pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 tbsp ginger, grated

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup lime juice

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup corn kernels (I used 2 corn on the cob, boiled, cooled, then sliced off)

1 tbsp cumin

handful fresh chopped cilantro, (his recipe calls for chives)

Himalayan sea salt/white pepper to taste

After dicing the tuna add the juice, ginger, oil and garlic.  You only need to let it marinate for 2 hours, maybe a little less as I found. Then mix in all the other ingredients before serving.

Homemade Plantain Chips:

Slice unripened plantains about 1/2 inch thick, saute til light brown on each side using grape seed oil or canola, smash on plate flat then refry.  Dry on paper towels.  Serve with the ceviche.

Food and Its Energetic Value

Did you know that food has more power than just its nutrient value?

What if I told you that before you even eat put food into your mouth, it has already nourished or influenced you in some way good or bad?

This is the concept of food energetics, the notion that what we put into our bodies affects us emotionally, physically, as well as spiritually.  First off, it would be ideal to not be completely reliant on food that was was flown in from overseas or trucked across the country.  This produce was probably not picked at its highest energetic peak or therefore would have rotted by the time it got to its destination.  Anything local and in season will have a higher nutrient value, will be easier to digest, and thus will provide more nourishment to the body.  What if you are buying animal food and the cow or chicken was treated inhumanely, forced to live in terrible conditions or fed a diet not natural to their needs?  That meat is not going to resonate with the body as well as consuming an animal that was taken care of and fed properly.  Also keep in mind when deciding to purchase from local stores in support organic, sustainable farming,  we are  choosing to be more connected spiritually to our neighborhood, our surroundings, and Mother Earth in general.

Observe how you feel after you’ve made your meal.  Is it visually appealing? Does it smell good or are you salivating? You see, digestion is actually taking place before you even put your food into your mouth.  What if you were stressed out while making it, or rather disgruntled and cooking without a cheerful heart?  That puts bad energy into our food, as well as upsets the stomach which interferes with a healthy digestive process.  Think of a restaurant that is noisy or perhaps behind the scenes the wait staff is negative and annoyed.  Do you want to be served food from someone like that?  We’ve all had those experiences, and I can think of times that my stomach was upset before I even SAW the plate of food!!! (even in my own home…..EEK!)

There was an energetic reason why grandma’s soup tasted so good, yes?

And last but not least, it is nice to have a balance of YIN and YANG for our bellies.  That contrast being a salad that is light along with a root vegetable that is grounded.  Sometimes we feel somewhat flighty in our day, and that is why were are craving soups or root vegetables to bring us into balance.  While we do not need to control everything about our food, being mindful of what and when we eat allows us to appreciate its many energetic qualities that are truly beautiful gifts.

Expand Your Life Force with DIRGHA, the 3-Part Breath

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I was once enrolled in some business/personal coaching with an experienced holistic psychotherapist and he at one point said to me “Jenny, do you breathe?”

Sadly, like many of us, the answer was…

“NO, why do you ask?”

Well thank goodness since that many moons ago I became not just a Holistic Practitioner, but also got certified in YOGA!

Many people may experience breathing in a yoga or fitness class, but once they walk out the door its “Off to the races!”.  I encourage my clients once they’ve come to me for MELTing, Yoga Therapy, or even a Holistic Consult, that they maintain their breath awareness throughout their day.  Here are a  few reasons why:

*breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which breaks us from that “fight or flight” mode

*breath work circulates oxygen in a more efficient fashion throughout the body giving us more energy and concentration

*proper breathing aids in the digestion process

*mindful breathing stimulates our immune system

Dirgha pranayama is easy to do and is all encompassing. First start from the lower abdomen, drawing the breath up through the solar plexus or stomach area, finally filling up the lungs with air.  You can place your hands, one on your lower abdomen, and one on your chest to feel the breath fill the body.  Then make the exhale long and slow, squeezing out all the stale air from the alveoli in the lungs so that they have more potential of receiving a fresh supply of oxygen.

Notice how anxiety and tension leave the body,

replaced with peace and tranquility.

 

 

 

Is there such a thing as healthy sausage?

 

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Is there such a thing as fresh, healthy sausage?  To cut to the chase, not really.  Pigs are known to eat just about anything and are fed a lot of corn and grains to fatten them up.  Pork is high in saturated fat, and very high in omega 6 which tends to be inflammatory to the body. In addition,  sausages are sometimes cured, high in sodium, and usually contain nitrites which is a dangerous preservative that when eaten frequently, can increase your risk for cancer.

Now for some better news.  Besides staying away from sausages with nitrites added, you can actually find some that are quite lean, have not been cured, nor contain MSG or “spices”, (which can also mean MSG).  I have even read that some pig farmers feed their pigs flaxseed to increase the Omega 3 content in their meat, but I haven’t found any brand, nor butcher in particular that advertises this as of yet.

The place I prefer to get my sausage is at The Butcher Shoppe in Ponte Vedra.  The butchers trim the fat off the cap, add only some peppers, onions, garlic and parsley.  They are proud of the fact that there is hardly any grease when grilling or sautéing, and tout the fact that they are antibiotic, hormone, and gluten free.

My second choice would be the Fresh Market meat dept.  They have finally removed the MSG from their sausages, and from the label recently I didn’t see anything suspect.  Keep in mind though Fresh Market will change things up from time to time, so check before ordering to keep them honest as I have been tricked in the past.

And last but not least, I do get my andouille from time to time at Beachside Seafood on 3rd Street (close to Beach BLVD, across from McCancer).  It is cured, and there are nitrites, but no MSG. Unfortunately I also see the word “spices”, so I’m not too excited about that, but I mention this place because I adore Timothy who is the Manager. He is a great cook, and so helpful. Besides, they have the freshest FISH in town.  As for the sausage, Timothy says “awe don’t worry about it”. He shrugs his shoulders and I laugh.

Your health depends on what you can Digest!

Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in an environment where food was nutrient dense, local and in season, with no toxins floating around in the air or soil to contaminate it?

Better yet, assume we were all breastfed until at least age 1, were fed a diet of fresh fruits and vegees early on, and were not introduced to processed foods or pesticides?

If that were true then our digestive tracts would be pristine right?

I think we all know that that scenario is not the case in this day in age.

One thing is for sure, without a healthy gut there IS no health.

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There are many factors besides poor food quality that contribute to gut issues.  As we age our HCL (Hydrochloric Acid) content in our stomach decreases.  That is one of the reasons why people may recall they could eat “anything” when they were younger. HCL is also extremely important as it kills harmful bacteria in the gut, without it we are also more prone to bacterial, fungal and yeast infections, yuck.

The mistake is when indigestion symptoms occur, like bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, skin problems, arthritis, or even B12 deficiencies arise to name a few, people often eliminate suspect foods, or even take antacids to avoid undesirable reactions.  While some people may have genetic predisposing factors that contribute to their inability to digest certain foods, what most people can do is simple increase their HCL content in the stomach as well as supplement with some complimentary enzymes for better absorption, without giving up all the foods they love.

One simple, natural way of increasing your HCL content is by drinking a tsp of organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) in a cup of water with meals.  Better yet make a nice salad dressing with ACV, add some garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and herbs.  If that doesn’t do the trick then purchase an HCL supplement along with a well-rounded digestive enzyme like Premier Digest, Digestase-SP or Gastroven.  These formulas are botanical and increase the ability of the digestive organs to break down and absorb the nutrients your body needs for optimal health!

 

Premier DHA, really a No-Brainer!

th-10DHA, or docosahexanoic acid, is a highly unsaturated fatty acid that is very important to brain function.   A powerful omega 3, its role is to support the nerves and membranes in the brain.

Cold water fatty fish are the best sources of DHA, but due to the modern day diet along with environmental pollutants, clean sourced supplementation is often recommended.

Deficiencies in DHA have been linked to ADHD, schizophrenia, cardio-vascular disease, certain forms of cancer like colon and prostate, and in general, low grade inflammation which opens the door for all sorts of chronic health conditions.  The body cannot make DHA on its own, so what are we supposed to do?

Unfortunately it is not so simple as just taking a fish oil supplement to increase DHA levels.  Fish oil oxidizes quickly which makes it rancid, along with containing environmental pollutants that accumulate in their fatty tissue. This is why I carry Premier Research Labs Algae based DHA.  For healthier nerves, eyes, and heart, it is really a No-Brainer!!

 

 

The Quantum Effect with QRA!

 

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Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to find out what nutrients, foods, or supplements work the best for you instead of buying up every product on the market, only to be disappointed with results?  Holistic Clarity agrees, and thats why I offer Quantum Reflex Analysis for those serious about supplementation.

I have always been committed to tailoring nutritional and supplemental plans for my clients, but with QRA I can be much more precise. QRA allows me the ability to target areas of the body that are not energetically responding at optimum cellular resonance.  You see, the body, its organs, bones, blood, not to mention everything on the planet, operates at an optimal frequency. Our cells and DNA, when healthy, produce a certain amount of light, almost like a rainbow.  When certain points are touched with somewhat firm but painless pressure, our body responds in various ways.  With QRA there are particular areas we can check in order to identify interferences within the body, and with that information, support any inefficient areas with proper nutraceutical, nutritional or even emotional support.

Keep in mind this is not a diagnostic tool, and nobody’s body is perfect.  We are all surrounded by electromagnetic fields, poor diets, and stress both physically and emotionally.  QRA is a means to find a way to bring more cellular resonance to the body.  More nutrients to our cells allow our bodies to fight illness and disease more efficiently. This in turn increases our ability to be well in an unlimited way, a Quantum way!

Curry Quinoa with Carrots and Cherries

Quinoa with Cherries and Carrots!

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(pronounced “keen-wa”)

First of all, let’s describe what Quinoa really is. It is not a grain actually, but a seed from the same family as spinach, beets, and swiss chard.  Known for its rich protein and omega content, it has a long list of anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation leads to disease, so its a great idea to incorporate Quinoa into the diet to combat any poor diet habits from our pasts.

The best tip I can give anyone who cooks Quinoa is to rinse it beforehand.  Some packages say it doesn’t matter but in my experience it DOES!

You see, Quinoa has an outer coating that can taste bitter as well as upset our tummies.  After rinsing, if time, saute until brown or fragrant for just a couple of minutes.  Once it is browned, add about 1 1/2 cups of liquid per 1 cup quinoa.  Most recipes call for more liquid, but I like it a little firmer and also keep in mind adding a marinade afterwards will soften it up further.  Bring to a boil, and don’t overcook…..it usually only takes 6-8 minutes of covered simmering.

The recipe shown above contains the following ingredients:

1 cup of chopped carrots, handful of chopped cilantro, 1-2 scallions, 1 handful apple juice sweetened cherries, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1-2 tsp gallberry honey, juice and zest of 1 orange, a little lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix well, refrigerate if desired.  I love to save the leftovers to add in wraps or salads the next day.  Yum!!