Feening For Fennel

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It is quite common for people with lupus to have digestive issues and  last  Wednesday was the beginning of a nasty bout for me.  The timing was pretty bad: I had scheduled an aquaponics training for the very next morning and I  had some very excited farmers looking forward to it.

There was no way to mask the pain so it was great that I was in the company of likeminded  ‘food as medicine’ people: High Garden Center farmer George,  Dr. David Epstein, and Lois Peterson; a PGG board member who is currently furthering her study in  nutrition.

Dr. Dave suggested that I consider adding digestive enzymes pre-biotics  and pro-biotics to my supplement regiment. I was experiencing a flare (an auto immune crisis) so that was sound advice. Fortunately I have all of that on hand… including kombucha of course.  🙂

Lois suggested I go gluten-free and dairy free completely until things calmed down.  She also reminded me of the importance of bone broths when trying to  heal the gut. I grabbed Nourishing Traditions out of my office for reference.  Good thing I did! I had never considered putting wine in my broth! While I didn’t go there this time (with the turmoil in my belly I’ve decided to stay away from alcohol for the moment), I have filed that away under things I will certainly do in the near future. I cooked an organic bird slowly over the course of two days.  In addition I added loads of extras: a cinnamon stick, several garlic bulbs, onion, about 2 inches of ginger,  2 inches of turmeric, carrots and celery.

George sent me into the garden.

Grinning and Bearing it.

Grinning and Bearing it.

He mentioned a few plants that I might want to steep and drink as tea but for some reason I went right to the fennel, popped a few sprigs into my mouth. I have had fennel before in salads but have always remained pretty neutral on it. On this day, however,   I was actually craving it.  And I’ve been noshing on it every day since. Fennel has a licorice like flavor so it taste like candy to me. Eating it, was soothing.

After several days of running into the garden for my fennel fix, I decided to see why my body was asking for it.  After researching it further, it turns out it makes perfect sense.  Here are some of the benefits of fennel listed on juicingforhealth.com:

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Anemia:  Since fennel is rich in iron and histidine, it serves as a good natural remedy for anemia. The production of hemoglobin is increased as a result of the consumption of food containing iron.

Breast milk, secretion:  Lactating mothers can consume fennel juice regularly to increase the secretion of nutritious milk for their infants.

Cancer:  The high content of vitamin C, flavonoids and essential oils in fennel bulb all provide synergistic healing properties for the prevention of cancer.

Colic:  Colic happens because of an imbalanced intestinal flora.  The essential oils found in fennel are useful for rebalancing the flora for remedy of renal colic.

Constipation:  The roughage in fennel seeds act as a stimulant in the clearance of bowels.  By taking fennel juice regularly, it helps to rebalance the digestive tract, thus promotes regular bowel movement.

Diarrhea:  The essential oils in fennel like Cineole and Anethole help to remedy diarrhea. By taking fennel juice regularly, it helps to rebalance the digestive tract, thus promotes a healthy bowel movement.

Diuretic:  The diuretic property of fennel helps in the removal of toxic substances from the body through frequent urination. Thus, it helps to reduce inflammation that causes rheumatism and swelling.

Flatulence:  Excessive flatulence happens due to the highly imbalanced intestinal flora in the digestive tract.  Fennel has the capability to reduce the bad bacteria while increasing the good bacteria that help rebalance the digestive flora.

Hair health:  The sulphur content together with all the right amino acids and essential oils in fennel help strengthen hair and reduce hair fall.

High blood pressure:  The high potassium content in fennel helps reduce high blood pressure and thus decreasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Indigestion:  The essential oils in fennel increases the secretion of digestive juices, helping in reduction of stomach inflammation and in the absorption of nutrients from the food eaten. Since fennel also has anti-acidic qualities, it is used widely also as an antacid.

Menstruation disorders:  As fennel is an emmenagogue, it helps regulate the hormonal action in the female body, easing menstruation flow.

Vision health:  Fennel has unique properties that can help protect from eyes inflammation, as well as with other eye disorders which are directly or indirectly connected to muscular degeneration and aging.  Due to the anti-oxidants and the necessary amino acids in fennel, they help rejuvenate and prevent aging. The juice of fennel leaves when externally applied on the eyes may help reduce eye irritations and fatigue.

I am on the mend! Was it the broth? Kombucha?  Fennel?

I’d say all three.   I’d also say that I am healing my body with  comfort food, soda and candy.  Except it’s real food. And that just makes me giddy.

 

 

 

 

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A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Making Marmalade

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Something went terribly wrong.

Christina our 'senior focus' volunteer brought her cadillac juicer over for a spin

PGG volunteer, Christina (our senior specialist) brought her Norwalk (the cadillac of juicers) over for a spin

Not sure what, but after countless hours of prep and stewing, we just were not pleased with the finished product. The oranges were too bitter for our liking and we want to give our best to our friends at SaraCare.

I was pretty bummed but Krista simply said  “Well… not everything goes exactly as planned.”  A gentle reminder that man plans and God laughs.

And just like that, we switched gears and came up with a plan B. As it turns out, we feel it to be an even better representation of the farm: a garden in a jar.  Each senior will be presented with a jar full of rich, organic soil (with worm casting)  and seeds; an invitation to be a part of our Project Generation Gap family.

Why didn’t we think of this in the first place?

Through it all, the smile never left Toni's face!

Through it all, the smile never left Toni’s face!

Sometimes it’s all about going through the process.  While the garden in the jar is awesome, it is not nearly as labor intensive as making the marmalade.  The investment made last week in preparing the marmalade has tremendous value even though it will never make it onto a single piece of toast.

Funny how things work out right?

 

Our Fall Events were created to kick off our senior programming;

So George made mixed fruit and fresh carrot juice-ritas (our version of lemons to lemonade)

So George made mixed fruit and fresh carrot juice-ritas (our version of lemons to lemonade)

specifically our adopt-a-grandparent program.  We’ve identified senior care facilities, churches and community centers who work with our elders. We are partnering with them to provide an extra layer of support to our aging population. In addition to periodic gifts, we plan to bring our grandparents to  the farm to grow with us; we are even creating a garden with them in mind.  We know we will learn so much from them!

We are asking our friends near and far to donate toward our efforts. We’ve determined that a donation of $15 will cover the expenses surrounding this holiday gift and the next… Valentine’s Day. <3.  If you’d like to donate click here.  All amounts are hugely appreciated.

Can’t wait to see many of you next weekend at the farm.  S’mores, corn hole, live music… all with our favorite people. Can’t wait!

Figured I'd end this post with the beautiful fruit and mascarpone tart I brought to share. Why not?

Figured I’d end this post with the beautiful fruit and mascarpone tart I brought to share. Why not?

Natural High: Getting to Know the Farmers of The High Garden Center

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You know how you find something so special that you want to wait until the perfect time to share it with others?  That is how I feel about George and Krista High, owners of The High Garden Center.

I stumbled into their booth at a Farmers Market last summer and instantly knew I was on to something major.  I have met many really amazing farmers/growers from all over the Southeast that have changed the way I see food and my community. Meeting George and Krista went a bit deeper; I had found true kindred spirits.

They are passionate about community, education, and nutrient dense foods. I could not imagine a better fit for Project Generation Gap.

George and Krista

George and Krista are trusted advisors to health-conscious people who want to include a variety of plants in their everyday diet. They are lifelong nature lovers who grow and consume a wide variety of plants (some are wild) each day.

In 2012, George and Krista started creating customized “Gardens to Go” for people who don’t have green thumbs, or simply don’t have the time, energy, or space to maintain a garden. Their handcrafted portable planters give clients easy access to live culinary and medicinal herbs year round.

George and Krista sell live herbs, microgreens, pet greens, and handmade planters/pots at farmers’ markets in Gwinnett County, garden stores, and festivals around metro Atlanta.

An explorer at heart, George discovered at an early age that there are dozens of nutritious and edible plants in our own backyards. He has been picking, identifying, and cooking dishes containing culinary and wild plants ever since.

While serving in the military (he has served in the Army, the Coast Guard, as a civil servant for the Navy, and civilian employee on an Army base in Iraq)  George planned and ran the Community Garden at a Coast Guard base in North Carolina. He also served as the Wellness Officer for the Coast Guard Air Station from 1996-2002. George became a Certified Green Consultant in 2011 to assist others in living harmoniously with the earth.

George owns 6,000 music albums, the entire Danielle Steele book collection, and a John Deere tractor.

Krista is a former Environment Scientist, who reinvented herself in 2003. She became a freelance copywriter specializing in the health, wellness, and spirituality industries. For the past 10 years, Krista has written copy for alternative health and wellness gurus such as Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Al Sears, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Gerald Epstein, and Dr. David Blyweiss.

Krista is ambidextrous, believes there’s “a place for everything, everything in its place,” and enjoys most anything that contains caramel.

I  mean seriously. What is there not to love?

Connecting with this beautiful couple has been a game changer for our organization. The level of service we are set to provide to the community is mind-blowing.  Look forward to more information on nutritious/healing foods, classes and community events.

Speaking of great food, I made the most delicious soup yesterday! I decided that I would use primarily local, fresh, and seasonal food that I obtained from the market.  My oldest son’s girlfriend, Megan, is a very picky eater; I’ve made my personal mission to win over her belly.  She lifted her bowl for seconds!

Harvest Soup

3 tablespoons butter

I used a one HUGE sweet potato from the market and several smaller ones given to me by Ash-Lee farms.

I used a one HUGE sweet potato from the market and several smaller ones given to me by Ash-Lee farms.

1.5 cups chopped onions

5 cups cubed sweet potato

4 cups cubed butternut squash

sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

8 cups chicken broth

2 sweet but tart apples (I use fujis)

Cinnamon and Nutmeg to taste

1 cup of milk or cream

Yogurt

Saute’ onions in butter until soft and translucent. Add the sweet potatoes, butternut squash, chicken broth, salt and pepper to pot. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the diced apple and either: mash the everything together by hand (for a chunkier soup) or  use a  blender to puree soup in batches (I use my Vitamix of course). Be careful not to fill the carafe more than halfway, the soup is hot and needs its space. 🙂  Pour the blended soup into a clean pot.  If desired, add a dollop of yogurt atop individual servings.

*Notes:

*I purchased everything (except the seasonings) from local farmers including the chicken to the make the stock, and the milk.

*I use raw milk because we digest it better. I suggest organic half and half or cream if purchasing pasteurized/homogenized dairy (so it will be creamy).

*My husband makes our yogurt but if purchasing, I recommend organic greek yogurt for a thicker consistency

*The veggies and fruits I used are all seasonal and fresh but it is ok to let Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods do your chopping for you. Typically not local, and REALLY expensive (I made close to a gallon of soup for around $6,) but trust me, I get it…do what you gotta do!

P.S. Don’t forget to follow the blog by clicking on the tab at the top!

All the Hotties Do Pilates (and drink carrot juice)

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Spring is here and like most I am more than happy to say goodbye to a really rude winter.  It definitely stayed beyond its welcome.  As I pack up my parka and pull out the flip-flops I’ve started examining the condition of my hibernating body.  I took a leave of absence from CrossFit and confined my running to a HIIT workout once a week on the treadmill. The bulk of my exercise the last few months came from a combination of yoga and Pilates.

While I’ve maintained a steady yoga practice for over a year now, Pilates is a new venture for me.  I’ve always incorporated Pilates exercises when working with my clients.  Exercises  like the hundred, and the double leg stretch were fixtures in core work.  However, until this year, I had not had any experience on a reformer. My client turned workout partner, Jan, has wanted to take a stab at reformer Pilates for a while but I was less than enthused. My (limited) thinking: I would be trading my intense WODS for a bunch of stretching.  (I know… I should be ashamed to tell you that. right?) After a few lengthy discussions with Emily (my instructor) I agreed to give it a month. But just a month.

I am pretty sure Emily saw my attitude in the beginning as challenge. Not sure if her plan was to win me over or teach me a lesson but she succeeded in doing both.  It took a solid month for me to ‘get it’ because uhhh… it is HARD.  There were many times that I considered that the waiver I signed was not just a formality.

 

So what about my results?

Well…

It’s been right at 2 months and I have noticed three major improvements:

1) I am better at yoga.

Many Pilates moves are similar to yoga. The difference is that there is very little instruction in yoga. The instructor leads you from one pose to another with guidance but the focus is on listening to your body on any given day. There is no wrong or right way in yoga. There definitely is in Pilates. When I do something wrong, Emily not only tells me, she will come over and physically shift my body until I am in the correct position. I have never had this level of attention to detail when exercising. Read that again and remember that I am a trained professional!  Now when I go to yoga, I move more effortlessly from one pose to the next without worrying that I am not getting the most out of my practice physically.  I am genuinely out of my head and listening to body completely.

2)My running has improved.

I recently started running 10 miles a week again. I ran my first in a year race yesterday: The Atlanta Women’s 5k.  I feel like my stride is more consistent. Even though my endurance has suffered from a lack of cardio, my core strength has improved tremendously.  Emily told me this is common with the runners she works with.

3)My  muscles are more defined.

Particularly my obliques; a tough area to strengthen.   My shoulders are also looking good; the highly coveted ‘teardrop’ is breaking through…yessssss!!!  Just in time for tank tops.  Happiness.

 

On to the carrot juice.  I was talking this morning to Jamie when I came across a sale at Publix on Bolt House Farms juices (BOGO). While I don’t typically buy it, She suggested I grab some carrot juice to mix with cocoa. Although it sounded disgusting (she promised it taste like chocolate milk), I decided to give it a shot.  I am not a huge carrot fan but I was dragging today and needed an energy boost. A cup of carrot juice gives you more than one-fourth of your daily requirement for vitamin C. It also gives you half the vitamin E you need daily, 2,256 micrograms of vitamin A (more than three times your recommended daily intake for that important antioxidant). It also packs a powerful punch of  those crucial B vitamins (39 percent of your recommended daily intake for vitamin B-6, 20 percent for thiamine and 12 percent for riboflavin), and vitamin K (good for proper blood clotting).

Minerals are also plentiful in carrot juice. Each cup of carrot juice contains about one-seventh of the potassium and phosphorus you should get daily, benefiting your nervous system and bone health. It also has one-tenth of your recommended daily intake for magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in muscle contraction, and 6 percent of the bone-strengthening calcium you need each day.

As for cocoa studies indicate that it provides it own lists of benefits. However, let’s not kid ourselves here. Chocolate just makes things taste better. Period. 🙂

 

Here is how I made it:

8 ounces of carrot juice (I lazily used Bolt House Farms but juicing organic carrots would be worlds better all the way around)

1 heaping tablespoon of unsweetened organic, fair trade cocoa. (Made by Lake Champlain; I can only find it consistently on Amazon)

Mixed in my blender bottle.

Total yumminess.  Surprised? Me too.

Jamie told me she was inspired to make this after having it at Arden’s Garden, a local juice bar here in Atlanta. Guess what? They ship!  In the future, I will probably juice a bunch of carrots at a time and have it on hand for a few days. But it’s good to know they have it in case I get lazy again. Which is likely. 🙂

 

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I heart this. Veggie love at its best.

 

 

 

For the Love of Beets -part 2 (A CONTEST)

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Today is Valentine’s Day.

We’ve been snowed in with 2 of our kiddos for four days and the thrill is gone.  No longer feeling the love.

But somehow the hubster snuck out into the elements and got me roses.

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They were waiting for me when I woke up. And coffee.  He shows his love for me daily by making my coffee. So although today isn’t the ideal Valentine’s Day, feeling quite happy with the man I love.

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So back to Beets. In the last ESWH Challenge, I shared with the participants my experience with beets. I wanted them to know that I could totally relate to their misgivings about certain foods. I also wanted them to understand that your conditioning is not a good enough reason to avoid foods that are actually good for you.  As a population we are so unfamiliar with how good food taste that we dismiss items that are not overly sweetened, deep fried or salty. Most processed foods do not start with quality ingredients. Therefore highly processed forms of salt, sugar and fat are added to trick our brains into thinking these foods taste good. They actually do not. They actually taste like chemicals.  When we actually taste real food it tastes foreign. My complaint about beets was that they taste like ‘dirt’. I realize now that it was the earthy taste and fibrous texture that I was unfamiliar with. Sad.  My experience with beets was my first step in loving real food.

So now I am on a food campaign. It is part of my Revolution. My Challenge peeps were a little skeptical at first but most followed my lead!  I walked them through introducing beets into their diet. To make it a little easier, I told them about Love Beets. I discovered them at Whole Foods some time ago and they made my transition easier.  Organic (they have organic and non organic varieties) and vacuum sealed, I could cut open the package and plop them in the Vitamix. Remember it took me a while to integrate the entire beet experience into my diet. Love Beets were a huge help! I suggested them to the ladies and they were on a mission to find them in their local store.  I learned from one lady that they are also available at Costco (GET OUT!).  I learned from another participant that Whole Foods has a try it policy. She was able to get a pack for free! The biggest score came when one  reached out to the folks at Love Beets directly. She was unable to locate them in her city and asked for assistance. She took the time to tell them about me and the Challenge. I told you these ladies are ROCK STARS!

Later in the Challenge, I charged them with a chance to win a prize. All they had to do was take a picture of all the fresh produce that had taken over their kitchen. I was thrilled with what I saw! Counters, tabletops  and refrigerators overflowing with REAL FOOD! What they didn’t know is that I, too, had reached out to the kind folks at Love Beets and asked for some free goodies. 🙂 Once Brandon heard my excitement about beets (and his product specifically) he was all over it! He sent me a t-shirt, recipe cards and some promotional  pins for our contest winner.  He also sent me a few others for my lovely blog followers.

So….

We have our very first blog contest!

What do you have to do?

1) “Follow” my blog AND like my Facebook page. Both can be done on this page. Easy peasy.

2) Like the Love Beets page. (By the way, they will give you a $1 coupon for the like!)

3) Submit your favorite beet recipe in the comment section below. You can a link to recipe you’ve tried and loved or you can type out the instructions for your original creation.  That’s it!

On Monday, I will choose three winners randomly from those who enter. You have all weekend to submit your recipe. 🙂

What will you win?

A really  cool t-shirt like this one. (great quality by the way). The hubster was kind enough to model it for me. Out of his comfort zone for sure! But he got a free shirt for his troubles. Happy Valentine’s Day hon!

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I will also throw a few extra goodies including a $5 coupon for Love Beets!  Cool huh?

Seem like a whole lot hoopla over a vegetable?  Well, to me it is that serious. Besides, I love to support companies who make quality products that make life easier.  I am also hoping to encourage those of you out there who are hesitant  to give beets (or kale, or parsnips, or turnips)  a try!

Here is recipe I found and made from the Love Beets Website. It is really, really good.

Tiffany Goodall’s Beet, Asparagus & Smoked Salmon Salad with a Yogurt and Pepper Dressing

Serves:
2
Preparation Time:
5 – 10 mins
Cooking Time:
5 mins

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pack (approx. 4.5 oz.) asparagus tips
  • 5 oz. watercress and lettuce
  • 3.5 oz. smoked salmon
  • 2 cooked beets dipped in vinegar (not pickled), cut into eighths

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp. horseradish cream
  • 2 tbsp. organic natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • Fresh ground black pepper to season
  • Juice of one lemon

What to do:

  1. Place the asparagus tips into a pan of boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile assemble the lettuce and watercress onto 2 small plates and top with the smoked salmon.
  3. Add the beets. Then drain the asparagus tips and arrange on top of the salad.
  4. Finally, mix the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the salad. Garnish with plenty of fresh ground black pepper and finish with the lemon juice.

For the Love of Beets

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beetroot-heart

If you would have told me 2 years ago I would ever eat beets I would have called you insane.

If you would have said that I would eat them almost daily I would have suggested you get your head examined.

But here I am, a beet eating (almost loving) fool.

But HOW? And more importantly WHY?

Well, despite the fact that I have been on a focused fitness path for the greater part of my adult life, it has been in the last few years that I have begun to focus in on what I eat. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been what most would consider a good eater for some time. I’ve always loved to cook and I’ve stayed on top of whatever food trends seem to be gaining traction in the fitness world. The thing is, it took my health (not the outward appearance of my body) to force me to shift my relationship with food. As I began to experience autoimmune flares (and eventually find myself hospitalized a few times) I began to research how I could use food to HEAL my body.

I stopped struggling with food; meaning I took my attention off of weight loss and athletic performance. Instead, I focused on fueling my body for optimum health. **SN: when you fuel your body for optimal health, perfect weight and improved athletic performance are natural byproducts** I researched the systems of the body paying particular attention to those that present a challenge for me: digestive, urinary and reproductive. I determined that there is clear evidence (both scientific and anecdotal) that what we eat matters to every cell in our body. If I wanted to heal, I had to listen to my body.

Slowly but surely I stepped away from a dieters mentality. That was hard because our society has conditioned us to ‘diet’. Rather we need it or not! That was the first realization. I did not need to lose weight. I needed to get well. So therefore I needed to eat foods to get me there.  I examined with new eyes how my peers (including those in the fitness world) ate. Generally speaking… we do not eat a lot of  real food.  Protein bars, shakes, goos and gels all acceptable ways to fuel our bodies. In addition, most people don’t enjoy much of  what they eat at all. They see food as serving a purpose; for the dieter the goal is to limit food for the purpose of weight loss for the food addict, food might provide emotional comfort. The bottom line is… very few people eat for health or for true enjoyment.

I considered that fact that despite the fancy packaging and enticing marketing… processed food is not exciting. Nor does it taste good. Walk over to the produce section and now you are talking eye candy! Food that represents the colors of the rainbow; that stand alone. No bells or whistles needed. Just good solid nutrition. Just as God intended.  images

 

First decision: Fall in love with food.  REAL FOOD. Its healing properties and its taste.

Nothing like being sick to make you appreciate your body and the beautiful temple God created it to be.  I LOVED my body for what it had done for me when I needed it to. I was thankful to God for my healing. The least I could do is acknowledge this gift with my food choices.

So what does all of this have to do with Beets?

Well…

I started paying attention to the value of my food and considering how I could increase it. I incorporated juicing, soups and salads… all big bangs for my buck.

I paid attention to what is offered locally and seasonally. To which foods my body needed to function optimally.

This is where beets entered the picture.

As I worked to increase the nutritional value of my food, beets kept coming up.  Beets are known detoxifiers, considered a super antioxidant and have brain boosting properties. The are also a great anti inflammatory food AND aphrodisiac.

Now despite ALLLL of this,  I just ignored them at first. I had never tasted them because the smell alone gave me drive heaves.  I am not a picky eater so I took the revulsion very seriously. I mean apparently my body did not want them, right?

Wrong.

It was just a sign of a lifetime of conditioning.  Once I recognized that, I became determined to overcome my disdain for beets. Like a challenge. We all know how much I like a challenge. 😉

I wanted to see if I could change my own mind about beets.

I had enough sense to realize that I was powerless over my gag reflex so I needed to hide them in my food.  I began making my smoothies with beets. Now because of their rich color (a huge sign that something is good for you by the way) there is not mistaking that beets were in the smoothie. But by juicing with fruits and vegetables with strong flavors (such as pineapple and ginger) I was able to almost completely mask the taste. Every few days I increased the amount of beets in the smoothie and decreased the amount of the other foods. Some days I was  more successful than others but after a few weeks of this, I had no issue with the beets in my smoothie! I continued my beet green smoothies for several months. However,  I rotate my vegetables so I didn’t have them every single day.

This past Fall beets became seasonly available.  My local Whole Foods started offering several dishes that featured beets. I decided to try beets outside of my smoothies and guess what? I didn’t die! No more queasiness. I could handle the smell, I could chew it up and I could swallow. Again and again. Over and over.  For me, this was monumental.  I started getting a side dish containing beets on my weekly trip to the store. Beets with goat cheese… quinoa with beets… beet slaw… I tried it all.

The final frontier was cooking with them.  More about that in part two.  For now, here is my signature smote which contains beets as a star player.  Tell me what you think!

(Pssst… A contest is coming in Part 2!)

Sagdrina's Signature Smoothie

Mobile Office Will Travel (spoiler alert: Cashew Cheese recipe tucked in post!)

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Between Snowmageddon and whatever bug had taken residence in my respiratory system,  I was more than ready to get out of my house on on with life this past week.  I took lots of pictures so let’s do this slide show style. 🙂

My soul-sis and ride or die chick Jamie of ImPerfect Yoga &Coaching was in town and we linked up at Lululemon.  She knew I was sick of being sick so she bought me a grand slam from Arden’s Garden (a local juice bar).  What is a grand slam you might ask? A shot each of lemon, wheatgrass, cranberry, and ginger. Pure and potent stuff. Just what the doctor ordered! Thanks sis!

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Now, I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say that I fought my way into Lulelemon’s  Research and Development program for fitness professionals.  Normally, I might let something like a 15% discount go  (okay that’s not even true) but if you know anything about Lululemon’s prices you know I did what I had to do!  Here is a really cute number that did not make it home with me.Even with the 15% discount I just couldn’t do it.  I felt like Olivia Pope in it y’all!

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I was feeling so good I went straight to the gym and ran 2 miles. Sweet sweat and tears that felt good! The next day I decided to do it again! This time I was running next to  a lovely lady name Phree (pronounced Free..love it!)  She is one month into her goal to lose 40 lbs. I love it when I see folks still in the gym in February! She has a no excuses motto so she was not offended when I hacked up half my lung running next to her. She actually had her own little nostril number going on. That’s called dedication folks!

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I headed into the city for back to back business meetings at R. Thomas (hey- you have your board room and I have mine… don’t judge!).  Three Big Bangs later (not all for me of course) and the Garden Project is picking up steam. More about that later but me and Jan’s plan to get the world to eat their veggies is coming together nicely!

I also discovered cashew cheese. Now I am not big on eating foods that are designed to replace other foods but this was calling me from the menu. Perhaps it is because I went without dairy the entire month of January or  maybe because I am fully committed to humanely processed meat products. Whatever the case, I wanted to try this ‘alternative’. I’ve tried the cheese ‘style’ product Daiya and although the taste was okay, I just could not get past the processed food aspect of it. What I did recognize in the ingredients was not terrible, just not nutritionally dense.  Therefore I couldn’t see it as a long term solution. I decided to see if cashews could pick up where feta left off. Well not exactly. It is distinctly not cheese. BUT is was yummy. Especially with pears! It has the texture of a pimento cheese and a smooth, creamy taste. It was also quite filling.

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I came home, did my research and created my own. This is how I made it:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours prior)
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs. homemade Kombucha  (you can use 1 Tbs. raw apple cider vinegar or 2Tbs of white wine)
  • 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
 Instructions
  1. Added  all ingredients into my  Vitamix until it got thick and creamy. You can let it harden in the fridge for a day for a firm consistency.

Friday was a return to yoga. I hadn’t practiced in two weeks but my body got right back in the flow. I decided to set up shop in Whole Foods after class. Totally busted by my yoga teacher Hope. She snapped this picture on her way out.

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And then I met this gem of a lady who was passing by named Yvonne. Turns out she has been doing yoga and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for many years. At 70 years old her skin is clear and free of wrinkles. Amazing. She told me that when your spirit is pure it shines through. She felt drawn to me… I felt the same way about her! Did I mention she is from Savannah, my hometown? I almost guessed it when she sat down. Something about us girls from the C-Port!

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Here is one for the road.

Jamie (said soul sis above) and I did silly selfies of ourselves in our Lululemon wear while I “worked” and she got ready to teach  yoga. Good times.

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