Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Meditation: Why I Meditate. How I Meditate. Plus Meditation Tips

by Kristen Suzanne in family, Kristen Suzanne, longevity

Every New Year’s eve my husband and I sit down and write out our lists of goals and intentions for the coming year. I usually divide up the ideas by life segments such as career, family, relationships, leisure, finance, travel, etc.

For 2014, I did something different. I did something I’d never done before. I decided that 2014 was the year I would embrace only one goal for the whole year: Meditation.

My 3yo meditating. #Longevity #Peace

My 3yo meditating. #Longevity #Peace

Why only one goal? For a long time, I’d been wanting to make meditation a big part of my life, a regular staple in my daily routine. But for some reason, I wasn’t doing it consistently. I always said to myself, “Oh, I need to meditate…. I’ll do it tomorrow.” And, as the 2013 year was coming to an end, I decided it was of vital importance to make it a regular part of my life (and for my family, too). So important that it was going to be the only goal I focused on for the year.

Why I meditate. There was a reason that I suddenly came to place meditation with such importance. That’s because I’m now a firm believer that meditation deserves top billing.

As most of you know, over the past couple of years, I’ve dramatically changed the way I eat. I went from being a militant vegan, with animal rights fueling my purpose, to eating a Real Food diet of grass-fed omnivore foods, when my family’s health was failing with vegan foods. (See here and here and here for specifics.) The frustrating thing about using diet for optimal health and longevity is that you can find diametrically opposed camps — with each claiming to have science on their side — about what is right and what is not right when it comes to the food you put in your mouth.

Amid the firestorm of controversy on so many facets of what comprises “optimal” health, the fascinating thing I realized is that there’s at least one thing that pretty much everybody agrees on: Meditation is healthy and important for health and longevity. You might have respected doctors vehemently disagree on whether kale or bone broth is the best superfood, or which position is the best way to sleep, or how to treat a cold… but I have never heard any expert in recent years say you shouldn’t meditate as a daily practice for optimal health. After years of peer-reviewed interventional studies, meditation has become not only non-controversial, but they just keep discovering new amazing benefits. The only people who don’t say meditation is good for your health are people who don’t know the first thing about the topic.

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Friday, June 27th, 2014

Review: Food Huggers Get a Thumbs Up For Saving Food

by Kristen Suzanne in Kitchen Tools, product review

Food Huggers hugging foods.

Food Huggers recently sent me some of their food huggers to try out. I get offers from time to time for product reviews but lately I turn more down than I agree to. For Food Huggers, I was definitely interested. They seemed to solve a problem I’d been having lately. My desire to only eat half of an apple or avocado, for example, left me with either wasting food or overeating. When I saw their website, I was intrigued and wanted to give them a try.

I’ll be quick about this review.

They work. They’re great. You should buy some for yourself, family, friends, hair dresser, kid’s teacher, etc. 

Food Huggers in action.

What are they? They’re easy-to-use reusable silicone food savers. You can eat half of an orange, persimmon, grapefruit, apple, lemon, avocado, onion, bell pepper, tomato, and save the other half… for days in most cases.

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Friday, June 20th, 2014

25 “Real Food Fast Food” Ideas

by Kristen Suzanne in food journal

I’m not going to lie…

Living a life, where Real Food takes center stage, can take effort and time.

But. I have good news. It doesn’t always have to. For those of you who are really busy but would love to have some truly easy and healthy meal ideas to throw together, then this post is for you.

Raw oyster. Real Food Fast Food. #Zinc

Raw oyster. #RealFoodFastFood. #Zinc

For starters, let’s understand what Real Food is. Real Food, for me, is:

  • Eating as many foods from scratch.
  • Eating foods that are minimally processed.
  • Eating foods that are close to nature.
  • Eating foods that my great nana would make.
  • Eating foods that rarely come from a restaurant and/or box.

This is how I keep my family healthy. This is what I love. This is what works for us.

But… A life full of Real Food based on those bullet points above takes time. Quite a bit of time, in fact.

Yes, there are quick recipes that can be made in a slow cooker like this chicken recipe, this grass fed beef recipe, this grass fed beef tongue recipe, and this grass fed bison heart recipe. And, with my recent experience in a Classic Cooking school, I’ve learned how easily fresh and delicious soups can be made (15 minutes of prep max with about 15 minutes of cooking time) and how to quickly sear a grass fed steak (a couple of minutes each side and finish in the oven – that’s pretty simple) topping it with a brown sauce, and properly cooking some vegetables for the side. As well, scrambling up some pasture raised eggs or blending a smoothie can be a fairly fast food experience.

Still… even those simplest of preparations actually do take time and maybe more importantly they take forethought. I have to thaw the grass fed meat. I have to wash the organic vegetables, prep, and cook them. I have to make sure I have demi-glace made (and thawed) for the sauce. As you can see, it can still be a bit of a draining experience from thinking about the process to actually making the food, even if the ultimate food prep is only 20 to 25 minutes for a fabulous dinner.

Where am I going with all this?  Well, even though I do those things most of the time, there are times I just can’t.

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Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Recipe Grapefruit-Jicama Salad w Creamy Avocado (Raw Paleo)

Grapefruit-Jicama Salad w Avocado Dressing #Recipe

Grapefruit-Jicama Salad w Avocado Dressing #Recipe

Summer is one of my favorite times to dive into fresh and bright salads so I can go about my day feeling light. This Grapefruit-Jicama Salad with Creamy Avocado is a delightful experience perfect for just that. Crisp jicama and celery along with juicy grapefruit and creamy avocado. Need I say more?

Grapefruit-Jicama Salad with Creamy Avocado 

Yield 2 servings

The Salad Base

  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and cut julienne-style
  • 2 red or pink grapefruit (or 3 oranges), peeled, white pith removed, seeded, and cut into segments
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  1. Whisk together the honey and lime juice, and set aside.
  2. Toss the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the honey mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Plate the salad mixture, reserving any leftover honey mixture that is in the bowl.

The Creamy Avocado

  • Leftover honey mixture (from the salad base)
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons raw macadamia nut oil (or raw olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon filtered water (or more)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • pinch black pepper, more to taste
  1. Blend all of the ingredients until smooth. Serve over the Grapefruit-Jicama Salad.

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Monday, June 9th, 2014

Recipe “Give Me More” Stuffed Bell Peppers Gluten Free Vegan

“Give Me More” Stuffed Bell Peppers #GlutenFree #Vegan

Doesn’t that bell pepper look scrumptious? I promise you it is. I am sharing with you another recipe from my Raw Vegan Transitions book. It’s an easy recipe that you can make for a beautiful appetizer or impressive lunch.

The crisp crunch from the fresh bell pepper combined with the warmth of the rice and the “smoosh” factor from the avocado and soaked sun-dried tomatoes are absolutely delicious. Enjoy.

  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white or brown rice
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped and gently packed
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free) or coconut aminos
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • dash nutmeg
  • 4 to 6 yellow, red, or orange bell peppers
  1. Place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover completely with filtered water plus about an inch. Let them soak for 6 to 8 hours. Drain off the water and give them a quick rinse. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a separate bowl and add enough water to cover them. Let them soak for up to an hour. Drain the water off.
  2. When the seeds and sun-dried tomatoes are ready to use, set them aside in a large bowl together. Begin cooking the rice, as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. While the rice is cooking, prepare the other ingredients and place them in the bowl with the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the (warm) cooked rice to the bowl and toss to mix.
  3. Take your bell peppers and cut off the tops (including the stems). Dig out the seeded part. Spoon the stuffing into the bell peppers.

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Tincture Making Basics – Part 2 – Herbs n Health Goals

Medicinal Herbs n Health Chart

Medicinal Herbs n Health Chart

In my last post I shared how you can easily make your own herbal tinctures and why you want to do that (health, vitality, immune protection, optimal performance, enhanced energy, better dreams, sublime relaxation, fertility benefits, brain and memory boosting, to name a few). Today, I share with you some popular herbs and how they might benefit you when you make your next cup of tea or herbal tincture.

With herbs, sometimes the effect is immediate and sometimes it takes a few weeks to feel the benefits. Therefore, if you’re working on your hormones for example, and you’re a woman, you might notice improvements over the following 2 to 3 menstrual cycles if you’re using herbs (teas, tinctures, capsules, etc) on a pretty regular basis. If you’re looking for some relaxation because you’re stressed out or have a headache, then a single cup of (strong) herbal tea or a few squirts of tincture throughout the day can do the trick.

I’m having a blast making my own herbal tinctures and part of the fun comes from mixing up various herbs based on my own health goals. In order to do that I read books, articles, and blogs to determine which organic herbs to buy when making my herbal tinctures (and drinking as teas or taking in the form of syrups). I consider myself a bit of an herb collector now, and I even bought a special herb bookshelf to store my herbs (pictured below). These herbs are used in various ways, especially in my home pharmacy and travel pharmacy first aid (I’ll share that with you in the future).

It took a lot of time to compile my list, which by the way is always changing as I learn more. I decided to share my labor of love. I have not tried every herb listed, and there are many great herbs that are not on here simply because I selected ones that made sense for my family. Some I put on the list because I want to research them more before trying.

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Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Tincture Making Basics – Important, Simple n Good For You – PART 1

by Kristen Suzanne in first aid, herbs, tinctures
My first tinctures with organic herbs. #FirstAid

My first tinctures with organic herbs. #FirstAid

I’ve entered the tincture making world and for good reason. Tinctures offer health, vitality, immune protection, enhanced energy, better dreams, sublime relaxation, fertility benefits, brain and memory boosting, and more.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of herbal teas and supplements but I never thought to make my own tinctures. Why? Honestly, because I felt intimidated. I would hear stories of people making them like it’s easy-peasy, but it was always a bit too mysterious to me. I thought you needed to study herbs and be very well versed in order to make them. So, I pretty much wrote them off. I didn’t make them. I didn’t even buy them pre-made.

Big mistake. Tinctures are amazing little gems for maintaining a healthy robust body (both chronic and acute situations), and they’re easy to make. Think of tinctures as basically herbal tea on steroids. You get a strong dose of the healing powers of plants in a tiny (convenient) amount (some say that two droppersful of tincture equals an 8 ounce cup of herbal tea). Tinctures are highly assimilable especially if you can stand to put them, straight, under your tongue for a few moments. Tinctures made using alcohol preserve active plant constituents. Another big selling point is that alcohol based tinctures last for years (pretty much indefinitely so long as they’re stored in a cool dark place. No refrigeration is necessary for alcohol based tinctures). Bonus #1: They’re convenient for travel. Bonus #2: Homemade tinctures make great gifts.

What prompted me to make the leap into tinctures? I decided it was imperative to create a home pharmacy for my family and tinctures kept coming up as an effective asset for that. They offer potency, effectiveness, and convenience. Over the past 4 months I’ve been building my home pharmacy (as well as my travel pharmacy first aid kit) and I’ll share all the juicy deets about those in future posts because you’ll want to know what I’m including, and maybe more importantly what I’m not including. For the sake of this blog post on tinctures, however, I keep tinctures in my home pharmacy.

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Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Recipe Ginger Spice Carrot Cake Gluten Free Paleo Raw

Ginger Spice Carrot Cake Gluten Free Raw Paleo

Ginger Spice Carrot Cake Gluten Free Raw Paleo

I’m a sucker for carrot cake, which is why I created this recipe some years ago from my Raw Vegan Transitions book. It was a way for me to eat delicious carrot cake on a more regular basis without any guilt (because it’s actually healthy) or too much work.

This raw dessert recipe is one of my family’s favorites because it has a wonderful dense texture, decadent frosting, and a parade of delicious flavors. I’m sharing it with you today, with a small tweak to represent my current omnivore lifestyle (like I did when I shared my Vibrant Green Chia Pudding). Please enjoy, and tweet to me a picture of it when you make it.

Vanilla Ginger Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut spread or coconut butter (not coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

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Friday, May 16th, 2014

Recipe Vibrant Green Chia Pudding (Paleo Gluten Free Raw)

Vibrant Green Chia Pudding Raw Paleo Gluten Free

Here is a refreshing chia pudding recipe for the summer that can be enjoyed as a snack, dessert, or as an easy breakfast (make it the night before to enjoy the following morning). I pulled it from my Raw Vegan Transitions book and changed it up a bit to suit my preferences these days. Mainly, I swapped out the agave nectar for raw honey. (To keep it vegan, simply use agave nectar or maple syrup in place of the honey.)

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Saturday, May 10th, 2014

New York Trip – Bareburger – “Real Food” Friendly

by Kristen Suzanne in grass fed beef, grass fed bison, travel

 

Bareburger (NYC) for "Real Food" friendly burgers. Grass-fed. Organic. Sliders shown here.

Bareburger (NYC) for “Real Food” friendly burgers. Grass-fed. Organic. Sliders shown here.

The last (and best) place I want to share with you about our recent trip to New York is for Bareburger, a “micro-chain of organic burger restaurants” (and like Don Antonio’s Pizza), we chose the location of our AirBnB rental to be between Don Antonio’s and Bare Burger. They’re that good. When we’re in New York we eat at Bareburger every couple of days, sometimes multiple days in a row. Thank you to Lauren for sharing this with us!

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