Watermelon = Summer!

I found this amazing Watermelon, Arugula and Pickled Onion Salad recipe and can’t wait to try it. I feel badly tho – I’m not sure where I found it!! But, since I’m a Health Coach in training, I have to tell you about the health benefits 😉

Watermelon has a world of health benefits – it’s packed with nutrients, significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, and loads of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. Hello Summer!

Serves 8

For the salad and vinaigrette:

1 small to medium seedless watermelon
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups arugula
1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
For the pickled onions:

1/2 cup thinly-sliced red onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Cube the watermelon into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To prepare pickled onions, thinly slice the onion, using mandoline for even cuts if you have one available. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining pickling ingredients and bring to rapid boil, then remove from the heat. Place the sliced onions in heat-proof jar and pour the liquid over to evenly coat. The onions should soften within 15 minutes, depending on thickness. In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until incorporated. In a mixing bowl, lightly dress and the arugula to taste and toss, then place it in a serving dish. Top it with the cubed watermelon, crumbled cheese, and pickled onions. Finish with any remaining vinaigrette, if desired.

Illness scares the crap out of me!

Just yesterday someone asked me why I was so into this health and wellness thing. She made the comment that all of my FB and IG posts are of healthy recipes, articles about living a healthy lifestyle and eating ‘green veggies’ (her words). At first I thought, she was exaggerating and then thought, well…that’s an odd question to ask someone who’s studying for her Health & Wellness Coach Certification. But then I stopped and really gave it some deep thought. So I thought back, years ago, to 1999 and a comment one of my business associates made.  Yep, I still remember it.

I was working at my desk and had my usual snack; a bowl of nuts, berries and dried fruit, when a co-worker popped his head into my office and said, “you do realize you eat like a bird, right?” and we both laughed. Yes Joe Lilly, if you’re reading this, that co-worker was you.

Then I thought back even further, to 1993-94 (isn’t it odd how you remember the things that really hit you hard) where I was working in an office. Every day between 2 – 3pm, most of the office employees would congregate in the little kitchenette and stand by the vending machine to catch up with one another about family, what they watched on tv the night before, etc. A co-worker made a comment (that I felt was hurtful) on how unsocial she thought I was because she never saw me at the vending machine chatting and sharing stories. Isn’t it odd? I never even thought to go near the vending machine because I knew there was nothing in it I wanted to eat! It had nothing to do with me not wanting to be social and everything to do with my eating habits and lifestyle.

So yesterday, when this woman asked why I was so into this health and wellness thing, it made me think about my WHY. And the truth is really, really simple…illness and disease scares the crap out of me.

I’ve watched a woman die of emphysema in her own living room, lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to oxygen because she couldn’t breathe on her own. I was shocked beyond belief when, on her last day on this great earth, she asked for a cigarette. At the time I thought, gosh, I wonder if this was truly her destiny or if this could have been avoided.  I’ve watched a man die from diabetes because of his diet. He asked his family to make sure they had donuts served at his wake because they were his favorite food. Again, did his life really have to end like this? I’ve watched a woman get skin cancer and have half her nose removed and then fall into a deep depression because of her appearance. My heart ached for what she was going through. I’ve had stomach issues all throughout my childhood and well into my 20’s until I finally realized it was my diet and lifestyle that was causing all the pain. I went through cervical cancer in my early 30’s and thank goodness we had already been blessed with 3 beautiful boys. Was it all the stress in my life that brought it on? I guess one never knows what ones destiny truly is but if mine is supposed to be cut short and I can avoid that, I’m going to do it!

Long story short – My why? Why am I so into this health and wellness thing? I love life. Seriously – I love life. I’m one of ‘those people’ that greets every morning as a brand new day. I wake and tell myself ‘something wonderful is going to happen today’ and at the end of the day, figure out which one wonderful thing I can be thankful for.  To my 3 boys who are reading this post right now, who are rolling their eyes, laughing and saying, “that’s my Mom, rainbows and butterflies”, I want to say – I want to be around for a very long time and enjoy everything that life has to offer. I don’t want to spend my days and all my money in a Dr’s office, or popping pills or in a hospital bed. I want to treat my body with dignity and respect. But, don’t get me wrong, I have an occasional ice cream and regret it later. Or that piece of chocolate cake – I’m not into absolutes at all, I do want to LIVE. But I believe that our health is our greatest asset and without it? Well…I think you know the end result to that.

Has anyone every described you as mediocre?

I’m always interested in what the top 10% of highly successful people do on a daily basis. Interested…who am I kidding? I get obsessed with it and find it fascinating. What keeps coming up when I’m researching is – they are highly disciplined in bettering themselves daily. And when I say daily, I mean every, single day, day after day after day.

Amazingly talented and highly successful people are born just like you and me but they develop a different relationship to practice. These people spend 90% of their day practicing/training, honing their skills to be the very best they can possibly be. The reoccurring theme continues to be, practice, practice, and practice more.

Our lives are all about practice and performance – and think about it, this is your job for the rest of your life! We’re all graded in life, whether in the office, on the field, raising children, in whatever it is you do day to day. So if you’re a swimmer and training for the Olympics, don’t you want the Gold? If you’re a Sales Manager, don’t you want to be #1? If you’re a student and studying for a test, don’t you want to ace it? If you’re a stay at home Mom and raising children, don’t you want to teach, mentor and coach your children to be the very best they can be? Of course you do!

Bo Eason (someone I follow) recommends this read: The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle. Daniel Coyle is the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, The Little Book of Talent, Lance Armstrong’s War, The Secret Race and Hardball: A Season in the Projects. He is at work now on a new book about the science of successful groups. I’m ordering The Little Book of Talent today. Order from Amazon

Bo says, “If you refuse this call, this commitment to practice, you have sealed your fate of mediocrity”. Yikes! I don’t know about you but I’ve never wanted to be mediocre.

My commitment to myself is to first look at my day to day and figure out what percentage I spend on practicing to be the best in my industry. If I decide that I spend 40% on training and practice, I’ll up my game to 50% and so on. Taking small but focused steps gets you to where you want to be.

Ghengis Khan, when asked “How does a soldier fight in battle?” his answer, “the same way as he trains”.

You’re Never Going To Be Ready

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is just that, uncomfortable. But…doesn’t it feel invigorating when you do it? When you climb that wall, speak in front of colleagues, nail that yoga pose, enroll in a college course, buy that new condo, take and post that selfie, get a profile done on Match.com.

The Wizard Of Oz has always been one of my favorite movies. I love watching each one of the characters step outside of their comfort zone and learn something new about themselves in the process.

When I’m about to do something that is completely outside my comfort zone my stomach turns, my palms start to get clammy and I actually get a bit lightheaded. I know I want to do this thing that terrifies me but my body is screaming, “don’t do it! I’ll keep you safe in this space of mediocrity” or “you’ve been comfortably numb on this cozy couch for so long, don’t step off the cliff now” but my gut is telling me this IS the right next step. There’s a trick I’ve learned that helps move me forward, helps me to step off the cliff. I don’t think to myself, “holy moly, I’m terrified, what am I doing?” Instead, I think, “wow, I’m excited, this IS invigorating and that is why I’m feeling this way!” and it changes my physical being completely! All of a sudden I remember how ready I am for this next step, AND how fabulous I’m going to feel AFTER I’ve done this thing that I’m now so excited to do.

I ground myself in the courage I have to push myself forward and think You’ve Always Had The Power My Dear, You Just Had To Learn It For Yourself. Thanks Glinda, you were always my favorite character.

If you’re brave enough to share some of your courageous stories, times when you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone and rocked it, I’d love to hear them! Comment below and watch how, with sharing your story, you’ll encourage others  to do the same.

Best Hangover Cure EVER!

Ok…now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the many, glorious benefits of Wheatgrass!

Did you know?

  • Wheatgrass juice is an effective healer because it contains all minerals known to man, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, l and K. It is extremely rich in protein, and contains 17 amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
  • Wheatgrass juice contains up to 70% chlorophyll, which is an important blood builder.
  • Chlorophyll contains enzymes and super- oxide dismutase, a copper-containing protein found in mature red blood cells. This enzyme decomposes superoxide radicals in the body into a more manageable form, thereby helping to slow down the aging process. Yep, the fountain of youth in a shot glass!
  • Science has proven that chlorophyll arrests growth and development of unfriendly bacteria so it aids in healing your gut. And we all know a healthy gut is the most important step to a healthy YOU!
  • Chlorophyll neutralizes toxins in the body.
  • Wheatgrass is high in oxygen like all green plants that contain chlorophyll. This is beneficial because the brain and all body tissues function at an optimal level in a highly- oxygenated environment.
  • Wheatgrass juice is a superior detoxification agent compared to carrot juice and other fruits and vegetables. But, don’t stop eating your carrots – we’ll talk about their benefits another time.
  • Because 1 ounce of juice equals 2 pounds of produce nutritionally, it naturally shuts off the appestat in the brain. The appestat is the region of the hypothalamus of the brain that is believed to control a person’s appetite for food. Easier said, it controls your appetite!
  • Here’s a fun fact: Farmers in the Midwest who have sterile cows and bulls put them on wheatgrass to restore fertility. (The high magnesium content in chlorophyll builds enzymes that restore the sex hormones.) Seriously, you never know what you’ll learn here 😉
  • Wheatgrass juice is great for constipation and keeping the bowels open because it is high in magnesium.

Wheatgrass_1

And…when you’ve had a few too many glasses of wine or whiskey (or both…I certainly won’t judge you), wheatgrass is a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier! So, the next time you’ve imbibed a few too many, try a wheatgrass shot, come back to the blog and comment, I’d love to hear all about it!

Do You Know What’s in Your Beauty Products?

This blog is all about health and wellness so it’s the perfect platform for introducing to you, my readers, what I’m passionate about.

Our health is our greatest asset and I believe we shouldn’t have to compromise health for beauty. We all want to look good but above that – we all wash our hands, take showers, wash our hair, etc. It’s just not about beauty but personal care products as well.

Did you know there hasn’t been a law passed regulating the personal care and beauty industry since 1938?!? I know…ridiculous! We live in the most powerful nation on the planet yet we are so far behind in making sure consumer products are safe. As a nation, we actually protect the manufacturer more so than the consumer – UGH!

Beautycounter was founded after learning that the personal care products industry is under-regulated, and companies aren’t required to tell consumers what is in the products they sell. Beautycounter was started to offer better, safer products and to bring truth back to beauty. We offer complete transparency, something our government and the FDA doesn’t require. And since this is a company of ‘let’s get it done’ individuals, we’re not sitting around waiting for better safety laws, we’ve created our own The Never List of ingredients we feel are harmful or potentially harmful. We’re not willing to take any chances with our health and our family’s health.

This is a company filled with passionate, like-minded women from all backgrounds, creating awareness and advocating for safer products for everyone. We are NOT like any other Direct Sales Company in the sense we’re all about education, advocacy and empowering other women.

We’re the first ones to admit we’re not the only ‘safe’ beauty company out there and thank goodness for that! But, as consumers, we shouldn’t have to search or guess whether a product is safe or not.

Never in my entire career have I encountered such an amazing group of women and I’m proud to say “I took the job.”

Please take a moment to watch the video and let me know if you’re interested in learning more about us, I’d be honored to speak with you. I’m easily reachable at wellawarebylinda@gmail.com

Take The Job

 

ZOODLES ANYONE?

Everyone loves pasta noodles. Pasta noodles have been a staple in our American and European diets for forever and do you know why? Because they’re absolutely yummy!!

But have you even tried Zoodles?? You know what I’m talking about, noodles made from zucchini. You’re seeing them in every health magazine, Instagram post and Facebook recipe. And I know what you’re thinking…seriously?? Noodles made from zucchini? They’ll never hold up under sauce and my _______ input any significant other here, will NEVER eat them! I’m here to tell you I bet they will AND, they’ll really enjoy them!

Let’s look at some facts from Dr Axe:

  1. Very Low in Calories

What draws most people to zoodles is that they’re very low in calories, especially compared to noodles made wheat flour, rice or other grains. In fact, you can eat approximately five cups or more of zoodles for the same number of calories that you’d get from just one cup of regular wheat-based noodles!

 

  1. Low in Carbs – YAY!

All types of summer squash, including green zucchini and yellow squash, are lower in calories and much lower in natural sugars and starch than grains or even some other root vegetables so they have lower scores on the glycemic index. This is ideal for people who need help normalizing their blood sugar levels, especially those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Zucchini is also a favorite among those following a low-carb diet, even very low-carb diets, such as the ketogenic diet. In fact, because it can be hard to get enough electrolytes, antioxidants and fiber when low-carb dieting, consuming non-starchy veggies (like zucchini, broccoli or leafy greens, for example) is essential in order to feel your best and prevent side effects.

 

  1. Count the Calories

I’m not a big fan of counting calories but consider this

1 Cup of Zoodles 30-40 calories.

1 Cup of Pasta Noodles 210 calories.

And seriously, who can eat just one cup?

 

  1. Vitamins and Minerals

Zoodles have vitamins A, C and B, Potassium, and Fiber.

Pasta Noodles have some protein but not much else.

 

  1. Gluten Free?

Zoodles – YES Sir!

Pasta Noodles – nope, they’re loaded with gluten.

 

One heaping cup of zucchini noodles (the amount you’d make with about one medium zucchini, served raw) has:

  • only 30–40 calories
  • 7 grams carbs (or just 5 grams net carbs, when taking into account fiber)
  • 2 grams protein
  • 2 grams fiber
  • 3 milligrams vitamin C (56 percent DV)
  • 4 milligrams vitamin B6 (21 percent DV)
  • 3 milligrams manganese (17 percent DV)
  • 3 milligrams riboflavin (16 percent DV)
  • 514 milligrams potassium (15 percent DV)
  • 57 milligrams folate (14 percent DV)
  • 4 milligrams vitamin K (11 percent DV)
  • 392 IU vitamin A (7 percent DV)

How to make Zoodles? It’s fairly simple. You can buy a Spiralizer online or at any kitchen store but I use something I already had in my kitchen. It’s a Pampered Chef Julienne Peeler for $11.50.

Pampered Chef Julienne Peeler

You can eat them raw which is my favorite way to eat them with cold toppings or if you’re going to use a warm sauce, put them into a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When they start to get hot, they release water and will cook quickly so only cook them for 2-4 minutes at the most. Cooking them any longer than that and they’ll get soggy…and nobody likes a soggy zoodle.

So, what’s your favorite Zoodle recipe?zucchini noodles

It’s Not Just for Halloween!

I love the taste of pumpkin and always get a bit sad when the ‘season’ is over.

Every Autumn when Starbucks announces that their Pumpkin Spice Lattes are in, I make a mad dash over to my local store to get one. I love Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong Tea from Teavanna, Pumpkin flavored gelato (vegan, of course), Pumpkin cookies, Pumpkin pie, and I’m not gonna lie – Pumpkin Pie flavored vodka from Pinnacle; I think they’re the only ones making it right now but I’d sure love for Ketel One to give it a go.

And since I’m a huge advocate of staying away from environmental toxins as much as possible, I don’t like buying synthetic, pumpkin scented candles.  Last year I found this simple recipe for making your own Pumpkin Essential Oil Recipe thank you Christine from Mountain Rose Herbs. I absolutely love using this as it puts me in the Holiday spirit anytime I smell it!

So, now that you know I’m a huge lover of the pumpkin, I thought I’d share a vegan soup recipe I made for dinner this week. It was bursting with flavor and I’ve had leftovers every day for lunch for the past two days – it’s really very good. Even my husband liked it!

Pumpkin Soup

  • 3 C canned pumpkin
    • rich in anti-oxidants like vitamin A, C and E. It also acts as a detoxifier, anti-inflammatory and immune booster.
  • 1 T Ghee
    • rich in vitamins A, D and E and usually can be tolerated by lactose intolerant individuals which is a huge plus.
  • 1 C coconut milk
    • highly nutritious and rich in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so it can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance.
  • 2 tsp curry powder
    • has a number of valuable health benefits, including (reports of) prevention of cancer, protection against heart disease, reduce Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, eases pain and inflammation, boosts bone health, protects the immune system from bacterial infections,  and increases the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body. It’s a powerhouse.
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
    • aids in digestion, improves the immune system, helps with insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, bronchitis, (may) shorten the common cold.
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
    • aids in digestion, releases toxins through the urinary system, reduces muscular spasms, has anti-histamine properties.
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ground nutmeg
    • has a long list of associated health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function…the list goes on.
  • 2 tsp turmeric
    • boosts digestion, very strong antioxidant, reduces inflammation, helps purify the blood, helps reduce fever (that’s what I’ve read anyway), boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • helps balance blood sugar levels, extremely warming to help aid digestion, stimulates and strengthens the cardiovascular system, improves circulation, lowers bad cholesterol, acts as a antimicrobial, anti fungal and antibacterial.
  • 1 tsp black pepper
    • improves circulation, detroys mucous in the digestive tract and sinus, relieves bloating, aids in congestion.
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • helps with upset stomach, aids in digestion, increases circulation, alleviates coughs, breathing difficulties, menstrual cramps and stops hiccups (seriously…I tried it and it works).

Blend everything together in your Vita Mix or food processor and enjoy this healthy, delicious soup for the week! If you try it, I’d love to hear your comments.