Happy New Year!!

Happy-New-Year

Yay! Happy New Year everyone!! I love new years. I mean who wouldn’t? It’s a time to be with friends and family, to reminisce about the good time had over the past year, to reflect upon challenges, and, most exciting, to look forward and to create new goals for the upcoming year. One of my resolutions is to make at least 75% of the food I eat myself. This means homemade granola, chips, dried fruit, sprouted nuts, nut milks, chocolate, etc. I absolutely love hearing about new years resolutions and traditions. For me its super important to begin the new year on a good note. This is where traditions come into play. Maybe your tradition is sleeping in to make sure you start off the year with enough sleep, or perhaps its the opposite. Maybe you like to get up bright and early on January 1 to get into the habit of waking up with the sun and starting each day early. I like to start off the year with a new years day hike. What better way to being the year than out in nature exercizing with your best friends and family. Below are some picture from the hike we went on yesterday. It was such a gorgeous hike, a little eerie how dry everything was (the hills are supposed to be a beautiful lush green color this time of year), but beautiful none-the-less.

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Nature is so incredible. Why did we invent mirrors when we have lakes like this to give us a perfect reflection of the sky above or of our faces looking into them.

photo 3 The lighting was so magnificent. We went in the late afternoon as the sun was on its way down. The fields just had this amazing glow to them.

photo 4Pretty sky 🙂

After getting back from our hike we hit the kitchen and made a wonderful new years day dinner. It’s also important to make sure you being the year eating well. Your actions today set you up for success tomorrow and what better way to start off the year than by filling your body with fresh nutritious foods in order to give you the energy you need to achieve all your new goals.

First Meal of the Year: Warm Raw Beet and Avocado Soup

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Isn’t the beet soup beautiful! Be careful not to get it on your clothes though because it will quickly turn your crisp white shirt into tie die. This recipe was so easy too. A perfect conclusion to a hike when you’re starving before you even start cooking. It takes about 10 minutes to make, unless you haven’t pre-soaked the cashews for the cashew creme on top. Then it will take about 20.

Beets are also an amazing way to start detoxifying and cleansing your body in the new year. Beets support the liver, help cleanse the blood, and prevent cancer. They are also really high in vitamins and minerals. Beets contain a high concentration of potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron, phosphorous, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, beta-carotein, beta-cyanine, and folic acid. The carotenoid antioxidants (A vitamins including beta-carotein, lycopene and lutein) are key in the elimination of free radicals that when left in the body can increase the risk of cancer and macular degeneration. Carotenoids also help promote healthy skin, bone strength, eye function and immune function. Beets are also good for your brain. They contain betain,  the same substance that is contained in anti-depression meds, and trytophan, which helps relax the mind and creates a sense of well being. They also help lower blood pressure. See, they are the perfect food to begin the year with and in this soup we’ve complimented them with some other highly nutritious foods including avocados, lemons, garlic, and ginger.

Avocados, similar to beets, are very high in carotenoid antioxidants, and are filled with healthy fats that assist in the absorption of the carotenoids (carotenoids are fat soluble). Since beets are also high in carotenoids, the fat in the avocados makes them the  perfect compliment.

Lemon are also a great food for detoxification. They support the liver by stimulating its natural enzymes. The citric acid aids in the elimination of calcium deposits in the arteries and helps to prevent both pancreatic and kidney stones. Lemons are also filled with vitamin C which promotes immunity and healthy skin through the elimination of free radicals. Lemons are also a great source of electrolytes (calcium, potassium,  and magnesium) which help keep the body hydrated. And finally, they are rich in flavonoids which help maintain normal blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and boost the potency of the vitamin C.

Ginger  is high in compounds called gingerols which are potent anti-inflammatories. Ginger also helps sooth digestion and strengthen immunity.

Garlic, similar to ginger, is an incredible immunity booster. It also helps to lower blood pressure and may even help to regulate the number of fat cells that our bodies produce (research on this is limited). All of these properties are due to the sulfur components of garlic which undergo a number of complicated chemical reactions within our bodies to produce these amazing health results.

Beet and Avocado Soup

Ingredients

1 peeled beet

1/2 avocado

1 lemon

1 tablespoon raw coconut aminos (You can also use tamari or soy sauce)

a dash of salt and pepper

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon ginger

pepitas for garnish

For the cashew cream

1/4 cup cashews

water

dash of cinnamon

dash of salt

Directions

Squeeze lemon juice into a blender. Chop all the remaining ingredients and throw them into a blender as well with 1 1/2 cups warm water. Blend away until the soup is nice and creamy. Serve and top with cashew creme and pepitas

For the Cashew Cream

Soak raw cashews in water overnight or in warm water for 20 minutes. Throw soaked cashews into a blender and cover them with water. Add a dash of cinnamon and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.

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Happy Tuesday: Weekly Update

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Leaf Angel!

Hello everybody, happy tuesday! Time for a weekly update. My first week back at home has been wonderful! It’s been a great combination between relaxing (and recovering from the uber stressful previous 6 months) and productive as I take steps to figure out what my next steps are. I met with a career counselor last week and had fun taking a number of personality, value, and career tests. I think I’m going to really enjoy this process of discovering my path. I also started doing some research on different types of life coaching and the steps that I would need to take if I wanted to be a coach. I also spoke with Victoria Moran who is an inspirational speaker, corporate spokesperson, certified holistic health counselor, certified life coach, vegan lifestyle coach, and founder/ director of Main Street Vegan Academy, about how she got to where she is today and about the steps  I would need to take if I wanted to pursue a similar career. Additionally, both yesterday and today I am attending an online conference hosted by Jacob Sokol called I Kinda Wanna Be A Coach. Hopefully by the end of this I’ll have a bit of a better understanding about what the job might entail and if it’s something I want to further explore.

Some of the things I’ve been loving this week:

Riding my bike everywhere!

It’s the best. I love getting out early and riding in the cool fresh air, feeling the sun on my face in the afternoon, and getting to watch the sunset every evening.

The fall leaves

The are so incredibly beautiful! I can’t get enough of them. Yesterday after my run I just laid down in them and made leaf angels (see the picture above).

Running

I finally have time to run again!!! I have missed it so much. It’s definitely a bit of an uphill climb to get back into shape (I’m always amazed at how much it hurts to run when you haven’t been running for a while) but I’m slowly getting back into it. Every day I can feel my legs have a bit more spring in them and my lungs are slightly more adjusted. I’ve decided to start a winter streak in order to motivate myself to keep running even when its a bit tough. For those who don’t know, “a streak” is a term used by runners to describe a commitment they’ve made to run at least one mile every day. As long as you follow through with your commitment you keep the streak going. One fay missed though and the streak is broken.

Researching

I finally have time to do all the research my little heart desires. I absolutely love learning and have missed academics so much these past few months. Last weekend I went to The Green Festival in San Francisco where I purchased two great books on nutrition by Brenda David, RD, and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD, Becoming Vegan: the everyday guide to plant-based nutrition and Becoming Raw: the essential guide to raw vegan diets. They are both chock full of information and have given me plenty to sink my teeth into.

photo-6Oh, and go check out my latest post on my health blog, www.naturallywholesome.wordpress.com. I provide the recipe for a super yummy tea and describe all the health benefits associated with it.

 

Refocussing

Hi everyone! Sorry for my extensive absence. This past June I began an internship with a PR agency in San Francisco called Allison + Partners. Oh boy, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life, yet at the same time it was an absolutely amazing experience! It took me on a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but through the ups and the downs I have learned SO much about myself. I have a better understanding of my personal values, an idea of the type of life I want to lead, and have developed incredibly valuable communication skills, skills that can be applied in any social or professional situation.

This past Friday was the last day of my internship and I have now moved onto a new chapter of my life. While I have no idea what lies ahead I’m excited to see where life take me and what path I go down. I’m planning to spend some time meeting with a career counselor, volunteering, and learning as much as I can to figure out what the right path is for me looking forward.

I’m actually really excited that this internship came to a close right before the holidays. This will give me the time to really be with my family and to enjoy this special time without the stresses of work constantly hanging over me.

I also have to say thank you to my family. They have been an invaluable support system over the past few months and I am incredibly lucky to have them in my life. I also feel so blessed that I have a family who is willing and able to support me in these upcoming months as I try to figure out the most appropriate next steps and which road I want to begin heading down.

Also, on a totally unrelated note, I just started a new blog to specifically celebrate my passion of holistic health. In case anyone is interested you can check it out at http://naturallywholesome.wordpress.com I’m hoping to update both this blog and that one fairly regularly. This one is more a space to share my experiences and random thoughts, where as the other is a bit more thematic. And on that note, I think I’m going to take off and go for a run. My first run in months!!! Wish me luck. The schedule I had during my internship didn’t allow me any time to run during the week, unless I wanted to get up super early in the morning while it was still dark and freezing. As much as I love running, I valued my sleep and sanity a bit more so until now it has completely fallen off the to do list. We’ll see how this goes. Its kind of cold and cloudy out this afternoon which isn’t a preferred way to begin running again, but I’ll take what I can get.

Lentil Hummus

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So this week I found myself with A LOT of extra lentils in my fridge, wayyy more than I meant to have. I made a lentil salad last week and just cooked way too many so I decided to get creative with the leftovers and make something different. We had recently run out of hummus, and me being a hummus addict thought, “I wonder if I can make hummus out of lentils?” So I looked online and found this recipe from WholeLiving.com. It is so yummmyyy!! If anyone is either a huge lentil fan, hummus fan, or is just looking for something different then you should definitely try this out. It’s super easy to make. Below is the recipe from WholeLiving for your convenience. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Cholula
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 pocketless whole-wheat pitas, toasted or grilled and cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, and reduce heat. Cover with a round of parchment, and gently simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Lentils can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

  2. Place cashew butter, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and process until combined. Add lentils, and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. With motor running, add 2 teaspoons oil, and process until incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, and chill if desired. Drizzle with remaining oil, garnish with parsley, and serve with pitas.

Phewww Made It Through Week One

Wooohooo it’s Friday!!! And how am I celebrating? By staying up super late, just because I can. Well, I did spent the evening at this foodie event in SF called Off The Grid (more on that later), but now that I’m back home I weirdly don’t feel like going to bed even though I was exhausted when I walked in the door.  It’s like I feel this weird freedom knowing that I don’t have to wake up at 5am tomorrow and am taking full advantage of it by doing all those little things that I haven’t had time to do during the week. And by that I mean, catching up on all my favorite blogs, skimming through a few magazines that have collected over the week, and just wasting time on the internet.  

My first week working as an intern at Allison and Partners was definitely a roller coaster. I can’t even describe to you how much new info I shoved into my brain over the past 5 days. Each day I arrived home feeling essentially brain dead from my day of intensive training. I also found I was extremely antsy by the time I got home. Having spent 85% of my time outside during the preceding 3 weeks, being inside for almost an entire day was a huge shock to my system. Not to mention that whole sitting at a desk thing. That was new. The first day I got home and had to go for a really long run just so that I could sit down and relax without bouncing in my seat. Despite the transitional difficulties however, the whole thing has been really exciting; scary but exciting.  I really love all the client teams I’m working with and the clients themselves are really interesting. I’ve been assigned to 4 client teams: TuneIn, Inkling, Coravin and CloudOn. (I would highly recommend looking up each of these companies because they are super cool. I’m just feeling wayyy too lazy right now to go into great detail about each of them) One of the coolest things about working at a firm is that I have the opportunity to become familiar with a wide range of different companies and the products/services they sell. And when I say “familiar” that’s a bit of an understatement. I really get to learn the ins and outs of what these companies are about, the products they sell, their dreams for the future, and what they stand for. Another cool thing about my job is that I’m in charge of doing media scans. That means I get to spend a large chunk of my day skimming news articles, aka what I do in all my free time anyway! It’s a pretty sweet deal. I wish I could provide you with a move detailed description of my responsibilities, but I’m still trying to figure them all out. I think this summer will continue to be pretty intensive, but I think I’ll learn a lot! I can’t wait to see what’s ahead and what these next few months are going to turn out to be. 

Addicted to Summer

This morning I realized that I think I have an addiction to the sun and to beautiful summer weather. I actually start getting anxious if I’ve been up for a few hours and haven’t made it outside yet. Of all things to be addicted to I don’t think this is that bad, but it shows that you can get addicted to anything. I really just can’t stay away from the warm air, the wonderful smells, and the sweet sound of the birds. 

Constant Change

The funny thing about being a college kid or a recent grad is that nothing in your life is stable. For the past 4 years I’ve essentially packed up and moved every 4 months. In addition to the consisting moving back and forth between Connecticut and California (between school and home), I’ve spent each summer in a different city, and even spent one semester abroad. This consistent moving around makes it really hard to get into a stable routine. I know in many ways I’m lucky. The last thing I’ve suffered from these past few years is boredom. Constantly moving around and having to adjust to a new place, a new schedule, and a new way of living gets a bit cumbersome after a while though. As odd as it might sound, I’m really looking forward to settling down bit, to getting my own place (preferably relatively close to where I work), and to becoming familiar with the surrounding area. I want to become a regular at a coffee shop, join a running club to join, and hopefully (in a perfect world) volunteer at an organic farm or local garden. While I know these opportunities exist, I have never been in the same place for a long enough time to really get involved in them, or didn’t have access to the transportation I need to get there.

One of the reasons I was so excited to come back to California after grad is because I saw this as my opportunity to finally settle down in the place I loved most and to get into that routine I’ve been missing. Some people live off of adventure and enjoy constant change, I thought I was one of those people for a while, but I’ve discovered I really am more of a routine person. Granted, constantly being in a new place keeps things interesting, but I want to feel like I’m part of a community again, not just a visitor. I’m also really ready to be my own person; to stop relying on my parents for financial support, to have my own car and with it the ability to go where I want when I want, and to live the lifestyle of my choosing. Although I like to think of myself as a fairly independent person already and have definitely learned how to take advantage of the resources I have, in my mind these are just the final steps.

The exciting news is that I was just offered an internship with a PR agency in San Francisco called Allison and Partners. Wooohooo!!! I start Monday, which means that I’ll finally get to take those first steps toward creating a life of my own!!  Granted, it will take a while for me to save up enough to buy my own place in the city or even to rent an apartment for that matter (housing in SF is incredibly pricy), but at least I’ll be moving in the right direction. I also plan to spend as much time as possible exploring the city. I’ll be working pretty long hours, so most of the fun I have will probably take place during the weekend. Who’s complaining though? That’s the way life works and I’m super excited for everything I’ll be learning at my new job.

So for now, I say bring it on!!  Bring on another summer of exploring a new city and of unforeseen opportunities! I expect these next 3 months to be exhausting, but hopefully tons of fun. I’ll pick up yet another temporary routine, but maybe this time it will be one that can stick. Clearly it’s going to take a while for my life to be stable, so until then I’m going to keep looking forward and keep riding this wave until it sets me down, hopefully somewhere I want to be.