healthy lifestyle

3 Detoxing Tips For The New Year

With the end of the holidays and the start of the new year, we're all looking to make changes and improve our lives. 

In the past, I would make resolutions at the beginning of every year - only to end up disappointed at myself just a few months later because 1) I didn't go through with them 2) I didn't "commit enough" or 3) I generally believed that I had no will power. Perhaps you can relate.

Over time I've learned that the point of making resolutions isn't really to deprive myself or assert unnecessary pressure toward achieving something that might make me feel happy. In fact, that "goal" I'm working toward often is not what I'm truly aiming for. 

For example, I can say that I want to lose weight with the end goal of being thin. I might say that because I might believe that being thin alone will make me happy. Instead, I should really be striving for good health and focusing on those overall positive effects on my life that deep down I know to be true, which may include weight loss, but more importantly - feeling vibrant, energetic, and confident!

When we set goals to look a certain way or to have others perceive us in a positive light, we can become unattached to the outcome and/or suffer from disappointment when we realize our "goal" isn't what we truly want. Setting these kinds of goals may cause resistance and prevent us from achieving our true desires. However, when we set intentions based on how we truly want to FEEL, it's a whole different experience.

Setting intentions help me change perspective and detox my mind of thoughts, patterns, and viewpoints that don't serve me. At the beginning of every year, I now set intentions and affirmations, rather than resolutions, to remind me of how I strive to feel. Setting intentions and incorporating this into a morning routine, as I've mentioned before, help with this practice. 

Further, there are many factors that contribute to toxicity in the body: stress (emotional and physical), environment/pollution, chemicals in beauty and cleaning products, self-sabotaging and negative thoughts, plastic bottled and tap water, and inflammatory foods such as processed/packaged foods and sugar, to name a few.

I believe that our thoughts are affected by what we put into and on our bodies. If we consume toxic foods, then we are likely to be foggy-headed, lethargic, and disconnected to our highest self. Every lasting positive change that we want to make in our lives needs the support of real whole foods in addition to a perspective shift. 

Eating foods from the earth keeps us feeling clear, light, and energized. It also connects us deeper to our heart and life purpose. 

It's our responsibility to be aware of and limit the toxins we have control over, such as what we put INTO and ON our body. One simple change can make all the difference when it comes to health. It's about "going back to basics" and living from the earth as it was intended. See below for my favorite tips to detox your body and mind this year. 


3 Top Tips to Detox Your Body and Mind

1. Drink water first thing in the morning. This is one of the oldest and yet most overlooked practices for optimal health. We are mostly made up of water so it is crucial for us to drink water to stay hydrated, have a balanced pH (acidity = inflammation), and keep our organs nourished and functioning properly. 

Drink at least 3 cups of pure water on an empty stomach upon waking and you'll be supporting your digestion and detoxification process immensely. 

It's also crucial to avoid drinking water from the tap and water that comes in plastic, as they are both contaminated sources and contribute to how we ingest toxins into our body. Drink clean water that is purified by the earth; I recommend finding a clean source of spring water near you (www.findaspring.comor using an effective water purifier/filter at home. 

2. Have healthy snacks on hand. We often think that we can't eat anything when we are trying to detox, but if we're eating the right foods, there's no need to deprive ourselves. Our bodies naturally detox when nourished properly!

Here are some healthy snack ideas:

  • Fresh Fruit - THE fast food. Quick to digest and packed with vitamins and minerals to keep us beautiful and energized. 
  • Chia Pudding - Packed with fiber, omega-3, calcium, protein, and antioxidants. Recipe here
  • Mojito Power Protein Smoothie - The perfect blend of healthy fats, two of the best plant-based protein sources (spirulina and hemp seeds) and fresh greens. Recipe here
  • Vegetables with Seed or Nut Butter - Making your own seed or nut butter is better than the store-bought kind and doesn't contain refined sugars and other unnecessary additives. Find my recipe for homemade sunflower seed butter here
  • Superfood Chocolate - Cacao is one of the healthiest foods on the planet and incredibly nourishing. A truly healthy chocolate bar will kick any packaged snack out of the ballpark! Get your Superfood Chocolate bundle here

3. Spend Time in Nature. I've mentioned this before because it's so important for our health. Nature is the ultimate medicine for us since we ARE nature. The more we move away from nature, the less grounded and more scattered we feel. 

Personally, if I spend too much time in the city or even indoors, and don't make time to be outside and touch the earth, I become irritated and uneasy. 

Take time to be outside each day. Go for a walk, touch the trees, smell the flowers. Even a short, 10-minute walk will lift you up and help detox both your body and your mind.

Looking for more detox tips? Check out my previous post here.

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges + Avocado Superfood Dip

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There's something about sweet potatoes. Don't you love them? I do! Sweet potatoes are the healthy alternative to regular potatoes because they actually pack a punch of essential vitamins and minerals. They are anti-inflammatory and help balance blood sugar. The words 'yams' and 'sweet potatoes' are often interchangeable. They are actually two different vegetables, but are both great options.

Staying clear of all whites is always best (white breads, flours, sugars, etc.), but there is an exception... Japanese sweet potatoes. They are white-light yellow inside and have a purple skin. These are actually the most nutrient dense of all sweet potatoes. So enjoy your sweet potatoes/yams, especially the Japanese ones!

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (I used yam & Japanese sweet potato)

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of cayenne

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place sweet potato wedges in an oven safe dish.
  3. Combine coconut oil and spices in a small bowl and drizzle over potatoes. Mix to coat well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Turn broiler on towards the end if you want them crispy.
  5. Serve with avocado superfood dip (recipe below).
Spiced sweet potatoes

Avocado Superfood Dip

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

2 Tablespoons raw tahini

1 teaspoon spirulina (I use HealthForce brand)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup water, or to desired consistency

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy.

What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes? Share your creations and recipes below or on social media with #apurifiedlife

Captures of Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop

What a wonderful weekend. We were so happy to share smoothies and knowledge with everyone at the Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop on Saturday. There was some great Q & A and hopefully everyone is trying out their new recipes this week! We're grateful for Dave Ford's yoga practice, our amazing helper, Maddy Smith, the beautiful well-lit space (aMuse Art Gallery & Meeting Place) in the Mission, and everyone who brought their good energy. It was pretty cool to do yoga in an art gallery. Let us know if you'd like to see a similar event, we'd be happy to host if there's interest - contact Regina at reginafelice@apurifiedlife.com

xx

Captures of Valentine’s Day Chocolate Making Workshop

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There’s no such thing as getting your hands dirty when it comes to chocolate. But if there were, I guess you could say that’s how we spent our Valentine’s Day. At the Chocolate Making Workshop we made rose and fig truffles, chai spiced chocolate mousse, and dark chocolate bark. Everyone got to build their own dark chocolate bark with nuts, seeds, fruit, and superfood powders. There was a lot of love in the air (and in the chocolate) on Saturday! We’re grateful for everyone’s great energy and company.

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Brunch Club: Farewell Winter Harvest

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Change isn’t always easy, but all we can do is embrace it and CELEBRATE it. At Brunch Club we’ll be saying farewell to the winter harvest before welcoming the bright vegetables of spring. Come enjoy a three-course meal and learn about the importance of eating for the seasons. All ingredients are organic, local, vegetarian friendly, and free of gluten and refined sugars. You’ll take home new recipes and connect with some awesome people. Check out photos from January Brunch Club to see what you’re in for.

There’s also an optional yoga practice before brunch (10am). Francesca Gobeille will be starting us off with a gentle, all-levels yoga practice to ease in the day. Visit Francesca's website to learn more about her teaching practice.

Hope this menu makes you ‘MMMMMmmmmmm’ as much as us!

FIRST COURSE

Green Winter Smoothie

A balanced blend of seasonal fruits and vegetables with an added superfood bonus of spirulina, seeds, and raw honey.

Kombucha by House Kombucha

Lavender lemonade House Kombucha.

Grindstone Bakery Gluten-Free Bread with Homemade Almond Butter

Served with sides of fresh bananas and ground cinnamon.

SECOND COURSE

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout Scramble (Vegan Option Available)

Organic eggs and vegetables cooked in coconut oil and seasoned with warming spices. Topped with herbs and served with avocado.

Grapefruit pancakes with coconut whipped cream

Coconut flour pancakes with fresh grapefruit zest and cinnamon. Topped with coconut whipped cream, pure maple syrup, and sliced kumquats.

THIRD COURSE

Apple pie breakfast bars

Raw dates, apples, coconut, almonds, cinnamon and sea salt.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?! Get your tickets on Feastly. See you on 2/22 .

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January Brunch Club - Morning Rituals for the New Year

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Let’s get together to ring in 2015 with a delicious meal, great company, and good intentions! We’ll gather for a family style meal made with all organic, local, and gluten-free ingredients by Giovanna Garcia, Natural Chef at A Purified Life. We'll learn the importance of a personal 'Morning Ritual' to set the tone for our days and help us sustain our New Years resolutions. Giovanna Garcia will give us tips to get our metabolism going and recipes for quick and healthy breakfast options. Crystal Sanders, Yoga Teacher for Yogafish, will show us simple stretches and breathing exercises to get our energy flowing in the morning and throughout the workday.

Also, an optional pre-brunch yoga class at 10 AM is available to add onto your ticket, space is limited so get your ticket and come get down (ward facing dog) with us.

Note: If you purchase only a brunch ticket (no 10 AM yoga) you don’t need to wear workoutattire, we won’t be engaging in a yoga practice during the event. Simplywear something that’s comfortable for moving around in your chair, as youwould at your desk.

Date: January 17th, 2015

Location: Naked Kitchen (945 Valencia Street, San Francisco)

Optional Yoga Class: 10:00am-11:00am

Morning Ritual Brunch: 11:00am-1:00am

Eventbrite - Brunch Club: Morning Rituals for the New Year

Get tickets here

Presented by A Purified Life and Yogafish

How Stress Is Affecting Your Health + My Tips To Reduce Stress

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Stress puts a huge toll on our health and we don't even realize it. Let me explain what happens when we stress. When we are stressed, our brain signals the release of stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Cortisol is the primary "fight or flight" stress hormone that provides us with a rush of energy to help us fight or run away from a dangerous situation. The release of cortisol causes an increase in blood sugar, increase in blood pressure, and weakens the immune and digestive systems. This increase in blood sugar causes insulin to be excreted, which is the hormone that takes sugar from the blood and stores it for later use. In our modern world, our brain identifies most situations as dangerous and/or very stressful. We stress over little things such as having a full email inbox or waiting in traffic. This was not the case hundreds of years ago.

Our body does not differentiate between physical and emotional stress, so it reacts to both by producing more and more cortisol.

When cortisol is elevated for long periods of time, it can lead to chronic health issues such as weight gain (even if you're eating healthy and exercising), diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, Candida, insomnia/sleep issues, IBS, cancer, and increased risk for heart attacks.

Stress also affects our mood, attitude, productivity/focus, language, work, and relationships. It carries on to all areas of our life even if we don't intend it to or don't realize it.

Most people come to me because they want to lose weight and adopt healthier eating habits. I like to start by looking at their stress levels and address that fist if needed, because no matter how healthy we eat, we cannot lose weight if our cortisol levels are constantly high.

Under stress, our body feels like it's being attacked and it holds onto fat to protect itself. Stress = weigh gain.

Here are my top tips for reducing stress:

  • Yoga & Walking – We know that exercise can help lower stress levels. This is true, however, strenuous exercise such as running and biking actually create more stress in the body and have the same effect as mental or emotional stress do. To really melt stress off, take a yoga class or go on a long walk. This type of movement will help keep your cortisol levels low and also help you burn more fat.
  • Deep breathing & meditation – Whenever you feel stressed and overwhelmed, pause and 5-10 some deep breaths. A deep breath consists of inhalation through the nose that fills the belly completely, and then slowly the air is released through the nose as the belly contracts again. As simple as it sounds, this completely calms the body and brain and puts us in a state where we can actually think about our actions and rationalize better.
  • Aromatherapy oils - You can simply smell them, dab them on your neck, burn them, or dab them on your nose. Read labels to make sure it's okay to apply on skin. My favorite blends are from Moonrise Creek Herbal Apothecary: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonriseCreek.
  • Get more sleep – Sleep deprivation creates stress in the body. It is important to get a good night sleep to stay healthy.
  • Drink herbal tea – Tea has calming and relaxing components that could help you through times of stress. Make yourself a pot of tea while you work, or better yet, take it outside and enjoy it under the sun.
  • Call a friend or a family member– Sometimes we just need someone to talk to about what we are experiencing. Don’t hesitate to call a friend or a family member before you reach for that sugary drink or food item. Maybe all you need is support or a different perspective on a subject.
  • Journaling – This is a great way to get rid of negative thoughts and patterns that are getting in the way of your success. Write down your thoughts, but also visualize what you want for yourself and connect with 3-5 things that you are grateful for in your life. When we focus on what we are grateful for, we have no space for feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
  • Relax – Plan for relaxation. Whether it’s a day of lounging around your house, going on a family hike, or getting a massage, make sure you make this time for yourself. When we are stressed, we feel like we have no time to relax, but relaxation is what will actually. help .you feel balanced and keep cortisol levels at bay.
  • Stay well nourished (Eat your greens!) – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Food directly affects our mood, thoughts, productivity, and stress levels. It’s common that we crave sweets and fatty foods when stressed because we often relate them to comfort. These foods in particular will actually feed cortisol levels and keep you on a vicious sugar-craving roller coaster. Instead, stay well nourished throughout the day to avoid crazy mood swings and stress eating. Take a look at some of my recipes for meal and snack inspiration.
  • Have a dance party - Probably my favorite one of all so these. Really, just get up and dance when you're stressing at work or at home. My sister and I do this a few times a day and it's the best way to snap out of it. Even if it's only for one song, it's worth it.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. Try a few and see which you like best and you can implement into your daily life.

Xo

Giovanna

 

 

 

 

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

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The best things come when you least expect them. I wasn't even thinking or craving chocolate, but these sweet things snook up on me as I was standing in front of my pantry in search for something to do. These raw chocolate macaroons pack a punch of vitamins and minerals and are gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free. They're a quick little treat to boost mood and energy. Honestly addicting.

Enjoy!

chocolate macaroons 1

Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup melted coconut oil (measure after you have melted it)

3 Tablespoons coconut nectar (I use Coconut Secret)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Tightly pack mixture into a Tablespoon measuring spoon and gently drop it over a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the batch.
  2. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Let sit for a few minutes out of the freezer before serving, but don't leave out for too long or they will melt.

Makes ~20

These would be better if dehydrated with a dehydrator, but I don't own one. I encourage you to use it if you do.

Tell me, how do you relieve stress? What methods do you use to keep your focus? 

 

Dairy Alternatives + Cashew Cream Recipe

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Like most foods, dairy has it's controversies. Is it good or bad? If you Google 'dairy and health' you will find thousands of articles supporting why it's good, and thousands supporting why it's bad. We grew up believing that milk is essential for bone health. Truth is, you don't need milk to be healthy nor to get these important nutrients that you would get from milk - calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. There are various reasons why one might omit dairy from their diet: being vegan, lactose-intolerant, paleo, casein sensitivity. Everyone has their own opinion on dairy, but my advice is: If you're going to have it, make sure it's good quality. Dairy isn't how it used to be anymore. It now comes packed with hormones and antibiotics. Reading the label is crucial when selecting dairy products. Learn what's in it and where it's coming from. Whatever it contains will be ingested into your body.

I personally don't include dairy in my diet because I am lactose intolerant. I may have it every now and then (about once a month), and when I do, I choose organic and local goat or sheep as they are easier to digest.

Aside from being a discomfort for those with lactose intolerance, dairy is acidic and can cause inflammation for anyone. This is why I suggest to consume in moderation, about 1-2 times per week, and get calcium from other nourishing and anti-inflammatory foods.

Non-dairy foods rich in calcium:

  • Sesame seeds (more than milk)
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Sardines
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Beet greens
  • Turnip greens

Here are some healthy alternatives to dairy products:

  • Milk: coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, oat milk, flax milk - homemade milk is best to avoid preservatives and additives. Recipe for almond milk here.
  • Yogurt: coconut yogurt, chia pudding
  • Butter: coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter - free of dairy)
  • Ice cream: coconut ice cream, rice milk ice cream, blended frozen banana, thick smoothie. Try my vegan chocolate-coconut ice cream, it's delicious.
  • Cheese: cashew cream/cheese, nutritional yeast (sprinkle it on food for a cheesy taste)

One of my favorite dairy alternatives is cashew cream. It's simple to make and so delicious. Cashew cream can be used as a dip, spread, dressing, pasta sauce, pizza sauce/cheese, burger topping, and anything else you can think of.

Cashew cream

Ingredients

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours

1 clove garlic

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup water or vegetable broth (or less for thicker 'cheese')*

juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Optional flavorings: fresh rosemary, red chili flakes, fresh thyme leaves, dried herbs, nutritional yeast

Procedure

  1. Soak cashews anywhere from 2-4 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place in blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

*The amount of water or broth you use will determine the consistency. Only use about 1/2 cup of water to get a more cheese-like consistency. Play around with liquid measurements and see what you like best.

What's your favorite dairy alternative? Please share in the comment section below.