Red Lentil Soup Recipe

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Red Lentil Soup Recipe

6 Cups – Veg or Chicken Broth (Kettle & Fire brand broth is epic in this soup)

2 TBL – extra virgin olive oil

3 – Shallots

1 – Yellow Onion (I put about 3/4 of the onion in, not the whole thing)

4 – Cloves of Garlic

3 – Carrots, diced

4 – Celery Stalks, diced

1 – 15 oz. can of Organic Diced Tomatoes

11/2 Cups – Red Lentils

1 tsp – Turmeric

1/2 tsp – Cinnamon

1/2 tsp – Coriander

1 tsp – Sea Salt

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Directions:

In a large soup pot on medium heat, simmer olive oil, shallots, yellow onion, garlic and spices together until onions are soft and opaque. Add broth into pot and then add veggies and lentils. Bring pot to a boil and reduce heat and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

 

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Let’s talk about anxiety- part 3

So far, we’ve talked about overcoming anxiety and stress through decluttering and simplifying our lives and also through nutrition but now for my favorite…..mindfulness and mindset! This topic is such a passion of mind and it is SO POWERFUL. The results you will get from this step alone will be profound and I encourage you to keep a journal if you’re into that sort of thing, just to document your progress.

Mindfulness is the quality of being conscious or aware of something, but in particular, the present moment. Focusing our awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It’s not being reactive. But, really it’s just awareness. 

Buddha said “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” Jesus said “Be very careful about what you think. Your thoughts run your life.” (Proverbs 4:23). Einstein said “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” All of these quotes confirm that our mindset plays a monumental role in our life and how we perceive things. I can vouch from personal experience, that until I changed my mindset, I did not see a complete shift in my own life. My anxiety did not start to dissipate until I got my mind right. And yes, getting your mind right can actually improve brain chemistry.

So, how do you do this? Well, it takes work, I’m not going to lie. Get reading, get meditating, get journaling, surround yourself with positive people who view life the same way you want to view life, stop watching crappy television full of drama. Don’t expect things to happen overnight, but if you are diligent in your efforts, you can surely see changes within 30 days as I did. I was relentless in my pursuit of happiness, calm and finding a way to keep my anxiety at bay. Make a commitment to yourself and stick with it- this is key!

I made some pretty hefty changes and completely overhauled my life in order to come to a more peaceful and happy place. Sometimes it means letting go of people and relationships that don’t serve your highest good. Sometimes it means saying no to foods that you know aren’t supporting your body. Sometimes it means saying no to social engagements so you can stay home and do self-care. It’s not selfish to do these things, it’s sometimes just what needs to be done in order to get your mindset right. It’s a high form of self-care that you deserve. No one can make changes for us, we have to be the ones who want change.

Sometimes it’s easier to stay in our holes and be miserable because that’s what feels safe to us or it seems too overwhelming to give that up. That will not serve you in the long run. Going out of our comfort zones always brings amazing things, that I can promise you. So what are you waiting for? Join the mass amount of people who are choosing to up-level their lives and not settle for a life of mediocre-ness, shame, control and high stress! Get your mind right. Make the change.

 If you need more help with this, sign up for coaching with me.

Let’s talk about Anxiety – part 2

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In post 1, we went over anxiety and how we can take steps to help ourselves overcome this disorder naturally. De-cluttering our lives was the first step in this 3-step process. In this post, we’ll go over the second step in treating anxiety, which is nutrition and supplements. *Please speak to a qualified healthcare practitioner before using supplements.

The research on gut health (aka your digestive system or microbiome), plays a crucial part in anxiety and stress. I’ll try to explain the scientific research in the easiest way possible so stick with me! Significant progress has been made in the last 10 years in discovering the importance of gut health and its connection to brain function. The research shows that the gut microbiota influences brain chemistry and behavior. It also shows that stress influences the composition of gut microbiota and that this communication that goes back and forth affects our stress reactivity. Alterations in gut microbiota can influence anxiety and depressive-like behaviors and neuroscientists are basically really excited to see how these findings will affect mental health in the future. Not only anxiety and depression have been linked to the brain/gut connection, but so has Autism and the spectrum.

Our microbiome is easily damaged by eating processed foods, highly acidic foods, sugar, pharmaceutical drugs, antibiotics, chemicals and toxins. Gut microbiota influences Serotonin and Dopamine production, two extremely important bodily functions! More than 90% of the body’s Serotonin is in the gut and it’s the “feel good” neurotransmitter and helps us have feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Just taking probiotics regularly has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on anxiety and depression symptoms.

So, how can you start healing your gut? Take probiotics regularly (preferably not from a dairy source – it will say on the bottle). Eating fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, dairy-free yogurt and miso are also helpful. Start eating real, whole foods regularly, including a lot of vegetables and cut out the refined sugar. Whole foods just means eating food as close to its natural state as possible. Next, drink lots of water and limit alcohol since alcohol is hard for our bodies to process and it contains a lot of sugar.

Changing eating habits can be extremely challenging for people and it can take a lot of self-control. Hire a health coach if you feel you are the type of person who needs more support in this area. This person will help you incorporate healthy foods and find easy ways to prepare them. Your taste buds will take a few weeks to adjust to your new diet but I promise it will change your life and once your taste buds change, you actually won’t find yourself craving those old, unhealthy foods anymore.

Supplements that may be helpful in dealing with anxiety are: Ashwaganda, Fish Oil or plant-derived DHA for my vegan friends, B Complex, 5-HTP, L-Theanine, Maca powder. *Please do your own research and speak with a qualified healthcare practitioner, like a naturopathic doctor, before using supplements.

Drinks and Teas I like are: Kava Tea, Magnesium Calm drink, Valerian tea, Chamomile + Lavender tea.

Essential Oils that are good for anxiety: Lavender and Roman Chamomile. Please be sure you are using pure essential oils.

Stay tuned for part 3, which will address overcoming anxiety and stress through mindset and mindfulness.

Are you “too busy” ?

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Are you “too busy” ?

What does that mean anyways….too busy. Why did this become a thing? I feel like it really only becomes a thing once you have kids or if you work in corporate america. I only say that because those are the only two situations that have ever caused me to utter those words.

Then I stumbled upon simple living. Simple living is a concept that came to me during meditation when I was going through cancer. It kind of popped up out of nowhere and stood out to me. The charm of this thought stuck with me. Simple living. What was this exactly? And, how did it relate with being busy?

My spirit was telling me I needed this. I was all ears because I knew that after my treatment was over, I wanted a different life than what I had before.

My life before was a rat race. Same old stupid stuff everyday that was leaving me dry and miserable. Working full time, not much of a social life, didn’t like where I was living, didn’t like where I was working, didn’t like much at all, actually.

I always had yearning for something different. Something more simple.

So, one day I really started to think of what that might be. I immediately imagined moving to some tropical place like Costa Rica or Bali and teaching yoga and living out of a backpack. It was so NOT me, but I thought the idea sounded fun.

Then my treatment ended and I decided to travel to Europe to see some family and figure out my next move.

I ended up moving back to Southern California and got a full time job since I had to, gotta pay the bills, right? But this time, I was going to live differently. I decided to only make plans with people I really wanted to hang out with. I didn’t over-schedule my life. I only bought the furniture I really needed. I had more nights without TV, just reading or doing yoga or meditating…. and I liked it.

4 years later and I’ve still honed this skill of saying no more, not over-scheduling my life and limiting what I spend my time doing.

I feel like when we are “too busy” we are hiding from something. Why is it so awful just being? What’s so bad about just hanging out with ourselves or our families? Are we afraid of what we may find if we don’t live up to what society thinks is important?

 

Why is it so hard to do nothing?

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Why is is so hard to do nothing?

I have been challenging myself to look at my phone less. I’m not gonna lie…it’s not as easy as we think it will be since we’ve become so reliant on them. But, the funny part is, I didn’t grow up with cell phones so it’s not that weird for me to be without my phone.

I actually like it, so I’ve been challenging myself to not pick it up specifically when I’m in any waiting room. Doctor, dentist, etc. I pick up a magazine like I always used to do. When did we stop reading magazines?? I LOVE magazines and books and will be protesting forever as they go digital and book stores close all around the country. I want that physical experience of reading something where I turn the pages, not click the next screen. Ugh. Is social media the new magazine?

I feel like everywhere I go, everyone is either looking down at their phones or has their headphones in.

This is not helping us as a civilization.

We are losing touch with each other, losing eye contact and losing our social skills. The teens of the modern world never had to talk to someone or look someone in the eye because their phone was a stand-in.

This is why I don’t let my daughter play with my iphone and ipad. I really want her to learn what it’s like to interact with people. Is AI going to completely take over so that there are no more “people” in customer service jobs?

I’m not sure where we are headed but I love the challenge I have started and will continue to do it as long as magazines are still in print. What areas within technology do you struggle the most??

 

How I stay sane

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Let me start by saying it takes effort. It takes conscious intention but it isn’t “work” once you develop habits around living this way. Also, don’t shoot for perfection — it’s not real.

I learned LOTS about living the right way when I had cancer. I prayed and meditated my way through that whole year and during those meditations, I got LOTS of answers and LOTS of divine downloads as I like to call them.

These “downloads” consisted of tips that came through in such a strong way that I had no doubt about the message. They were answers about life and how I was supposed to move forward and live it. Not only live it, but live it the way I should have been living it all those years prior! But, I would have to let go, surrender and say goodbye to the old me and my old ways of thinking first. I give my tough love approach below because I love you!

Here are my most precious tips that bring value to my life:

1. Make time for self-care. Self-care is anything that takes care of YOU. Yep, just YOU. It’s not selfish, it’s a necessity. Let me repeat that, it’s a necessity. Self-care is the act of doing things that fill up your cup, bring you joy, allow you to rest or regroup. *essential for your health.

2. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. It should be a no-brainer, but apparently it’s not. Basically, stop eating crap. Do you know how many people I help with nutrition who just aren’t willing to do this? It is single-handedly one of the most effective ways to take your life to the next level! Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Do the work to find out which foods aren’t helping you and stop eating them. (an elimination diet helps). 80% of your health = proper nutrition and the other 20% = things like exercise, self-care, community, relationships, etc. Find healthier replacements for foods you consider cheat foods. Cut out dairy, it’s not made for humans. Cut out refined sugar (you won’t crave it after 3 days). Limit alcohol. Remember, I love you! *essential for your health.

3. Move your body. Find a way to move your body daily. If you don’t have time to workout (I don’t want to hear about it because if I, as a single mom who works full time can do it, so can you. And yeah….it’s hard). Do anything. Walk, take the stairs, park far away from the store. What I do specifically: I walk for 10 minutes, twice a day at work on breaks. I take the stairs every time I can. I do squats at my desk and pushups against my kitchen counter. I make time to walk 4 miles once a week on a weekend morning and maybe again during the week if I don’t have a conference call in the morning. I do a 10 minute HIIT workout 3 times a week, yoga at night occasionally and that’s it. Little bits here and there, when I have time (and sometimes I’m not successful). The rest is all nutrition, eating right and striving to drink 2 liters of water a day. And…since I’m eating like Jesus 80% of the time, I can afford to have a vegan/gluten free macaroon here and there. 🙂 *essential for your health.

4. Self-Development. I love self-help stuff. I think it’s amazing, helpful and allows you to expand beyond your self-made limitations. Also, I read that all successful people do self-development so I started doing it for that very reason. I listen to 2 hours of podcasts during my daily commute time. I watch YouTube videos and read books. It’s awesome. Spiritual growth is cool. 

5. I’m grateful and mindful. I write in my gratitude journal daily, start each prayer without asking for something but saying thank you for something instead, I meditate and I’m mindful of my actions and attitude. If I notice I’m not in my “flow” state then I make some changes. I choose only funny or uplifting things to watch because your mind takes cues from what you watch, I try to stay away from gossip (I know, it’s hard, we all do it), and I surround myself with awesome high-vibe people. When I’m in a bad mood, I change it by listening to a good song, or watching something funny or being grateful. Works like a charm. If I start to feel like I am getting stressed, I adjust my reaction (meditation teaches you how to do this by re-wiring your brain which in turn, makes you a more peaceful, less reactive person). I love you! *essential for your health.

I don’t want to look back on my life and have regrets so I try my best to live each day with enthusiasm. I do the things I want to do NOW, visit the people I want to see NOW, and focus on the things that are important to me NOW. Who knows if you’ll get the chance to do them later, you know?

Bonus Tip– don’t overschedule and overload your life with too much. Say no more often. Leave room in your schedule for time to laugh and chill. It’s imperative. 

There’s my blueprint! Hope it helps.

xoxo – Heather

The stress solution

Is there such a thing? I think there can be but it takes work. We just don’t live in the same world we did 25 years ago.

Things are a bit crazy now.

Heads buried in phones, less human interaction and less outdoor play.

What’s really sad is that our kids aren’t even getting the same life we did. They won’t know what it’s like to get bored because why would they…everything is at their fingertips. They are even taught on iPads in school!

Our schedules are jammed packed now that it takes two incomes to support a family…for the most part. Activities galore, no time for rest and little family time to just be together.

Simplifying your life includes letting go of things that don’t add value. If you are too busy being stressed about driving your family around to a zillion activities, then let go of some. Focus on things you can do at home or as a family instead…..your kids won’t be ruined. More kids are ridden with anxiety now than ever before. Too much pressure from school and too much pressure from society! I can’t stand it.

Let’s all focus on the now. Right now. It’s all that matters anyways.

Less stuff, less junk, less shopping, more loving, more cooking, more lounging.

xo

Heather

 

 

Minimalism – what’s the hype?

Minimalism

Minimalism has become the next “people going vegan.” It’s trendy, it’s hot and there’s a reason: it’s awesome! It created one of the most pivotal shifts in my life and I want to share that with you, because I know you’re curious! I get asked about it as frequently as I get asked about recipes/food. *I will try to do a YouTube video on this soon.

Minimalism is learning to live with less. But, so much more!!!

Its philosophy is based from living with less and removing things from your life that don’t add value….sometimes that even means letting go of people who don’t add value to your life. 

Ever hear of a book called “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo? She started a revolution with her book about de-cluttering and thus created a frenzy of people who wanted to become minimalists. I will point out that minimalism isn’t all or nothing, “I have to sleep on the floor and only own 5 shirts”…no, it doesn’t HAVE to mean that unless you want that….it’s de-cluttering your life in a way that works for you.

Here are some amazing benefits of minimalism:

  1. Clarity of mind
  2. Less stress/anxiety
  3. Better Health
  4. More Freedom
  5. More Time
  6. Greater Purpose
  7. Extra Money
  8. Family Closeness
  9. Easier to Clean
  10. Good for the Environment

When you begin to incorporate a more minimalist life, you start by taking inventory of what you own. Marie Kondo suggests going room by room (start with your closet), and putting things into 3 piles: one pile to trash, one pile to keep and one pile to donate. The pile you keep should only be things that bring you joy or that you really need. Learning the difference between needs and wants will get you everywhere. It starts to affect your shopping habits too, which is awesome!

Sentimental items that aren’t doing anything for you but taking up space should be donated. What?? Yep. She suggests taking a photo of the item so you can still “have” the sentimental value, which is genius because really, what’s the difference from looking at a photo of something you don’t use from looking at something you don’t use in person? The moral of the story is, you don’t use it so get rid of it.

I cannot tell you how LIBERATING and ADDICTING it is to start living this way. It completely changed my life!! I started in 2014 when I was pregnant, when I started to hear about Marie Kondo’s book and started researching on my own. My first thought was “yes, this resonates with me” followed by “how on Earth am I going to be a minimalist with a baby?” But, I figured out ways to do it.

It feels SO GOOD getting rid of “stuff” that isn’t bringing us joy or happiness. Material possessions do not bring us happiness, happiness is found within. Does this mean you can’t keep that Louis Vuitton purse? Of course it doesn’t, keep that beauty….but only if you actually use it.

I noticed a difference in my frame of mind instantly, once I started going through my apartment and downsizing. You feel the calm energy of the space open up, you feel lighter and it actually affects your mindset and brain! It spreads to other areas of your life, like your schedule, your activities and work. You don’t feel as stressed and I think it definitely has connections to feng shui principles.

This post could go on forever, I am SO passionate about minimalism. Do you think you’ll give it a try? Do you have any questions about it that I can help answer?

xo

Heather

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy substitutes for cooking

This will hopefully make your life easier! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite substitutes to use in cooking. Have you used any of them before?

  1. Rice = Cauliflower Rice. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor or you can now buy cauliflower rice in most stores and just use it in place of rice – it’s so much better for you.
  2. French Fries = Sweet Potatoes! No, sweet potato fries don’t count. Let’s stay away from fried foods and bake them instead. Peel a sweet potato, cut it up into small cubes or slices and bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes! You can add a little sea salt ad voila.
  3. Pasta = Quinoa. This ancient grain provides protein ( a lot more than pasta) and also metabolizes differently and gives you energy. You can also use shredded spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini noodles as a replacement as well. Yum!
  4. Sweets = Blueberries. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and will curb your craving for sweets. Eat them to your heart’s content and eat them alone since fruit should be consumed alone.

Let me know if you will try any of these tips!

xo,

Heather

Spring detox ideas

Hi! Happy Spring.

Why do we always want to clean in Spring? Is it the fresh beginnings and new growth happening in nature that inspires us to start new?

I find it’s the perfect time to set ourselves up for the rest of the year and let go of all of the old, heavy energy of Winter. I try to practice these habits all year but here are some of my favorite Spring detox ideas below:

  1. Clear out your clutter. I’m not sure if you know this about me but I’m a huge fan of minimalism. I got on the bandwagon in 2014 and haven’t looked back since. It has changed my life on so many levels. I’ll go deeper on this topic in another post but for now lets focus on cleaning out our closets, cupboards, garage and any other areas with junk. Throw out all of that junk and items you want to donate and let’s march forward (get it….it’s March), and let’s bask in the lightness it brings.
  2. Do a 1-week food cleanse. I believe every Spring (and any other time of year you need), we should give our bodies a break from poor eating habits, bad digestion and wasted energy. I’m a huge fan of food detoxes because really, who enjoys starving? Eating plant-based for one week is my favorite suggestion for everyone since it re-calibrates your digestion, it lightens the load on your digestive system and it cleans you out from the inside out. Make sure to take a good probiotic while you’re doing this.
  3. Go on an adventure and do something fun. We’ve just been stuck indoors for how many months during Winter? Now it’s time to get outside and do something fun! Go somewhere, do something that makes you happy and really enjoy yourself because life is short.
  4. Do something outside of your comfort zone. I am a HUGE FAN of doing this. It will change your life on a deep level, overcoming fears and pushing yourself beyond your own self-limiting boundaries. Do it without thinking, just do it. That’s how I do it, because by nature, I’d want to be scared and hide but now I just force myself to do things that scare me and not look back.

I hope these ideas inspire you to take some action and start your Spring off with a bang.

xo- Heather

Simple Stir-fry Recipe

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When I said it was simple, I meant it. I am a one-pot meal master! No measurements, no fuss, just simple and fresh ingredients and throw them all in a pot!

Here’s what I used for this meal:

-cauliflower rice

-carrots

-zucchini

-broccoli

-mushrooms

-firm tofu

-pressed garlic, sesame oil, sea salt, onion powder, maple syrup

Cut the veggies however you want, add the spices to your own tasting preference and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat!

Enjoy!

Heather