Sneak Preview

Our wedding is getting closer and closer and the details keep coming together. We put together and started addressing invites last night, my stepdaughter to be just got her beautiful bridesmaid’s dress,  first dance song have been shuffling between old classics and the kids’ input (“Thrift Shop”), and I’m finalizing some of the design. And Im just too excited not to share a peak…just a tiny one…

s+b

s+b

I hope you are all having the best day 🙂

8 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Ah, ze sleep troubles. So many people have them. (sad face) Peaceful and restful sleep is one of the best things you can give your body. Sleep is your body’s time to repair and renew itself, so if you are looking for ways to make it happen…here are some tips:

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1. Create a peaceful, stress relieving nigh-time routine. Routines are a great way to help start signaling to your body that is time for bed. Good ways to wind down include: meditation (free podcasts and audios are available on-line and through iTunes), gentle stretching and yoga, reading a book, making yourself a cup of herbal tea, taking a bath, etc. Experiment with different ideas and create a simple routine that works for you. 

2. Explore the possibilities of Lavender. This wonderful plant has relaxing and sedative qualities that can help you get a better nights rest. Diffuse a few drops of lavender oil in water when going to bed or apply to the bottom of your feet or on your temples and neck for a calming and relaxing sensation. A few drops of lavender in the palms of your hands and cupped over the nose can quickly and easily eliminate stress and anxiety as well.

3. Avoid caffeine and other sleep inhibitors, especially in large amounts and in the afternoon/evening. For those of us who have problems sleeping, caffeine is normally a culprit. Too much coffee or black tea stimulates the system and should be used very little if at all if you have trouble sleeping. Other foods that have the capability of hindering a restful night are chocolate & soda (also caffeinated), sugar, excessive alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. Try switching to herbal tea (i.e. mint, rooibos) and sticking to a whole foods diet.

4. Tryptophan helps! Tryptophan is an amino acid found in certain foods that has natural sleep inducing compounds. Turkey, milk, cottage cheese, chicken, eggs, and nuts (especially almonds) have substantial amounts of tryptophan.

5. Try Valerian Root. If you are looking to go down the supplement path to help with your sleep, know that valerian root has been used historically for insomnia relief. Unlike drugs, valerian root actually helps improve sleep quality and latency (the time required to go to sleep) and leaves no “hangover” feeling in the morning. Suggested uses:

dried root (or as a tea): 2-3 grams

Tincture (1:5, root to water ratio) 5-7 milligrams

fluid extract (1:1) ½ – 1 teaspoon

6. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime. The night is your body’s time to rest and repair and the less food your stomach & digestive tract has to work through during these hours, the better. Let your body focus on repairing itself for the next day, rather than breaking down a heavy dinner.

7. Make your bedroom a retreat. A clean and uncluttered bedroom promotes a relaxing and calming atmosphere that will create the space for you to unwind and peacefully fall asleep.

8. Eat a nutritious, whole foods diet. Your body is designed to function on nutritious whole foods, and the better and more active you are during the day, the more likely you are to get a restful nights sleep.

Resources:

Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. Print.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2002. Print.

Carper, Jean. Miracle Cures. Boston: Wheeler Pub., 1998. Print.

(Green) Vanilla Date Shake

 

I’ve forced myself to “like” a lot of healthy stuff. Kale/apple juice? YUMMMMM. (not) Spirulina Green Smoothie? Fantastico. (c’est miserable) BUT this. This is not a “force the greens” down kind drink. This my friends, is delicious. More vanilla milkshake than green smoothie. More (much, much more) delicious than icky. This, is what Ive been searching for. And I’ll even share it. Thank me later. (I love flowers, raw chocolates, and anything from Anthropologie by the way.

Lifechanging (Green) Vanilla Date Shake

serves 1

nom nom

nom nom

1 (or 1 ½) handful fresh, organic spinach

1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter

2 tablespoons organic whole milk yogurt

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 dates, pitted

1/3 cup milk of choice (cow, almond, soy, etc)

ice

Place all of your ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Drink your greens; they’re delicious.

 

Dessert, Revisited.

Lord knows, I love desserts. Not only do I have a sweet tooth (thanks mom AND dad), but I bake the lovelies for a profession. And believe me, I enjoy them on a regular basis. But every once in a while I take a step back and look at the sweets I’m eating and the type of sugars that can be harmful to your health.

Sugar gets a bad rap in our society, for good reason I must say, but there is undoubtably a time and a place for it. Sweets are an amazingly delicious end to a meal and every so often a perfect treat to start the day. I guess we get into a bit of a problem when we eat refined sugar 3 times a day, everyday. Refined sugar seems to be in everything, everywhere : bread, energy bars, juices, breakfast cereals, yogurt….even dried fruit? Excess sugar not only leads to the obvious: type II diabetes and weight gain, but is a host to so many other chronic culprits: comprised digestion, gum disease, osteoporosis, cancer… and the list continues. And while a treat from time to time wont hurt you, moderation seems to be tricky for most. So in between your favorite cake or weekend ice cream scoop, how about a delicious (and I dare say nutritious) dessert. I promise, its amazing.

Raw Lemon Pie

yum

yum

Crust:
½ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil, softened
2 tablespoons raw honey

Its easy. Simply place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until the dough comes together; about 2-3 minutes. Press tart dough into a pie pan and move onto the filling…

Lemon Filling:
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
2 cups cashews, soaked 6 hours, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup raw honey
3/4 cup coconut butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest

This part requires a bit more forethought (soaking the cashews ahead). But when that is finished, place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender (a food processor may work as well) and process until your lemon filling is smooth and silky. Place the filling in the tart shell and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight so the tart can set up. Easy. Delicious. Nutritious. Dessert.

Check out some other healthy desserts over at….

My New Roots: Almond Butter & Jam Sandwich Cookies

Edible Perspective: Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve

Resources:

Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. Print.