Healthy Alternative: Homemade Coconut Milk

photo: the happiness kitchen

I’ve been pouring store bought coconut milk over granola, oatmeal and adding it in place of water to smoothies for a looooong time. That’s before I knew how so much more delicious and easy it is to make my own.  Trust me,  bought coconut milk does not compare to homemade. It’s great for smoothies, but after making your own you’ll realize how watery it is in comparison because they use more water to coconut ratio. I prefer coconut over almond milk.  It’s my tropical side coming out.

When you make your own it’s almost like cracking open a fresh coconut.  Really!

Ingredients (for about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 3-4 cups water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk!)
  • Pinch salt
  • Add optional: 1 Tbsp maple syrup, ½ tsp. vanilla extract or scrape half a vanilla bean for added sweetness.  fyi: I have not added any extras so far

Instructions

  1. Add coconut, 3 cups of hot (not boiling) water, pinch of salt (I like himalayan), and any additional add-ins (optional) to a high-speed blender. Top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture seems well combined.
  2. Pour the mixture through a sieve over a large mixing bowl. Save pulp for smoothies, baked goods or add it to oatmeal. You won’t waste any and it gives added coconut taste.
  3. Transfer to a sealed container or glass bottle and refrigerate. Will keep in the refrigerator for about one week. Shake before use, as it can separate in the refrigerator (due to no preservatives!).  Some recommend squeezing the milk through a cheese cloth after using sieve but I didn’t need to do this.

FOR COFFEE LOVES (like me)

And if you want to go one step further try making your own coconut milk creamer.  I’ve been using So Good fat free Coconut Milk Creamer with French Vanilla which works really well to sweeten up coffee instead of adding sugar.  But I can’t find it easily in Vancouver and I’ve tried all the other brands which don’t compare in my opinion. I still like sweetener (that’s not gonna change) so I’m now making my own.

Homemade Coconut Milk Creamer

Homemade coconut milk creamer for coffee is also super easy to make. All you need is quality coconut milk and a healthy sweetener like honey and natural vanilla extract. Full fat coconut milk contains the healthy medium chain fats that are in coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

  1. Blend the coconut milk, sweetener of choice and vanilla extract together until the creamer is mixed well.
  2. Pour desired amount into your coffee or tea and store the remaining creamer in the refrigerator.
  3. Make sure to shake the creamer well before using. Enjoy! This creamer will be good for up to two weeks.

 Sooooo Good!

 

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Self Care: Words from the Wise

Six months, when looking ahead seems like an eternity, but when looking back, it’s a blink of an eye.  It really is.

One of my best friends gifted me with a book entitled when thing fall apart when things fell apart after losing my husband.  Unknowingly, my sister gifted me with the very same book.  They both believed the book would help guide me to some understanding or at least a place of acceptance.  It was an interestingly thoughtful read and it did help to some degree.  At the very end there was a website where you could enter your e-mail address to receive weekly mindful insights to your inbox.  Reassuring insights are always encouraging, especially when they come from an American woman who became a Tibetan Buddhist.

Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it. -Pema Chödrön

Just wanted to share one which I feel to be thought provoking and true.  Let me know if you agree.

THE UNIVERSAL DILEMMA

The source of our unease is the unfulfillable longing for a lasting certainty and security, for something solid to hold on to. Unconsciously we expect that if we could just get the right job, the right partner, the right something, our lives would run smoothly. When anything unexpected or not to our liking happens, we think something has gone wrong. I believe this is not an exaggeration of where we find ourselves. Even at the most mundane level, we get so easily triggered—someone cuts in front of us, we get seasonal allergies, our favorite restaurant is closed when we arrive for dinner. We are never encouraged to experience the ebb and flow of our moods, of our health, of the weather, of outer events—pleasant and unpleasant—in their fullness. Instead we stay caught in a fearful, narrow holding pattern of avoiding any pain and continually seeking comfort. This is the universal dilemma.

When we pause, allow a gap, and breathe deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. Suddenly we slow down, look out, and there’s the world. It can feel like briefly standing in the eye of the tornado or the still point of a turning wheel. Our mood may be agitated or cheerful. What we see and hear may be chaos or it may be the ocean, the mountains, or birds flying across a clear blue sky. Either way, momentarily our mind is still and we are not pulled in or pushed away by what we are experiencing. – Excerpted from: Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears – by Pema Chödrön

Why do people look for outside help or answers, and in doing so discover spirituality?  It’s a survival mechanism to deal with life’s challenges which hits you in the face.  I found out Pema came to explore her spirituality as an attempt to cope with the emotional trauma of her failed marriages. 

About Pema:

One of the most beloved of American Buddhist teachers, Pema Chödrön has devoted her life to inspiring people to awaken and has changed many lives in the process. She is the author of many influential books, such as When Things Fall ApartLiving Beautifully, and The Places that Scare You. Her writing, which explores Buddhist concepts and offers paths to conquering subjects such as suffering, fear, and difficult times, has inspired people worldwide.

My advice: You take sound advice from the wise until you’re wise enough to offer your own.

Any advice?

 

Self-care: take this!

I always thought of self care as more than mud masks and bubble baths.

contributed image – thecord.ca

It really is a total package encompassing mind/body/spirit + other life essentials.  So when I saw this article from another website it was only fitting to share it with you.  Because life is simple and complicated at the same time.  We need to focus on what needs to be fixed on the outside in order to feel good on the inside.  I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing – by Brianna Wiest: thoughtcatalog.com

It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.

It is often doing the ugliest thing you have to do, like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore or get a second job so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn your phone off for the day.

A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.

It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends.  It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.

The act of self-care has become yet another thing women are expected to be good at. Did you use the right filter for that ‘gram of your impeccably prepared acai bowl? Are the candles you just lit in your Snap story made from organic hand-poured soy or are they that mass-produced factory shit? And how can we stem the inevitable capitalist tide from turning something as simple as self-care into yet another thing to be bought and sold? These are all things I wrestle with as I order Dominos in sweatpants under the guise of ‘being good to myself.’ –  Amil Niazi

If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.

It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to “fix yourself” and start trying to take care of yourself… and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of problems you were trying to fix in the first place.

It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.

It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it.

Well said! Who else agrees?

Self care Sunday – Time Out

This is my first post in a week

You may have noticed or not because everyone is caught up relishing the joys of Summer.    It’s normal for me to cut back posts from mid-July until the end of August.  Time to wind down. I become more lazy, take time out for myself,  spend more time outside and quality time with others.

However at present I am devoting my full time and energy to a very difficult family situation.  Eventually I might write about it.  It’s the first time in a loooong time that I find it hard to concentrate on more than what is at hand.  It’s been emotionally draining and I must look after myself on top of it all because…

Simple pleasures: it’s strange to note that something as unexciting as changing the bed sheets give me a simple boost of pleasure.  Something as habitual as sitting down with my morning coffee to check e-mails is more relaxing than normal and a fifteen minute afternoon nap is heaven sent.  I don’t function well when there is chaos around me and my surroundings need to be relatively clean and tidy.

Which brings me back to what it means to take time out.  It’s important to not totally deplete your energy. And we don’t need Denis Waitley (best-selling author of the audio series “The Psychology of Winning” and books such as “Seeds of Greatness” and “The Winner’s Edge”) to tell us so.  Although he did say:

Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.

Food for Thought

 

 

 

 

 

Self-care Sunday Scramble

Always scrambling for new healthy breakfast ideas, my gut feeling said that this would be an excellent choice.  Made with good-for-you *kimchi and leftover vegetables topped over wilted spinach it was!

photo/recipe – d. king

Story at-a-glance
*Kimchi is a fermented blend of cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, scallions, and other spices often eaten with every meal in Korea.  Rich in vitamins A and C due to its fermentation process, it is also rich in beneficial gut-boosting lactobacilli bacteria. Kimchi has potent antioxidative and immune-stimulating activities along with anti-obesity effects and more more.  Basically it is a super healthy additive or mid afternoon snack on its own.  

As it turns out I was not so imaginative using kimchi in a scramble as I thought because there is a ton of recipes out there.

How-to:

First wilt a handful of spinach in butter.  Set aside.

In same frypan stir in chopped red pepper, broccoli, green onion + parsley.  Then add some kimchi (amount depending on how much you like – it’s a required taste but I actually love it). I also added some freshly grated carrot (optional).

In another small bowl beat with a fork two free-range eggs.  When vegetables are tender, add the eggs and mix together. Top over spinach.

Notes: for sides instead of making homefried potatoes I steamed yams then mashed with a little (grass fed) butter, sliced avocado with sesame seeds and baked beans.

woodbrine3Do you like kimchi?

 

Self-Care Smoothie with Benefits

Adding the probiotic powerhouse called KEFIR to my morning smoothie has become a replacement for regular almond milk. Finding grass fed is the ultimate. 

And of course daisies and a sprig of mint make it more appealing

Its unique name comes from the Turkish work “keif,” which means “good feeling.”For centuries, it’s been used in European and Asian folk medicine due to the wide variety of conditions it’s been known to cure.

Although I still like almond milk, Kefir comes with an impressive abundance of additional health benefits listed below.  It also tastes very good blended up with berries, protein powder and whatever else you put in.  I add green powder (of course I use Brad King’s ultimate vegan organic wild greens – it really is the best and has everything you can think of per scoop), about one Tbsp. of brown flax seeds which I grind up just before putting it in the Vitamix and lastly a Tbsp. of organic flax seed oil (per the disease fighting Budwig Protocol). Sometimes a little turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon + honey.

Cheers!

Have you tried it?

For more information:

https://draxe.com/kefir-benefits/

Self-Care: Body Electric

Sometimes the simplest things work the best

If you have cancer or know someone who is fighting cancer you should READ THIS.

I recently found out about this healthy disease fighting protocol that’s been around since before I was born. It’s called the Budwig Diet (but it’s not really a diet per se). My brother Brad King (a nutritional researcher, best selling author & keynote speaker) first told me about this. After reading up and learning more about it I decided to add it to my morning health ritual as a preventative.  After all, it comes from an excellent source and is backed by scientific research.

I’m not very good with science or chemistry however this makes sense even to me.  It made perfect sense to my husband who has a natural knack for both chemistry and science.  It’s worth trying out.  And it costs very little.

You’ll need two kitchen essentials: a coffee grinder + an immersion blender (the electric hand-held kind).  You’ll need three food items: organic cottage cheese (the best you can find with bacterial culture) or; you can substitute organic goat kefir for those who have a problem with cottage cheese, organic unrefined flax seed oil (I use Flora) and organic whole brown flaxseeds (I use 365 whole foods brand).  Whatever kind you buy make sure they do not contain added lignans).  Brown flaxseeds are cheaper than golden and better  for you because they have the husk and contain less lignans.

First off, who the hell is Dr. Budwig?

Dr. Johanna Budwig was a seven-time Nobel Prize nominee. She was a top European cancer research scientist, biochemist, blood specialist, pharmacologist, and physicist.

Dr. Budwig was born in Germany in 1908. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 95.

In Germany in 1952, she was the central government’s senior expert for fats and pharmaceutical drugs. She’s considered one of the world’s leading authorities on fats and oils. Her research has shown the tremendous effects that commercially processed fats and oils have in destroying cell membranes and lowering the voltage in the cells of our bodies, which then result in chronic and terminal disease. What we have forgotten is that we are body electric.

Our Bodies & Our Brain

Most people do not realize that the dry weight of the human brain is sixty percent fat.  Many of these fats are of the unsaturated variety and this protocol is what helps the brain function optimally.

This process requires the highly unsaturated, particularly electron-rich fatty acids found in a type of omega-3 fat called ALA (ALPHALINOLENIC ACID) of which flax seed oil is one of the highest sources of.

The Budwig diet appears to allow cancer cells to start breathing again.

This has to be one of the greatest discoveries ever made as this combination promotes healing in the body of chronic and terminal diseases. In her book, Dr. Budwig states “Various highly trained and educated individuals are dismayed and irritated by the fact that serious medical conditions can be cured by cottage cheese and flaxseed oil.”

The mixing of the oil and cottage cheese allows for the chemical reaction to take place between the sulfur protein in the cottage cheese and the oil, which makes the oil water soluble for easy absorption into your cells.

The cells of our body fire electrically. They have a nucleus in the center of the cell which is positively charged, and the cell membrane, which is the outer lining of the cell, is negatively charged. We are all aware of how fats clog up our veins and arteries and are the leading cause of heart attacks, but we never looked beyond the end of our noses to see how these very dangerous fats and oils are affecting the overall health of our minds and bodies at the cellular level.

Dr. Budwig discovered that when unsaturated fats have been chemically treated, their unsaturated qualities are destroyed and the field of electrons removed. This commercial processing of fats destroys the field of electrons that the cell membranes (60-75 trillion cells) in our bodies must have to fire properly (i.e. function properly).

The fats’ ability to associate with protein and thereby to achieve water solubility in the fluids of the living body—all this is destroyed. As Dr. Budwig put it, “the battery is dead because the electrons in these fats and oils recharge it.” When the electrons are destroyed the fats are no longer active and cannot flow into the capillaries and through the fine capillary networks. This is when circulation problems arise.

Without the proper metabolism of fats in our bodies, every vital function and every organ is affected. This includes the generation of new life and new cells. Our bodies produce over 500 million new cells daily. Dr. Budwig points out that in growing new cells, there is a polarity between the electrically positive nucleus and the electrically negative cell membrane with its high unsaturated fatty acids. During cell division, the cell, and new daughter cell must contain enough electron-rich fatty acids in the cell’s surface area to divide off completely from the old cell. When this process is interrupted the body begins to die. In essence, these commercially processed fats and oils are shutting down the electrical field of the cells allowing chronic and terminal diseases to take hold of our bodies.

A very good example would be tumors. Dr. Budwig noted that “The formation of tumors usually happens as follows. In those body areas which normally host many growth processes, such as in the skin and membranes, the glandular organs, for example, the liver and pancreas or the glands in the stomach and intestinal tract—it is here that the growth processes are brought to a stand still. Because the polarity is missing, due to the lack of electron rich highly unsaturated fat, the course of growth is disturbed—the surface-active fats are not present; the substance becomes inactive before the maturing and shedding process of the cells ever takes place, which results in the formation of tumors.”

She pointed out that this can be reversed by providing the simple foods, cottage cheese, and flax seed oil, which revises the stagnated growth processes. This naturally causes the tumor or tumors present to dissolve and the whole range of symptoms which indicate a “dead battery are cured.” Dr. Budwig did not believe in the use of growth-inhibiting treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. She was quoted as saying “I flat declare that the usual hospital treatments today, in a case of tumorous growth, most certainly leads to worsening of the disease or a speedier death, and in healthy people, quickly causes cancer.”

Dr. Budwig discovered that when she combined flaxseed oil, with its powerful healing nature of essential electron rich unsaturated fats, and cottage cheese, which is rich in sulfur protein, the chemical reaction produced makes the oil water soluble and easily absorbed into the cell membrane.

The Budwig Protocol

The mixing ratio is two tablespoons of cottage cheese to one tablespoon of oil. Mix only the amount you are consuming at one time so it is mixed fresh each and every time. One example would be to mix (4) tablespoons of cottage cheese to (2) tablespoons of flax oil, consumed twice daily or more depending on the severity of the health condition, one is attempting to address. One should probably start slowly with the oil, maybe just once a day and work their way up letting the body adjust to the protocol. The oil and the cottage cheese must be thoroughly mixed at a low speed, using an Immersion Blender, blending until a creamy texture with no standing oil is achieved.

The mixture should then be immediately consumed.

Do not add anything to the mixture until after it is mixed.

Then you mix in by hand two tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed over the top of the freshly mixed flax oil and cottage cheese mixture. This supercharges the protocol. Do not buy pre-ground flax seed as the flax seed goes rancid 15 minutes after grinding. You may grind up the fresh flax seed with a small coffee grinder.

Then place in bowl, mix fresh berries over top (raspberries, blueberries + blackberries are best), chopped walnuts and/or brazil nuts (brazil nuts contain selenium), a little cinnamon and a bit of organic raw honey if you feel you need to sweeten it slightly.

You can mix it up a bit.  I’ve tried probiotic goat milk Kefir instead of the cottage cheese and I’ve also tried mixing half cottage cheese & half Kefir so the consistency is not so thick.  Also a bit of turmeric, cinnamon…

Also here is a very good YouTube video which actually shows how to make the flax oil and cottage cheese mixture correctly. When starting the protocol you would not want to make such a large amount at first, as shown in the video.

ALSO CHECK OUT:

The BEYOND BUDWIG PROTOCOL with Dr. Axe: https://draxe.com/budwig-diet-protocol-cancer/  (scroll down and watch the short video).

Source: cancertutor.com + Brad King, MS, MFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self care Sunday: Golden Milk

If you like Chai Tea Lattes like me, you’ll love this full-of-goodness relaxing concoction.

PHOTO BY CHELSEA KYLE, FOOD STYLING BY KATHERINE SACKS

I thought I knew everything.  Apparently this is a thing.  You might have already heard about it. Golden Milk not only tastes good, it also comes with a long list of health benefits (look it up).  My friend Margeaux swears by it and so she made it for us while we were visiting her resort-style home in the Kooteneys because she said it’s the best before-bedtime drink to help promote a peaceful deep sleep. She was right.  I slept like a baby.

I’ve been using up the paste she made for us nightly and when I run out (soon) I’ll be making my own.  Here’s the recipe (which of course, you can modify to suit your taste).

This lightly spiced drink (which is similar in flavor to chai) is packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thanks to a dose of peppery turmeric. A touch of honey adds just the right amount of sweetness, while the ginger and black pepper add a little heat.

Margeaux starting to prepare the paste & the aroma is exotically enticing
The paste is thickening

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, preferably coconut milk beverage or almond milk
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 (1-inch) piece *turmeric, unpeeled, thinly sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon organic honey
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Ground cinnamon (for serving).  Margeaux went one step further and gave us whole cinnamon sticks to use for swirling – a nice added touch.
  • Cardamon (optional)

PREPARATION

Whisk coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 10 minutes and paste begins to thicken. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

To drink (per person): to one cup of non dairy beverage, add 1/4 tsp. of turmeric paste & 1 tsp. virgin coconut oil. Warm over medium heat before bedtime for best results. Do not overheat. Pour into a mug. Sprinkle with cinnamon or serve with cinnamon stick.

Do Ahead

Golden milk can be made 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container and chill. Warm before serving.

Cooks’ Note

Using fresh turmeric adds a clean, bright flavor to this drink, but dried turmeric can be substituted when fresh is not available. Keep in mind that dried turmeric will settle to the bottom of the mug, so stir well before drinking.

Makes 2 cups

*I have used fresh turmeric (which resembles fresh ginger – bought at South China Seas Trading Company, Granville Island) but I have to tell you that every time the skin around my nails turn bright yellow for a little while.  If you don’t want that you’ll have to wear latex gloves.  The powder in my opinion is your best bet.  It is still potent.

Source for Recipe: epicurious.com

 

 

 

 

Self Care Sunday: Acceptance

This is a new series surrounding health related mind/body/spirit posts of things that inspired me to share them with you.  Because accepting the way things are now can be either healthy or detrimental to your health depending on the circumstances.  Read on.  I’m starting off with an article written by Brad King; the founder and chief tribal leader)of  Metabolic Warrior, a website that gives you the tools to help  rebuild your body’s metabolic potential, improve your present health and regain your true life capability – for the best is yet to come.

@ http://www.metabolicwarrior.com/

Mediocrity – we’ve all been there at one time or another. We’ve felt the weight of societal pressures and the burden of our own lives. We’ve found it difficult to carry on, and when we eventually did, we settled. We settled for things that we knew we didn’t deserve, and took life as it came, accepting the negative and keeping it that way.

The Human Brain is a pattern recognition storage machine that is programmed to default back to a place of least resistance. In other words, your brain feels most comfortable when things are familiar to you, even if that familiarity isn’t positive. This is one of the reasons people who have addictions keep falling into their addictions over and over again. The addiction is most familiar to the brain. And so it is with acceptance.

Once you agree to accept a less than optimal life as the way it is (I call this the Disease of Acceptance), it becomes difficult to break out into something greater. It’s easy to fall into a depression and believe you aren’t destined for anything special, even when that is a flat-out lie. You are destined for great things, but you can’t just sit back and expect great things to come to you without working to achieve them. So if you’re ready to dig yourself out of this slump called mediocrity, then read on.

You’ve Got to Move it – Move it

If you’ve been feeling sluggish, like you’re not all there, then there is a great lack of energy in your life. This usually comes about because of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Without good health it’s impossible to feel great, and without feeling great, we can’t bring ourselves the happiness and abundance that we truly deserve.

 If this lackluster feeling is getting you down (and it should), you have to take the time to move your body and tease some life back into it. Start by getting your ass outside. Try walking, running, or whatever you like to do and take the time to observe the world around you. I mean really look at the scenery; the grass, the trees, the sky; feel the breeze; experience the way you are breathing in and out. Work those limbs and lungs and keep moving forward, both in your walks and in your life. You’ll be thanking yourself once those feel-good endorphins start whizzing through your body.

Eat Well, Live Better

If we aren’t giving our bodies the right amount of nutrition, then we’re bound for bad feelings all around. Sure, junk food is nice once in a while, but without proper nutrients from real, whole foods, our stomachs feel empty, our minds feel fuzzy, and our bodies move slowly.

This is no way to be, and if you want to get rid of mediocrity and move forward into a life of true happiness, you have to take care of yourself. There’s no other way around it.

So make sure that you’re getting enough food-based vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Without proper health, we are doomed to live a life of acceptance, of mediocrity. Do not let yourself fall into this trap. Love your body. It is stronger than you think and does so many things for you. It’s only right that you treat it well, because it deserves nothing less.

Believe That You Are More

Mediocrity comes about because we don’t believe we are worth more. When this happens, it can turn into a downward spiral where things seem to be going wrong left and right, and we feel powerless to stop it. Is this you? Do you believe that you’re not worth the best in life?

You have to start thinking differently. In a world where self-deprecation is treated as a joke, we need to continually remind ourselves that we are worth so much more than what we believe we are.

Moving forward without first coming to terms with that truth that we are more, will lead to nothing. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are worth more than what you had previously thought. Tell yourself this daily.

You are worth it, you are special, you are wanted, and you are more.

I’m off to the walk for CF (cystic fibrosis) this morning in beautiful Van Dusen Gardens.  But not before the pancake breakfast!  It’s a beautiful day for a beautiful cause.

Drink: Matcha

I’m going green in more ways than one.

PHOTO: Bourbon and Honey

It’s that Spring cleaning time again.  I’m going to start with my body…by drinking more Matcha. As a matter of fact I just made myself a delicious matcha latte while sitting down to write this post.

With over 4,000 years of history that’s steeped in ancient Chinese and Japanese tradition, matcha is also an untapped beauty and health resource.  That’s why for all of its many beneficial factors I love to incorporate the powder into different facets of my diet.  I like the taste but don’t get me wrong I’m hoping it will make me more beautiful on the inside and help to keep me strong and healthy too (along with a slew of other ingestibles).

Here are A FEW REASONS why it’s so good according to the experts (and me)!

GLOWING SKIN: Matcha powdered green tea has 137 more antioxidants, or EGCGs, than regularly brewed green tea. These antioxidants help protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. They can even get rid of harmful free radicals that your body’s been holding onto. Additionally, they boost your blood flow, which can help give you that oh-so-coveted rosy, natural glow in your cheeks.

HELPS KEEP YOU RELAXED AND ALERT AT THE SAME TIME: Matcha is rich in L-theanine, a rare amino acid that actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being within your brain’s functionality. While stress can induce beta waves (which lead to an excited and agitated state), L-theanine creates alpha waves (which lead to a state of relaxed alertness). And while L-theanine is common in all tea, matcha may contain up to five times more of this amino acid than your regular ol’ black and green varieties.

PHOTO: Sweet Sensations

IT HELPS YOU REMEMBER THINGS: The L-theanine in matcha also improves your memory (read: helps you remember where you put your cell phone and car keys). It can help you learn and perform better without all the usual negative side effects of caffeine. In fact, studies show that those drinking green tea filled with L-theanine were also less susceptible to “distracting information” that might hinder their tasks (i.e. less susceptible to scrolling through Instagram during the work day).

IT HELPS BOOST YOUR METABOLISM AND BURN FAT: the chemical components in matcha basically make up an internal gym for your body. Drinking matcha can help you burn more calories, while studies show it can also help you burn up to 25% more fat. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, matcha can kick your weight loss into high gear.

IT KEEPS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY: ECGCs help keep sickness-inducing microbodies and oxidative stress in check. Matcha is also great for the type of inflammation that occurs when you have allergies or a sinus infection. Swap out your coffee for matcha during cold and flu season to reap the holistic benefits of catechins and theanine.

IT MAY SLOW DOWN THE AGEING PROCESS: Okinawa, Japan, is what scientists and nutritionists call a Blue Zone, otherwise known as a geographic area of the world where people live longer. Because one of the most common beverages among Okinawans is matcha, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution ($16), attributed such long life spans to the daily consumption of the beverage and its cancer-fighting free radicals.

IT MAY HELP ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: along with keeping you focused, relaxed, improving your immune system, and increasing your blood flow, matcha helps relieve depression and anxiety. The polyphenols found in matcha can heal you from the inside out, and therefore can make you feel happier and less stressed. Polyphenols are powerful plant-based antioxidants and micronutrients found in a lot of foods that typically bring you joy (like wine and chocolate).

The reasons listed are good enough for me to keep up this habit.  At the very least it’s nice and warming. But remember you will get the most benefits out of drinking pure matcha. But you have to be careful; you don’t want to be downing matcha lattes made with added sugar, so it’s best to either make it yourself so you know what’s in it or always ask. Just because something has “matcha” in it does not guarantee it is healthy.

Matcha la Vista baby!