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Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Friend Shout Out: Nature's Corner Natural Market

This week's Friday Friend Shout Out goes out to Nature's Corner Natural Market in Spring Lake Heights, NJ. If you haven't been there, you need to take the drive to check it out! In our opinion, it's the best health foods store on the Jersey Shore.

Since opening it's doors in 1995, Nature's Corner has been providing it's customers with diet specific offerings including 100% organic, wheat and gluten free, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan and raw foods. They have cruelty-free, organic body care,

Owner, Ed Levy, CN prides himself on his well trained and experienced staff who are always willing to take great care in providing customers with honest and sound guidance. The store itself has an amazing energy and I can honestly say that each and every time I enter the store (which is usually ever week or so) I am greeted by smiles which is an admirable quality in customer service. What's even more amazing? Every single time I go to Nature's Corner I find exactly what I am looking for! My only complaint is that it's 20 miles away!

So Ed, how about considering opening a Nature's Corner in Red Bank? I could be your first employee and on site holistic health consultant. Think about it ;)

Keep on Keeping it Fresh, Nature's Corner. You rock!!
~ Terra

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My new favorite dessert...

is raw and loaded with goodness!!!

I am a dessert junkie and a warrior that has battled the sugar blues. I have ridden the highs and lows of the refined sugar roller coaster and I am very glad to have exited that ride. Even though I ditched the refined sugars, I still want my cake and I want to eat it too!!! How exactly are you supposed to do that in a healthy way? Three words: moderation and raw desserts.

One of the things that attracted me to raw foods were the desserts. Not only are they packed with nutrients, missing refined sugars and much more healthy but they will gave you the sweetness you crave without loading you down with refined sugar that will inevitably make you crash and feel crappy!

When Lauren, Jill and I graduated from IIN we had a little celebration dinner at one of my favorite raw digs in NYC, Quintessence - The Essence of Food... just thinking about that dinner makes me smile. We were so excited to be IIN graduates and to celebrate it with gourmet, raw, organic deliciousness. Healthy foodies on top of the world!

I previously tried many "normal" raw desserts crafted by Red Bank's own vegan raw chef Adam Sobel of Certified Orgasmic such as key lime pie and strawberry cheese cake. But I never really ventured into raw, uncharted territories. At our little soiree, I chose something new for dessert, the chia seed pudding.

Here's a little secret: when I chose the chia seed pudding, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I knew what chia seeds were, but I don't think I had never eaten them and certainly had no idea how they were going to turn thenm into a delicious tapioca-like pudding. Wow. it was indeed amazing. Sweet and nutty and creamy and completely satisfying without a roller coaster ride. I found raw "tapioca" love.

For those of you that don't know what Chia seeds are, or look like, think of this:

Yeah, it's an Obama chia pet head! (I thought I would get a little political given the recent state of the union. Perhaps, I should stick to health, no?) Doesn't it make you giggle? The nutritional chia seeds are the same seeds that the novelty Chia Pet uses! I bet Chia Pet collectors all over are unaware of the nutritional and medicinal value of chia seeds. They contain more Omega-3s than any other vegetarian source and they're high in anti-oxidants, minerals and fiber. Basically, they do a body good. You can learn more about how amazing these little seeds are here. If you want to find chia seeds in your local health foods store, they look like this:

Tuesday night after consulting Elena's Pantry, I went on a little quest to make my own chia seed pudding goodness...and let me tell you, it's better than good. It's great!! This is the recipe I followed:

1 cup (raw) cashews
3 cups water
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
pinch celtic sea salt
¼ cup chia seeds

1. Place the cashews and water in a Blendtec and blend on high speed until smooth
2. Blend in the agave, vanilla, almond extract and salt.
3. Place the chia seeds in a large mason jar (½ gallon size), pour the cashew mixture into the jar and shake well (very well!)
4. Place in the refrigerator overnight
5. Serve

Here it is:

We may be in the dead of winter in Jersey and 3 years ago, I may have reached for homemade donuts as my comfort food. But this is 2010. Health is the buzz word and my comfort food right now is chia seed pudding!

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Monday, January 25, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga for Life

This past Saturday was Yoga Day USA! I participated in a few of my favorite yoga classes in my area this weekend in honor of Yoga Day and also went to a lovely Kirtan last night at a new Yoga studio in Asbury Park. It was a great weekend! =)

Yoga Day USA's website had a really great list of 10 reasons to try yoga for life. I thought this was worth posting since we could all benefit from hearing the reasons why yoga is great for everything. If you already have a steady yoga practice, rock on! If you are wishy-washy these days with your practice, plan more time for yoga in your schedule each week. If you are not practicing yoga, consider it!

The health and fitness benefits of yoga have long been reported by practitioners and are now being confirmed by scientific research. Give yoga a try and discover what it can do for your body, your mind, and your soul.

Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga for Life!

1. Yoga for STRESS RELIEF: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.

2. Yoga for PAIN RELIEF: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions. Some practitioners report that even emotional pain can be eased through the practice of yoga.

3. Yoga for BETTER BREATHING: Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function, trigger the body’s relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to the body.

4. Yoga for FLEXIBILITY: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains. Many people can’t touch their toes during their first yoga class. Gradually they begin to use the correct muscles. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making more poses possible. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.

5. Yoga for INCREASED STRENGTH: Yoga asanas (postures) use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength literally from head to toe. And, while these postures strengthen the body, they also provide an additional benefit of helping to relieve muscular tension.

6. Yoga for WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Yoga (even less vigorous styles) can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well being and self esteem.

7. Yoga for IMPROVED CIRCULATION: Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.

8. Yoga for CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONING: Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardio-vascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.

9. Yoga for FOCUS ON THE PRESENT: Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind body health. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory.

10. Yoga for INNER PEACE: The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more spiritual and more satisfying place in their lives. Many who begin to practice for other reasons have reported this to be a key reason that yoga has become an essential part of their daily lives.

Adapted from www.yogadayusa.org

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren