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Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Friend Shout Out: The Jersey Shore Wellness Network

Today's Friday Friend Shout Out goes to Carrie Holmes founder and director of The Jersey Shore Wellness Network. The mission of the Jersey Shore Wellness Network is to create and promote a collaborative community of wellness providers and businesses committed to providing discounted products and services that facilitate and support growth in the multiple dimensions of wellness: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental.

The goal of the Jersey Shore Wellness Network is to give people access to top quality wellness products and services at an affordable price. - Who doesn't love that?? JSWN knows that wellness is more than simply buying organic or taking a yoga class. It's a lifestyle choice. JSWN was created to help and support people making the wellness transition by offering a network of providers who offer discounts on healthy products and services. Everyone wants to save money and everyone should make the transition to a healthier lifestyle.

3 Healthy Chicks think this is awesome and would like to welcome the Jersey Shore Wellness Network to our community. You're doing great things and we thank you!

To learn more about JSWN, click here.

Keep it Fresh!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We all scream for ice cream!

The warm weather and the upcoming 21-day vegan challenge that Terra and some of our readers are taking on, has me thinking about none other than ice cream! As a vegan myself, people always ask me what foods I miss most, and my answer usually involves ice cream. Who doesn’t love ice cream? Before my vegan and healthy chick days I used to live on chocolate peanut butter ice cream, so on occasion I still reminisce about that hunk of fake peanut butter that I would dig out from the middle of the carton! And there is something about spring and summer at the jersey shore that makes you want to indulge in some cold creamy yumminess.

So what’s an ice cream loving, healthy vegan girl to do? Well, to be honest I have, and do on occasion reach for the soy varieties in the super market freezers. But, with all the soy, refined sugars and other unrecognizable ingredients, these are no healthier than the real thing. But have no fear, there are dairy-free, vegan alternatives that are actually good for you and have this healthy chicks seal of approval.

Coconut Milk Ice Creams - There are now a few non-dairy ice creams that are made from coconut milk versus soy. The thing that I like about these is that many (but not all!) of these are free of refined sugars and chemicals. Look for varieties that have as natural and as few ingredients as possible. My favorite is Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss. This line is not only dairy free, but gluten free and sweetened with agave. Try the coffee, naked coconut or chocolate peanut butter! Purely Decadent makes a line of coconut milk ice creams as well that are equally as delicious, however some flavors are made with more natural ingredients than others, so be sure to read your labels!

Sorbet - While sorbet doesn’t exactly have the creamy texture of ice cream, I feel like it is a nice alternative, and the fresh frozen fruit can be really refreshing during those hot summer months. My favorite is Ciao Bella, made from simply fruit and organic cane juice. The coconut is probably the closest to an ice cream texture, but the raspberry and mango are also delicious! (Ciao Bella also makes a line of gelato made from dairy, so be sure to read your labels!!)

Raw Ice Creams - Raw ice creams are a bit more difficult to find, and will cost you a pretty penny, but on a rare occasion are definitely worth it! Raw means that it is made from completely unprocessed and uncooked ingredients. These dairy and gluten free ice creams are almost always organic and usually made from things like raw cashew cream, agave and raw coconut. Look for these at your local health food stores. If you are lucky enough to live in the big apple, vegan and raw restaurant Pure Food and Wine makes a line called One Lucky Duck. If you feel like dining there, order the hot fudge sundae (all raw).. it is the most amazing thing I have ever eaten!

Make Your Own - This is something I do often. Its cheap, its easy, its quick and its probably the healthiest option. Plus it saves me from throwing away and wasting fruit that is on its way out. Here’s what you do: keep a handful of bananas in your freezer. (Make sure to peel them first, then throw them in a zip lock bag.) I also usually keep some frozen berries, mango or pineapple in there too. Cut up one or two frozen bananas and throw them in a blender with a splash of water, coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk.. or whatever non dairy milk you prefer. Don’t add too much liquid though, cause you will end up with a smoothie and you want an ice cream consistency. You can throw in anything else you’d like to add some flavor - other frozen fruits, coconut, nut butters, etc. You can also add a little agave or other natural sweetener if you’d like. Blend till the desired consistency and voila!, homemade vegan “ice cream”. Another option is to just puree some fruit (fresh or frozen) and then pour it into ice trays or plastic cups with a popsicle stick and freeze. Instant homemade ice pops!

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”
1 Frozen banana
Splash or two of unsweetened almond milk
1Tbspn of all natural peanut butter (raw almond butter can be used too!)
1Tbspn of raw cacao powder
1 Tsp agave

Add all ingredients to a blender or food process and blend til desired consistency! Add some optional topping: ground nuts, ground flax or dried coconut!

All of these options are great for the vegan and non-vegan alike. What’s most important is that they are healthier versions of the real thing, so we can indulge this summer (and who am I kidding, all year round) without feeling guilty! Feel free to leave a comment with your favorites!

Keep it Fresh!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.

-Jan Glidewell

People like “stuff”. We tend to hold onto it year after year. We save and stock up on things that we don’t know what to do with anymore. Maybe we keep things because they hold precious memories of days gone by, or they remind us of our parents, grandparents, past loves or childhood. To part with these precious possessions seems out of the question. A wise mentor, Katie Graham once told me you have to throw out your holy socks to make room for the new. There's a lot to that metaphor.

I never knew how much I had that I didn't need until recently. Since Cheybees passed, I have been living between two apartments. The majority of my belongings are in the old home I shared with Cheybees and my housemate Tatum while the stuff I use daily is in my new home with Stephen. I really never knew how much I had that I didn't need until this experience. This realization has been a blessing. I now know what I require and what is actually excess. Excess is going to be sold at an upcoming yard sale and anything that doesn't sell is going to be donated. I am clean-sweeping the excess in my life and making room for my happy and healthy future! Clearing your space annually, otherwise known as spring cleaning is a great way to say goodbye to your past and refreshen and revitalize your life. With the birth of spring, it's time to welcome the new energy of your happy, healthy future!

For good mental and physical health, we actually have two “houses” that need to be spring-cleaned: our physical homes and our physical bodies. Just as we accumulate “stuff”-in my world it's old Yoga Journals, ticket stubs, clothes and chotchkies that I really don't need, - our bodies also accumulate old food residues and toxins that need to be cleaned out.

To spring clean your body, give it a break from rich and complicated foods by either cleansing or fasting for a short period of time. Cleansing means paring down your food to just simple fruits and vegetables, lots of water and perhaps whole grains. Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, teas and soups. Without much energy going toward digestion, more energy is available to the rest of your body and mind. Cleansing and fasting can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight and promote spiritual awareness. It can also bring improved immune function and better digestion.

While you’re cleaning out your body and home, don’t forget to spring-clean your heart. Throw away negative thought patterns and habits you’ve been harboring that no longer serve you. If your heart and mind are cluttered, there is no room for life’s gifts and surprises to enter. A clean, open heart will allow you to receive all the good that awaits you each and every day.

Keep it Fresh! ~Terra

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eating for Fertility - Part II

In Eating for Fertility Part I, I explored the connection between aphrodisiacs and fertility. Now lets really dig into fertility health. What you put in your mouth before conception is just as important as after! Preconception health awareness should start 6 months to one year before conception. And this should include both parents. That's right guys, you have responsibility in fertility health too! As many as one in six couples will experience fertility problems within the first year trying to conceive. However, the odds of conception can be increased by making a few nutritional and lifestyle changes.

There are two basic tenants of fertility health: the removal of toxins and the infusion of nutrients. Environmental toxins include additives and preservatives in our food, toxins in household cleaning products as well as the products we use to clean our bodies and guilty pleasures such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

The good news is that simple changes in your diet can boost your fertility and bring your body into top baby making shape. Diets of both men and women trying to conceive (TTC) should be high in folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin E and zinc. It's also very important both parents eat clean, organic foods free from pesticides, fungicides, additives and preservatives. Men and women eating for fertility should incorporate the following foods into their diet:

Whole Grains - whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats are good for insulin function. Refined grains (bleached white rice, flour and pasta) should be avoided as they cause insulin spikes which can affect estrogen levels.

Dark Leafy Greens - greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard and conifers such as broccoli, cauliflower and rabe are high in folate which is important for conception and fetal development.

Protein - vegetarian protein from sources like beans, peas, legumes and nuts are high in iron and preferred to animal protein. You don't need to become a vegetarian, but meat should be limited to small occasional portions.

Good Fats- omit trans fats and saturated fats from your diet, but include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These will reduce inflammation and any insulin sensitivity. They can be found in avocados, nuts, chia seeds and salmon.

Organic Produce - fresh organic fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that will promote general and fertility health. Many fruits such as citrus, oranges, strawberries (and green leafy vegetables) are high in folate.

Ok, so for the average healthy conscious person the above list seems pretty much like a no brainer, right? Yeah, that's a great first step. Taking a conscious approach to fertility simply by adjusting your diet and lifestyle will increase your chances of conception. Removing environmental toxins, and making positive, organic food choices has been shown to increase the chances of having a healthy, happy, comfortable pregnancy, a positive and safe birth with little or no intervention, a shorter postpartum recovery period and a baby who is healthy and present.

So what else? There's got to be more, right? You guessed it! Super foods! That's what else! If you're not sure what super foods are, you can catch up here. If you want the cliffs notes, super foods are nutrient dense foods that have an abundance of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. In Eating for Fertility III, I'll dig into super foods and fertility. Super foods for super baby making! Stay tuned!

Keep it Fresh!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Juice Fasting 101 (Part I)

As most of you know, I spent the last few months living in Kigali, Rwanda. I am back on U.S. soil now, just in time for some warm weather, and despite my lack of blogging, I am still alive, well and keeping it fresh with 3HC!

The warm weather often brings a desire for some spring cleaning, and from time to time, no matter how healthy we are or how well we think we are doing in our day to day wellness, lets face it, we all get to a point where we could use a little cleansing to reboot our systems. Let me preface this by saying that myself and 3HC do not recommend anyone fasting without consulting a professional first, but that being said, I, on occasion love to detox my body (and mind) by doing a short juice fast. You may have considered it as well. Maybe you are feeling sluggish, want to jump start a weight loss plan or rid your body of disease and inflammation... whatever the reason, a good juice fast can set you back on track when done correctly.

Drinking green juices daily is a great way to increase absorption of high density nutrients into your system while purifying your blood and cleaning out the digestive tract. But eliminating cooked, processed and refined foods during a juice fast gives your digestive system a break, allowing the body to heal and detoxify.

So what do you need to know before getting started? Well lets start with the basics....

You will need a juicer, or if you are lucky a really good neighborhood juice bar. If you are considering investing in a juicer there are a few things to know. There are two types of juicers: masticating and extracting/centrifugal.

Masticating juicers extract most of the juice by “chewing” the vegetables and fruits with tiny blades that act like teeth, leaving more of the fiber and nutrients in tact. The pulp is then squeezed of any remaining juice before being discarded.

Extracting, or centrifugal, juicers grate the veggies and fruits and then strains out (extracts) the juices by force. This type of juicer is more common, and usually more affordable, but tends to yield less juice when it comes to leafy greens and grasses and often a lot of juice is wasted as it is not very effective in extracting all the moisture from the pulp.

Masticating juicers (which come in single or twin gear) can be costly, but can be more versatile. My champion commercial juicer can juice wheatgrass and grind nuts into butters as well! Clearly finding the juicer that is right for you can be tricky, but rest assured that you will reap the benefits of juicing from whatever you choose.

So now you have a juicer, what you need next is something to put in it! You can juice a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, but be sure to buy organic! It will be difficult to detox when you are ingesting pesticides and chemicals. Also, the fresher the produce, the better.. the more alive and packed with nutrients and vitamins/minerals it will be, and loading up on those is the goal here!

Good things to juice when fasting:

GREENS!!- Spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion, parsley... whatever, as long as its dark and leafy green/red! Leafy green veggies are great for purifying the blood, getting rid of toxic chemicals, cleaning out the liver, kidneys and lungs, improving immunity, circulation and digestion and are full of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. They also have a light and uplifting energy, which will help in the first two days of fasting when there is a tendancy to feel sluggish.

Beets,carrots and apples - The sweetness will help counteract the bitterness of the raw greens. I like using green apples because they are less sweet but you will need a little bit of natural sugar from fruits and sweet veggies to keep energy levels up. Don’t forget to use the greens from the beets and carrots too!!

Cucumbers and celery - the water content in these vegetables often aid in pushing other denser vegetables through the juicer.

Lemon - The citrus fruit is a good dieuretic, helpful for cleaning out the digestive system.

Fresh ginger - Ginger will help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Wheatgrass - Full of essential enzymes, amino acids and alkalizing minerals that help fight free radicals, cleansing the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract. (Note: wheat grass does not contain gluten, so is safe for the gluten-free)

Cayenne pepper - Adding a pinch or two of cayenne to your juice can help get the digestive system and metabolism moving.

This should be enough information to get you started. Start practicing your juicing skills, experimenting with recipes and warming up the juicer, then stay tuned for part II of Juice Fasting 101 to learn how to safely and effectively detox and juice while fasting!

Keep it Fresh!