Loving This {June}

June Loving ThisJune has been the “month of fun” for this post-graduation couple and has consisted of many afternoons at the pool and meals with friends. All this sun and eating has definitely influenced my list this month, so read on for my summer favorites.

What’s working in June:

Life Factory Water Bottles: It’s been hot here and I’ve been trying my best to stay hydrated. My neurotic side only likes drinking water out of clear containers so the BPA-free glass Life Factory Bottles are perfect.

Bulletproof Coffee: I’m not a coffee drinker, but I really like the idea of adding nourishing fats to coffee by way of grass-fed butter (a.k.a. Bulletproof Coffee) so I finally had to try it for myself. While I don’t see myself becoming a regular coffee drinker for it, I thought it was tasty and definitely recommend giving it a try.

Freezing Berries: It’s been a goal of mine this summer to freeze enough berries to last me through the rest of the year. It’s been much easier than I expected and much cheaper than purchasing organic frozen berries.

The Well Nourished Body Basics Guide: I finally put all my basic dietary advice in one place and am so happy I did. You can download the guide by subscribing here.

Grain-Free Quiche: In a late-night flurry of energy I made this quiche crust (only about 5 minutes of prep + bake time) and filled in the eggs and vegetables the next morning. It made the most delicious breakfast over the next few days – definitely a recipe I will revisit about once per month.

Burn Out Sunscreen: After reading through EWG’s sunscreen guide, I’ve tried many new sunscreens and found most of them to be thick, chalky and unattractive. Ironically, last year’s favorite remains my favorite still: BurnOut Eco Sensitive Sunscreen. Here’s a tip: thick, pasty sunscreens apply more easily to moisturized skin, so apply coconut oil or lotion before sunscreen.

What’s been working for you?

This post has been shared on the What I’m Into blog link-up. Hop on over to check out some other posts you might enjoy!

Summer {Food} Book List

summer 2014 headerCookbooks are wonderful, but what I really love are books that talk about food and the impact that food, food sourcing and preparation can have on an individual, family, community, or humanity at large. Through another’s stories and philosophies we can step outside our personal relationship with food and begin to widen our perspective and possibly challenge some of our own beliefs. This way of seeing food in a new light can often do more to change our diets than any recipe ever could. Some of my favorite books explore ideas like making food as a daily sacrament, a gift of love, or a practice of hospitality to others or even to oneself.

In honor of the official start of summer this week (woohoo!) I thought I would share with you my very favorite food-related books. These books don’t prescribe specific diets or wellness strategies, rather they are the stories that have made me fall in love with real food and are perfect to pack in your beach bag on a lazy summer afternoon.

Since this is my first time sharing a reading list with you, these are some old, but classic titles. Perhaps next summer my list will be more current.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (2007)

In her first nonfiction book, Barbara Kingsolver shares her family’s adventure in eating locally for one year. They leave the city in pursuit of farm life and learn a lot about vegetables, turkey sex, and family life.

Supper of the Lamb by Robert F. Capon (1989)

An amateur chef and Episcopal priest, Robert Capon has written a cookbook for life. Capon’s essays are built around recipes for lamb (he uses one leg of lamb to feed eight people over four meals), and are filled with witty and wise thoughts on everything from prayer to puff pastry; all leading to the conclusion that “the world will always be more delicious than it is useful.”

Alice Waters and Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee (2007)

This biography examines the early days of the famed Berkely restaurant, Chez Panisse and its visionary founder, Alice Waters. Like most restaurants, the history of Chez Panisse is wrought with drama, but Alice Waters’ steadfast commitment to simple, seasonal, fresh cuisine has not only helped Chez Panisse become the acclaimed restaurant it is today, but Waters’ philosophy has reached beyond the restaurant walls and started the worldwide “market culture” movement.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist (2013)

This collection of essays by Shauna Niequist connects food with the value of community by beautifully and vulnerably sharing about life around the table. She intertwines nourishment of both body and soul in her meals, whether they are extravagant or simple, celebratory or sober.

Robert F Capon

Do you have any food-related book recommendations for me? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Want more tips? Download a copy of the Well Nourished Body Basics Guide by subscribing here:

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Loving This {May}

May Loving ThisSummer. I know it’s not technically summer yet, but my husband graduated a couple of weeks ago from his graduate program so he is (we are) officially on summer break! It’s been a long couple of years trying to find balance between school, work and nourishing ourselves through food, rest and play. I’m looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of a less frenetic lifestyle.

What’s working in May:

The Nourished Kitchen Cookbook. If you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll know that most recipes coming out of my kitchen lately have been inspired by my new favorite cookbook. You can read my review here.

FitBit. I’ve had a FitBit for a while now, but it ran out of batteries and got shoved in the back of my drawer. I’ve recently pulled it out and recharged it and am once again obsessed with step-counting and stair climbing. It’s a great way to get back into actively finding ways to incorporate more movement into my regular activities. If you use fitbit, let me know in the comments below and we can be “friends”!

Evening walks. With the longer days, it’s been fun to go for an evening walk after dinner. There’s all sorts of research coming out about the value of short amounts of exercise spread throughout the day (this is different than HIIT). You can read an article about walking as a digestive aid here.

Succulents. I’m a terrible gardener. I take that back. I live in an apartment that gets NO sunlight, thus, all my plants die. I’ve recently purchased some succulents and kept them alive for more than two weeks now so clearly I’m a succulent expert and should go buy more.

Handstands. I’m no fitness expert, in fact, I struggle to keep up with a consistent fitness routine. I recently remembered a previous love for handstands and decided to do a handstand everyday. What do you know? It’s actually motivated me to work on getting stronger and more flexible so my handstands will improve. Hey, whatever works, right?

Kevita. I love all raw, fermented products (kombucha, sauerkraut, etc.), but Kevita is standing out to me this month because I’ve discovered their lemon + cayenne flavor and it makes the perfect morning tonic. I pour myself a small glass each morning while I make breakfast and one bottle lasts about five days.

What’s been working for you?

The Problem With Starting Your Diet Tomorrow

Ulysses and the Sirens

In the future we’re all wonderful people; unfortunately we live in the present.

The idea that tomorrow we will wake up at 6am, go to the gym, make a healthful breakfast, choose herbal tea over a caramel macchiato and make it to work on time is flawed. The hard truth to admit is: if we didn’t do these things today, we probably won’t do them tomorrow. This is because we don’t wake up magically as a different person tomorrow. Tomorrow we’re the same as we are today.

So what can we do about this? How can we ever change?

When faced with a temptation, i.e. those leftover donuts on the counter at three in the afternoon, we can’t rely on willpower alone. While managing blood sugar levels can play a big part in the ability to make rational food choices, when faced with a temptation our rational mind often gives way to our emotional desires. In order to combat this, today (rational) me must take action to influence tomorrow (emotional) me to do the thing I want me to do. It’s like that movie with Denzel Washington where he sends himself a note from the future to do this thing in order to prevent the other terrible thing from happening (what movie is that?). While we don’t have access to a time machine, we can still take this kind of preventive action every day in order to save us from ourselves.

Philosophers call these types of strategies Ulysses contracts after the myth of Ulysses ordering his sailors to disregard his commands as they sailed past the sirens. While Ulysses wanted to hear the song of the sirens, he knew that doing so would render him incapable of rational thought. He had his sailors fill their own ears with wax and tie him to the mast to prevent him from jumping overboard to his certain death thus ensuring he and the entire crew would make it through the temptation alive. Ulysses contracts are freely made decisions that bind us in the future.

How can you use Ulysses Contracts to reach your health goals?

Think of all the temptations and events that derail you from your well-intended health goals. These may be things like not waking up early enough in the morning, that bakery next to your office with the pastries you can’t resist, birthday cake at your kid’s friend’s birthday parties, or the convenience of the pizza parlor next door to your apartment. Once you’ve identified your triggers, work backward to develop a strategy that will allow you to bypass the trigger in the first place. It’s much easier to avoid temptation than it is to resist it through sheer willpower.

Ways to trick yourself into doing what you want:

  • Make your lunch the night before. If you’ve just finished a balanced dinner your rational mind should be in control. Take the time to pack your lunch for work the next day in the evening rather than relying on the good intention that you will wake up early and use that time to pack yourself lunch. Even if you normally eat lunch at home, take a few moments as you’re cleaning up after your dinner to consider what you’ll prepare for yourself the next day; then stick to this plan when tomorrow comes.
  • Clean out your kitchen. Get all those trigger foods out of your house. Don’t use the excuse that they’re for your kids or they’re only for baking and you won’t eat them. I know many people who have confessed to scavenging in the cupboards in the middle of the night and bingeing on bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips. If it’s there, it will get eaten.
  • Buy smaller servings of “treat” foods. It’s fine to indulge now and then, but you don’t want those sugary foods hanging around your house overstaying their welcome. When you purchase these items, buy the smallest size so you’re sure to consume the entire thing and not have any leftovers. If you have leftovers, get rid of them immediately. I know this is often more expensive per unit, but your health is far more valuable than being able to consume more sugar for less money.
  • If there’s a tempting stop along your route, plan to take a different street so you won’t be tempted. If taking a different route isn’t possible, consider carpooling with someone, or scheduling a phone call during your drive so you won’t be able to stop. Use this strategy if you work in an office that provides snacks. Stop by the kitchen when you first arrive and select your mid-morning or afternoon snack items. Use your fresh, rational mind to choose a healthy snack rather than your low blood sugar, emotional mind when you’re hungry in the afternoon. Avoid the snack room for the rest of the day.
  • Put your money where your mouth is. If you have a specific goal, say to stop drinking soda, give a sum of money to a friend that you only get back if you’ve abstained from drinking soda for one month, three months, or even one year. If you don’t succeed, tell your friend to keep the money or donate it to a charity that you hate.
  • Pay in advance. If you’re working with a trainer or nutrition coach, purchase a block of appointments in advance and schedule all your appointments up front. This way you’ll be more invested and less likely to quit.
  • Delay gratification. If there’s a certain item you’re thinking of purchasing, hold off on purchasing the item until you reach a health benchmark or goal. Use this item as a reward and don’t buy it if you aren’t successful.
  • Have someone hold you accountable. Accountability is a huge part of my work as a nutrition consultant. Every week clients tell me that they were able to make rational food choices simply because they knew they had an appointment scheduled with me and they wanted to be able to give a good report. While I never judge my clients for making poor decisions and find failures to be helpful in developing better strategies, having someone look over your food choices can definitely help keep the rational mind in control.

 eleanor roosevelt quote

Image: “Ulysses and the Sirens” by Herbert James Draper, 1864-1920



Nourished Kitchen Cookbook Review & Strawberries with Minted Honey

Nourished Kitchen Cookbook by Jennifer McGrutherThis is the cookbook I’ve been waiting for. If you’ve read Nourishing Traditions and delight in the traditional food wisdom of Dr. Weston Price, you’ve been waiting for this cookbook too.

I’ve followed Jennifer McGruther’s blog for some time now where she shares recipes from her own kitchen and teaches traditional food preparation techniques (think bones, organ meats and lots of animal fats). McGruther takes the principles established in Nourishing Traditions and translates them for the modern cook all the while documenting the food with lots of pretty pictures.

McGruther’s new cookbook, Nourished Kitchen, marries the traditional foodist with the foodie providing seasonal, farm-to-table recipes that will surely delight any guest at your table. These aren’t the anemic, diet-y recipes popular in many “healthy” cookbooks today; McGruther’s recipes will leave you feeling satisfied and you’ll enjoy each nutrient-dense bite.

All that said, I’m going to share with you one of the simplest recipes from Nourished Kitchen and it actually doesn’t contain any bones, organ meats, or animal fats (though it pairs very well with heavy cream). This is a lovely way to share the sweetness of your spring strawberries with someone you love.

Strawberries with Minted Honey Syrup Recipe

Strawberries in Minted Honey Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup raw, local honey
  • 1 pint organic strawberries
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint

Method:

  1. First you’ll make a simple syrup out of water and honey. This method can be used to make simple syrup for other recipes, like cocktails, and is quite delicious. Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the honey and whisk it into the water until it dissolves fully. Continue simmering over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
  2. Hull the strawberries, cut them in half, and set them in a container with a lid (a Mason jar works well). Pluck the leaves off the stems of mint, tear them with your hands, and drop them into the container with the strawberries. Pour the cooled honey syrup over the strawberries and mint, then cover and transfer to the fridge. Allow the berries to marinate for a day.
  3. Serve the strawberries with their syrup, either plain or with yogurt or cream (serves 2).

strawberries and syrup

Strawberries with Minted Honey Syrup

3 Simple Vinaigrette Recipes

3 Simple Vinaigrette Recipes

Whipping up a homemade vinaigrette may sound intimidating, but it can really be quite simple once you get the hang of it. I’ll often whisk up just enough vinaigrette in the bottom of my salad bowl, put the lettuce on top and then swish it all around so I don’t have to dirty extra dishes. Or sometimes I’ll make lots of vinaigrette in a Mason jar and store the extra in my fridge so I don’t have to make it again during the week. Either way, it only takes a couple of minutes.

The basic rule for making vinaigrette is 1 part vinegar to 3-4 parts olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a respectful little dressing. You can of course spice things up by adding mustard, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, fresh herbs, honey or other seasonings, but that’s only if you have the time.

I’m sharing with you my three simplest vinaigrettes, none of which require chopping or muddling. You likely have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen already, so get out your salad bowl and fork (or Mason jar and whisk if you’re fancy) and get started.

Spring green salad with sherry vinaigrette

Light & Tangy: (pairs well with baby greens, romaine and mache)

  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sea saltand freshly ground black pepper

Full of Flavor: (pairs well with lentils, winter greens and radicchio)

  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bold: (pairs well with spinach, arugula and frisee)

  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Pour vinegar into a small bowl and add a pinch of salt. Whisk the salt and vinegar together and taste for balance. Add pepper, Dijon, spices and more salt, if needed. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Serves 4.

Click here to download the printable recipes

3 simple vinaigrette recipes printable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post has been shared at the following blog link-ups: Catch a Glimpse Party, Full Plate Thursday, Frugal Friday, Foodie Friday, I’m Lovin’ it Party, Show and Tell Friday, Friday Favorites, Party Bunch , Show and Tell Saturday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Made by You Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, The Yuck Stops Here, Wow Me Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays and Rhinestone Beagle.  Hop on over to check out some other posts you might enjoy!

Loving This {April}

April Loving ThisA monthly show-and-tell on what’s working for me

I’ve been in Sonoma the past few days celebrating Easter with family. It’s the perfect place to be in the spring – green everywhere with signs marketing fresh, local eggs and vegetables. With its primary industry being wine production people may think of it as a fancy place, but winemakers are really just grape farmers so it’s an agricultural community at heart. The whole town dances in the rhythm of the seasons here. There’s excitement and anticipation each spring as old vines sprout new leaves and the care and feeding of plants heightens in hope that the plants will, in turn, care for and feed us. Early spring produces a tender harvest and, though often bitter, the earth serves us a celebratory feast after a long winter’s fast.

What’s Working in april:

Bitters. From bitter chicory greens to digestive bitters mixed to create an apertif, this month has been all about the anti-sweet. Bitter is probably the least liked of the five flavors, but is so important to engage and excite our digestive systems, alerting them that complex food is being ingested. It’s a tough flavor to get used to, but spring is the time as bitter greens abound at farmers markets. My first chicory experiment failed, but I found that a quick boil followed by a light sauté will render bitter greens edible. Since the bitter green season will eventually come to an end, I’ve stocked up on organic bitter tonics (like those from Urban Moonshine) to keep this trend alive.

Sunshine. It’s spring in California and from what I can see on Instagram, it looks like traces of spring are popping up where you are too. I’ve been loving the not-too-hot afternoon sun and digging out my sandals from the back of the closet. Sun exposure on bare skin is still the best way to get vitamin D, so I’ve been making it a priority to get outside in the sun for about 15 minutes each day. I’ve loved every minute of it.

Asparagus. Asparagus is such a special spring vegetable as it’s only in season for a few weeks each year. I’ve been finding the tenderest, skinniest asparagus stalks at the farmers market and eating them almost every day. They should go out of season just when I’m getting sick of them.

Omelettes. In order to have a vehicle for eating my asparagus, I’ve developed a super light and thin one-egg omelette. Stuffed with a little raw cheese, asparagus, spinach and herbs, this omelette is the best thing to happen to breakfast since breakfast tacos. Unfortunately I still haven’t mastered the egg-flip, but my sweet husband is a pro.

Shallot Gold. Cameron Diaz wrote about this in The Body Book and mentioned it on The Tonight Show. Basically, you caramelize shallots (in pastured butter for real foodies) until they’re crispy the add them to everything, or eat them straight out of the container and end up having to make more because you snacked them to death. You can find Cameron’s recipe on her Body Book blog. (While you’re there, you can read my guest article: 6 Cooking Hacks for Greater Nutritional Value!)

Epic Bars. Finally, a protein-rich snack that satisfies the Paleo, WAPF, GAPS, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free foodies out there. These “bars” are basically a traditionally prepared pemmican made from either bison, beef, turkey or lamb. I know what you’re thinking – but don’t think of them as a bar, think of them as jerky and you’ll be okay.

What are you loving this month?

In the Kitchen With: Sabina Chazanas of LaNatura Natural Skin Care

I’m thrilled to introduce you all to Sabina Chazanas as my first guest in a new blog series titled “In the Kitchen With…” where I interview individuals that are supporting well-nourished bodies through their work. Sabina is doing just that as the founder and owner of one of my favorite natural skin care brands, LaNatura

From stories of growing up in Italy, to the motto, beauty isn’t a secret – it’s a lifestyle, Sabina’s traditional and holistic view of wellness resonates with what Parisi Nutrition is all about. She’s a genuine expert in the area of skin care and has shared some fabulous tips with us on how to have naturally beautiful skin, from the inside out. Enjoy!

lanatura-owner-sabina-chazanas

Tell us a little bit about your story and what inspired you to pursue a career in cosmetics.

For me, “natural” and “organic” have always been more than just trendy buzzwords – they have been a way of life since I was a little girl. San Ferdinando di Puglia, where I grew up, is an agricultural area known for its rich land and abundance of home grown fruits, vegetables and herbs. My grandfather taught me that the fruits of the earth were not just delicious food, but also the secret to beautiful skin, hair, and overall health and well-being. On long bicycle rides through the countryside, he would teach me to pick wild herbs like chamomile and mint, and put olive oil in my hair to keep it soft. The lessons he taught me made a huge impact and I always knew that I would be in the natural cosmetic industry. In my early adulthood I moved to England, where I trained as an esthetician at London’s prestigious Arnould-Taylor Therapy College. From there I worked with Revlon and Clinique in sales and marketing. I worked very hard to make something for myself and eventually became Senior Consultant at Clinique where I was tasked to launch the Clinique brand in South Africa. It was so exciting and one of the best times in my life. With all the great skills I had learned I decided to branch off and try my hand at running my own business. I moved to Los Angeles and opened my own store in Beverly Hills named LaNatura. The original store carried exotic and natural products I had discovered in my travels for Clinique, but soon I realized that I could make these products too! From that little idea I started LaNatura brand products, making and bottling the products in my own kitchen at the beginning. My inspiration was always to do something that my grandfather would be proud of, and I feel like I have succeeded in LaNatura.

Your website says, “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your body.” Why is using pure, natural ingredients a priority for LaNatura and why should we, as consumers, follow this guideline?

We live in a toxic world, where environmental factors are constantly affecting us from the inside out. For the sake of our health and longevity, we should try to counterbalance our environmental toxins with as many “clean” choices as possible. We as consumers have two choices, to fill our bodies with chemicals or to nourish with pure and natural ingredients. Using a chemical or synthetic body lotion instead of all natural formulas like ours is the same as choosing the drive-thru over cooked vegetables. We all know what the better option is; if it’s available to you why not make that better choice? I just couldn’t take pride in what I do if I knew that I was selling a product that essentially was “fake.” You need real ingredients to get real results.

How does one transition from her normal beauty routine to a cleaner routine?

The best rule when buying beauty products is that you can read and understand the ingredient list. Granted some ingredients, even natural products, are written in “INCI” which is basically the scientific name. For example, on our ingredient list we use a lot of Shea Butter; the INCI is Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit. We list both the common and INCI names on our packaging so that everyone can read and understand pure ingredients. If you cannot get a straight answer about what an INCI means by doing a simple search, it’s probably not something you want to put on. It is important to stay away from chemical products such as silicones, heavy metals, sulfates, parabens, formaldehydes, propylene glycol, mineral oil, petrolatum, and PABA ingredients in particular. We also do not use any ingredients, natural or otherwise that have been tested on animals or come from animals.

LaNatura facilities production

What role do you think diet plays in skin’s appearance?

For me, diet contributes 80-90% to skin’s appearance. Everything that goes into your body plays a great factor in how you look, feel and function. Diet provides nourishment and if you are malnourished, you tend to look more dull, and even grey at times. If you eat a healthy diet full of nutrient rich foods then your skin tends to thrive and glow. Oils are regulated throughout the body making skin more supple and moisturized. Eating goodies like “super fruits” and the Omegas are said to fight free radicals which contributes to the health of your skin on a cellular level.

I noticed many of your products are gluten-free. Why is this important to LaNatura and where might gluten be hiding in other cosmetics?

We have access to so many different ingredients and why not choose the safest of those for our luxurious products? With new allergies popping up all the time, we have to be thinking ahead. Gluten is a major concern for people right now and many people have discovered in the last few years that symptoms they had encountered over their lifetimes were actually due to an allergy to gluten. We absorb about 60% of everything that we put topically on our body, so we strive to make our products safe for everyone to use. Gluten can be found in many oils, specifically Wheat Germ which is found in many products. If you are not allergic to gluten, then this is by no means a “bad ingredient,” but we prefer to play it safe.

If you could give us one skin care tip, what would it be?

Drink water! Lots of water. Personally, I drink at least 50 oz. of water a day. It keeps you moisturized and, of course, hydrated from the inside out. This goes back to the diet point. I feel and see the effects immediately when I haven’t had enough water. You may not see the toll dehydration is taking now, but if you up your water intake I guarantee you will see the benefits.

What are your must-have LaNatura products?

Our Superfruit Pure Vegan Body Butters are essential. I use it everyday and have for years. I rely on it fully to keep my skin soft and moisturized all day long. Of course our shea butters are excellent, but some, like me, prefer a creamier texture during application and a few added benefits from the additional oils. The Shea Butter base alone is excellent for your skin, but then, for example in our Matcha Green Tea Body Butter you get the antioxidants from the Matcha Green Tea Powder, the soybean oil which is ideal for hydrating and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, grape seed oil for improving skin texture and toning vitamin E that helps to reverse skin’s aging process. It has definitely kept my skin glowing throughout the years.

Sabina Chazanas LaNatura roots and cooking

At Parisi Nutrition, we’re all about food. What is your favorite, easy meal to cook at home after a long day of work?

I would say my favorite thing to cook is soup. Any kind of soup, really. I’m very into lentil soup right now. It is very easy to make and so delicious. I love the warm, comforting quality of soups, especially after a long day at work or an intense spinning class. I like to season mine with curry powder and turmeric.

At Parisi Nutrition our goal is to cultivate well-nourished bodies through whole foods and a pure lifestyle. What foods or practices make you feel nourished?

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the key for me. I start every morning with a warm cup of lemon water, sometimes with a splash of ginger. The lemon just instantly makes me feel bright and awakened! I continue my day snacking on nuts and eating meals that consist of delicious greens, bright tomatoes, avocado, fresh mozzarella and herbs. I grew up eating very clean on a farm in Italy, as my grandfather taught me and I have always carried the importance of that with me. I also work out at least three times a week with different, fun exercises. My favorite right now is my Brazilian Butt Bootcamp. Like our motto at LaNatura says: Beauty isn’t a secret, it’s a lifestyle. For me this means it’s not enough to just eat green. It is a combination of healthy practices including nutrition, exercise and all the products you use.

Isn’t that the truth? Be sure to check out LaNatura‘s products when you’re ready to upgrade your beauty routine and connect with Sabina on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or email info(at)lanatura.com.

Loving This {March}

March Loving ThisA monthly show-and-tell on what’s working for me.

I’ve been so excited about spring’s arrival that I had quite a bit of trouble narrowing down my favorite things this month. My six finalists are below, but you can always follow me on Instagram for all the others. This month has been all about contrasting seasons, curling up on the couch at night with a cup of hot tea after a day filled with strawberries and sunshine. Now, I’m in California so my seasons may look a little different than yours, so feel free to share what March looks like for you in the comments below.

What’s Working in March:

  1. Strawberries. I walked into the grocery store this month to find an explosion of strawberries. It’s definitely spring here in California and I’m taking full advantage of the bounty.
  2. Glass Straws. Glass straws are a fabulously green way to protect tooth enamel from acids and keep your lipstick fresh. I love these smoothie-sized glass straws from Glass Dharma.
  3. La Natura Lip Balm. Winter lips have nothing on La Natura Lip Balm. I’ve never been into chopsticks or lip balms, but this coconut-y concoction is free of all the things I try to avoid and feels so good. I’m hooked.
  4. Tea + Coconut Oil. There’s been so much buzz about the benefits of coconut oil recently, especially around it being a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. I aim for 1-3 tablespoons of coconut oil each day and adding 1 tablespoon of oil to my tea is an easy way to do that. The oil adds a richness (and is great for chapped lips!) and provides a little more energy than just a plain cup of tea.
  5. Butter. I’ve always loved butter, but due to the current drought and the popularity of Bulletproof Coffee, my favorite Kerrygold Irish salted butter has been out of stock for months. I was delighted to finally found it in the store again, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
  6. The French Laundry. I don’t know how to properly express how fabulous this Napa restaurant is, other than it exceeds the hype. Just walking around the restaurant garden alone is worth the trip. If you’re ever lucky enough to get a reservation, be prepared to eat more than you ever have, enjoy foods you never thought you’d like, and have every possible need taken care of before you can even ask (even food sensitivities).

What are you loving this month?

 

Breakfast Tacos

I could probably eat tacos for every meal and breakfast is no exception. I typically add eggs to my breakfast tacos, but this particular day I was tasked with creating an egg-free version that I absolutely loved. This is a great meal to make if you have leftover roasted vegetables from a previous meal.

Breakfast Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut in 1/2 inch cubes (keep the skin on!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, rinsed well and sliced
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 8 slices nitrate-free bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 4-8 sprouted corn tortillas (or lettuce cups)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss sweet potato and bell pepper with 1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring halfway through, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining coconut oil in a large sauté pan on the stove. Add sliced leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add black beans and cook for 5 minutes more.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes and bell pepper are finished, add the roasted vegetables to the pan with the leeks and beans and toss to combine.
  5. Lay out tortillas or lettuce cups on serving plates and top with vegetable/bean mixture, crumbled bacon, avocado and cilantro.

Tips:

  • Use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. Greens like spinach or kale can be cooked along with the leeks or try summer squash, eggplant or mushrooms.
  • Add an egg to your taco for extra protein.
  • Keep any extra vegetables and enjoy a sweet potato hash for another meal.

 

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