Top 5 Stress Management Techniques | Corporate America

After 12 years in Corporate America, trust me, I know what you’re going through.  The meetings, the deadlines, pressure to perform, sitting for long periods of time, toxic co-workers, fear of being laid off, I’ve seen it all. These can all add up and wreak havoc on our mind and body, impact our physical and emotional health, and interfere with our job satisfaction, productivity, and performance. And you’re not alone. Most American workers in corporate America are experiencing the same and are looking for ways to cope and counteract these harmful side-effects.

But how do we continue to work and thrive in these environments?

Below are my top tips you can learn to protect yourself from the long term damaging effects of stress, while improving your health and happiness at work.

Eat well

Nutrition and stress go hand in hand. We are what we eat, and with the correct foods and nutrients we are better equipped to face the challenges and stressors of the day. When our bodies endure times of stress – three primary stress hormones are released, adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine.  These are our “fight our flight” hormones causing our bodies to increase levels of blood sugar (glucose) to feed our heart, muscles, and brain to handle the stress successfully. After that initial burst of energy, we typically crash and need nutritious foods to replenish.  Fueling our bodies with the right foods helps us endure and recover from this process faster and with less side effects. Eating at least three healthy meals a day(breakfast lunch and dinner), and if you have a fast metabolism and get hungry between meals, don’t reach for that snickers bar or bag of doritos. I like to keep healthy and filling snacks by my desk – unsalted nuts like almonds or walnuts, a piece of fruit, an organic protein shake or bar, almond butter and whole wheat crackers, celery and carrot crudité with hummus. Snacks help to maintain your blood sugar and energy levels before your next meal, so having them on hand was truly lifechanging for me. Throughout the day, I urge my clients to eat a good balance of green vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts), complex carbs (think beans, sweet potatoes, brown rice)  and supplements to ensure your body is getting essential nourishment, and is maintaining your blood sugar levels. Although contrary to common belief, try to moderate caffeine, sugar and alcohol, as these can amplify stress levels.

Fitness

We weren’t made to be sedentary.  Exercise 3X a week for 30 minutes is a good minimum. If you can work into your schedule, as a general goal, aim for 30 minutes a day.  Exercise is a powerful stress buster, and aerobic exercise is said to increase blood flow to your brain, lift your mood, supercharge your energy, sharpen focus, and relax you all at the same time. Regular exercise also promotes better sleep and deepens your sleep cycle. Lastly, exercise should be fun! It’s your chance to unwind and decompress from the stress you’re experiencing at work. If you don’t like the gym, try running outside, martial arts, yoga, pilates, walking, bicycling, swimming, dancing, weightlifting or competitive sports. Bottom line, engage in activities that make you happy. It will be easier to do everyday, and that much more worth while.

Sleep

According to Dr Oz, this is the biggest problem in America. We’re not getting enough and as a result we are slipping mentally, physically and emotionally.  Additionally, sleep helps us produce Human Growth Hormone which is natures youth beauty ingredient – hey, they don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing!  Working long hours is stressful and arduous, but when it starts to cut into our sleep hours, studies show that it stress levels actually go up higher.  “A good night’s sleep allows you to tackle the day’s stress easier,”  according to the Sleep Disorders Health Centre on www.webmd.com .  Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night to ensure you are arming your body and mind to effectively deal with stress.

Foster good, healthy relationships

Lisa Rankin, MD, author of “Mind over Medicine” argues that loving nurturing relationships and a strong support system is our number one most important factor for optimal health. Some argue healthy relationships are even more important than the food we put in our body. Having a strong network of supportive family, friends, and co-workers helps to lighten the load of the negative effects stress can have on us when we are alone. Try to have at least five solid relationships you can call on when feeling stressed at work to share your work experiences, and talk through potential solutions.

Make time for Relaxation and Fun

Americans don’t take vacations – on average they work 60+ hours a week and there is very little down time. As a result, this increases our stress responses and decreases our relaxation responses. Just remember, no amount of kale will counter repetitive chronic stress responses in the body. Because of that, finding time to unplug and unwind is critical.  We need to find respite, and we need to remove our bodies and minds from the chaos. A brief walk outside in nature, a 10 minute mediation in a quiet room, deep breathing exercises, five cartwheels in the park, eating a high- vibrational food like an apple or a cup of green tea, taking a vacation, stowing and turning off electronic devices every night when you get home.  These are all exercises that you can do to help remove you from the madness, center you, and help press the reset button for your body and mind.  We get so wrapped up in our everyday work stresses that we forget we are such a small part of the universe, and chances are the stuff you are worrying about today, you wont be worrying about a year from now.   Lastly, start a gratitude journal. When stress hits you hard, list five things you are grateful for. Not only does this broaden our perspective on life and the things that truly matter, it helps melt stress away. It helps us to be happy, grateful, and whole again.  And when we feel that way we are inviting more of that into our lives.

LIV Superfood Power Protein Drink © | Healthy Smoothie Recipe

After my LIV Vibrant Green Smoothie © in the morning, I usually make this Power Protein smoothie for my husband and I before we head out for the day. These nutrient-dense smoothies are a tremendous sources of long-burning fuel and superfoods to power your day.  If I’m hungry in the afternoon, this is also a great snack between lunch and dinner.

 Instead of soy or whey protein powder, I recommend brown rice or hemp protein because these proteins are easier to digest, and a cleaner plant-based energy source (free from dairy).  Chia seeds are also a great longevity food, coined “the runners food” packed with protein, fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids and minerals.  

In addition, I’ve included a pinch of raw cacao powder which is one of the worlds top superfoods and revered in Southern American cultures for their energy boosting properties. Last, but certainly not least, I add a heaping spoonful of acai powder or goji berries for an antioxidant blast to help fight free radicals and keep your cells healthy and youthful.


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2/3 cup hemp or brown rice protein powder
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 3 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP acai powder or goii berries
  • ½ tsp. cacao powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Banana

DIRECTIONS

Add the almond milk and coconut water to the blender, and then slowly add in each ingredient. Blend on low speed until smooth.

 

*Please note that I use a Vitamix blender to make this recipe (yield is apx. 28 oz), but you can easily half the recipe to fit within Nutribullet or SharkNinja large cups.

LIV Beauty Bento Salad & Grain Box | Healthy Lunch Recipe

beauty bento salad box

Are you sick of the same old salad or sandwich at lunch?

Are you looking for something that is flavorful, packed with nutrients and will make you feel beautiful, vibrant and energetic inside and out?

Well, you’re in luck.

This recipe is from my brothers who make this every night to fuel their day starting at 3am at the New England produce market every morning. They pack a big Tupperware the night before and snack on this nutrient dense salad all day long, giving them the energy and vitality to stay alert, focused and feeling like a million bucks. Excellent balance of lean protein, vegetables, Omega 3’s and complex carbs to fuel your day.  Excited to share it with you.

 Salad Ingredients 

  • 1 head of romaine hearts, sliced
  • ½ pound cooked ground turkey, or grilled chicken if you prefer
  • 1 cup of brown rice or quinoa cooked ahead in water or chicken broth for extra flavor
  • ¾ cup white bean mash (I like this recipe by Nigella)
  • 2 boiled beets, sliced
  • 2 sliced radishes
  • 2 tablespoons of shredded carrots
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 baked sweet potato cut in wedges
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional garnish)
  • 1 tbsp craisins (optional garnish)

Dressing Ingredients 

  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1.      Use large Tupperware or “Bento Box” plastic Tupperware which has the sections already divided for you.

2.      Add bed of brown rice at bottom, then white bean mash, then romaine, beets, radishes, carrots sweet potato, and avocado. If packing the night before, it might be best to leave avacado in tact and pack separately, cutting right before you eat to avoid spoiling. Finish with sunflower seeds and craisins for additional crunch and flavor.

3.      Last make your dressing (this is a balsamic dressing, but you can use any dressing you like). Combine 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, ½ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp freshly ground pepper, ½ cup of olive oil.  Pack dressing separately in individual tupperware and add right before eating for best flavor.

*Tip: The best way to prepare is the night before to ensure you can cook the items that need additional prep ahead of time. You can add additional vegetables as they’re in season for variety and to mix things up for the seasons. My brothers sometimes add baked leeks, sautéed mushrooms, spiralized vegetables, or grilled eggplant in the fall, or a sliced heirloom tomato or fresh corn cut off the cob in the summer – these additions top off their bento box for added nutrients and flavor.  The trick is to eat the rainbow - pack your salad with as many different colors you can find. This will ensure a good balance of antioxidants and phytonutrients to nourish you on the deepest level.

Heal your Gut | My Top Three Tips

heal your gut

I’ve had my fair share of gut problems, just like the next American.  When things are functioning well, it’s easy to forget about how important your gut is, but when things start to go wrong, you definitely feel it. Gut issues have been linked into autoimmune disease, migraines, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, allergies, gas, bloating, lethargy, acne, and obesity just to name a few.

So it’s no surprise that in functional medicine, doctors look at our gut first to heal a variety of health ailments and disease. This is the center of our health, or in eastern medicine our“qi” energy, second brain, or intuition. Our gut holds 85% of our immune system, and his home to 100 trillion bacteria which is our first line of defense against outside irritants and pollutants.

If you do anything for your health, heal your gut first, and your body will naturally take care of the rest.  After years of experimenting, I have found the three best things that keep my gut super healthy, and that continue to fortify my immune system every day: 

Follow functional medicine’s 4 R program:  Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair

No matter what your health issue is, the 4R program will help you heal.  First, Remove the bad. Get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract such as inflammatory foods – gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs and sugar. Caffeine, alcohol and drugs also irritate our gut lining and should be consumed in moderation. Second, Replace the good. Add back in essential ingredients to help aid digestion – this includes digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, that are required for proper digestion. I also like Apple cider vinegar for this step. Third, Reinoculate and restore the beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of good bacteria. Take a probiotic supplement, or kefir, plain yogurt, or fermented vegetables (more on that later in this article).  Lastly, Repair with either supplements such as L-glutamine or even a good bone broth (more below) which helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining.

Bone Broth

It’s no surprise Bone Broth is a LA Lakers superfood and helps players like Kobe Bryant stay on top of his game. Bone broth is liquid gold, helping to restore healthy mucosal lining in the gut, maintain strong healthy joints, fight inflammation, and give you healthy plump, gorgeous skin.  I like to make my own, because sometimes the stuff in the store isn’t the real thing.  Try to drink 1-3 cups a day - the more the better. And you can freeze a batch or in ice cube trays for easy access. I love this recipe by Wellness Mama. Check it out!

Kefir and Cultured Vegetables

Even better than a probiotic supplements, cultured veggies and kefir are perfect for optimizing your gut flora and keeping the good guys in and the bad guys out. My husband and I have been experimenting with cultured veggies and kefir at home. Very easy, you can get the 32 oz mason jars and the kefir grain/cultured vegetable starter kits off amazon – and once you get the hang of it it’s inexpensive and fun to do with the whole family.    I like Dr Mercola’s article How to culture your own veg and The Candida Diet How to make your own Kefir.   Happy fermenting! 

LIV Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice | Healthy Side Recipe

cauliflower rice

Right now, cauliflower is freshest it will be all year here on the east coast. My mom made cauliflower rice last night with Italian cauliflower, or “Romanesco.” On display they look like beautiful vibrant green Christmas trees. This recipe calls for anchovies. According to my mom, “Cauliflower and anchovies marry like Gisele and Tom Brady.”  I’ll take her word for it because this recipe is delicious!  If you don’t like anchovies, you can omit and this dish is still very flavorful with the olive oil and browned onions.  

This recipe is quick, easy and a great substitute for rice if you’re looking for a great low carb healthy recipe. This version has about 1/3 of the carbohydrates in rice.  Mangia!

Ingredients

·   1 large head of cauliflower or 2 small

·   1 tsp chopped ginger

·   1 medium onion chopped

·   2 cloves of garlic chopped

·   2 anchovy filets ( my mom likes the brand in the glass jar at the store with the small metal fork are the best)

·   3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

·   2 TBSP chopped parsley

·   2 TBSP chopped scallions

·   1 TBSP fresh lemon juice 

 

Directions

·   Cut cauliflower nectarine size pieces, de-core. Chop in food processor to rice consistency.

·   Meanwhile, add olive oil to skillet or large wok.  Sauté onions, garlic, anchovies and ginger for about 8 minutes. When soft, add "cauliflower rice." Saute another 3-5 minutes.

·   Finish with chopped parsley, scallions, lemon juice. Fluff “rice” with fork and serve warm.

Whats in your fridge?! | Refrigerator and Pantry Makeover

Is your fridge and pantry packed with junk food and unhealthy snacks?

Are you overwhelmed and not sure where to begin to buy nutritious foods that help you feel fantastic?

Do you need help organizing your fridge and pantry, making healthy cooking at home easy, convenient, and fun?

A healthy diet and lifestyle begins at the grocery shop and in the kitchen. 

Submit a picture of your fridge and pantry to win a free personalized grocery store tour and fridge and pantry makeover where Olivia will accompany you to your local market and help you choose rich, nutritious foods. And of course, help you identify the foods to avoid. Olivia will help you discover what foods to keep in stock so you can create simple, healthy, affordable and easy-to-make meals any time.  Together, you will work with Olivia to find lasting, innovative solutions that work best for you and your family. 

Please send all submissions to olivia.napoli@gmail.com

LIV Lentil Soup | Healthy Dinner Recipe

Leeks were a highlight vegetable this week at the farm. Lots of my clients are unsure of how to cook with them, and I urge them that they are a great vegetable to add to soups. They enhance the flavorful onion flavor and nutritional benefits. My mom makes lentil soup every fall. This soup is hearty, delicious, and loaded with iron. In addition, the amount of protein found in lentils is up to 35%, which is comparable to red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.  They are great for improved digestion, diabetes control, combatting cancer, weight-loss and great for pregnant women as a steady energy source.

The possibilities are endless with this recipe. You can also add dollop of crème fraiche in addition to the olive oil for a creamy finish.My mom also likes to add in grilled Italian chicken sausage, or pre-cooked kale/spinach swirled in for added nutritional value.  I love making a big batch of this soup on a Sunday afternoon, and have a healthy dinner ready to heat up all week long.

Ingredients

·  2 yellow onions diced

·  ½ bunch of celery diced

·  10 diced carrots

·  3 leek stalks diced

·  1 lb of French lentils

·  4 cups of chicken broth

·  1 can of fire roasted tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes Fire Roasted)  

·  ½ cup tomato paste

·  2 bay leaves

·  1 tsp Thyme

·  ½ cup of good Italian olive oil

Directions

1. Saute onions, celery, carrots and leeks in large sauce pot with olive oil. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 15 minutes

2. Add lentils, chicken broth, can of fire roasted tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme to pot. 

3. Simmer for 1 ½  hours. After, take off heat and serve in bowls with drizzle of olive oil.

 

LIV Healthy Breakfast Recipe | Vegetable Fritatta with Zuchinni

By eating a hearty breakfast, you’ll give your metabolism a jumpstart and be in better control of your cravings. When we miss this important meal, we are more likely to engage in mindless snacking and overcompensating for any calories “missed” by skipping breakfast. After your healthy serving of greens in LIV Vibrant Green Smoothie, it’s important to get a good dosage of protein and healthy fats to keep you full and satiated throughout the morning. Eggs are a great breakfast, and have been coined the “perfect food,” loaded with vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins and good fats.

What I love is making a breakfast vegetable “fritatta” which is an egg based Italian dish - similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, by combining eggs, cheese, leftover vegetables in a large skillet.  The fritatta can be cut into 6 or 8 pieces, and voila, you have a high quality breakfast for the next four days.

 My Mom and I made this vegetable frittata after getting home from the farm on a hot Sunday in August. Since it was August, my dad and I picked fresh zuchinni and tomatoes for this recipe. But the beauty of this recipe is that it can be made year-round with different seasonal ingredients. In the spring we use mushrooms or asparagus, and in the fall or winter we use squash, eggplant, broccoli or cauliflower.

Ingredients

·      1 yellow onion, finely diced

·      3 small zucchini finely chopped into circle shaped discs

·      3 beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes cut into ½ inch discs, lightly salted on each side

·      6 eggs

·      One container of 16 oz ricotta cheese

·      ½ cup pecorino romano grated cheese

·      ½ tsp sea salt

·      ½ tsp pepper

·      ¼ tsp crushed red pepper

·      ½  bunch finely chopped mint

·      ½ cup finely chopped basil

·      1 small sized block of Tellegio or Fontina cheese, chopped into ¼ inch strips. If you can’t find these Italian cheeses, grated cheddar or monteray jack are also very good

 

Directions

·      Add chopped onions and zucchini to large skillet and sauté until lightly browned

·      Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, grated pecorino romano cheese, whisked eggs, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly

·      Take skillet off stove and add mixture covering onions and zuchinni

·      Carefully fold in tellegio or fontina cheese strips to cooking mixture so they are fully covered

·      Add, sliced tomatoes, mint, and basil evenly over top and place on stove again for 10 minutes

·      After 10 mins, place skillet in oven and broil till browns on top. Take out of stove, let cool for 10 mins and serve. 

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes | Easy and Delicious

My favorite holiday is upon us! Thanksgiving. It’s a time family can get together and express gratitude for the abundance and love in their life. What a beautiful thing.  Not to mention the food… YUM.

Of course turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing is served at almost every thanksgiving. But how can you jazz up the sides with local fresh produce from your grocery store or farmers markets?  I’ll show you how. Here’s my mom’s take on Thanksgiving sides using local vegetables my family sources from New England and beyond –whole, healthy foods, and simply delicious! 

 

BAKED FENNEL 

This is one of my favorite thanksgiving dishes. My mom made a small tray this past thanksgiving, but it was gone after only a few family members went through the line.  So savory, salty, healthy and delicious. 

Ingredients

·      3 bulbs fennel

·      ¼ cup white wine

·      1 stick melted butter

·      ½ cup chicken broth

·      ¼ cup of olive oil

·      1 cup of breadcrumbs

·      1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

·      Fresh ground pepper

 Directions

1. Steam fennel bulbs in large pot, cook half way through. Not all the way as they will cook more later.

2.  Cut fennel in quarters (if large bulbs, cut in 6). Make nice wedges, about the size of a tangerine. Line each fennel wedge cut side up in rows in large casserole or gratin dish.

3. Add white wine, ½ cup chicken broth, and 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter to casserole dish. Bake covered for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Take out, remove foil.

4. Mix breadcrumbs, the rest of the melted butter, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pepper, and sprinkle mixture on top. Cook at 400 degrees uncovered for 20 minutes until it’s crusted on the top. Serve warm.

 

CAULIFLOWER AND COOKED SPINACH IN LIGHT CREAM SAUCE

Ingredients

·      2 – 3 large cauliflower heads

·      8 cups of spinach

·      1 ½ stick of butter,

·      3 TBSP all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour is even better)

·      2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

·      3 cups whole milk

·      3 grates of fresh nutmeg

·      1 cup italian breadcrumbs (gluten free varieties are also fine)

·      1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Directions

·      Bring salted water to boil, add spinach and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Let cool, and drain, and squeeze all the water out with hands, removing most of the moisture. Cut larger stalks out, and chop coarsely into smaller pieces. Set spinach aside.

·      Steam cauliflower in large pot until halfway cooked. De-rib and cut cauliflower into small florets (the size of tangerines roughly).

·      Add thin layer of EVOO to bottom of medium casserole dish, and

line up cauliflower florets in even rows.

·      Meanwhile, make the cream sauce.  Add one stick of butter to sauce pan. Add flour, mixing thoroughly with whisk to make a rue. When well congealed, add two cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese, and stir so that it’s thoroughly melted, this should take a 1-2 minutes to melt. Add spinach and 3 cups of whole milk. Continue stirring with a whisk until thick on moderate heat. Finally grate some nutmeg and remove from heat

·      Pour evenly over cauliflower in casserole dish

·      Toast some breadcrumbs in ½ stick butterin small sauté pan. Once lightly toasted, add to top of cauliflower.

·      Finally finish with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese. Add evenly over entire casserole dish and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

 

PARSNIP AND APPLE PUREE 

This is a nice change (or addition) to traditional mashed potatoes! The apple and parsnip combination is sweet yet savory, smooth and velvety, and a great flavor compliment to turkey.

Ingredients

·      5 cups coarsely chopped parsnips

·      3 tablespoons unsalted butter

·      2 granny smith apples, peeled and coursely chopped

·      ½ cup sour cream

·      ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

·      Salt and freshly ground pepper

·      ½ cup chicken broth

 

Directions

·      Place parsnips in large saucepan. Cover with salted water and bring to boil. Cook for 15 minutes and simmer until tender.

·      While parsnips are cooking, melt the butter in small skillet over low heat. Add apples and sauté for 7 minutes until soft.

·      Process parsnips and apples in food processor, blend until smooth, Add the sour cream, allspice, salt, pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve warm.

 

SWEET POTATOES WITH BROWN SUGAR  

My mom makes the best thanksgiving sweet potatoes and I think its because she has a tried and true recipe with a secret ingredient, wait for it… yes, fresh squeezed orange juice.  This flavor combination is melt in your mouth.

Ingredients

·      6 medium sized sweet potatoes (yams)

·      2 cups orange juice

·      1/2 cup brown sugar

·      1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

·      4 Tbsp butter, melted

·      2 -3 grates of nutmeg


Directions

·      Preheat oven to 350. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 ½  -2 inch rounds, arrange in a single layer in large glass casserole dish.

·      In small mixing bowl, add 1 ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ stick of butter melted, nutmeg. Mix thoroughly and pour over sweet potatoes, cover with aluminum foil and cook at 350 for 40 minutes.

·      Turn and baste after 20 mins. Return to oven without aluminum foil until browned, glazed and delicious.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Harvesting Cabbage with my Dad - Thanksgiving 2016

Harvesting Cabbage with my Dad - Thanksgiving 2016

 

Grocery Store Nutrition Shopping Tips | How to Makeover Your Pantry

90% of Americans shop in supermarkets, and since 1980, child obesity has tripled. Usually it’s the stuff in the middle of the store, the processed junk we’ve been marketed to all of our lives. Of course we crave that because we’ve been subconsciously brainwashed into thinking that’s what we need. Wrong. Chances are you were raised on this diet and it’s been wreaking havoc on your body ever since.

I’m not sure about you but in my family, when we started incorporating natural foods, fruits, vegetables, we became more aware, our head, heart and mind opened. We had more energy, higher cognition, better performance, we were happier.  Our bodies thanked us over and over again. I want this for you too, that’s why I’m giving you my top tips on how to shop for optimal nutrition. Here they are:

Shop on Periphery of Store

In a typical grocery store, all the fresh stuff is usually on the periphery on the store. I always urge my clients to "eat the rainbow." Look for colorful enzyme-rich fruits & veggies, lean proteins, low carbohydrate foods, good starches (think brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa), healthy fats (raw nuts, avocado, olive oil).

Avoid processed junk

In nutrition school, we were taught not to buy foods with a nutrition label. An apple or a peach doesn’t have a label, because these are whole foods that are good for our bodies. My general rule of thumb is to be wary of any product that contains large amounts of added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, trans fat (hydrogenated vegetable oils), added chemicals that you cant read, commercial dairy, and anything GMO. The good news is that after intense consumer lobbying, most food packages will be required to carry a symbol or label indicating whether the food contains genetically modified ingredients (passed by President Obama July 2016).  Start to become aware of these ingredients, and add less of them to your cart.

Go with a List and Don’t Go Shopping Hungry

This will help you stay focused, structure meals, get a good balance of nutrition, and stay organized for the next week. Plus you wont be throwing unnecessary items in your cart – hint, the processed stuff!

Shop with a Smaller Cart

A smaller cart will help you to be hyper focused and re-think purchasing decisions. In addition, you won’t be overbuying perishable items. (Tip - the longer produce is stored in your fridge, the more nutrient loss occurs).

Buy Local

I cant say enough great things about buying local. Look for seasonal farmer's markets in your town and the "local section" of your primary grocery store. You’re getting the freshest possible produce, it’s less expensive, you are reducing your carbon footprint, and you are eating foods that are energetically indigenous to your are, which is what your body intuitively craves. This is a winning combination.

Connecting with Mother Nature | Top Three Healing Benefits

Nothing soothes my soul faster than time spent communing with Mother Nature. When I would get home from a stressful day at the office, and my head was pounding, my body was sore, and my stomach was in knots, I couldn’t wait to lie under my favorite tree near the reservoir for a half hour. After some time, my body started to unwind, my stress levels dissipated, and a feeling of relaxation and euphoria that I couldn’t find anywhere else swept over me.

I read somewhere that the earth vibrates at a frequency of eight hertz, when we walk in natural areas, our bodies resonate with and absorb this vibrational energy, which provides a feeling of harmony and relaxation.

That’s what was happening, and I was hooked. Connecting with earth’s energy was the only thing that would bring me back to neutral and feel whole again.

In today’s modern society, we sometimes forget to reconnect with our roots (literally).  Below are some of the healing benefits you can experience by spending quality time in nature:

Rebalance your Soul

We are from the earth and connecting with earth’s energy is crucial for our health. Whether its 30 minutes of grounding walking in the grass, a quick dip in the ocean or lake, a walk through the woods, by reconnecting to gaia’s rhythm you are rebalancing everything – your body, chakras, aura, ions, natural circadian rhythms. everything. Spend 30 minutes in nature at least 3 times a week for optimal happiness and wholeness.

Heal your Mind, Body

Most of us are in front of electronic devices 24/7. This can be very detrimental over time.  A quick hike in nature or walk in the park can start to remediate some of these harmful effects. Your body is getting buckets of fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, and negative ions from the earth.  A stroll outdoors can improve brain function, promote a positive frame of mind, and increase creativity and concentration.  In addition, spending time outdoors can heal Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which is caused by staring at screens for a long period of time.

Last, but certainly not least, exercising outdoors can also recharge your exercise routine when the gym is just plain stale. Working out outdoors is said to burn more calories, and give us a better workout.

Find your Truth and Live an Authentic Life 

Albert Einstein said “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

In life, we’re all on a journey of self discovery. Why am I here? What is my purpose?  It’s human nature to want to grow, learn, and evolve. Spending time alone in nature meditating or practicing deep rhythmic breathing, you’re more likely to quiet your mind (your ego) and listen to your heart (your soul or authentic self). Your heart is where your authentic self lives – what you love, what makes you whole, what sets your soul on fire.  In our society we’ve been trained to service the mind, not the heart. And as a result, many of us are missing that depth and living lives that are not fulfilling or authentic. 

I’ve found that instead of seeking guidance externally, look inward and connect with ourselves and our intuition first. You already have all the answers you need, you just need to retreat, and carefully listen. Being in the presence of nature magnifies our ability to listen, expands our consciousness, and helps us find creative solutions that will help us live a deep authentic life.   Because, when we are true to ourselves, that is when we ultimately feel rich.

LIV Green Goddess Kale and Romaine Salad with Lemon | Recipe

kale and romaine salad

My brother made this in Welfleet Bay, Cape Cod last week as a side dish to fresh baked halibut. It was outstanding. Packed with greens, nutrients, and antioxidants, you’re body will thank you after.

Ingredients

·      One large bunch of finely chopped kale

·      One large head of romaine lettuce, finely chopped

·      5 large carrots shredded

·      4 radishes cut into finely chopped disks

·      2 beets finely diced

·      1 avocado, cleaned and finely diced

·      1 green apple finely diced

·      1 plum finely diced

·      3 TBSP of fresh lemon juice

·      ½ cup good quality Italian olive oil

·      3 TBSP cup of good quality balsamic vinegar (I like the thick syrupy kind, my favorite brand is Gemma Nera from Italy).

·      1 garlic clove finely minced

·      1/2 TSSP sea salt

·      1 TSSP fresh ground pepper

Directions

1.    Add kale, lemon juice and salt to large mixing bowl and gently massage with hands. This will help tenderize and break down the fibrous structure of kale, which will make eating a lot easier.

2.    Once kale is tenderized, add the rest of the chopped vegetables and fruit to mixing bowl.

3.    Once vegetables are combined, make the dressing. Combine 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, ½ cup of olive oil.

4.    Lastly, add dressing to salad and mix thoroughly until salad is evenly coated. Serve immediately.

Mangia!

 

 

 

LIV Vibrant Green Smoothie © | Recipe

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Do you want to lose weight or trim belly fat?

Do you want glowing skin, hair and nails?  

Do you want to boost your energy and mood in the morning naturally?

Greens are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. They help to maintain our internal rainforest and cleanse our bodies and cells on the highest level. I drink a green smoothie every morning to look and feel my best.  It helps kick off my day with an nutrient-rich energy boost, and helps detox my body before I eat anything else.  In fact, days that I skip when I'm traveling or staying at a friends house, my body and cells are aching for this smoothie.  A green smoothie in the morning really does make all the difference in our physical and mental health. Benefits include clearer skin, brighter eyes, reduced body fat, higher energy levels, and a boosted mood.  Very excited to share with you!

 

INGREDIENTS

1.     6 cups of chopped spinach (1 medium bunch)

2.     2 cups of chopped kale (traditional or Tuscan - about 1 small bunch)

3.     1/3 fresh bunch of parsley

4.     1 stalk of celery roughly chopped

5.     1 medium apple cored and coarsely chopped

6.     ½ cup blueberries

7.     ½ cup of strawberries or raspberries

8.     1 banana

9.     ½ lemon freshly squeezed

10.   2 cups filtered water

DIRECTIONS

Wash all ingredients first in cool water, removing any dirt or pesticides (if not organic). Then, add all ingredients to blender pulse until smooth.  You can use either Vitamix which fits all ingredients in one batch, or try halving/thirding the recipe to fit in Nutribullets or smaller single serving blenders. The nutritional density diminishes as time goes on, so I try to drink right away or same day.