My secrets for a GREAT Salad

My secrets for a GREAT Salad

Can you believe it’s Monday already? And we’re already in February!

How was your Super Bowl Sunday? I only watched the halftime show, and I thought Katy Perry and Missy Elliott did a great job. Oh, and Lenny Kravitz was great too, but I’m all about girl-power, so I really enjoyed watching two beautiful women creatively express themselves in such a strong, powerful way. What an amazing show!

And I don’t know about you, but Monday morning came too soon, eh? Although I’m not a sports fan, I was busy all day yesterday. While Greg enjoyed the game, I got some household chores done, did some self-care, and even knocked out a couple of chores in my home office. I probably overdid it with the vacuuming – my back is sore, and in big need of some massage therapy!

But still, it was a really good weekend. And now it’s Monday morning, and I’m excited to get back to work, as I’ve got some exciting projects lined up for this year.

Well, anyway, back to the purpose of this email. I wanted to disrupt your Monday with a healthy recipe. It’s similar to the ones in my 28 Day Jumpstart To a New You program.

I love to make this recipe, and this is one of my family’s all-time favorites. And guess what? It’s 100% HEALTHY, EASY and DELICIOUS!

BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 handful frozen or fresh organic wild blueberries
    1 banana
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon hemp seeds
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    1 pinch of cinnamon
    ½ cup to 1 cup hemp milk, almond milk, oat milk, or coconut water as your base
  • Optional: Stevia, or 1 tablespoon raw honey if you need to sweeten it. Add more water if it’s too thick.DIRECTIONS
    Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until creamy (1-2 minutes).

AND…I didn’t forget about that salad.

My Secrets for a GREAT Salad

Here’s my secrets for making a GREAT salad:

  1. The trick to making a great salad is to always use FRESH, organic ingredients when possible.
  2. If I use organic pre-rinsed salad mix, I still rinse it again 2-3 times. I’m picky like that, but do what feels right.
  3. I never use pre-washed spinach – the chlorine water gives it a gritty texture that sticks to my teeth when I chew it.
    If you prefer spinach, grab the unwashed spinach, and when you get home, put it in a bowl of water and add a splash of veggie wash. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then agitate it with your hands to loosen the dirt and sand. Do this as often as you need, until your spinach is clean. I have been known to rinse my spinach 5-6 times, if it’s really caked with mud. And I love it when my veggies still have the dirt from the ground on it, it means it came straight from the farm to my kitchen!
  4. Rinse loose leaf greens in cold filtered water and use a salad spinner to discard excess water.
  5. Place loose leaf greens in a large bowl, and drizzle it with about 1-2 Tbsp of good quality organic extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil.
  6. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes. I prefer Maldon Sea Salt.
  7. Using a large wooden spoon, stir the salad until all leaves are well coated with the olive oil.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – NEVER SKIP THIS STEP!!!
  8. Now you’re ready to add all your other salad fixings. I like to put my salad toppings in little serving bowls, and let my family members build their own salad.

Salad Fixing Suggestions:

  • Grab olives from Whole Food’s olive bar. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with anything there, but make sure to skip the olives that aren’t pitted. Your teeth will thank you.
  • Diced cucumber (peel off the skin first).
  • Diced green apple
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced heirloom tomatoes, topped with a finishing sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, thinly sliced basil, drizzled with olive oil
  • Thinly sliced red, yellow and orange bell pepper (seeds and stem removed)
  • Orange slices (peeled, remove all seeds, pith, and skin)
  • Fresh chopped herbs like mint, basil, or cilantro
  • Chopped watermelon (goes well with mint and balsamic vinegar)
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Steamed peas, chickpeas, or black beans
  • Sliced avocado (my substitute for cheese, as I am lactose-intolerant)
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Splash of fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

Enjoy!

 

Give me that good vibrations…from my food!

Give me that good vibrations…from my food!

Did you know that food has vibrations that allow it to create change in our bodies on a cellular level?

Food that is alive and from the earth will energize and invigorate you, while processed, pre-packaged, dead food will leave you feeling lethargic and uninspired, like a light that has
fizzled out. Makes sense doesn’t it? Dark green leafy vegetables are full of chlorophyll, which is basically liquid sunshine. It is the substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from the sun and convert it into usable energy. When we consume raw dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and Swiss chard, we fill our body with the equivalent of the plant’s life blood – the very thing that allows a seed to flourish and take form.
Chemically, the blood of the plant, chlorophyll, is very similar to our blood and, when consumed, it helps us to oxygenate and breathe life into every cell. Pretty cool, huh? Chlorophyll is also extremely cleansing and detoxifying.

Here are some other high vibrational foods for you to try:

  1.  Tree Fruits – try apples, pears, bananas, coconuts, avocados, nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, oranges, lemons, limes, mangoes, pomegranates, blueberries, cherries, and olives.
  2. Non-green veggies
  3. Raw Cacao – chocolate in its pure form has over 1,200 phytonutrients. It contains nutrients like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese. It also contains phenylethylamine, which are the feel good characteristics, and theobromine which dilates the cardiovascular system to allow all the benefits to come in. 
  4. Goji Berries – packed with antioxidants, which can help minimize free radical damage to our cells.
  5. Cultured and Fermented Foods –a great source of probiotics, which will help your digestion stay on track.

I firmly believe in  the old saying, “You are what you eat.”

Junk in = feeling like junk, and rich, living, nutrient-dense food = a much happier body and mind.

Don’t just take my word for it. We’ve all tried the junk in, junk out experiment, so don’t you think it’s time to rock your body and mind with some fresh and fabulous food?

By eating food that vibrates at a higher frequency, we increase our life-force energy and feel more radiant inside and out.

How I Got into the Holiday Spirit

How I Got into the Holiday Spirit

Me and Mom - 2005

It’s Saturday afternoon, and I’m sitting here at my desk reflecting on why I feel so much more happier this holiday season than in the past couple of years.

See, in February 2009, I lost my mother to breast cancer.  It was devastating enough to watch her take her last breath.  I realize now, looking back, that for many months following, I hadn’t given myself permission to go through the natural stages of grief, because I was still very much in shock. The official term is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but for me, it was mostly a period of huge memory gaps, brain fog, and emotional detachment. I can recall having entire conversations with other fellow students at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York City, where I eventually graduated as a certified Holistic Health Coach. I would talk with a fellow student after a lecture, and then a few hours later, I would totally forget having met that person. I remember once I paid an $800+ electric bill, only to forget that I had already paid it, and paid it again…in the same week. I’m so grateful that my husband understood what I was going through, and showed a helluva lotta patience and love with me during this time!

In the aftermath, holidays were difficult, bittersweet, and a blue cloud hung over me, as I resigned to “get through the holidays” and decided to just put on a smile. In doing so, that smile I wore became my mask. The mask served me well, and soon after, I began to put on the mask everyday, using it as a way to hide from the world.

But the truth is, I really didn’t enjoy the holidays, because I wasn’t fully present. I masked my pain, my sorrows, my grieving, and in doing so, delayed my healing process.

It wasn’t until last year that I finally came to reckon with this, and truly allowed myself to “hit rock bottom.”  I allowed myself to break down, slowly, bit by bit, to shed and release all the hurt, pain, heartbreak, sorrow, anger, and bitterness around losing my biggest fan, my best friend, my sweet angel, my mother.  In 2012, I allowed myself to sit in solitude and finally hear my thoughts, something I had been avoiding since my birthday, September 25, 2008, when I got the call at work that the cancer was not only back for a third time, but that it had also spread to over 90% of her body.  She was gone in 6 months.   In 2012, I went through yoga teacher training, twice, with the primary focus of allowing my grieving to finally happen. I meditated, I learned about asanas (yoga body movement and positions), and pranas (breathing exercises), chakras (energy channels), and female power from a body energy perspective.  While I didn’t graduate  and become certified in yoga due to physical limitations (more on this in a future post), I achieved what I desired: assistance with grieving and healing for myself, so I could finally release my mom’s passing, and move forward in life without a heavy heart. During this time, I also took a year or so off from my holistic practice, so I could give 100% focus on my own personal development.

And taking that time to do my emotional work paid off.  When I woke up January 1, 2013, I felt like a brand new woman, the blue cloud had been lifted and I felt lighter, STRONGER, more than ever before.  So, this holiday season has me feeling much, much happier, healthier, and WHOLE again, and I feel I have come full circle again.  I found myself watching old Christmas movies I used to watch with my mom as a little girl, and I noticed instead of feeling pain, I experienced full head on JOY that is just unexplainable.  In fact, it was watching Elf that inspired this post. Here’s other ways I get into the holiday spirit:

  1. Release all guilt and “I should” for shopping and gift giving. If it happens, great. If not, run a quick check of your priorities from now and January 2, 2014: what really matters?
  2. Create some space and time for YOU. For me, that means EVERY DAY I take at least an hour to do something that really relaxes me: a hot candle lit bath, baking gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free cookies, calling a friend, watching old Christmas movies with organic sea salted popcorn, or snuggling with my husband by the fire.
  3. Set reminders during work hours to BREATH and take a stretch break. I learned in yoga teacher training that managing our breath is a large part of stress management and self control. I tend to stop breathing when I get stressed over something as little as my computer moving slow. So I set reminders for myself to BREATH, even take a quick 3-2 minute short stress-busting walk every hour, to hit the Stress RESET button and relax.
  4. Allow myself some fun food, within reason, as long as I stay within the 80/20 rule: eat 80% healthy, and have fun (within reason – my body cannot tolerate gluten, beef, or pork animal protein) with the 20%.  This ratio shifts back to 90% healthy and 10% fun after New Year’s.
  5. Be flexible – people will do what people do, and I can’t control them. But I can control me, and my reactions. In fact, I can also choose to NOT react, but rather, to observe other’s behavior and ask with curiosity and compassion, what is the underlying reason? I also ask, “How can I look at this from a different perspective?
  6. Gratitude:  I approach the Holiday season, or any other for that matter, with gratitude, because this is the most powerful way to activate abundance and manifest your desires. The Universe (God) begins to return to you whatever you direct your energy towards. So, for example, if you direct your energy towards complaining about traffic, you will only receive more frustration with being stuck in traffic. If you, on the other hand, approach traffic with an attitude of gratitude, like, “I am grateful to have a vehicle, to have normal function in my brain, my hands, my legs, to be able to drive,” or “I’m grateful that my vehicle is working properly and that I am safe” would invite more of the same, and most likely you would not feel frustration, but feel much more positive in spirit.

I hope that you find some benefit in my story, as well as my tips to get in to the holiday spirit, so that you may release what might be blocking you from feeling the holiday spirit as well. I don’t know your story, but I would love to hear from you. How do you get into the holiday spirit?

In Other News

I am glad to say that I happy to have returned to coaching, having relaunched my business on my 41st birthday this year, and I have very exciting programs coming up for 2014!

I’m also ecstatic about finally launching my brand new website: www.venusavivwellness.com!  I still have the old website at www.venusaviv.com, and will keep this website up until I have all existing content transferred to this site.  Please be patient, as you may see changes on the fly during the remainder of December 2013 until the transition is complete.

Till next time, Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

Venus Aviv