Archive for October, 2008

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PMS-ing

October 31, 2008

So this blog goes out especially to us ladies (though you guys may want to pass it along to your girlfriends, wives, sisters, etc. if you think it would be helpful to them..and to you☺ ).

What woman hasn’t experienced PMS? Moodiness, cramps, bloating, weird cravings, feeling run down, etc. Yes, all fun stuff. I must say that my physical symptoms of PMS have pretty much disappeared since I’ve been raw, but the moodiness/mental symtoms can still um…lurk nearby.

An interesting thing to note is that our periods can be used by our bodies as channels for detoxification. As toxins are funneled out of the lymph and escorted out of the body during our monthly moon cycle, these old substances will enter our bloodstream (I’m going to blog one time about the connection between our lymph and blood soon). This means that just as with any kind of detoxification, our cravings for old, toxic foods will increase upon the entry of their old, toxic remnants into the bloodstream. These cravings make us feel unbalanced and moody- and when we give in and eat crappy food we oftentimes feel even worse.

Here are some easy tips to help alleviate your PMS symptoms:

1.    Eat raw cacao right before and during your period. This will supply your body with magnesium and other nutrients to ease your PMS. Plus it is yummy and healthy and will satisfy your sugar cravings! Check out my raw fudge recipe.

2.    Eat avocados. They are said to regulate the female moon cycle.

3.    Severe PMS is the result of a really toxic body. The cleaner the body, the less your PMS symptoms will    be. This is another reason to consistently reduce processed, cooked animal fat and other toxic food items- monthround!

4.    Eat seasonal fruit (like right now pears and apples) to keep your blood sugar regular throughout your PMS bouts. Keep it around to snack on.

5.    Make a strawberry or raspberry smoothie (okay here you can get some frozen berries that may not necessarily be in season). Red berries have lots of iron, which will also help keep you balanced during your period.

Okay, I hope you find your next cycle an easier and more peaceful one! Let me know how you do in reducing your PMSing!

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The Yoga of Food

October 28, 2008

So you’ve heard me say over and over again how much food affects the beauty of our skin, the clarity of our thoughts, our energy, our ability to meditate and our resilience against  the aging process.

On a deeper level, in yoga (and quantum physics!) we talk about how every single object has different wavelengths of energy, everything has its own qualities of energy.

The great guru and yoga master Paramahansa Yogananda said that every food has inherent subtle vibrations and specific magnetic qualities, that in turn affect our mental state when we consume them. He has listed those characteristics of the following:

* Cherries ― Have the vibrations of joy
* Bananas ― A very spiritual food, impart calmness and humbleness
* Strawberries ― Attunement to dignity
* Grapes ― Have special vibrations of divine love
* Oranges and Lemons ― Banish melancholia and are a brain stimulant
* Almonds and Honey ― Reflect self control
* Berries ― Aid in clearness of thought
* Peaches ― Selflessness, thinking of the good of others
* Avocado ― Memory
* Pineapple ― Self-assurance, good for an inferiority complex
* Beets ― Martial strength
* Maple Syrup ― Mental freshness
* Tomatoes ― Mental strength
* Figs ― Will soften too strict a sense of discipline
* Raspberry ― Kindheartedness
* Spinach ― Simplicity
* Pears ― Peacefulness
* Dates ― Tenderness and sweetness
* Lettuce ― Calmness

So eat for beauty, and also for the kind of person you’d like to be- the energy you’d like to put into the world!


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Needles and Herbs and Healing…Oh My!

October 26, 2008

One of my yoga students and dear friends is Yvonne Mizuta, a very talented healer with amazing energy. She is an Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist with a practice around the Union Square area of New York City. Not only do I adore having her wonderful energy in my yoga classes- I like to run questions about various Chinese herbs and traditional healing practices by her. I sat down with her the other day and picked her brain a bit:

Kimberly: What are some of the benefits of acupuncture and does it hurt?

Yvonne: Acupuncture helps in many ways. People come in for headaches; menstrual irregularities; weak digestion; emotional issues; fertility issues; heart problems; backaches; neuropathy, trying to stop smoking, stress, etc. Acupuncture is not a quick fix. It really works but depending on the person, the healing dynamics might take time.

Acupuncture has a rich history. We are talking about the past Chinese dynasties and in each, the experience of the masters, spiritualists, doctors, priests, herbalists who contributed their ideas and systems toward healing. It’s not only needles- there are many other modalities included.

No, it does not hurt but it can hurt if the client is nervous or has a phobia of needles which I have noticed stems from vaccinations they have received from their doctors during childhood. I hear from my clients that they either don’t feel anything or sense a tiny pinch.

Kimberly: What is the deal with Chinese herbs? Please elaborate on the benefits and if they are for everyone?

Yvonne: The Chinese herbs are used to aid with the healing of a person. For example: some schools believed that acupuncture alone does not nourish the blood nor generate fluids in the body but that foods and herbal formulas would do that. The herbal formulas should be prescribed to each person’s needs.

Are they for everyone? Not so. Some don’t want to make a habit of taking powders or teas. Some people may get an adverse reaction not because the formula is harmful but maybe deep down they don’t want to get better. Of course, if Western medication is used, the herbalist and that person have to decide if their body could handle another remedy. Some just don’t care for the taste.


Kimberly: What are some common herbs or herbal remedies which are particularly useful for women, especially with the cold months coming on?

Yvonne: That will vary with each person. A person should go in for consultation for a remedy.
Herbs are categorized, for example, as warming the interior or yang qi tonifying. A person feeling colder in the winter (besides being thinner or not dressed properly) may have weaker kidney yang energy or may be insufficient in blood that is not circulating properly or have stagnation in the body so the qi gets stuck and does not go out to warm the hands and feet.

Kimberly: Anything else?

Yvonne: An acupuncturist and/ or herbalist, in my opinion, should have the best intentions of taking care of the client. It is not “time is money motto” which takes away the art of healing. Anyone can stick needles and anyone can give out an herbal formula. That is easy! Now the art of it is what takes healing to another level.

More info on the amazing Yvonne and her practice, please check out: www.yvonnemizuta.com.

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Ginger Spice

October 22, 2008

This yummy drink takes 10 seconds to make and gives you a great boost of ginger and cinnamon. Fresh ginger is amazing, especially this time of year as the weather is getting chilly! My intake of ginger is increasing rapidly as we are moving from Fall to Winter. Ginger is considered a warming spice in Ayurveda, so it helps warm us from the inside while simultaneously helping to “burn” out sickness-causing bacteria. It is also great for digestion and improves circulation.

This is also another easy recipe to work cinnamon into the diet, which also similarly improves digestion and circulation. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

1 ½ cup almond milk

1 frozen banana (peel when ripe and stick in the freezer, that way you’ll always have them on hand for easy smoothies like this)

1 inch of fresh ginger- peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Happy Ginger-ing. ☺

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Why Eating Seasonally is so Important and Makes You More Naturally Beautiful

October 19, 2008

When we eat the fruits and vegetables that are in season at any given time, we become more in tune with our natural, local environment. We become more naturally beautiful as we connect back to the earth around us and our natural source for food. Growing conditions vary seasonally, which allows for a wonderful variety of edible plants as the earth balances its resources. Our bodies accordingly balance with the earth if we tune in by eating seasonally.

Saturday afternoon- Me unloading all the veggies I bought up at the Union Square Farmer's Market. I also love seasonal flowers, which are so affordable and gorgeous!

Saturday afternoon- Me unloading all the veggies and fruit I bought up at the Union Square Farmer's Market. I also love seasonal flowers! They are an easy and affordable way to keep your apartment seasonally spruced up , and I think they are gorgeous.

Eating seasonally is also better for us. Produce is at its peak nutritional value when it is ripe. Fruits and vegetables that will be traveling long distances to market aren’t picked when they are ripe, but before ripeness. While the produce might gain color and softness on its journey to the supermarket, nutritional value comes through the stem from the living plant. Once harvested, a vegetable is as nutritious as it is going to get. And even worse, nutritional value actually decreases every day past harvest. So it just doesn’t taste as good nor is as good for you. But the good news is …that nothing tastes better than freshly picked, ripe produce, which is available at our local markets affordably priced!

Today, modern society makes it extremely easy to forget about the seasons and eat food that is nowhere close to being in season, but rather shipped from across the globe ages ago. I walked by a street fair today- and right now its mid-October in NYC- in the Village, and saw a stand selling fruit smoothies made from watermelon, pineapple and strawberries- shipped from who knows where?? For maximum health, attunement with our local environment, and vibrant balance, check out your local farmer’s market. If you eat in a restaurant, choose some special entres or side dishes which are made of seasonal produce (ie squash in the winter or a tomato salad in the summer).

Here are some great items you can get at the farmer’s market RIGHT NOW (and easy ideas for what to do with them):

–    Spinach- One of my favorite greens! I am making spinach salads all the time now, instead of kale. For a dressing I use: Olive oil, cayenne pepper, lemon, dulse, liquid Braggs amino acids, and nutritional yeast. You can throw in an avocado and sunflower sprouts for a hearty, extra yummy meal.

–     Collard Greens- To substitute using flour or grain tortillas to stuff with pates, salsa, etc.

–    Celery- Currently with stalks as big as my arm! For green smoothies, and for taking stalks to work, to slather raw almond butter on as an easy snack.

–    Apples!- My faves are Honeycrisp and Gala. For smoothies, to cut up in salads, and for yummy apple deserts (stay tuned for some recipes).

–    Cilantro- For green smoothies, or chopped, to add a nice fresh taste in romaine salads, and for salsa.

–    Arugula!- One of the most alkalizing greens. Great salad base.

–    Sunflower sprouts!- These absolutely amazing, thick and happy sprouts are so energizing, that I snatch them up by the bagful wherever I see them.

Have fun with the seasonal shopping! See you at the market. ☺

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Prevent Dark Under-eye Circles- Don’t Just Slather on the Makeup!

October 14, 2008

Are dark circles under your eyes weighing your complexion down? Do you look in the mirror before work and have to really load up on the under eye concealer to feel like you look “presentable” for the public? Uggh. Our under eye skin can definitely look better (please!).

These dark circles are related to adrenal exhaustion. Coffee, and other stimulants, such as refined sugar, soda, candy, cigarettes, and recreational drugs can all contribute to this. Eating too many foods that are very high in potassium can also contribute to this issue- such as bananas and dried fruit.

We’ve all heard (or tried) applying cucumbers slices topically to prevent puffiness. But except for when you’re at the spa or kicking it on the couch with the TV on in the background, is this really a daily solution?  Um… realistically and honestly, probably not.

The good news is that you can correct dark circles with food! Yes, back to the basic building blocks of diet, which does have a profound effect on the way we look.

Eating foods high in organic sodium will help, such as: Celery, kale, spinach, olives, sea vegetables, and Swiss chard. Ingesting cucumbers and pumpkin seeds may also help. If you use small amounts of salt in your diet make sure it is Celtic sea salt. (The proper sodium balance is so important for the skin to be hydrated, supple and gorgeous, which is why one of the key ingredients is NaPCA (Sodium PCA), which is a naturally occurring, powerful moisture-binder for the skin).

Add some of these foods to keep your eye area and overall complexion looking fresh and beautiful. An easy celery option for a work snack is chopping up celery sticks and slathering raw almond butter on them.  Dulse is a great sea vegetable that you can buy in health stores and throw in salads. And of course, check out the kale salad recipe on this blog.  Here’s looking at you- pretty eyes.  ☺

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Durian Shopping in Chinatown

October 11, 2008
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Glow Inside & Out: Kimberly’s Glowing Green Smoothie(R)

October 9, 2008

For starters, do you feel like you could never, ever give up your morning coffee? Well, there is in fact a scientific reason for coffee “addiction”. The reason has to do with alkaloids- which are bitter organic compounds derived from plants bearing seed. Caffeine, morphine, cocaine, nicotine, are all alkaloids. Alkaloids give us a temporary high as acids are neutralized in the body and the blood is alkalized. What if you could feel like that all the time, without the horrible side effects (belly fat, energy slumps, um….illegal??)

Well, there really is a way to get a natural high (Yay!). Raw greens have the same effect as alkaloid substances, thereby giving your body the alkaloid stimulation it desires. The great news is that their high lasts much longer, and unlike the other aforementioned substances, greens soothe the nerves and calm the body.

Take two of these and call me in the morning.

Take two of these and call me in the morning.

By consuming a green smoothie, you are blending the greens, which is in essence “predigesting” the greens. Many of the important nutrients in greens are encased inside plant cells and getting their benefits requires these cells’ walls to be ruptured. So blending allows the food to be ingested as a whole vegetable with fiber intact (as opposed to juicing), so you feel FULL from the fiber and are able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrition from your greens. Plus, you are getting more greens than you would probably get in a day…or in a few days!

It takes only a few minutes to prepare this amazing green smoothie:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped
3-4 stalks organic celery
1/2 head of a large bunch or 3/4 of a small bunch of spinach
1 organic apple, cored and chopped
1 organic pear, cored and chopped
1 organic banana
Juice of 1/2 fresh organic lemon

optional:
1/3 bunch organic cilantro (stems okay)
1/3 bunch organic parsley (stems okay)

Directions:
Add the water and chopped head of romaine to the blender. Starting the blender at low speed, mix until smoothi. Gradually moving to higher speeds, add the celery, apple and pear. Add the cilantro and parsley, if you are choosing to add them. Add the banana and lemon juice last.

This smoothie tastes yummy. The fruit and lemon cut right though the grass taste.

Feel free to mix and match different greens and fruits, as these two specific food groups combine well.

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The Easiest Weight Loss/Maintenance Tip Ever

October 3, 2008

With a title like that, you’re probably expecting something really profound. Well, they say the most profound things in life are really simple. And so is this tip: Drink as little water and other liquids as possible during your meals. Why???

Well I remember reading the yogi Master Paramanhansa Yogananda say that if you need to gain weight, drink lots of water with your meals, and when you want to lose or maintain weight, of course do the opposite…drink less with meals. Hmmmmm. In college and for a few years after I always used to down water with my meals, thinking that I would get more full and therefore eat less. But I started researching this idea deeper, especially after my travels to India.

There is scientific theory to back up the idea of drinking less with meals. Large amounts of water and liquids impede the digestive process by diluting gastric juices, such as hydrochloric acid. Many people are already deficient in digestive acids to start, due to their diet. You also dilute the digestive enzymes your body needs for the effective digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Yes, so much of easy weight loss has to do with ease of digestion and properly breaking down foods! When these juices, acids, and enzymes are diluted, you can experience bloating, abdominal distension after meals (NOT pleasant! And not particularly attractive- especially if you are having dinner before going out!), and can have a hard time losing weight and/or maintaining your ideal weight.

Water is a truly a miracle from nature. We are so blessed to have access to clean drinking water that keeps our bodies and its fluids functioning optimally and removes toxins and waste products. But try to drink large quantities of this miracle liquid at least 20 minutes on either side of a meal, and sip only during meals. Cheers! Here’s to your healthy and more effortlessly slimmed down body!

(For the science nerds like me, here is a supportive study: In 1910, a study was done on people that drank 3 liters of water with meals for five days in a row. The findings showed: An increase in body weight of an average of two pounds in the five days; increased amount of excretion of urinary nitrogen; increased output of ammonia, due to an increased output of gastric juice; and a decrease in the quantity of bacteria excreted daily.)