Not your typical Thanksgiving recipes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because FOOD but also because of the traditions my family, friends and I have created together around this day.

In the past, I've pulled together a round up of healthy holiday recipes - some that I'm hoping to try out myself, but also simply to provide YOU all with inspiration on how this traditionally overindulgent meal can also be nourishing and full of veggies :)

 My Thanksgiving dinner = a rainbow of veggies!

My Thanksgiving dinner = a rainbow of veggies!

This year I'm doing a slightly different recipe round up. The recipes I'm sharing today are not necessarily meant for your holiday meal, but rather in the days surrounding Thanksgiving (or whatever holiday you're celebrating!).

Why? What trips us up health or digestion wise around the holidays isn't usually the holiday meal itself. It's how we eat in between the festivities and parties.

Pumpkin AND pecan pie with whipped cream is totally fine on Thanksgiving. It's when we have that plus the Gingerbread latte and almond croissant the next morning while Black Friday shopping, plus the 1/2 (okay full) bottle of wine with friends the next evening, plus leftover pie for breakfast the next day that we start to feel less than sparkly in our bodies.

It's not ONE meal or ONE decision that makes or breaks your health. It's how you feed and treat yourself most of the time that truly makes a difference.

  Mmmm look at all those veggies!

Mmmm look at all those veggies!

This is not to say you can't enjoy yourself thoroughly and repetitively throughout the holiday season. I plan to have MANY desserts and cocktails with friends and lazy mornings.

But I also plan to choose my indulgences consciously, and choose to feed myself nourishing, whole foods between those conscious indulgences.

So the recipes that I'm sharing today are wholesome, gut healing and simple. They're foods and meals you can reset yourself with in between the parties and celebratory meals, for this season and beyond.

NOURISHING RECIPES for “IN BETWEEN” HOLIDAY FEASTS:

Note: Many of these recipes are pulled from the few cookbooks I own. I’ve linked recipes when possible, but I also highly recommend investing in these cookbooks as they are packed with easy, nourishing recipes.

SOUPS + SALADS:

MEALS:

  • Shepard’s Pie from Go with Your Gut

  • Superhuman Breakfast (for breakfast, lunch or dinner!)

  • The Simplest Salmon from Thin From Within

  • My favorite thing to reset my gut is a pile of steamed veggies of any and all kinds! I love steaming up kale, sweet potatoes, peas, kabocha squash and more in my bamboo steamer basket (which yes, I pack and bring with me for the holidays!).

  • Collard Salad Wraps from Thin From Within

DRINKS:

COOKBOOKS: Oh She Glows, Go with Your Gut, Thin From Within

 You best bet I'll be photographing my eats and creations!

You best bet I'll be photographing my eats and creations!

Whether you make one of these recipes or something more festive from a previous holiday round up (linked in PS below!), I LOVE seeing your food photos. Snap a picture of your dish or plate and post it to social media (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!). Be sure to tag me @EmilyNachazel so I can see your posts.

For healthy holiday meal inspiration, check out my recipe round UPs from previous years:

2017 Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

2016 Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

2015 Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

2014 Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

Loving Lately // Fall 2018

As a way to share my favorites with you on a regular basis, I created the "Things I'm Loving Lately" series on my blog. In this series I share everything from food to fitness, brands to beauty products, good reads to good listens.

It’s officially fall in NYC so today I'm sharing some of things that I've been loving on this season.

Here's what I'm currently craving and crushing on: 

RECIPE: Curry + Turmeric Roasted Squash

I keep expecting this curry + turmeric roasted squash recipe to get old… but it JUST DOESN’T. It’s so, so good. The combination of spicy curry with anti-inflammatory turmeric is perfection sprinkled on dense and slightly sweet winter squash.

I usually make this recipe with kabocha squash (a Japanese pumpkin that’s like a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato) but you can do it with virtually any squash, or vegetable for that matter (cauliflower is quite good here too!)

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 DRINK: CRIO BRU

I’ve been experimenting with different morning drinks and right now I’m super into Crio Bru cacao tea. It’s virtually caffeine free and less acidic than coffee or cacao powder (since you steep it like a loose leaf tea).

You can find Crio Bru (+ all my other favorite superfoods) on my shop page: My Favorite Products.

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FOOD: ANYTHING PURPLE

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop led by Master FaXiang Hou, a certified and highly accomplished Master of Medical QiGong and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He taught us some breathing and energy techniques, but also shared his traditional wisdom around eating for the seasons.

I’m putting together my notes from the workshop, but one of my takeaways was that we should be eating more PURPLE foods this time of year (fall), so I’ve been loading up on purple kale and collards, purple sweet potatoes, eggplant and cabbage.

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Book, blog or podcast: WHEN FOOD IS LOVE

I picked up When Food is Love by Geneen Roth at the library last week and I was deeply moved after reading just the first page of the book’s introduction.

Geneen Roth is one of the original teachers who talks and teaches about breaking free from emotional eating. I first learned about her work when I was studying at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

If you resonated with some of what I shared in either of these blog posts, I think you’d also enjoy this book:

Essential oil: VETIVER

I was introduced to vetiver by my amazing acupuncturist - it’s woodsy and complex aroma is known to provide a calming, grounding effect making it ideal for massage therapy and promoting restful sleep.

Vetiver is super thick and viscous. Be patient with this oil - a drop or two mixed into body oil and rubbed on the legs is incredible right before bed, or diffuse it with lavender for the best sleep ever.

Learn more + purchase essential oils here.

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Workout or self care: MY HOME YOGA PRACTICE

A few weeks ago I participated in a Home Practice workshop at The Studio in NYC. Almost every day since then, I’ve done 30-45 minutes of yoga on my own, something I’ve never been able to do before despite teaching and practicing for years.

According to the Katonah Yoga teachings, a Home Practice is not simply doing yoga in your home, it’s about creating a daily, personal ritual that allows you to come into your body (your real, true home). One of the most impactful things I learned during this training was that a Home Practice doesn’t need to mean going through a full yoga class or practicing what I’d teach at a studio - it can be as simply as a few poses + some breathwork to fire me up for the day, or a longer hold in plow to sooth my soul before bed.

If you’re in the NYC area and curious in learning more about this practice and material, I encourage you to come take class at The Studio. They’re also holding another Home Practice workshop this weekend (November 10-11) if this piece in particular resonated with you.

If you’re not in NYC, you can still get a taste for this practice by checking out my Morning Breathwork Routine video.

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What are YOU loving lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Bio-individuality

Last week I got a text from one of my college girlfriends: 

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GIRL, I HEAR YOU!

If you’ve done any sort of exploration into health and wellness you’ve probably experienced a similar sense of frustration and confusion. Whether the info comes from celebrities, friends or well known doctors, it feels like everyone is preaching a little something different when it comes to food, body and health.

While there are definitely some healthy basics MOST plans agree on (drink more water, eat more vegetables, get plenty of movement and find ways to manage your stress), the specifics vary quite a lot. And if you haven’t found the magical combination that works for you yet, it can all feel confusing and honestly overwhelming.

  • The Medical Medium swears by celery juice + high fruit diet

  • Beyonce and Jay Z went vegan and never felt better

  • But my best friend is trying out intermittent fasting and keto and has lost 14 pounds already (while eating bacon and butter!) 

  • Should I be concerned about food combining? What even is food combining?

Of all the experts and opinions, who do you listen to?

My answer might surprise you (or maybe it won’t at all if you’ve been reading some of my more recent blogs).

The best person to listen to is YOU.

I wrote back to my friend:

   Photo by Seana Pasic

Bio-individuality was one of the first principles I learned during my health coach training at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). At the time, I was {mostly} vegan and eating a lot of raw foods, mainly as a result of watching some very convincing documentaries and following health bloggers.

But even though so much I was seeing on those films and reading on those blogs told me THIS WAS THE WAY TO OPTIMAL HEALTH AND HAPPINESS, in my gut I was questioning if this was the diet for me. While some of my digestive issues felt better, I was still experiencing a lot of bloating and really strange skin issues (random rashes that would flare up on my neck and back). And more than anything else, the diet didn't feel like it fit my life.

Wait, so what is bio-individuality?

Bio-individuality means that no one diet works for everyone. Each and every person has unique needs.

Just like we all have different styles in fashion, music and movies, we also intuitively understand, on a very deep level, that one person's perfect food is another person's poison. 

Learning this concept at IIN completely changed the way I looked at food, and ultimately, how I coach and teach, not just about food but about everything.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to health.

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A vegan diet may be great for your sister, but makes you feel bloated and hangry. Your BFF may have trouble with gluten and dairy, but when you’re honest about it, they seem to work just fine for you (lucky you!). You may run fine without grains, but your hubby NEEDS them at every meal.

We’re all different, and that’s okay.

During my studies at IIN, I learned over 100 different dietary theories (yes, there are over 100 different diets out there that are popular enough to be taught at the world’s largest nutrition school).

When a client (or, in this case, a friend) comes to me feeling overwhelmed with the wellness world and confused about how to eat, I don’t automatically put them on any one diet. Instead we work together to figure out what balance works best for their body, and their LIFE. Maybe that’s ketogenic or raw or Ayurvedic, or maybe it’s a combination of all three of these.

My ultimate goal when working with clients 1:1 is to provide them with the tools and support they need to listen to their own intuitive food voice. To find their version of a balanced diet. And to have practices for checking in with themselves so that their plan can adapt to life as it changes over time.

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Whether you’re feeling lost when it comes to food, or are simply looking to further improve your personal choices, here’s an exercise you can do today: 

Take out a blank piece of paper and write down the following questions:

What’s ONE thing I’m currently eating or doing that I know makes me feel amazing?

What’s ONE thing I’m currently eating or doing that I know doesn’t serve me?

Take a few minutes to write out your answers to each of these questions. If you’re feeling stumped, that’s okay! Sit with it a little longer, or maybe come back to it when you have a bit more time to think it over.



From my experience, most of us know what we need to be doing more or less of, but often that intuition gets drowned out by other people’s opinions, or simply the busy-ness of our day-to-day lives.



It doesn't matter how many years of work you've done with food and body - there's always going to be something that could shift. Our bodies, lives and circumstances change and therefore our habits must change too.



So right in this moment: what's your ONE thing that you know needs to change? And how can you (lovingly, compassionately) support yourself in making that change?

Write this down for yourself, or better yet, leave a comment below and let me know.

Want more support with this? I have one coaching spot opening up in November. If you're looking to dive deeper into your intuitive food voice and strengthen your self-care practices, click here to apply to work with me 1:1. Even if you're not sure if coaching is for you right now, the application is a great exercise in reflection and getting clear on your own goals.

My morning breathwork practice [VIDEO]

Ever wish you could experience the calm and balance that comes from a good yoga class (or good therapy session!) in more moments of your life?

You can through meditation and breathwork.

Most people have heard of meditation. It's gotten pretty popular in the recent years as more and more celebrities and big executives reveal that they meditate on a daily basis. Due to it's popularity, meditation has also become more accessible - you don't have to go to a yoga studio to meditate, you can learn and practice in the comfort of your own home with apps like Headspace and Calm. 

Today I want to share a little more about meditation's lesser known cousin: breathwork.

You could totally say that breathwork is a meditation, and that meditation involves breathwork. The two are certainly connected. Today I'm sharing some specific techniques that fall more under the "breathwork" category and are less well known than long, deep and even breathing that's taught alongside most meditation.

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I've been practicing and teaching different breathing techniques for the last few years, but it's only within the last year that I've committed to exploring and owning more of these techniques, mainly through my studies of Katonah yoga (more on that another time!).

Your breath is a powerful tool that you can tap into at any time - in the middle of a stressful meeting, on a packed subway car (or in the middle of a bumper to bumper traffic), when your child (or best friend or partner) is having a meltdown. You don't need to make an appointment with your breath - it's with you wherever you go, and you can practice using it almost without anyone noticing.

Personally, I'm most interested in using breathwork techniques to connect with my body and intuition, and to regulate my mood and energy. There are certain breathing techniques that will chill you out and others that can fire you up. In goes beyond that though:

In their 2012 book, The Healing Power of the Breath, doctors Richard P. Brown and Patricia L. Gerbarg wrote: “Studies are revealing that, by changing the patterns of breathing, it is possible to restore balance to the stress response systems, calm an agitated mind, relieve symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), improve physical health and endurance, elevate performance, and enhance relationships.”

WOW.

Breathwork is inherently a part of most meditation and yoga practices, but it can also be practiced on it's own. I recently participated in a yoga training where we did a full 1 hour breathwork class, which was simultaneously one of the hardest and most amazing things I've ever experienced.

From this training I was inspired (ha ha get it???) to add a more formal breathwork practice to my morning routine, which is what I'm sharing with you today. Even on the days when I'm tired, or don't have time for a full yoga sequence, I do a few minutes of breathwork and I immediately feel better - more grounded, more energized and more in ME.

Watch the video below to experience this practice yourself!

As with a meditation or yoga practice, consistency is key. While you will almost certainly feel something after doing breathwork once, the power comes from making it a part of your regular routine.

Leave a comment below with ONE WORD explaining how you felt during or after trying this breathwork routine. And then challenge yourself - can you do this once a week? A few times a week? The magic of the practice truly comes out with repetition.

Cravings and emotions

If you’ve been following me on social media you may know that I’ve been eliminating foods in an effort to gain clarity on what may be irritating my gut.

In this post I’ll be sharing a bit more about the emotional side of cleansing. Maybe you’ve seen friends doing a Whole30 or maybe you’ve been inspired by my posts to try out an elimination diet, but what many people don’t share or talk about is the emotions, feelings and thoughts that come up when you start to limit the foods (drinks, experiences) you’re saying yes to.

 Hello from me and one of my favorite detox-friendly foods!

Hello from me and one of my favorite detox-friendly foods!

Cleansing and detox is not an easy topic for me to write about because I know it can trigger a lot of people who have had or have a disordered relationship with food.

Obsession, restriction and addiction are all too common in today’s society I think mainly because of media and what we portray as “successful” or “healthy” or “beautiful” but also because so many of us were raised without really being taught how to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies, and taking it a step further, our emotions.

I want to be clear that my current elimination and desire to cleanse was not and is not about weight loss (although I’ve definitely done cleanses or clean eating programs in the past where that was one of my goals). I’ve been in a lot of pain the last year and I’m finally taking action.

I heard best selling author and coach Alex Jamieson once say “Food is sex with your pants on” and she’s totally right.

Food is love.

Food is pleasure.

Food is connection.

Food is comfort.

Food is also safer (easier, and usually more readily accessible) than having sex, or asking a friend for help or striking up a conversation with a stranger.

It’s not a bad thing that we entwine our feelings with food. The trouble begins when we avoid feeling our feelings and connecting with our selves and with others, and instead “eat over” these things.

There’s a lot to say on this, and I’m more than happy to continue this conversation (in the comments below or 1:1) but really what I want to talk about today are some specific cravings or urges you might experience while detoxing or eliminating certain food and drinks.

 Hmmm… I wonder what this craving is really about?

Hmmm… I wonder what this craving is really about?

I'm sharing what I’ve noticed through my studies and self study to be the root cause of these cravings, and what you can do instead.

CarBs > for comfort

I’m not a pasta person (I know, shocking!!) but gluten free toast and muffins are definitely my comfort foods of choice. And for a good reason: carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect.

You can totally swap your white pasta (or white bread) for an “upgraded” carb like whole grains, potatoes and sweet potatoes, but here are some non-food ways to experience that same calm:

  • Meditation (it’s helpful in ALL situations, but especially here)

  • Self massage

  • Deep belly breathing

Caffeine + sugar > to push through

One of the foods (well really “substances”) I’ve been working to eliminate is caffeine, and boy is it a tough one to let go of, mainly because we live in such a go-go-go society. It’s easy to push forward and get through your to-do list when you’re on the high of caffeine or sugar, but unfortunately coffee and sweets usually leave us feeling MORE depleted after the initial rush has worn off.

Here’s what to do instead of reaching for that second cup of joe or dipping your hand in the office candy jar:

  • Take a break or nap

  • Drink a glass of water

  • Go for a walk

  • Expect less of yourself (i.e. take your to-do list down from 5 items to 1 or 2)

 When in doubt: DRINK WATER

When in doubt: DRINK WATER

Alcohol > To relax and numb out

Ahhh alcohol - the magical liquid that makes our worries melt away and helps us be more social, even in the most awkward situations. We unwind with a glass of wine, connect over a cocktail and celebrate with champagne. Drinking is woven into our culture, even though alcohol is truly a pretty toxic (and extremely addictive) substance.

If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or uncomfortable, here are some things you can do instead of reaching for the bottle:

  • Calming breath

  • Take an Epsom salt bath (or, if it’s available to you, book a session in a float tank)

  • Infrared sauna

  • And if you’re in a social situation… go to the bathroom and let yourself out of the spotlight for a bit

Note: If you are seriously worried about your drinking habits or relationship with alcohol, please contact your local AA support group or seek the help of a trained therapist.

Chocolate (also sugar) > FOR A dopamine hit

Similar to caffeine, chocolate is my go-to when I need a boost in energy or mood. Also similar to caffeine, chocolate has been one of the harder things to eliminate. Again, science explains why this is the case: Chocolate contains small amounts of a compound called phenylethylamine, which acts like an amphetamine, stimulating your brain cells to release dopamine (which is your “feel good” neurotransmitter).

While I totally believe that chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet, here are a few other ways to boost your mood:

  • Have a solo dance party (I have a specific playlist of songs that I know are good for dancing)

  • Work out! Endorphins also make you happy!

  • Add in this mood boosting adaptogenic herb: mucuna pruriens

Any food > to distract or avoid feeling

We can really use ANY food to distract or to avoid a feeling or situation. And while it may be a little “healthier” to distract ourselves with a tray of roasted sweet potatoes compared to a bag of chips, at the root there’s still an issue.

I know this all too well. During a particularly stressful time at my corporate job years and years ago, I would leave every afternoon to get a Cashew Mylk from the Organic Avenue by my office. Although this was probably one of the healthiest “treats” out there - gluten and dairy free, no refined sugars, made locally, etc etc… I felt crappy about it because I knew deep down the Cashew Mylk wasn’t going to help the real issue. Plus, I didn’t really need (or want) to spend $12 every day or have that rich drink every afternoon (too much of a good thing is still too much!). Instead of honoring that I was feeling trapped and stressed in my job, I used food to self soothe.

If you’re feeling like a certain food has control over you, there’s probably something else that needs and wants to be looked at.

Here are a few ways to get in touch with these feelings and emotions:

  • Journal

  • Call a friend and talk it out

  • Have a session with a healer or therapist

  • Work with a health coach ;)

  As one of my clients said “Journaling helps loosen things from the heart.”

I know there’s a lot to digest within this blog post, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed or not sure where to start, start with awareness. Nothing can change if you don’t first hold the space to see it for what it is. Next time you have a craving, take a moment to pause and ask yourself: Is there something else going on here? Is there another way I can support myself instead of automatically reaching for [insert your most craved food here]?

And please be compassionate with yourself during this process! No one (at least no one I know!) is completely free of using food to self soothe. It’s simply about cultivating awareness, starting that conversation with yourself and having tools you can turn in the moment.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Do you noticed yourself craving certain foods when you’re stressed or lonely? Have you done a detox or elimination diet and felt these feelings more intensely? Leave a comment below and let me know! <3