Take excellent care of yourself

Welcome to Part III of my Immunity Guide! If you are just tuning in - I'm teaching you all my top tips and recipes so that you don't get sick this year. You're welcome ;)

In case you missed it, here are parts I and II:
- Foods and spices to eat for immunity
- Supplements and essential oils to use for immunity

I didn't know exactly what to call today's email since I'm going to cover a little bit of everything else: the self-care practices and daily habits that I focus on to keep my immune system functioning in tip-top form. These also work if you feel yourself starting to come down with something and want to fight it off naturally.

Alright, let's get right to it. Here's what you want to focus on:

- SLEEP - Okay this seems so obvious but I had to include it because sleep is the #1 thing you can do to stay healthy. For real. Sleep is ESSENTIAL always but especially if you feel you are fighting off something. It's your bodies time to rest and repair, and that includes your immune system. So how much sleep do you need? It depends but suggest getting to bed by 10/10:30PM. Your deeper, more restorative sleep occurs earlier in the night so the earlier you can get to sleep, the better! Read more on that here.

- DRINK - Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. I've said it before - water is detoxifying. Imagine this fresh water flushing out the pipes, carrying any gunk in your system out. Herbal tea and kombucha are work great too, but you definitely want most of what you are drinking to be pure H20.  

REST - Different from sleep, rest or "quiet time" is just as important. See what you can clear from your evenings during the week, let yourself have a slower, calmer weekend morning instead of rushing off to yoga or a brunch. Your body will thank you!

- SWEAT - This is a little controversial and depends on how you feel. No, I don't recommend running a marathon, but yes, some gentle hot yoga or a short jog (or walk!) may help get things moving and cleared out. Ultimately you will have to make the call based on how you feel.

- BUNDLE UP - Whether you feel cold or not, bundle up! Your neck, ankles/feet and wrists are the most important areas to keep covered. Wear big fuzzy socks and a scarf around the house, and definitely when you go out. Have a pair of gloves already stashed in your jacket pockets so they are handy (ha ha!) whenever you need them.

- VISUALIZE - See yourself getting better, stronger, healthier. Imagine all that water that you are drinking flushing the germs outta your bod. I know, sounds a little out there, but it works!!

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Now for your homework this week: think healthy thoughts! Really - I know that there is a lot going on this week and this month, but ultimately you gotta take care of YOU before anything or anyone else. So take two minutes when you wake up to think about how your will prioritize YOU that day. Maybe one day your goal is to try a new immune boosting food (kombucha! bone broth! ginger tea!) and maybe another day all you can focus on is making sure you don't leave the house without a hat and scarf. Even if these things don't happen all of the time, the fact that you are thinking about them is a great start.

 

Did you enjoy reading this post? I think you would love this post where I share a whole lot more ideas on how to take excellent care of yourself: A long list of self care ideas

Supplements + essential oils for immunity

Welcome to Part II of my Immunity Guide! In this three part series I'm going to be teaching you my top immunity tips and recipes so that you don't get sick this season. Yes, that's totally possible. 

In case you missed it, last week I shared the foods and spices you'll want to eat to naturally boost your immune system.

Today we will dive into the supplements and essential oils I recommend to my clients specifically to boost immunity. I consider this list my "natural medicine cabinet" and it's what I keep on hand both to prevent myself from getting sick AND to ward off illness if I do feel I'm coming down with something.

Let's get to it!

Take these supplements boost your immune system:

- Probiotic - Did you know that 80% of your immune system is actually located in your digestive tract? Yup! In addition to eating fermented foods, I recommend taking a probiotic (especially this time of year) to build up the good bacteria in your gut. Like with your fermented foods, you want to vary your probiotic sources because each brand has a slightly different combination of bacteria. Here are a few brands I recommend: Prescript Assist, Garden of Life, and Enzymedica
- Vitamin D - Studies show that with adequate blood levels of Vitamin D it is possible to prevent any and all infections. The trouble is that for most of us it is nearly impossible for our bodies to produce sufficient vitamin D from exposure to sunlight alone, which is why supplementation is important. I suggest taking a liquid supplement, like this one, with your breakfast in the AM.
- Echinacea - Echinacea is a powerful herb that has been used for thousands of years as a natural and effective cold and flu preventer. I bring in this one when I feel myself starting to come down with something or if I've been around someone who is sick. 
- Olive leaf extract - A 100% natural herbal antibacterial/antiviral supplement that won't mess with your stomach (as many supplements can, see note on Vitamin C below). Again, this one I use if I feel a little drained, like my body is fighting off something. 
- Vitamin C - 1000 mg or more of Vitamin C daily has anti-viral and immune enhancing effects (just be careful not to take TOO much as it can cause digestive upset and diarrhea). You can totally take Vitamin C daily this time of year for extra "health insurance" <<< hehehe :) 
 

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Use these essential oils that boost your immune system:

- OnGuard - doTERRA's signature "protective" blend, onGuard is my favorite immunity oil. I rub a drop between my hands and breathe it in while traveling and diffuse in my apartment regularly. It smells amazing because it's a blend with cinnamon, clove and eucalyptus, among other things. Also, of you have a sore throat you can put a drop of this oil in hot water for a soothing, yummy tea, or gargle with it. 
- Lemon - Lemon is detoxifying and cleansing which means it helps your body eliminate any yuck it comes into contact with. I love adding a drop to my morning water
- Breathe - If you are congested or have the sniffles, this oil is for you! Breathe is another doTERRA blend which (as you can probably deduce from the name) helps promote breathing. You can rub a drop on your chest or diffuse at night (when congestion often makes it hard to sleep).
- Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus oil helps open up the nasal passages so that you can breathe deeply. It's invigorating, so I prefer to use this one during the day - rub a drop between your hands and breathe it in, or place a few drops in your shower for a spa-like experience.
- Oregano - Oregano is one of the most potent and powerful essential oils and has been used for centuries for its cleansing and immune-boosting properties. I save this oil for when I feel myself coming down with something. It's VERY strong (and sort of tastes like liquid pizza) so I'll place a drop in a small glass of water and CHUG. I'll repeat this 2-3 times per day until I feel better. Works like a charm every time. 

Click here to purchase essential oils.

Note: I only recommend the doTERRA certified therapeutic grade essential oils. These oils are triple tested for purity and are the highest quality out there (which is super important if you are going to be ingesting them as per my recommendations above). 

Purchasing more than 1 or 2 oils? Open a wholesale account to save 25% on this and all future purchases - hit reply to this email for details and instructions!


Like with the foods and spices list, this list is by no means exhaustive - I'm constantly researching the best holistic remedies and new products, which I always share as soon as I've tested them! However, I do hope that with this list you feel like you have a great start to building your own natural medicine cabinet. 

Now for your homework for this week - choose ONE of these supplements or oils to add into your daily routine. And then let me know which one (or ones!) you are trying out in the comments below - I can't wait to hear from you!

Eat Your Greens! (A Guide) - Butterhead Lettuce

If you want to take just one step towards a healthier lifestyle, start adding more leafy green vegetables into your diet. As I've mentioned previously, greens give you energy!  They also fight disease and help you lose weight. 

Okay, that all sounds well and good, but not pumped about eating salads every meal? Good news: you don't have to! In fact, you never have to eat salad if you don't want to. Totally turned off by the sound of a green smoothie? That's okay. I'm here to help you find out what types of greens you DO like and how to prepare them so YOU enjoy eating them.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be shining the spotlight on some different types of greens and easy ways to enjoy these nutrient powerhouses.  In case you missed it, we've already covered collard greenskalearugula, and sprouts

Butter + lettuce?  An oxymoron at its finest.  Also known as Bibb or Boston, this tender, sweet green is one of my warm weather go-to greens.  Why?  Not only is it tasty (it has a very mild flavor), but the leaves are the perfect size and shape for wrapping around things.  Which explains why my favorite way to enjoy this green is as a lettuce cup, stuffed with whatever else I'm loving at the moment: sweet potato and avocado, quinoa salad, veggie burger, etc. 

Butter lettuce is packed with Vitamin A, which helps produce healthy skin and hair and strong bones.  Butter lettuce contains a good amount of phosphorous, which also helps you build strong bones and aids your body in utilizing carbohydrates and fats for energy.  Cool!

image via andyboy.com

image via andyboy.com

Ready to chow down?  Here's some inspiration to get you started:

- Grilled Tofu Lettuce Wraps  - The slaw in this recipe looks amazing!  I'm sure you could also pan fry the tofu if you do not have a grill.

- Butter Lettuce with Mustard Vinaigrette - A simple, yet elegant salad.  Mustard + herbs = spring!

- Beluga Lentil, Butter Lettuce, and Radish Salad with Creamy Lemon Cashew Dressing - A heartier, meal-sized salad.  The dressing takes a little extra effort (you need to soak the cashews before making it), but it's worth it!

- Butter Lettuce Soup - I love a good blended soup, and this recipe sounds particularly interesting.  For a dairy-free version, replace the buttermilk with an equal amount of soy, almond, or coconut milk plus 1 TBSP lemon juice. 

-Fiesta Lettuce Wraps - Is it too late to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  This recipe calls for a plantain (relative of the banana), but you could easily omit it!   You could probably also sub a diced sweet potato or squash. 


Like I mentioned above, my favorite way to eat butter lettuce is in "taco" form with baked sweet potato rounds, sliced avocado, radish slices, and cilantro. Super easy and super delicious. YUM! I'm getting hungry just thinking about it... 

Have you tried butter lettuce? Let me about know your favorite recipes, or if you try out any of the above, in the comments below! 

Eat Your Greens! (A Guide) - Sprouts!

If you want to take just one step towards a healthier lifestyle, start adding more leafy green vegetables into your diet. As I've mentioned previously, greens give you energy!  They also fight disease and help you lose weight. 

Okay, that all sounds well and good, but not pumped about eating salads every meal? Good news: you don't have to! In fact, you never have to eat salad if you don't want to. Totally turned off by the sound of a green smoothie? That's okay. I'm here to help you find out what types of greens you DO like and how to prepare them so YOU enjoy eating them.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be shining the spotlight on some different types of greens and easy ways to enjoy these nutrient powerhouses.  In case you missed it, we've already covered collard greenskale, and arugula

SPROUTS - What do you think about these little guys?  Have you tried them before, or do you think they are just "hippie food?" 

I agree, sprouts can be a little crunchy (in more ways than one), but let me tell you why I like them:  they pack a ton of nutritional bang for your buck!  (Read:  You don't have to eat a lot!).

Why are sprouts so nutrient packed?  Sprouts are the very beginnings of a plant; they are eaten at a stage in the plant's lifecycle where it is rapidly growing.  Because the plant is in this period of rapid growth, there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than in other raw fruits and veggies.  Enzymes are special types of proteins that improve your body's functions (especially nutrient absorption).  I like to think of it as if I'm eating a whole head of broccoli, or a whole bunch of arugula, for every little sprout I eat - pretty cool!

Now there are MANY types of sprouts out there - so how do you choose?  I've provided a brief flavor profile for a few popular types of sprouts below.  See what sounds good to you and what looks good at your farmer's market or grocery store, and experiment.

Keep in mind that sprouts can be a breeding ground for bacteria (because they are grown in warm, moist environments to encourage growth of the baby plant).  To reduce your risk of sickness, buy only fresh sprouts that have been kept properly refrigerated, do not buy sprouts that have a musty smell or slimy appearance, and thoroughly rinse sprouts before use.

- Alfalfa sprouts - mild flavor, wispy; these are the most common sprouts that you have probably seen served on vegetarian sandwiches on in salads)

- Broccoli sprouts - slightly spicy (peppery) and slightly crunchy; my personal favorite for salads and bowls!

- Sunflower sprouts - hearty, sweet, and crunchy; bigger than your average sprout, these make a great lettuce replacement on sandwiches!

- Mung bean sprouts - crunchy, hydrating, mild flavor;  these are another common variation, usually served in Asian dishes like pho and pad thai. 

 

Ready to TRY OUT SPROUTS?  Here's some recipe inspiration to get you started:

- The Veggie Sandwich - Grab your favorite bread and toast it up.  Spread one side with mashed avocado, the other side with hummus.  Layer the avocado side with sliced cucumbers, raw or roasted red peppers, and broccoli sprouts.  Top sea salt, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Add you second piece of bread with the hummus on top and enjoy! YUM!

- California Barley Bowl - A nourishing breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you guys know I'm a sucker for bowls!  Omit the cheese and use nondairy yogurt (or coconut creme) for a vegan version!

- Roasted Baby Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Sunflower Sprouts - This is a super elegant, yet fairly simple recipe.  Intimidating by making your own cashew cheese?  That's okay! Replace with a store bought goat cheese OR avocado slices. 

- Everyday Vegan Pad Thai - Your Thai take out, healthified. I like to add LOTS of mung bean sprouts to mine - they taste just like noodles when covered with any sauce. 

 

Let me know what you try in the comments below!

Eat Your Greens! (A Guide) - Arugula

If you want to take just one step towards a healthier lifestyle, start adding more leafy green vegetables into your diet. As I've mentioned previously, greens give you energy!  They also fight disease and help you lose weight. 

Okay, that all sounds well and good, but not pumped about eating salads every meal? Good news: you don't have to! In fact, you never have to eat salad if you don't want to. Totally turned off by the sound of a green smoothie? That's okay. I'm here to help you find out what types of greens you DO like and how to prepare them so YOU enjoy eating them.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be shining the spotlight on some different types of greens and easy ways to enjoy these nutrient powerhouses.  In case you missed it, we've already covered collard greens and kale

Do you like pepper and spice? If so, arugula is the green for you!  Also known as rocket (cool!) and rucola, this zesty leaf packs a serious flavor and nutrient punch.   Arugula contains very high nitrate levels, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure and increase athletic performance.  It is also rich in certain phytochemicals that help prevent certain cancers.  Like collards and kale, it is packed with Vitamins A, C, and K. 

image via getfit.jillianmichaels.com

image via getfit.jillianmichaels.com

Like with kale, the "baby" arugula has a more mild taste.  Try mixing baby arugula into your salads or add to sandwiches, or add sautéed arugula to pastas and grain dishes.  

Need some more inspiration for how to eat arugula?  Here are some easy recipes to start with:

- Asparagus and Arugula Pasta Salad - The perfect spring pasta dish!  Omit the cheese or sub cashew cheese to make this dish vegan.  

- Eggplant, Pepper, and Arugula Tortilla Pizza - A super quick, yet super healthy take on pizza.  This recipe calls for babaganoush, which is a dip made from roasted eggplant.  There are instructions in the recipe on how to make your own, but you could easily buy pre-made babaganoush or substitute your favorite hummus.  

- Mushroom, Lentil, and Lemon Salad - This dish pairs hearty mushrooms and lentils with bright lemon and arugula for a perfectly balanced plate.  It would come together in a snap if you cooked the lentils in advance. 

- Superfood Pesto - A nut and dairy free pesto, that tastes just as good (if not better) than the classic!  This recipe calls for spirulina, which you could easily omit if you do not have on hand or do not want to buy.  It also calls for nutritional yeast, which is essential to the recipe.  Nutritional yeast is an ingredient often used in vegan recipes to create a "cheesy" flavor.  You can find it  at any Whole Foods or health foods store - it's a stellar ingredient to have in your healthy kitchen. 

- Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette - All I can say is YUM. I love the idea of pairing spicy arugula with sweet beets and crunchy roasted nuts.  Plus the dressing sounds incredible on its own, and easy to whip up! I can't wait to try this!

 

Have you tried arugula yet?  How have you liked it?  Which of the above recipes sounds best to you?