Sunday, October 13, 2013

Personal Care

   Your skin is the largest organ in your body.  We often think about what we put IN our body and not what we put ON our body.   Wouldn't it make sense that the things we put on our skin also gets absorbed and into our blood stream?  So despite how clean your diet is and how you limit the toxins you consume. You are still exposing yourself to toxins through skincare. 
    My personal care and make up were one of the last things I converted over to a more natural, organic type of care.  I was very hesitant because who knows what was out there that I could use.  I needed it to work.  I need it to make me feel pretty.  I hated using my products because none of it ever worked.  It was annoying. Nothing ever felt good or made me feel pretty.  There is a reason there are so many brands out there right? So many products filled with chemicals.  One of them is bound to work with my skin right?  Ugh. Very often I thought that I should have paid more attention in chemistry!  I hate trying different types of products until I find one that works.  It's like shopping for clothes.  You have to shop until you find your style.  Then when  you do, you don't really want to try anything new right?  But like everything else, the more I educated myself, the more I couldn't keep using these products.  I was putting my health at risk while knowing that I was doing so.  It didn't sit well with me.  It was time to change.  
         Off I went to do research. Off I went to see what was out there.  I'm honestly happy to say after four months of using my new products, I am the happiest girl there is.  The care that I use makes me feel good.  It makes my skin looks good.  I actually don't mind putting on make up daily.  I can feel good about it because I know I'm not risking my health just to look good.  
      So I ask you, go to wherever you keep your personal care items and start examining the labels.  Can you even say half of the names?  How many ingredients are there in just one item?  Are you freaked out now?   That's okay. I'm here to guide you into making healthier choices for yourself.  I was overwhelmed myself first.  I give you a list of the toxins so you know why we are avoiding these items.  I give you a list of some of the brands I use.  I also give you the list of resources I used to help me with my research.  I hope this helps!! 

The following are just a handful of chemicals that are in your daily routine.  They are some of the worst chemicals to expose yourself to:  


1. Toluene: is associated with dangers to reproductive system

2. Paraben: (also under butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben): is commonly linked to breast cancer

3. Phthalates: commonly linked to birth defects and breast cancer. also damages liver, kidneys, lung and reproductive system.

4. Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA): associated with liver, stomach, bladder and esophagus cancer.

5. Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): (also in your antifreeze!!) - linked to liver kidney and brain damage.

6. Aluminum: linked to Alzheimer and brain disorders.

7. Fluoride: thyroid problems

The following are some brands that I've switched over to:
1. Burt Bees - Skin Care and Hair Care (The blemish stick is AMAZING!)

2. Tarte -  Make up - The Amazonian clay foundation is my favorite product.

 3. Primal Pit Paste- deodorants


4. Toms - toothpaste

5. Nature's Gate - Hair products

6. Shea Moisture -Hair Products

7. SparitualNail Polish



The resources I used in my conversion: 
1. www.ewg.org - environmental working group
2. The Honest Guide - book by Jessica Alba - great for pointers in all aspects of your life
3. http://benaturallyou.com/skin-care/top-10-chemicals-to-avoid/
4. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2012/04/10/you-have-the-right-to-know-17-chemicals-to-avoid-in-cosmetic-and-personal-care-products/
http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?list=type&type=33


As usual, feedback is always appreciated.  My face and my skin thanks me.  I actually love taking care of my skin and putting on make up now.  I hope you feel the same way! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chicken with Roasted Apples and Garlic

            I genuinely love cooking seasonal recipes.  It forces me to change up my diet.  I'm eating things I would not have eaten when I was little despite how Mom made them.  (Sorry Mom for being so picky!)  Now as a grown up, I love root vegetables like turnips and parsnips. Who would have thought? I actually like kale and mashed cauliflower.  These are all things I would not have dared to go near when I was little. The fall and winter call for root vegetables.  It calls for warm and hearty meals.  I grew up eating pasta during the winter.  Since I'm unable to eat pasta constantly due to being gluten free, I turned to other recipes that would give me the same type satisfaction. I'm now making recipes that I would have turned my nose up before I turned my diet around.  Now I wonder how I ever went without ever trying these types of food.
       When people think of fall, they automatically think of apples or pumpkin.  Usually the first recipe that comes to mind is apple pie or pumpkin pie.  Many people also think fall is here when Starbucks finally brings back their infamous pumpkin spice latte.  People on Long Island tend to go out east and go apple picking or pumpkin picking, depending on the month.  A few weeks ago, I got to go apple picking with my family. It truly was a wonderful time.  I made memories with them that I will never forget and always treasure.  We came home with 98 apples!!! What were we supposed to do with all of that????  (No we didn't count while we were there!! We counted after we cleaned them up at home!) 
        We scoured my cookbooks and Pinterest.  We decided on the following four recipes. We made Chicken with Roasted Apples and Garlic, Spiced Apple Fudge, Apple Pie and Apple Oatmeal Cookies.  We still had plenty of apples left over.  My favorite was the chicken! SO good, so tender so juicy!   
        The recipe fits all my criteria for eating, gluten-free and clean.  Nothing was processed or made with chemicals.  It was all 100% real food plus it was seasonal! The apples were local too which is my favorite kind of food to cook with.  Those components are what makes up my favorite kind of recipes.  It always tastes so much better then anything that comes out of a box.  SCORE!!    
       That night after a fun filled day out east, we made the chicken with butternut squash soup.  We also made broccoli and garlic on the side.  It was a great meal and everything was eaten with very little leftovers. 
        This particular recipe came from my one of my favorite cookbooks, "Cooking Light, Cooking Through the Seasons".   I adore this cookbook! It truly helps with inspirational cooking. It has clean recipes that I can use right away. I play around with other recipes adapt to make it clean and gluten-free.  Anyway, I had doubled the recipe as I needed to feed more people then the recipe called for.  I'm going to to put what I used.  Feel free to halve it or make adaptions.  

Chicken with Roasted Apples and Garlic:
10 cups chopped peeled apples
2 teaspoons fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
cooking spray (I have a pump that allows me to use olive oil as a spray)
4 lbs chicken
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
chopped fresh parsley


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees
2. Combine first 5 ingredients.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Toss well to coat.  Spread apple mixture on jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.
3.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Arrange on top of the apple mixture.  Bake at 475 for 25 minutes or chicken is done and apple is tender.  Remove chicken from the pan and keep warm. 
4.  Partially mash the apple mixture with a potato masher.  Serve with the chicken.  Sprinkle with parsley if desired.  


Believe me when I tell you this was SO good.  It didn't need any adaptions from the original recipe.  Two teenagers, pre-teen and three adults LOVED IT!.  The teenagers actually requested for it to be made again.  


Side note: If you scroll through my Instagram, you will be able to see pictures from this meal through my phone. If you aren't following me on there, go follow! It's under organicsurfergirl!  http://instagram.com/organicsurfergirl  I have yet to figure out how to get pictures on my new computer. :(   Please forgive me for not having pictures on the blog at this time! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome Back

              SO, I haven't blogged in many months.  Some of you may know already but I will share what's been going on.  I was in a very bad car accident in May.  I didn't really quite realize how bad it was until recently.  I'm still very banged up and am still at my mom's.  It's been over four months.  I'm still in pain.  I'm definitely better then I was before but nowhere where what I was before the accident.  It's not where I expected to be by now.  I basically spent the past four months taking off from life.  I have been going to physical therapy, chiropractors, doctors and so forth.  It's been frustrating.  I just want to run again.  I just want the pain to be gone.  I spend every day and night in pain.  It's unbelievably frustrating.  It's depressing. 
             I've gotten back into cooking.  I've started to implement the good habits again.  I've started to plan my meals out again.  I've noticed a difference when I'm not taking care of myself.  I've noticed that I truly need to be gluten free among avoiding specific foods such as coffee and chocolate.  These have the same reactions in the body as gluten does for the body.  So if someone is gluten intolerant, these foods are also best to avoid as well.  This blog is going to go in a different direction for awhile.  It won't just be about food.  It will be about healing the body.   You as my reader will help me along my journey of reaching my optimal health.  
    I will be posting book reviews, nutrition information, recipes, workout information and my own personal journey.   I ask you to be patient with me. /My new computer has difficulty uploading pictures and isn't compatible with my camera! That makes me sad! So while  figure that out and redo the layout,  I also ask you to tell me what you want to read! Feedback is GREAT! It will allow me to help gear this blog towards my readers.   

Upcoming posts will include
Roasted Chicken with Roasted Apples and Garlic
Review of local gluten free Bakery
Review of cookbooks
Review of makeup (super excited about this one as I've revamped ALL of my beauty products to chemical and toxic free!) 
Nutrition Information
Motivation
Alternative Health
Pumpkin Spice Granola
Blogs I follow
Instagram


      So welcome back.  Come along for the ride. Join me on my recovery to wellness and health.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

        "Plan  your meals but always leave room for options."   Much easier said then done right?  I used to be one of those people who always said planning my meals is not meant for me.  I'd plan my meals and then decide that day, I didn't want it.  I'd end up eating something completely different and something completely horrible for me.  That all changed about six months ago.  I was working two jobs.  I had no time to cook.  I had to prep in advance.  I needed to do it this time around for my health.  My health finally became a priority for me.  I wanted to take care of myself bad enough to make this planning ahead work for me.
          This was also around the time I did two things, I did a detox meal plan by Prescribe Nutrition.  They have done multiple rounds since the beginning of the year and continue to do so.  Definitely go check them out! What it is, is a variety of meals given to you by this creative team.  You have access to the two top people who are nutritionists.  They will answer all of your questions.  What I really liked about this was it helped reset my body.  That was the purpose of the plan.  Immediately after this plan, I went 100% gluten free.  This is also the time I discovered I definitely have a gluten intolerance.   The plan allowed for me to do a two week meal plan while being gluten and dairy free.  I had a chance to do it while being guided by two amazing nutritionists! This gave me the confidence to be able to do it on my own.
         Since January I have been following a 100% gluten free, 90% dairy free, 100% processed free, and 100% chemical free diet.  A lot, I know.  It is doable and manageable.  It just requires a bit of planning! What motivates me to continue planning is that I feel great! I no longer deal with headaches, drowsiness, stomach aches or any other ailments.  When I plan ahead, I plan for my health.  I know that I have very little options out in the world that fit my eating criteria.
      So how do I plan and be successful at it?  Easy.  I menu plan over the weekend.  I look through all my recipes and decide on a few that sound good to me.  I generally eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch throughout the week.  I do always have a backup plan.   I make a muesli and boil eggs as options for breakfast.  Lately I've been on a salad kick.  I always have a variety of fruit, vegetables and some sort of protein readily available to throw in.  I ALWAYS have fruit for snacks.  I then will pick out two meals that I want for the week.   Usually then I'll bulk cook on Sundays.  Now keep in mind, this was when I had no time during the week to cook at all.  This was great.  I literally carried around a whole day's worth of meals for myself.  It was cheaper and healthier then having to scramble for food.  It was also a lot less stressful knowing I could eat what I wanted to and still stick to my nutrition plan. Now that I'm not as busy during the week, I generally do the same routine except meals get cooked that night.  
    Now keep in mind, this isn't ALWAYS my meal plan.  I do switch it up, I'll make oat pancakes and freeze them for the week.  I may make soup or chicken.  I'll make whatever I'm feeling for the week but will always give myself at least two options.  I try to make them different from each other so that way I can have whatever it is I'm craving, whether it be something sweet or something sour.  I have my options.   My health is my biggest motivator. If I don't plan, I generally end up eating something that makes me sick.  I prefer to go through my days without headaches or stomachaches.  Wouldn't you? 
    Now you tell me, what works for you?  What are your obstacles to sticking to your nutrition plan for the week?  What motivates you?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Healthy Habits

     So getting back into blogging is not easy when I'm not really doing much fitness related due to foot injury.  I'm also not cooking due to the foot injury.  I'm currently at my mother's house where she is doing my cooking.  I am forced to stay in bed with my foot up. 
     I am however using this time to really focus on my diet and mental health.  I am trying to incorporate healthy habits that I can really continue even as I recover and heal from this injury.
There's menu planning, tracking my food, selecting healthy choices, good night's sleep, staying positive, drinking lemon water in the morning, and so on.  I'll spend the next few weeks discussing healthy habits and how important they are to our overall health.
   The first one I'm going to focus on today is drinking room temperature lemon water when you wake up.  This is something that I've seen all over.  It's been listed in holistic health books, blogs, and so on.  I figured, what's the harm in trying it.  If I don't see any improvement, then I'd stop it.  I see SUCH a difference on the days that I drink the lemon water verses days I do not drink the lemon water. 
    The health benefits of drinking lemon water are listed as followed:

                     1.  It helps increase production of bile in your liver. This is GREAT as I have no gall bladder to aid with the bile production.  This means my liver is doing all of this work alone.     When your body is producing a good amount of bile, it allows for digestion to occur more smoothly.  It aids in eliminating fat and cholesterol.  I notice a difference in how often I go to the bathroom when I have the lemon water verses when I don't.  There is a significant increase in eliminating waste.

                   2.  It helps balance the pH in your body.  Lemons are known as acidic but after you drink the lemon water, they become alkaline.  It's really important to have our pH balance be alkalized because it decreases your risk of inflammation and diseases.  We really want our numbers to be closer to 14 then to 0.  When it is closer to 14, that means your body is not very acidic which is GREAT!  This means you are eating a clean diet and your body is working correctly.  When you start your day with lemon water, you start your day by alkalizing your pH immediately. 
                 
              3. It helps clear the skin.  The vitamin C in the lemons really help the skin clear itself from inside out.  Since it helps eliminate the toxins from the body, this really helps in clearing the skin.  It really helps my acne. 

            4.  Helps eliminate toxins! It helps relieve bloating, constipation, and other gastrointestinal issues.  This is great for me as it helps my digestive system again.  Since I have no gall bladder (It was taken out in 2009 due to a disease - more on that another day) this really keeps my digestive system moving smoothly. 
 
         5.  Lemon water also helps support the immune system.  Vitamin C is important in keeping our immune system strong.  Lemons also contain ascorbic acid which helps iron absorption in the body.  Iron is also essential in keeping the immune system strong.

           
               There are several more benefits that I haven't listed.  These just happen to be the top reasons why I'm drinking lemon water in the morning.  I truly notice a difference after a day or two from when I'm drinking lemon water to when I'm not.  One really has to pay attention to their body.  I like drinking the lemon water because it helps me fine tune my body and my digestive system.  It doesn't feel that my body is working hard to process everything.  This aids my system!
        I always make sure I have enough lemons for the week.  During the week, I'll leave a glass out the night before that way it's room temperature the next day.  I pour it in my to go cup and squeeze a whole lemon in it.  I'll drink it on my way to work.  By the time I get to work, it's all gone! That means I get to have my breakfast when I get to work.   (I pack all my meals, that's another post) During the weekend, I do the same thing with my water.  When I get up, I make sure I squeeze my lemon water first thing in the morning.  Then while I'm drinking my water, I'll read the paper, check my emails, etc.  That takes about a half hour.  By that time, I'm done drinking my water and I'm off to start my day.  It's a really easy habit to get into.  Once you get started and see the differences, you'll wonder why you never did this before! I truly hope you add this healthy habit to your day.  Let me know if you see any differences!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Absence from blogging

      My last post was about two and half months ago.  I actually had about three posts waiting to be published at certain times.  I will post them as I get back to regular scheduled postings. SO much as happened personally for me in the past few months.  I'm also hoping to make a new layout for my blog as well.  I'm realizing the blue on blue is not that easy to read.  Newbie blogger mistake!
       Some of the delays were quite honestly, I didn't have the adapter to upload pictures into my new computer.  I felt awkward posting recipes without the pictures.  I learned this from blogging, pictures are ALWAYS helpful when it comes to recipe posts.  I wanted to do a new layout.  I just simply didn't have the time to make all these changes I wanted to do.  I was working two jobs.  I was working six days a week.  All I was doing was working and working out. 
       In the past month, my life has once again, dramatically changed.  Let me rewind to December. I had gotten a temporary position that was supposed to last until November. This job was full time with benefits.  So this job, including my private practice, kept me busy.  I wanted to keep seeing my clients because I knew this full time job was only temporary.   Now fast forward to the end of April/beginning of May.   The full time position ended a lot earlier.  The last day was going to be the middle of May.  Yikes! Around the same time, the private practice that I was working at, that position ended.  We had decided to go our separate ways.  My last day there was last week. This meant my business plans that I wasn't quite ready to go public with, sped up! 
        In the meantime, I had gotten really sick with upper respiratory infection. That kept me out of work for quite some time. My grandmother broke her hip.  She's 93 years old so it was a bit worrisome.  She however is rocking her partial hip replacement.  She's in rehab.  I visited her today and I want to be like her when I'm 93.  My grandmother says she's not walking enough.  Mind you, her fall was about three weeks ago.  She wants to push herself.  This is EXACTLY the mindset we all should have when it comes to our fitness goals.  She definitely inspired me today.   I also got into a bad car accident a few weeks ago.  Those of you who are friends with me on FB saw some pictures and whatnot.  I fractured my foot and have nerve damage right now. :(  I'm currently at my mom's house since I can't do many things on my own.  I was unable to run a 5K I had planned for this weekend. 
        Throughout the past couple of months, I have been able to stay positive.  It wasn't easy.   I did get knocked down but I put my big girl panties on and went about my business.  I had my amazing mom for support.  I used inspirational quotes from Pinterest.  I got myself on instagram.  I follow some pretty inspiration fitness and food people! I focused on what my future goals are.  (another post for another week)  As I establish a new routine for myself, I will be blogging more and doing more.  It's the spring/summer which means FARMER'S MARKETS!!!!!!! whoohoo.  I'm excited about that.   This means new fitness routines, new recipes, new everything.  Thanks for being patient with me and dealing with my absence from the blogging world. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Eggplant Sauce



I definitely enjoy certain foods now that I used to shy away from. I either A. thought it was too healthy, b. thought it was gross or c. I just plain old didn't know how to cook it. As I've embarked on this clean eating lifestyle, everything has changed. My taste palates have changed, my idea of what's healthy and tasty has changed and my confidence in the kitchen has grown. I eat and cook foods now that I never would have done a few years ago. I wouldn't have thought twice about buying Pillsbury cookies or having frozen dinners in my house as quick meal. Now, I much rather put in the work and have fresh homemade food. It's tastier, healthier and I can control what goes in my mouth. I can't go back to my old eating habits, even if I tried. Knowing what I know about where my food comes from has been the biggest game changer for me. It has helped bring me to this point in my life where I can honestly say I am the happiest I've ever been with myself and my life, almost twenty nine years later. It has been truly something that I have wanted for myself for a very long time. Feeling good about what I put in my body has made an impact on my physical and mental health. There is a story that most people don't know about me that I'm not quite ready to share. I will sit down and write a long post about it and how I overcame some of the most difficult obstacles in my life. Please be patient with me for that post.

On that note, I had spaghetti squash, eggplant, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and onion in my house over the weekend. What's a girl to do with all of that? Made spaghetti and eggplant sauce! It was SOOO good. The only two things that I am made about was A. I can't post any pictures on my blog at this point. This is due to needing an adapter to upload my pictures to my computer. B. It was gone within a few days since it was SO good. I wanted more!

What I love about this recipe is that it's healthy and tasty. It reminds me of plain regular spaghetti and sauce that I used to eat all the time. This meal is easy to make within forty minutes with simple ingredients. I like that it is vegetarian meal. I also love the fact that all of the ingredients are really cheap to buy in the store. Without further ado, here is the delicious recipe!




Spaghetti Squash with Eggplant Sauce

1 Spaghetti Squash

1 Eggplant

1/2 Red Onion

Olive Oil

1 Jar Crushed Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

Fresh Parsley

Salt and Pepper




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. In a roasting pan, place the squash on a rack. Pour water on the bottom of the pan so it is there is an inch of water. Roast squash until tender, about 30-35 minutes.

2. In the meantime, in a large pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, place diced onion in pan. Sautee until onions are slightly soft.

3. After onions are soften, put eggplant in pan. Sautee until eggplant starts to soften.

4. Pour jar of crushed tomatoes and two tablespoons of tomato paste in pan. Stir. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Add parsley. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are soften.

5. Once squash has finished roasting, pull out and let cool for a few minutes. Then you will take a large fork and pull the squash out. It will look like spaghetti.

6. Once squash is out of it's shell, combine the sauce with the squash.

7. Add parsley over the spaghetti squash with eggplant sauce and serve.

Life won't wait for you!