Rasberry smoothie bowl


1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp raw honey or 1/4 cup peach juice (I used a peach juice that I had diluted with water from before.  You can also use any juice like apple or orange (diluted if you want less sugar)
About 2 tsps or so coconut oil
1-2 tablespoons collagen powder
1 tbsp ground flax seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)

Add your favorite toppings . I did almond butter, sliced pistachios , more sprinkle of ginger powder. Hemp seeds would’ve been a great topping but I didn’t have any on hand then.

All recipes are estimates 🙂

Sauteed Green Beans with lemon zest

Ingredients:

1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in half (frozen and pre cut is fine also)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
around 1/2 tsp garlic powder
zest from 1/2 of a lemon
A good squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Bring some water to a boil in a pan and boil green beans for around 4 mins and drain (I’ve  used frozen green beans and I didn’t need to do this extra step , I just went straight to the steps below)

In same pan, heat oil, add chopped onion and cook till a bit soft (4 mins or so)
Add green beans and cook on medium-high for 2 mins, add minced garlic, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cook for 5 or more minutes till green beans brown in places.
Turn off heat and add lemon juice and zest. Mix and done!

All recipes are basically estimates 🙂

Redefining Beauty

I attended the new beauty revolution telesummit and loved it! Their goal was to REDEFINE beauty. This post was inspired by that program, particularly Shakaya Leone, a natural aesthetician who was a guest speaker there.

Beauty. This one word holds a lot of importance for a woman. What is beauty? One thing for sure, it definitely is NOT just a physical characteristic. It is soo soo much more. A leading example of beauty would be the beauty of nature. The natural world around us radiates with beauty. Just imagine a romantic sunset, a delicate flower, or a sparkling starry night sky. How their beauty is such a coolness to the eyes and just so uplifting to the spirit.

Now what makes nature so beautiful? Its beauty lies in its rich DIVERSITY. Each creation in nature has a unique color, shape, size, pattern to them, and it is in this individuality that their beauty shines. In the same way, we are also creations of God and each one of us has something deeply beautiful about us. All we need to do is embrace our beauty just like the natural world around us does so, so gracefully. We need to realize that tall, short, brunette, blonde, wide-boned, petite frame, light-skinned, dark-skinned, long nose, wide nose, etc are different pieces to that unique beauty we each possess. Ms. JoAnne Dodgson, a renowned healer, teaches us a beauty lesson from nature.  She says, “bears don’t worry about the shape of their bodies. Dragonflies aren’t distressed by the size of their wings. Oak trees don’t attempt to look more like the pine trees. Beauty sings out from the sunsets and echoes in the wind and shines down from the moon and dances in the sea and whispers on wings and howls with coyotes and lingers in the scent of the sage. Beauty calls out from the mountains and rumbles with thunder and sits quietly with the owls and soars with the hawks and buzzes with the bees and glistens in the shimmering ocean. In nature’s beauty, there are no winners or losers, and no better-thans or less-thans. Beauty is simply in the honoring of what is, a celebration of life in all its magnificent, mysterious, remarkable forms.” Wow! right? Just observe the natural world around you and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

So, basically, what this is saying is that your beauty is in who you are. Your whole being. The very essence of you. The design that makes you, YOU. Just like the beauty of a full moon or a waterfall is in their essence. The creator with his infinite ability to create has proportioned and fashioned you in a way that you are an ORIGINAL in this world. An exclusive piece. Shakaya Leone says that beauty is present within all of us, but not all of us are connected to our beauty.  We just need to connect to our beauty and then nurture it. To connect to and nurture our beauty on the physical realm, we really need to nourish our bodies with more wholesome fresh foods because “beauty is the natural result of vibrant health” as she puts it. Delight in eating more fresh crisp apples, sweet-tart berries, fragrant oranges, juicy pineapples, thirst-quenching watermelons, crimson beets, bright green spinach, cool cucumbers, creamy avocados, crunchy cabbage or just pour yourself a glass of freshly squeezed juice daily. They are filled with living enzymes and antioxidants that are easily absorbed by the body and can do wonders for your skin, hair and overall health. These are water and nutrient-rich and so detoxifying! Here’s a recipe from Shakaya: If you have a juicer: take 3 apples, 1 beet, 1 cucumber and 1 lemon and juice it. It is so refreshing and delicious. Also, a cool tip: You can stain your cheeks with some beet juice for some rosy cheeks!

Now of course, nourishing your body will nurture your physical beauty, but there’s a higher form of beauty which comes from nourishing your heart and soul. This is when your true beauty will manifest. The physical body will eventually wither away anyway, but when you nurture and connect to your higher beauty, you will light up like a brilliant star who’s beauty will remain long after you’re gone. There’s a great saying of the Prophet Muhammad in Islam (peace be upon him) that God does not look at your faces and bodies, but your hearts and deeds. This is the ultimate beauty as the beauty from your heart and deeds can bring benefits to the world and humanity long after you’re gone. In my training as a holistic health counselor, we learned a great exercise called finding your signature strength. It’s an exercise that will help you connect to your higher beauty.

Here’s how to do it:

First, make a list of your signature strengths. Some examples of signature strengths are kindness, fairness, humor, bravery, curiosity, love of knowledge, etc. Also, add to that list your skills, talents, interests. Now, think of ways you use these things in your life already. Then think of ways how you can use them even more regularly. Lastly, think of how you can use them in the service of something larger than yourself like in some positive organization, i.e. your community, school, place of worship, etc. We all have things we are good at or maybe even just average at, but we can develop them and cultivate them and become greater than we’d ever imagine ourselves to be. So, think what’s your strength? Or what’s your passion? What gives you joy? Then use it as described above.

I believe we each have a gift to give to the world especially being women. We really need to embrace our femininity because being feminine is beautiful in and of itself. We are nurturers and caregivers by nature, many times even putting the needs of our loved ones before ours. God has honored us with such mercy and compassion and these are divine attributes which he expresses through us. So, to connect to your higher beauty, find out what your gift is, develop it, grow it, and then deliver it to the world. It could even be that immense love you feel for your beautiful child, so you can use that by raising him or her in the most positive way. That is not an ordinary thing. That is an expression of your beauty and your legacy!

So, how can you fully express your true beauty?

Mindful Breathing

We all are walking miracles. One of the many miraculous things about us is our body. I mean we have over 100 trillion cells in our body, and each cell works at lightening speeds to keep our hearts beating, lungs breathing, muscles working, nerves firing, etc without us even realizing it. We need to honor this creation, so it can serve us better and enable us to fulfill our divine purposes in life. One of the easiest things to do for this which is also absolutely free of cost is deep, mindful breathing!

Obviously, we all breathe, or else we’d be as good as dead! But due to our modern lifestyle, we spend more time indoors in front of our computers, hunched over our desks or chilling on our couch watching television. We don’t get enough fresh air and stress, poor posture, this fast-paced life all lead us to taking in short, shallow breaths from the chest. However, if we want optimal health and vitality, we should practice breathing more fully and deeply from our belly.

Here are all the benefits:

 Improves circulation- our blood can deliver more nutrients and oxygen to all our cells, so they can rejuvenate us fully.
 Helps our body detoxify – by allowing the lymph to drain out. Lymph is a fluid that collects all the toxins, byproducts, and wastes from our cells and tissues. Our lymph relies on breathing or bodily movement to move around (unlike the blood which has a pump to move it around aka the heart). So, it’s great for some easy cleansing.
 Promotes deep relaxation ! You see, when we are stressed or anxious, our stress hormones go way high which causes our muscles to tense up, we breathe rapidly, our chest constricts, our mind races, etc. However, when the stress is gone, we let out a deep breath which sends signals to the brain that everything is ok and our muscles then relax, our heart rate slows down, our chest expands, our mind quiets, etc. It’s like a natural tranquilizer.

Here’s how to do it:

Sit in an upright manner. Be comfortable. Not stiff or tense. Now, exhale fully through your mouth (with that whooshing sound). We start with exhale because to get a full inhale, we need to empty out our lungs completely first. Now, inhale quietly through your nose to the count of 4 and then exhale noisily through your mouth to the count of 8. Repeat this about 4 to 5 times and try to do it twice a day: in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. Overtime, this will really give you deep relaxation, and you can use it at those times when you most need it.

There’s another great benefit from this that I have to dedicate a whole section to! It’s that mindful breathing helps facilitate weight loss! Get this, our body needs oxygen to burn the food we eat! Think of it this way, our metabolism is like a fire. When you eat slowly, breathing in more oxygen, your digestive fire burns brightly. When we eat too fast, not breathing properly, our digestive fire becomes dim, which means sluggish metabolism and weight gain.

So, try this nourishing protocol once in a while when you have the time:

Before you begin eating, stop to breathe slowly until you feel calm. Then say a prayer of gratitude for your food. You can light a candle too to enhance the feeling of calm. All this preparation to eat will also give time for your body to release its digestive juices and enzymes, so it can better digest your food for you (this is important as we all increasingly are dealing with more digestive disorders like acid reflux, constipation, IBS, etc). Now, chew slowly and tune in to the smell, the flavor, and the texture of your food and savor every bite. You will experience more pleasure from your food this way, and therefore you will be satisfied with less (when you mindlessly stuff yourself, you can feel hungry again not too late afterwards). Also, it takes our brains about 20 minutes to register that our stomach is full, so if you eat too fast, you can eat past the point your full and feel bloated and uncomfortable later. So, let’s try to change our habits of eating while driving, on the subway, just multi-tasking etc. because our body does not like to be in a highly alert, “fight or flight” mode when it’s trying to digest and absorb that food to nourish us. Nourishment, in and of itself is a peace-loving thing. So, let’s try to practice taking breaths full of nourishment !

Back To Basics: Traditional Foods

Nothing can get more basic than following the ways of our ancestors; the older generations that lived IN and WITH nature! The foods these humans ate were deeply nourishing. They enjoyed the highest quality, freshest, and purest of foods! We can learn great wisdom in creating health by studying these primitive cultures.

To illustrate this, I’d like to share with you the story of a dentist. Dr. Weston A. Price was amazed at how primitive people who followed their traditional diets had broad straight white teeth like the keys of a piano. They had no teeth deformities like crookedness or tooth decay where as in our times, almost all the kids need braces and get cavities. Dr. Price then visited some villages in Switzerland where the people still lived this way, isolated from modern society. The children there had excellent dental health, and the men in the village had very robust physical health. He found out that the #1 food in their diet was raw milk! They raised their cows and goats on open pastures where the animals grazed on green grass. Their other main food source was rye. They made it into sourdough bread which required a very long preparation but one which maximized the nutrients in it. They also had sacred foods for pregnancy and lactation as these times you need extra nourishment. The sacred food for them was a type of butter! The butter was harvested at the prime of spring when it was greener pasture than ever and the animals were better nourished.

The Eskimos, another group of people in Alaska, had never had cases of cancer or heart disease as long as they were eating their traditional foods. Their traditional diet’s main food actually was meat! They had lots of fish, and they fermented their foods a lot which again maximizes the nutrients. Their sacred nourishing food was salmon eggs. As soon as they started eating western foods, the same major diseases started emerging among them as well.

You might be thinking dairy and meat?? These foods are supposed to make you fat and sick. I’m not promoting a dairy and meat diet, I think we get enough of that already anyway. I’m only trying to bring awareness to the fact that it is the QUALITY of the food that matters most. They ate whole foods that were seasonally and locally available to them which means they were super fresh and therefore super nourishing. Another major difference: these people grew their food in mineral-rich soils. Our soils are mineral-deficient due to over-farming and mass production. They raised their animals on open fields of green grass under the sunlight enjoying fresh air. In our corporate farms, we confine our animals in feedlots where they can be grossly overcrowded living in filthy conditions. We feed them grains (along with growth hormones) to fatten them up (so that we can get bigger profits in sales), but they are not designed to eat those things! They then get sick, and so we treat them heavily with antibiotics. I mean it doesn’t take a genius to see the difference in the quality of the food here.

So, here’s the conclusion: we need to have a back to basics revolution! I’m not saying let’s become hunters and gatherers, but let’s try to eat more fresh, natural, minimally processed foods! Now a days, we see most food all wrapped up and packaged in our supermarkets with hundreds of foreign ingredients (written in a language that only a chemist would understand), and we have no idea where it came from, how it was grown or raised, and how it was processed. This “processing” is done by food manufacturers largely to either enhance the flavor or appearance of the food with chemical additives or to preserve the food, but in this process, the food’s nutritional value is significantly reduced! So, let’s just try to eat less of those denatured chemicalized and processed foods that lack any real nourishment! Let’s replace these with fresh whole foods (seasonal and local is even better), and I promise you’ll feel a dramatic shift in your energy! All nourishment is found in mother nature, not in some chemical laboratory or big factory that is most likely looking out for its own interests! When we eat nourishing foods, we can get rid of daily issues like nagging headaches, random aches and pains, weight resistance, low energy, etc. that can really negatively affect our quality of life. Food is a great blessing from God, but it can also be a curse, so please choose wisely! I invite you to explore the natural health food industry as they are trying to bring us back to the basics!