Healing Chicken Soup (gf)(df)

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February has been a bitter cold month here in Virginia, and nothing warms you up like a piping hot bowl of soup. Chicken soup is a simple comfort food, so I decided to make my own version of chicken and rice with an extra healthy twist.

With winter I find my body gets aggravated. I feel run down easily and my daily activity level decreases with the season. I am no longer spending my free time outdoors walking the dog, gardening, running or soaking up the sun. With temperatures well below freezing I find myself napping, reading and watching Netflix in my downtime. Having an autoimmune disease makes the seasons effects even more apparent. When my vitamin D levels are low my gut feels the effect, which leads to psoriasis flare ups and zapped energy. Which is why it is so important for me to eat very clean this time of year. I reach for healing foods that are easy on my system over raw salads and crucifers. This recipe is packed with anti inflammatory foods that will aid in digestion and help you get through any autoimmune flare up you may be experiencing.

I made this soup in the crock pot but if you want to make in on the stove in a stock pot it will take under an hour!

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breast
2 quarts of bone broth (I used the store bought brand Pacific)
1 onion diced
1 crown of broccoli
5 carrots
5 celery stalks
1 bag of frozen peas (about 2 cups)
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 thumb sized piece of ginger root grated
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of turmeric
1 lemon juiced
1 cup of dry quinoa
Salt and pepper to taste

Throw all the ingredients in the crock pot and let cook for 5-6 hours on low. Remove the cooked chicken and shred before putting back into the pot to serve.

If you cannot find Bone broth in your grocery store you can always make your own or just use regular chicken stock.

P.S.-This recipe is even better the next day!

Lent Wellness Challenge

Genevieve’s Wellness Commandments for Lent 2016

February 10th-March 24th
Move Daily: It doesn’t have to be an hour in the gym, but make a point to participate in some form of exercise.
Drink half your bodyweight in water everyday
Cut out all refined carbohydrates: Pasta, bread, white rice, baked goods, waffles, pancakes, crackers, snack foods.
Say no to dairy: Try your best to cut out all dairy. If you do well on dairy, you can leave Greek yogurt and organic milks, but I challenge you to try going dairy free! No cheese.
Make vegetables the star: Focus your meals around vegetables. Adding healthy fats like avocados and lean proteins like fish and chicken.
No added sugar: Read the sugar content on all your snack bars, yogurts and other packaged foods. Keep it under 10 grams if it is natural sugar (ie:dates, dried fruit, coconut sugar). Load up on fresh fruit instead!
Have an apple a day: Eat fruit between meals to keep full.
No booze
Pick a kryptonite and say goodbye: If you have a snack food or bad habit that holds you back, say goodbye for 6 weeks. For example, if you cannot control yourself with a bag of corn chips, cut them out.
Have a treat every once in awhile: You are working hard and using a lot of willpower, so treat yourself to a small treat from time to time. Be conservative, for example, a piece of dark chocolate or a bowl of popcorn.

Mexican Chicken Stew (GF)(DF)

I have been traveling quite a bit in the past month and have spent substantially less time in the kitchen. So since it has been bitter cold and my free time has been sparse, I decided to put my crockpot to good use. This recipe is simple, flavorful and filling. It will take you 15 minutes to throw together in the morning before work, allowing you to come home to the scent of a home cooked meal without slaving away in the kitchen.

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In a crockpot combine:

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup medium salsa
4 carrots chopped
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 can of corn
1 can of black or pinto beans
1 ½ cups of chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder

Cook on low for 7 hours. Before serving add the juice of one large or two small limes.  Top with avocado and fresh ground pepper to serve!

 

 

 

 

Why Should You Learn About the Psoas Today?

The Psoas muscle is often left tight and shortened after a post workout stretch. My goal today is to change that. And even if you don’t have a formal exercise routine, you are going to want to listen up because chances are you have a tight Psoas too.

The Psoas, pronounced “So-Az” is located in the pelvic region. It connects your lower back to your upper thigh (femur). It is responsible to hip flexion. Running, walking, stairs, and sitting all shorten the Psoas. Anyone from an endurance runner to the most sedentary couch potato can suffer from overly tight Psoas muscles. A tight Psoas can cause lower back pain, hip pain, leg pain and IT issues. A strong and lengthened Psoas promotes good posture and allows for a strong core.

Most americans spend a lot of their day in the seated position. In this position your Psoas is shortened and weakens overtime. A muscular tightness or weakness of the Psoas can cause an overarching of the lumbar spine, unhealthy anterior pelvic tilt (think Steve Urkle) as well has hunching of the shoulders.

If you spend a lot of the day sitting at work or driving in the car, stand up and stretch regularly. Try and break up your sedentary sessions. If possible, work from a standing desk. If you are a runner you need length to create power. When the Psoas is very short, it is unable to lengthen to then contract during your stride. This lengthening and shortening is what creates power. If you do in fact have a short Psoas muscle avoid hills for a while and engage in Psoas stretches daily.

So how do you know if you have a shortened Psoas? Lay on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Draw your right knee into your chest pulling it towards you, if your left hip is lifting up off the ground your right Psoas is tight and vice versa.

If you failed the test, do not fret, there is hope! First, take my tips above about avoiding extended periods of sitting and lay off hill work while running. In addition, ditch the crunches. When we do sit ups and crunches we almost always engage our Psoas and Hip Flexors. This goes for many other abdominal exercises that are done in the supine position. Just pay attention to your body and if you feel engagement in the pelvic region, lay off temporarily.

Start with these stretches:

Supine Bridge with Pelvic Tilt: Lay on your back with your feet on the floor hip distance apart. You want your heels to be in hands reach while your hands lay by your sides. Lift your hips off the floor while tucking your pelvis. Squeeze your Glutes together and continue pushing the hips high. You want your Glutes to be contracted. You may also feel a stretch in the low back (bonus!).

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Low Crescent Lunge with Pelvic Tilt: From a kneeling position bring your right foot up between your hands to create a right angle with your right knee. Lift the chest up creating a neutral posture. Tuck the pelvis under, tilting your hip bones toward the ceiling. If your Psoas is really tight you will feel a stretch here in the front of the left leg. If you need a little more stretch you can shift some weight into the front foot while maintaining the pelvic tilt. Switch Sides!

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My Power Supply: A Meal Delivery Service

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Do you ever walk in the door at 7:00 pm starving after a long day of work and wish you had your mom’s healthy home cooking waiting for you? I do. Almost every night. I typically finish up my work day around 6:30 and by that point I am ravenous. My dinners are light due to my own lack of motivation to cook. I will have a sweet potato with fruit, left overs from lunch or some oatmeal. I cook for clients and usually prepare a decent lunch so I just want to eat and curl up with my iPad when I get home.

So for a week I decided to try My Power Supply. I first saw the company logo on a small refrigerator in an office building gym I use with one of my clients. I opened it up to see several packaged meals with various names printed on the labels. The literature attached to the fridge read GLUTEN FREE-DAIRY FREE. I was instantly interested. I grabbed a brochure and went home to do some research.

MPS is a meal delivery service that provides healthy flavorful dishes made with whole foods by local chefs in the Washington DC Metro and in LA. You can pay to have the food delivered directly to your door or chose one of the MANY pick up locations near your home or work for free delivery. I picked up my meals from Beloved Yoga about a mile from my house.

When you make an account you can chose meals centered around animal protein, vegetables or a mix of the two. I chose mixitarian (their term) meals but then went in and customized to my meals to mostly vegetarian dishes after reading some of the selections.

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Next you chose the size of your meals. I chose the boost which are the lowest in calories and portions. I was afraid I would be unsatisfied but I was not at all!

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You can chose to receive 3-5 days worth of meals. I did three days, which consisted of three lunches and three dinners. If you want to receive only lunch dishes or only dinner dishes, you can choose that option.

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Below you can see what I received for the week.

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As for cost, I found MPS to be a good bang for your buck. With the new customer discount I spent $48 on 6 meals. That is about what I would spend at the grocery store for the whole week (about 10 meals). However, I did get variety and the ease of just opening a container.

The meals I ordered cost $9/meal without the discount. Not bad right? I think if you are notorious for eating out at lunch during the workday or eating crap when you get home after a long day, this is well worth the money. I do think that if you are completely capable and motivated to prep your own meals, it is not worth the money. It is all about priorities. I know the week I used MPS I loved just coming home and eating my little contained meal. I liked not having to think. That being said, I prefer preparing my own meals when I have the time. I know what I like and what my body responds well to.

I started taking photos of my food because I thought I would share them with my readers.  I used just an iphone and they all look terrible.  So keep in mind that these all looked much more appetizing in person.  Here are two of my vegetarian dishes I enjoyed.  The Sweet Potato Pancake with Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad and the Lemony Quionoa with Butternnut Squash, Pecans & Sauteed Spinach.

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My favorite Meal was the Moroccan Tempeh Salad with Beets, Butternut Squash, Pistachios and Greens but of course I was busy that day and forgot to snap a photo.

If you have any questions comment below or email me!

Smoothie Bowls are the New Green Juice

Smoothie Bowls

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So I am sure you have seen them trending, smoothie bowls are hugely popular right now. This chilly dish has been a staple treat in my diet since my first trip to Rincon, Puerto Rico a few years ago. Prior to this trip I was sloshing my overly thick green smoothies into a bowl after yoga and topping with chia and raisins. My icy greens were yummy but they lacked direction and presentation. I still remember my first “Acai Bowl” while visiting my friend in San Diego. It was a mixture of acai, banana, oats and honey. In Rincon I experienced more topping ideas and here I am today adding everything but the kitchen sink to my bowl.

I like Smoothie bowls because they are more satiating then drinking the same fruit medley, plus the ability to add toppings adds the crunch and extra flavor I need to call it a meal. You can eat these at any point in the day as a small meal or snack. They are great after a hot outdoor workout, as breakfast or even as a light dinner. I like to have a bowl before I go teach evening yoga because it will keep me full through the night without weighing me down.

I love to eat, and when a meal looks appealing and has presentation I tend to be more satisfied. I usually use berry medleys rather than acai. Acai is pretty expensive to eat frequently and while it is popular for its antioxidant content, blueberries are chock full of antioxidants. Plus with how busy and active I am, I need the extra vitamin C from strawberries. My immune system is fragile with my early mornings and the physical strain of being up and active all day.

While I change up the ingredients I use for each bowl the base is typically a frozen banana, berries and coconut milk. When I need extra greens I will add raw kale or spinach. After a hard workout I will add protein powder and I almost always add toppings. My favorite toppings are fresh or dried fruit, coconut flakes, chia seeds, hemp hearts, granola, walnuts, sliced almonds and nut butter.

I know everyone likes a direct recipe so below is my basic smoothie bowl:

In a blender add half a frozen banana and 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) and half a cup coconut milk. You can use any kind of milk but I prefer coconut, almond or cashew. Pulse the three ingredients in blender or food processor and add additional liquid if necessary. Do not over blend. You want to have a thick consistency. Pour the mixture into a pretty bowl and top with chia, coconut flakes and fresh fruit.

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Want extra protein? Add your favorite protein powder! Need extra greens? Add spinach or kale. Adjust the recipe to fit your dietary needs or tastebuds. When Im starving I slosh a big spoon of almond or cashew butter on top.  I usually keep the green bowls pretty simple since Kale and nut butter clash…

Share your favorites!