Are You Addicted to Sugar?

OrganicBerries

    I love giving workshops and presentations because I get to share helpful information on how to truly lead a healthy lifestyle. I often make samples of #vegan food for people to try. I share research and scientific evidence that shows the many health benefits of switching to a plant-based diet. Some people will pay for a cleanse, detox, 1 month program, 3 month program, or 6 month program on the spot.
    For some amazing others, months will pass, and then I’ll get an email from them saying that they’re ready to make some positive diet and lifestyle changes. I love them. Something has shifted for them. They’re not resistant anymore. They’ve had an awakening. I don’t know if it’s the fall weather, the millions of sweets that are being passed around right now, or if there’s just something fantastic floating around in the air, but I’m getting tons of sign-ups for my 10-Day Sugar Cleanse. This isn’t a juice fast. You won’t starve. You will eat healthily, nourish yourself, and get rid of your sugar cravings.

 

In case you’ve forgotten, here are some not-so-sweet facts about sugar:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consume 156 pounds of sugar per person each year (yikes!)
  • Sugar contributes to obesity
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, “adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes, and the risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.”
  • Limiting sugar in intensive care units saves lives (wow!)
  • Sugar interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium – two important minerals for our health

If you’re experiencing some resistance to making positive changes, here are some reasons to kick your sugar habit for good:

146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. explains how sugar is damaging our health. Sugar can:

  • Suppress the immune system
  • Cause cardiovascular disease
  • Lead to both prostate cancer and ovarian cancer
  • Cause depression
  • Contribute to diabetes
  • Cause headaches, including migraines
  • Make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen

Read more about the cleanse. Sign up now. Break the cycle. Sugar doesn’t have to control your life. I can help you heal. <3

Testimonial: “Christina is amazing! She has a holistic approach that helps you make sense of several different systems going on at once– wellness doesn’t have to be as confusing as all the conflicting media would have you believe! Christina knows how to be healthy for the sake of actual health, how to end calorie counting and carbo-phobia, and how to respect your body with the foods you put in it and the activities you engage in (like yoga!) I’m so happy to have Christina as a healthy influence in my life!” – Kelsey L.

A Perfect Dessert Smoothie

TropicalIslandSmoothie

I absolutely love this smoothie! This blend of strawberries, pineapple, and coconut is perfect. I truly feel like I am on a gorgeous, tropical island when I am drinking this smoothie. I can honestly say that it makes the perfect dessert, as it’s refreshing, sweet, and satisfying. This is the same as my Tropical Island Smoothie – please try it and share it with friends and family. It’s so good that I feel that I have to share it again and again!

Blueberry Pineapple Banana Smoothie Bowl

BlueberrySmoothieBowl

I made this Blueberry Pineapple Banana Smoothie Bowl one day when I wanted to have a smoothie, but I also wanted to add other things to it. I ended up blending organic blueberries, pineapple, half a banana, and organic, ground flaxseeds. I chopped up the other half of the banana and put it on top. I’ve added walnuts, too. One time I had some healthy cereal (I hardly ever buy cereal) and I added some of that, too.

I usually follow this rule, “eat it alone or leave it alone” when it comes to fruit, but I’ve never had any issues when I’ve eaten this bowl. In fact, I love it! Fruit is easily digested, so the reason why we want to eat it by itself is that if we’ve had a meal and then we eat fruit, the fruit will want to pass through our digestive tract, but it will just sit on top of the other food, and it may ferment and give us a stomachache – yikes!

I haven’t found this to be the case with this bowl, so I recommend trying it and seeing how you feel! It’s super tasty :). And thanks to the blueberries, it’s packed with antioxidants! Pineapple is anti-inflammatory, so in addition to making this smoothie super yummy, it’s also really good for you. The flaxseeds will give you omega-3 fatty acids and plant lignans. Try it and tell me if you like it! I’ve made this before early morning meetings, put it in tupperware, and chopped up the banana during the meeting – it’s that simple!

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-free

1 cup organic blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)

1 medium sized banana

2 tablespoons organic, ground flaxseeds

Enough water to cover the fruit

Add all of the ingredients to the blender, blend, and enjoy!

Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

SlicedOranges{Sliced oranges on my cutting board – yum!}

When I went to visit my friend Felice in Ojai, we picked oranges from the gorgeous orange orchard that was essentially in her backyard. Ojai is filled with delicious, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and people often leave bags of oranges on the side of the road where you can make a donation (based on trust and honesty) and take some home for yourself. I’ve also seen people leave out avocados with a small donation box next to them. I love the idea of living amongst a group of people who are genuinely committed to helping each other.

Felice has a beautiful young daughter named Phoebe, and together, the three of us picked lots of oranges. For the remainder of my trip, I had freshly squeezed orange juice at least once a day. I even got to take a big bag full of fresh oranges home with me. This was in the fall; even though I am enjoying my summer, I still want one more cup of freshly squeezed orange juice from those yummy Ojai oranges.

My parents actually have an orange tree in their backyard. They swore to me that the oranges are bitter, but I was so excited to see them that I decided to pick some for myself. This was several months ago, but they were tasty! I was happy that I could have freshly squeezed orange juice for just a little longer. Some oranges were a little sour, but combined with the sweet ones, my juice was perfect. I am thinking that I’ll step into my parents backyard and see if I can gather any more oranges. I may just be able to squeeze enough for one more cup :).

I would definitely recommend squeezing your own oranges, instead of buying orange juice from the store. By then, the juice has been pasteurized, and it has lost almost all of its nutrients. It’s best to buy (or pick!) your oranges and make freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning (or whenever you’d like). That way, you get all of the nutrients – right in your cup – and then straight into your body! In addition to lots of vitamin C, oranges also have fiber, folate, vitamin b1, vitamin b5, and minerals such as potassium, copper, and calcium – wow!

Start thinking ahead for fall and grab those oranges when you can!

Fresh Vegetable Sandwich

VeggieSandwich

This fresh, yummy vegetable sandwich has become such a favorite of mine! It’s simple to put together, the ingredients are affordable, and it’s absolutely delicious! I can’t get enough of it and I know that once you try it, you will quickly make this a go-to in your line of recipes :).

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free

1 ripe tomato

1 organic carrot, shredded

1/2 avocado, sliced

1 handful organic spinach (or other organic green)

Pickles

Spicy brown mustard (that’s the one I love, but feel free to use whatever you’d like)

Grapeseed vegenaise (optional; I do love the creaminess that it adds to the sandwich though!)

Cucumber, sliced (I didn’t add it this time, but sometimes I do)

Black pepper (optional)

Cayenne pepper (optional)

Any other vegetables you’d like to add 🙂

Spread the mustard on one slice of bread and the vegenaise on the other. Add the tomatoes on one slice of bread and sprinkle some black pepper on top. Add the pickles, shredded carrot, organic spinach, cucumber, and avocado. Add cayenne pepper to the avocado for a spicy kick. Be careful not to use too much or the sandwich will be way too spicy – a little cayenne pepper goes a long way. Add everything else that you’re using, put the other slice on top, and enjoy!

Spring Super Smoothies Workshop at Whole Foods Market

WholeFoodsPasadena

Last  night I gave a health workshop at Whole Foods Market in Pasadena. The focus of the workshop was how to incorporate healthy, whole foods in our diet and I  made three different smoothies for people to sample. I am so happy to say that the workshop went well; everyone working at Whole Foods was kind and supportive. The audience was a pleasure to speak with, and I was so excited when Jay, the marketing manager said that he had never seen a group of people so engaged during a workshop at Whole Foods! I love to have interactive workshops, so I was thrilled to have so many people asking questions and being fully present during the presentation.

It’s always fun for me to meet new people who are interested in making healthier diet and lifestyle choices. During the workshop, people learned how different foods affect our health; many people were surprised by all the benefits we get from making simple additions to our diet, including eating more greens, berries, pineapple, coconuts, ground flaxseeds, raw cacao, and more. I had such a wonderful time and am grateful for this amazing opportunity. Below is a picture of all the yummy ingredients I used to make the smoothies:

WholeFoodsMarketWorkshop

During the workshop, I made my Super Green Smoothie, Superfoods Smoothie, and Dessert Smoothie (which I also call my, “Tropical Island Smoothie” because it reminds me of being on vacation on a beautiful island :)).

If you missed last night’s workshop, but would like to attend another one soon, I’ll be giving a health workshop at Whole Foods Market in Porter Ranch on March 25th at 6:00PM. I would love to see you all there!

 

M.A.K.E. Santa Monica

RawLasagna

A little while ago, my boyfriend and I were at Santa Monica Place. As we were walking around, we passed M.A.K.E., Matthew Kenney’s raw (or “living foods”), plant-based restaurant. We had been meaning to try it sometime, so my boyfriend surprised me and said, “let’s go.” I was excited. I had heard such great things about the menu, and couldn’t wait to try the food for myself.

I ordered the raw lasagna (pictured above) and it was absolutely delicious. The “cheese” is made out of macadamia nuts and the lasagna is piled high with raw zucchini, tomatoes, and a yummy pesto made out of pistachios and basil. The lasagna is definitely the best thing we had (I didn’t take a picture of my boyfriend’s meal, and even though it was tasty, I enjoyed the lasagna more).

We also ordered a couple of drinks; I tried the malted chai smoothie and loved it! I would definitely get it again – the flavors work amazingly well together and it’s rich and creamy – so good! My boyfriend, Tim, ordered the heartbeat cocktail, because he loves blood orange. It was good, but I’m not much of a drinker, so I’ll probably try a new smoothie next time, or order my beloved malted chai.

All in all, it was a great experience with fresh, delicious food. The server was helpful and I would say that M.A.K.E. is worth trying at least once, if not more. I’ve since noticed that they have a happy hour menu, which is available Monday – Thursday, from 4 to 6PM. You can order reasonably priced drinks, snacks, and dessert during happy hour. Additionally, the restaurant is right next to Matthew Kenney Culinary, so if you’re feeling really fancy, you can take classes and learn how to make these delicious dishes for yourself! The fact that this restaurant is in Santa Monica is another plus, because it’s in Santa Place Place; you can go shopping, get something to eat, and then head to the beach. I can’t wait to go back and maybe I’ll see you there!