Monthly Archives: May 2015

Berry Spinach Post Workout Smoothie

This morning’s boot camp class might have been one of the sweatiest on record! Yesterday, Houston flooded. I mean REALLY flooded. Schools and businesses were closed. Drivers abandoned their cars after attempting to drive down the highway. It was a rough day for Houstonians. All of that rain and stagnant water resulted in a heavy humidity this morning that made you just want to give up on the day before it even started! If you haven’t experienced humidity like this, just imagine going for a run…in the summer…wrapped in a queen sized comforter. That’s it.

After convincing myself to workout in the early morning humidity, cooking eggs over the stove was the last thing I wanted to do. Breakfast would have to come in a more pleasant form–a smoothie!

BERRY SPINACH POST WORKOUT SMOOTHIE

My smoothies are usually made with whatever goodies I have in the refrigerator. Over the past few days, I’ve been perfecting a margarita recipe (that will be shared sometime in the near future) and had leftover watermelon.  After a hot and sweaty workout, the watermelon is just what I was hoping to find :)

I dumped in a few more goodies…

post workout smoothie prep

…and blended everything together with an immersion blender.

post workout smoothie 4

Here’s the post workout smoothie recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup watermelon chunks
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

INSTRUCTIONS: Use a food processor or blender to combine all ingredients until smooth.

For more recipes perfect for those hot summer days, check out my Paleo Summer Recipe Roundup. It has salads, chicken, and more fabulous smoothie recipes!

Visit my Recipes page for more ideas!

QUESTION: What ingredients should I add into my summer smoothies?

Natural Face Care + Houston Under Water

How do natural face care and a flooded metropolis go together? I’m so glad you asked :)

I didn’t sleep a wink last night because it sounded as if the world was coming to an end. There was an awful thunderstorm (or several storms?) that came through Houston over night. Ryan and I turned on the news this morning to see images of the interstate and main roads completely under water.

Clearly, school was cancelled. Our students come in from all over the city. I live 0.5 miles away, and even I would have had a hard time going to work. So, today I caught up on dishes and laundry, tweaked lesson plans, and practiced my new natural face care methods and gathered some information for today’s post :)

HOUSTON UNDER WATER

A. Spott's Park Houston Flood 5.26.15

The above picture is my local park. The park is shaped like a giant bowl, and as you can see, Buffalo Bayou flooded and made a bowl of bayou soup.

 

A. Houston Flood 5.26.15 Memorial Drive under water

You can’t tell, but this is a major street. In the distance, you can see a little bit of the exit ramp for Memorial Drive. I’m standing on top of a hill.

 

A. Memorial Drive from Waugh. Houston Flood. 5.26.15

The same street (Memorial Drive) under water. This is at least 10-11 feet of water.

 

A. Houston Flood 5.26.15 (28)  Bayou path Along Shephard Dr.

 

Our jogging path completely under water :(

This was a very eerie experience. Having experienced several hurricanes while growing up in New Orleans, this situation felt very familiar…almost comfortable. (Is that weird? Sorry!)  Because businesses and schools are closed, my three day weekend was just extended to a four day weekend. And this brings me to my next topic:

NATURAL FACE CARE

Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard that coconut oil is going to save the world…or something like that. It’s good for your metabolism, hair, nails, teeth, gums, and skin.

I found a website the other day called Skin Deep. This website lists chemicals commonly found in your everyday beauty products, and it also rates (on a 1-10 scale) the “cleanness” of your products.

burt's bees score 3

 Above you see Burt’s Bees facial cleanser, which I use twice a day. It scored a 3/10, which is pretty great.

neutrogena foundation score 3The above image is the liquid foundation I use daily. It also scored a 3/10. Yay! So far so good :)

Then I checked on some of my Clean & Clear brand products. Both the toner and dual action moisturizer scored a 5/10. So did my Garnier leave-in conditioner and Nioxin hair products. Then I checked on my Garnier anti-humidity hairspray…8/10. Hmm…getting worse.

It’s hard to ignore the results others are getting from natural skin care product. I’m notready to clean out my bathroom closet and throw everything in the garbage. That would be a bit rash. What I can do is look into more natural alternatives to my current products. Skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and I’ll use natural alternatives if they work :)

CURRENT EXPERIMENTS

  • Coconut oil as face wash
  • Apple cider vinegar as toner
  • Oil pulling

COCONUT OIL: The idea behind using coconut oil is “like dissolves like.” By stripping your face of oils, you’re only making matters worse. Coconut oil adds the moisture back to your face and it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Here’s the method for using coconut oil on your face:

  • Rub 1 teaspoon of coconut oil between your palms and then massage oil onto your face. This should take up to a minute.
  • Run a wash cloth under hot water. Rest it on your face until cloth cools to room temperature.
  • Use the cloth to wipe away coconut oil. (This may take a few rinses.)
  • If you’ve given this method a solid two-week trial and it’s just not working, try cutting the coconut oil with some castor oil. (Haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve read nothing but wonderful things!)
  • Don’t do this more than once a day. If you need to freshen up your face, you can use the apple cider vinegar toner:

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR TONER: I found this idea on Coconuts and Kettlebells, a fabulous blog for all things primal. This natural toner restores the pH balance in your skin. Our skin’s pH levels become unbalanced when we use traditional facial cleansers, experience stress,or eat poorly. This toner is also great for freshening up your face after a workout or at the end of a long day.

natural face care - apple cider vinegar toner

Because I work out and sweat like a pig, I can’t rely on the once-a-day oil cleansing method to keep my face clear. So I use coconut oil in the morning, and in the evenings I’ll use water followed by the toner. I’ve only done this for a couple of days, so I have no real results to share just yet. So far, my face hasn’t broken out or gotten too oily. It’s actually really soft and smooth! Here’s the concoction for the apple cider vinegar toner, found on Coconuts and Kettlebells:

  • Two parts herbal tea
  • one part apple cider vinegar.

This morning I brewed one cup of Trader’s Joe’s Harvest Blend herbal tea. I poured 1/2 cup of organic apple cider vinegar into the tea and mixed well. I poured the mixture into a leftover bottle, and it’s stored in the refrigerator.

Why tea? You could just use distilled water, but I don’t want my face to smell like vinegar. I opted for a tea that would compliment the smell of the vinegar, and my face smelled like a Fall-scented candle this morning :)

CONSIDERING FOR THE NEAR FUTURE

  • No Shampoo Method
  • Apple cider vinegar and essential oils as conditioner

QUESTION: Do you use any natural face care remedies or other natural products? How do they work for you?

Paleo Food Friday #20

I’m SUPER excited to write today’s Paleo Food Friday! I feel like I’m back in the swing of meal planning and cooking, and the three meals we cooked this week were quite tasty! Today is also a great day because I know we’re heading into a three day weekend! A teacher’s three favorite words :) But let’s get back to food talks…

PALEO FOOD FRIDAY #20

paleo food friday

SATURDAY

Breakfast bowls are super yummy. I gabbed about them in yesterday’s post :) I had a few ripening avocados and bananas waiting to be used up on Saturday, so this recipe for Avocado Pumpkin Banana Pudding was perfect.

avocado pumpkin banana pudding

SUNDAY

When Sunday afternoon rolled around, I needed to use up some chicken and meatball leftovers I made last week. I threw them on top of a large, delicious dinner salad.

leftover dinner salad

MONDAY

More Paleo breakfast bowls? Yes, please. This one is supposed to mimic porridge, but honestly it doesn’t have to be a replacement for anything. It’s delicious on its own! Paleo Pumpkin breakfast bowl:

paleo breakfast bowls: coconut pumpkin poridge

TUESDAY

A few months ago, I ordered the Homegrown Paleo Cookbook.  It’s a how-to and a recipe book; it talks about farming and using in-season produce in your cooking. The first recipe I tried is called Curry Hash (click for recipe!), and it was very flavorful! I added a lot more seasonings than than what was called for in the original recipe. Kroger has this delicious coconut curry spice that went very well with the dish!

curry hash

WEDNESDAY

I opened up another Paleo cookbook, Make it Paleo, and tried a new salmon recipe! This recipe had a delicious jerk seasoning that I can’t wait to try in other dishes, as well! We served the salmon with half of a baked sweet potato and a salad.

jerk salmon

THURSDAY

Last night we had an old favorite: Paleo Chicken Alfredo! This low carb meal won’t disappoint :) It includes coconut milk, bacon, broccoli, chicken, and many different seasonings. You can find the recipe here!

paleo chicken alfredo

FRIDAY

My love of Paleonola will never quit! This morning’s breakfast was plain Greek yogurt, paleonola, sliced strawberries, and some avocado on the side. Perfect Friday morning breakfast :)

paleonola breakfast

So why am I showing you pictures of my food? I began the weekly (hah! if only I could actually get this post out every week…) Paleo Food Friday posts to demonstrate how delicious the Paleo diet can be :) There’s a lot of misinformation about paleo/primal lifestyles, and there are also many people out there wanting to discredit this way of eating because some Paleolithic person ate something that might have been a grain. I’m pretty sure this diet is not about reenacting history…I’ll leave that to the experts. It’s about eating the nutrient dense foods that make you happy :)

Check out previous weeks’ Paleo Food Friday if you’re interested!

Question: Eat anything delicious this week? Have any recipe links you’d like to share?

Paleo Breakfast Bowls!

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It has the most delicious foods, and I get to enjoy the meal with my first cup of coffee. What’s not to love?

Before I began eating Paleo, I ate a giant bowl of cheerios or oatmeal every morning. I’ve since learned that those seemingly healthy choices did a number on my blood sugar levels throughout the day. I wanted to replace them with something similar, but filling. Enter Paleo breakfast bowls!

Paleo Breakfast Bowl #1: Avocado Pumpkin Banana Pudding 

This bowl is better than you would think it would be…it combines several delicious ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

Mix everything well in a food processor (or with a fork or potato masher) and top with sliced fruit or granola. (I like Paleonola!)

paleo breakfast bowls: avocado pumpkin banana pudding

I definitely overloaded the bowl with Paleonola! I can’t help it…it’s so good, and it goes really well with the breakfast bowl :)

Paleo Breakfast Bowl #2: Pumpkin Porridge

I found this recipe on Preppy Paleo, and it’s quite yummy! Altough it’s not as “oatmeal-like” as my Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal recipe, it still hits the spot! Here’s the recipe:

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 thinly sliced banana
1 egg
1/3 cup canned organic pumpkin
1/3 cup coconut chips
salt, vanilla & pumpkin pie spice, to taste
Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips, optional

“Combine coconut flour through banana in a small pot and heat over medium until combined, stirring to help break up banana.

“Crack in the egg and continue to cook and stir until it’s thoroughly incorporated. Turn heat to low and stir in pumpkin, coconut and flavoring. Remove from heat and sprinkle with dairy-free chocolate chip, if using.”

paleo breakfast bowls: coconut pumpkin poridge

Since I began eating these kinds of breakfasts, I’m fuller longer (which is super helpful during those classes I teach right before lunch) and I’m getting more nutrients. Coconut, nuts, pumpkin, eggs, and avocado are fabulous whole foods, and we should all make an effort to eat them more often!

Questions

  • What would you love to eat in paleo breakfast bowls?
  • What’s your favorite meal of the day?

Want more Paleo recipes? Visit my recipes page!