Make This Tonight: Cauliflower “Rice”

I’ve been seeing “rice” made out of cauliflower here and there on social media sites recently and have been itching to try it for myself because it sounds like a great way to switch out a grain in one of my meals and substitute it with even more veggies…my favorite!

Being grain-free, cauli-rice is a great alternative to rice for those living a paleo lifestyle, or for anyone who wants a low-calorie, lower-carb alternative to rice. Plus, the dish is super quick and easy to make, with no cooking required! Using raw cauliflower also yields you all of the wonderful benefits of raw foods!

But what’s so great about cauliflower, anyway?
This white wonder veg is full of boastful body benefits, including:20131119-105906.jpg

  • loads of fiber, which helps to fill you up, stabilize your blood sugar, decrease your blood cholesterol levels, and keep your digestive tract moving along smoothly.
  • vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that aids in your immunity, tissue repair, collagen formation, and iron absorption (cauliflower is also high in iron, so it’s a complete package!). Vitamin C has also been reported to be a “fat-burner” (1).
  • vitamin K, which helps in bone development and blood coagulation
  • potassium, a key body electrolyte and heart health promotor
  • isothiocyanate, a sulfur-based compound that supports the body against disease (3).
  • magnesium, a mineral that is known to play in so many of the numerous enzymatic reactions completed by the body on a daily basis

(that’s just the tip of the nutrition iceberg)

Below is my simple raw cauliflower rice recipe! You can certainly make it with just cauliflower, but I decided to take it up a notch and add::

  • onions –> known for their antibacterial properties, onions are also a blood purifier and thinner, helping to clean the blood and prevent blood clots. Onions also have a stockpile of the antioxidant quercetin, which helps destroy free radicals (2).
  • parsley –> a potent detoxifier, digestive aid, and diuretic! Plus, this tiny herb is packed with the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E as well as iron and folate (both very important for female and reproductive health) (2).

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Raw Savory Cauli-Rice

  • 1 head organic cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 small cooking onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. black pepper (feel free to play with the amount of herbs and spices. I usually use herbs and spices to taste, and I tend to like them strong)
  1. put all ingredients in food processor or high-powered blender and pulse until it reaches a “rice-like” consistency.
    * this works great as a side dish or as a base for a curry, a saucy entree recipe, or a stirfry!
    *no salt and no oil required!
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my Raw Savory Cauli-Rice, pictured here surrounded by a bunch of sauteed, curry-spiced veggies and some baked turnip “chips”

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Resources:
1. Sadia. “Top  10 Health Benefits of Cauliflower.” StyleCraze.com. 5 Sept 2013. http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/top-10-health-benefits-of-cauliflower/
2. Snyder, Kimberly. Beauty Detox Foods. Harlequin. 2013.
3. Stanton, Meredith. “Cauliflower: A Royal Health Boost.” WebMd. 2006. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/cauliflower-health-boost

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Stress: The Body’s Biggest Toxin?!


Trust it. Believe it.

I’m having a Flash 4-Day Sale on my Fall Clean Eating Detox Program, so I wanted to let you all know about it and take a second to discuss how this signature detox is not just about the food on your plate.  The greatest success at weight loss, at a boosted immune system, and at health, is achieved when you focus as much energy on your food choices as you do on evaluating the other areas of your life that are not serving you. This is a key aspect of not just my detox program, but also in how I approach all of my holistic health coaching clients (see my post on holistic health for a detailed picture of my health philosophy). In my program, I provide you with my personal unlimited support as well as an awesome Tool Kit that guides you through the steps to incorporating good self-care into your 11-day experience (and that you can take into the rest of your life)! It’s a pretty nifty package that my clients have loved!

Detoxing on an emotional level, as well as a physical one, will help you
truly begin to thrive again.

So many of us need to step back and take a little time for ourselves. In our go-go-go society, we’re always thinking about the next task, how to manage the next crisis, and how to side-step the one after that. We are so busy. In some ways, that’s great – I’m all for living a full life! – but at times, it becomes detrimental to our health and happiness.destress for the holidays

How often do you feel like you’re actually living in the present moment? Not 10 minutes before, not an hour from now, but JUST THIS SECOND? It’s hard to do, isn’t it?

When was the last time you did something to take care of you? Did you find yourself feeling guilty about it?

Our busy lives are often quite downright stressful. Did you know that stress is actually one of the biggest toxins that we fight? Stress finds its way into our daily life far too easily and far too often.

Stress ramps up our adrenal glands’ cortisol production, which over time, can lead to things like weight gain (and stubborn weight loss), chronic fatigue, and immune suppression.

No matter how healthy you pile your plate each day and how many time you hit the gym each week, if you’re experiencing chronic stress and not taking the proper time to de-frazzle yourself, it will be hard to look and feel good. I’ve experienced this firsthand on too many occasions – when my stress levels skyrocket and I “forget about me” – my digestion gets wonky, my body aches all over (you would not believe the knots I get in my back!), my skin breaks out, and I get irritable, especially when it starts affecting my sleep. It’s not fun. My body is essentially calling out to me that it’s experiencing toxic stress overload!

When I finally get the message, I know it’s time to regroup, break out a few more healthy meals designed to naturally cleanse my body, take time to journal, take a nice long soaking bath, and do something special to rejuvenate my body, mind, and spirit.

Enter the holiday season coming up. Talk about stress-central (unfortunately). I know it’s not supposed to be that way, but for many of us, including myself, it often is. It’s coming fast, but now is the perfect time to get a jump-start on them instead, and enter the holiday season stress-free, re-centered, de-frazzled, and feeling downright fabulous in your skinny jeans and new winter top!

Before the winter festivities hit full force, take a moment for you.
Honor your body and slow down.
Learn the tools to GET YOU IN THE GROOVE and GET YOUR BODY FEELING GREAT not only for the holiday season, but FOR LIFE.

You deserve it!

Revitalize Your Body with Clean Eating for 11 Days – NO fasting, NO juice cleansing, NO deprivation. Just lots of whole foods and simple delicious recipes that get you on track! Plus, I’m there to support you every step of the way!

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FLASH 4 DAY SALE STARTS TODAY! JUST $39.95!
GRAB IT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

Contact me for details (drsarah@holisticshapeup.com), and learn more and sign up here: http://www.holisticshapeup.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program

Renew & Revitalize Fall Clean Eating Program

Take this moment, right now, to take stock of what might be holding you back when it comes to making positive changes to your lifestyle. Try to journal about your challenges and your obstacles. Get to the bottom of it. This is your opportunity to stop hiding behind your excuses and take action. There was never a better time than now. Enter this holiday season feeling your best ever!

   

Strength Training: A Second Factor I Swear Fueled My Recent Marathon Success

When training for a marathon, it’s really important to do more than just run. 20131108-153516.jpg Sure running and running long should be a primary focus of any marathon training plan. However, something I’ve learned over the course of training for 4 marathons is that strength training is a vital aspect to running well, and fast, while also running long. Better yet, when done properly, it will also help your odds of remaining injury-free. Looking back on my marathon history, I attribute the introduction of strength training to my 20 minute drop in my finishing time from my first to my second Marine Corps Marathon. During my first shot at training, I did little-to-no strength training at all. Those who know me will attest to the fact that, at that time, I was just getting into working out in general – I didn’t really know what I was doing, except that I should just make sure I ran the required distances each week – I pulled the “couch-to-marathon” card, and thinking back to it, I understand how that was completely mental a little crazy to do. However, those close to me will also tell you that I don’t do anything half way, and my fiance now often uses the phrase “she’s a person who decides one day to ‘get in shape’ by tackling a marathon” to describe my personality. Hey, go big or go home, right?!

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some of the strength training sessions I like to use to switch things up are on DVDs like these

Anyway, between my first and second marathons, I had been introduced to the Tone It Up program and was reading more about running, racing, and getting fit. I started incorporating some light dumbbell and body-weight exercises a few times a week. Not only did I develop more muscle tone all over, but I ended up dropping a whole 20 minutes off my marathon time and ran the marathon feeling so much stronger! Here’s my reasoning as to why it would benefit any runner to incorporate some strength training into their exercise routine, at least a few times a week:

  1. it can help correct musculoskeletal imbalances that make you more prone to injury. Running only works specific muscles in the body, and even in the legs themselves; when done properly, strength training moves can train the other muscles that tend to be weaker in runners who only pound the  pavement.
  2. it enhances your speed AND endurance. Strength training in runners has been shown in scientific studies to lead to drops in race times, increases in pace, and being able to run longer (1). And we’re not just talking about strengthening your legs! Your upper body, abs, and back are key too!
  3. it helps you keep good form, even when you’re exhausted and in extreme pain discomfort in those last miles.  A strong core helps to: hold you upright to prevent slouching, and keep your torso straight rather than swinging from side to side with the movement of your arms. This improves your efficiency, and a toned tummy has been shown to reduce 5K times by 42 seconds (1). That’s quite a lot in a 3.1 mile race! A muscular upper body makes your arms primed to kick in and pump even more as the miles go on and your legs begin to tire. I swear, it’s incredible how much this helps! Research has shown that a sculpted upper body improves your pace by about 4% (1).
  4. you just FEEL stronger. As I gained muscle mass and tone, along with it came more confidence – in my running, in my body, and in life in general. Feeling stronger also provided me with greater mental fortitude to push through those inevitable physical and mental lows of any marathon. When you feel powerful, you become more powerful.

All four of these aspects came into play during my most recent Marine Corps Marathon a few weeks ago. I cut another 14 minutes off my best time, pushed through my hip pain and exhaustion with so many fewer “walking breaks,” and mentally (as well as physically) was able to propel forward even harder as the race went on – I even ran negative splits the whole way! Ever since that second marathon, I’ve committed more and more time to strength training. Right now, that takes the form of using a combination of free weights, body-weight exercises, and kettlebells, in addition to hot vinyasa yoga classes at Evolution Power Yoga. It’s now commonplace for me to do some type of toning almost every day of the week (I’ll focus on different body parts on different days to avoid fatigue and allow for recovery). I do it so often simply because I’ve grown to love it and the results it has given me. The key, as with any fitness routine, is to find a type you enjoy, stick with it, and switch it up whenever boredom strikes!

Happy muscle toning!

20131108-153700.jpg To catch up on the first part of my marathon recap and my plant-based fueling, click here — References: 1. Cassity, Jessica. “Love Your Run.” SELF. July 2013. 87-91.

Natural, Plant-based Fueling: One Thing I Swear Fueled My Recent Marathon Success

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This past Sunday, I ran my fourth marathon (and fourth Marine Corps Marathon to be exact).
I also shaved over 14 minutes off my personal best, with a time of 3:46:28!
And, I only walked once at 3 miles from the finish (this is HUGE for me, as I’m someone who walked at least about 10 times in all my other prior marathons)!

Days later, I’m still absolutely elated! After coming off a pretty hefty PR (personal record) at the half marathon level in September, I knew my speed had improved over the past several months, but I was skeptical about how my marathon would go because I have been dealing with a nagging hip injury for the past few months now – some weeks I’d feel fine, only to be driven to limping for days the next. I was honestly kind of just hoping I would be able to finish! Boy, was I surprised!

My hips started bothering me around mile 8, and I instantly got worried. I also was already feeling the nasty blister on my ankle that I got the prior weekend from some new moccasins I wore and walk around in for hours. Luckily, the pain was definitely manageable and ended up waxing and waning until about mile 17, at which point it got consistent… and worse.

The way I run distance races is that I keep running until I absolutely must stop, because the inertia required to get me going again is always so much higher than to just keep running. That’s just how I am, and I’ve found that’s the strategy that works best for me. So I kept going, knowing walking was more than likely in my future, but as long as I could at least “Beat the Bridge” (at mile 20 – the point runners must reach by a certain time or else be cut off from the finish), I told myself I could pretty much guarantee a finish, even if that meant walking (or hey, even crawling!) across the finish line. So I did, and then I just kept pushing, playing mental games with myself and repeating my go-to mantra: “MIND OVER MATTER” until I stopped at 23.2 to shake out my hips. Then, as I kept looking at my watch and knew I had a great chance to actually PR if I could run the rest at about a 10min/mi pace, that was enough motivation to get me moving again. I had put so much of myself into my training and into the race that I knew I just had to give it a shot and keep running as hard as I could. Then, happening to see my loved ones at mile 25 (love you guys!!) cheering me on, gave me the bursts of energy I needed to plug even harder for that last mile and 385 yards. I crossed the finish in a run and with a smile.20131031-184932.jpg

After races, I always reflect on how my training and the race itself went and why. This past weekend, I learned I am so much tougher than I thought! However, I believe that a lot of that “toughness” is due to how I trained my body this time around. And most of all, I attribute my recent marathon success to a whole foods, plant-based fueling plan (see below) and an increase in my strength training (which I’ll cover in my next post!).

Back when I created my marathon training plan this summer, I decided to make nutrition and recovery a key focus.

I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for years now, and I’ve been slowly progressing from that typical college junk-food vegetarian to a mostly whole foods, natural, fairly vegan diet. However in the past, my recovery meals in particular, were my excuse to eat bonafide junk – like pretzels and pop tarts and candy – after a whey-filled Starbucks chocolate potein smoothie, and my fueling during runs still consisted of Powerade and SportBeans. I decided to change that this year by:
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  • switching my recovery smoothie to a homemade green smoothie, filled with Perfect Fit Protein (a sprouted, raw, organic, non-GMO, vegan brown rice protein)
  • changing up my post-long run “treats” to healthier versions because I still wanted to treat myself since I don’t eat much processed food during the week. My personal favorites: So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream and organic sprouted sweet potato chips.
  • really honing in on my weekday nutrition as well – more fruits and veggies so that they made up the bulk of my day’s calories – to create a diet full of nutritious goodness, alkalinity, and anti-inflammatory foods.20131031-185350.jpg20131101-090037.jpg
  • altering my running fuel to consist of medjool dates and plain old water (and coconut water as needed). Perfectly natural and free of artificial flavors and colors.

By making these dietary shifts, I noted some small, but very noticeable changes throughout my training:

  1. my stomach was less rambunctious during my runs
  2. I didn’t get as fatigued after my longer workouts
  3. my digestion was better
  4. I recovered faster. I was able to work out much harder and longer this time than ever before. And despite that hip issue, I was never completely sidelined due to an injury.
  5. my energy levels never bonked during my long runs. I actually never even “hit the wall” during this marathon, which always happened in my ones prior.

Sure, maybe these things can be attributed to some other aspect of my training or my lifestyle this time around, but I really think my change in nutrition played a big part:

When you fill your body with health-promoting, inflammation-busting food packed with vitamins and minerals, that’s what your body has to use to build itself back up after a hard workout, a long run, or even an illness or injury. You’re giving it the building blocks it needs, rather than making it sort through all the processed, chemicalized junk found in the Standard American Diet. Your body doesn’t even recognize that stuff.

I can tell you this much, after Sunday, this girl is going to keep running on plants in the future!

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me and my wonderful sister – she’s always there supporting me!

I’ll also keep lifting those weights, but I’ll get to that next week 🙂

Thanks for reading!!

Do you spend time after a race to reflect on your race and training? What things have you found in your training that work well for you? What will you do differently next time? Leave a comment below..I’d love to hear your stories!

A How-To: Making the Perfect Green Smoothie

“A green smoothie a day keeps the doctor away!” 🙂20131018-195453.jpg

Whenever the topic of green smoothies comes up in conversation (okay, I tend to bring them up a lot..hey, I’m a fan!), I say that they are downright life-changing.

I started slurping “green monsters” back in May, and since then, I have made them into a daily habit, drinking at least one a day. Prior to taking the plunge into green goodness, I had seem them around on the internet, especially from my health coach colleagues and always wondered: Can that really taste good? How does it NOT taste like grass?!

Let me tell you, once you get the combination of ingredients right, they taste simply decadent. I swear.

Add their great taste to the fact that these gems are jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and yield tremendous health benefits, and I wouldn’t doubt that you’ll be making a green smoothie into a daily habit too!

So, what makes green smoothies so great anyway? Well, they are:

  • like liquid nutrition for your cells – because the cell walls of the greens are broken down by the action of the blender, the nutrients are more easily digested and assimilated into the body
  • fiber-rich, unlike juices where all the fiber/pulp is removed. Fiber helps keep your system “moving along,” keeps you fuller longer, stabilizes blood sugar spikes, and helps bind cholesterol and remove it from the body
  • an immune boost! With so many antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from the veggies, fruit, and “extras” you can add (see examples below), a green smoothie like a gigantic multivitamin for your body.
  • a great “pick me up”: due to all the nutrients you’re consuming and the easily-digestible nature of green drinks (did you know that the act of digestion takes up the majority of our energy throughout the day?!), you’ll get a burst of energy that lasts.
  • they make you more VIBRANT from the inside out: you skin, your hair, your digestive system, and your mood..all due to that lovely liquid gold (or should I say green?)
  • a great alternative to salads, which for me, can get dull. So many leafy greens go into my smoothies that they contain more than my typical salad!
  • super detoxifying and cleansing for the body: our bodies build up a lot of toxins on a daily basis, even when we’re eating well (see my post on toxicity), but the healthy punch of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll in green smoothies helps to neutralize and get rid of that built up gunk that’s just bogging down your health, your weight loss, and your mood.
  • incredibly versatile, as you’ll see below, so you can mix up and switch up ingredients to your taste (I even have a great one for chocolate lovers!)
  • perfect for on-the-go! Just stick it in a travel cup, a mason jar with a lid, or whatever you have on hand, and take it with you. You can even make them ahead of time (but stick it in the freezer to save the optimum nutritional quality) and just grab it as you head out the door in the morning. Super portable!

Now, let’s talk about how to make the perfect green smoothie..

BLEND IT UP, BABY!

Tools you need:

  • a blender (I’m even using my great-grandmother’s ancient blender, so believe me when I say you do not need a Vitamix to make smoothies)
  • measuring cups and spoons; hands work just fine for measuring greens and fruit too
  • a glass
  • a rubber spatula (to scrape the blender sides, if necessary)
  • a straw for sipping, if that’s how you like to roll

The goods:

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  1. Step 1: Greens and Liquid
    2-3 cups/handfuls of organic greens (switch them up periodically so you get a wide variety of nutrients)
    1 cup “milk”: almond, coconut, hemp, rice, etc. Coconut water works here too!
    other veggies: cucumber, celery, etc.
    herbs: parsley, cilantro
  2. Step 2: Blend (blending the mylk and greens first will decrease chunkiness, especially if you have sub-par blender)
  3. Step 3: Everything Else
    fruit: 1/2-1 frozen banana, 3/4 cup frozen mango or pineapple (these fruits really help cut through the “green” taste)
    protein: 1 scoop protein powder of choice (I like Perfect Fit because it’s raw, organic, non-GMO, vegan, and sprouted brown rice protein…and it tastes amazing!); 1-2 tbsp. soaked nuts or seeds (I like chia or ground flax)
    Extras:
    – 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries, peaches, grapes etc.
    – 1/2 avocado (for an extra creamy texture and good fats)
    – 1 tbsp coconut oil or unsweetened coconut flakes (for healthy fats and staying power)
    – dried fruit, such as: gogi berries or cherries
    – superfood powders like: raw cacao, maca root, spirulina
    – pumpkin puree
    – spices, such as: cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, ginger
    – ice 
  4. Step 4: Blend
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  5. Step 5: Pour, “chew,” and enjoy!
    * It’s important to sip, not chug, your green drink, for best digestion. Also, try to “chew” your smoothie because digestion begins with the activation of saliva in the mouth.
    *If the smoothie isn’t cold enough for your liking, just throw it in the freezer for a few minutes as you clean up the blender!

Here’s a recipe card of one of my favorite green smoothies ever. I especially love it post-workout since it has a great amount of protein (15g) for optimal muscle recovery. Save the image on your computer or print it out if you’d like!

Want to know more about eating healthy foods that actually taste good and make you feel awesome?!
Check out my Fall Clean Eating Program and join me on an 11-day journey to totally transform the way your think about fueling your body.
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