Featured Lifestyle

10 Things to Consider for your Nutrition Practice

December 31, 2016

Practice:

: to do (something) regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life

: the activity of doing something again and again in order to become better at it

Nutrition:

:  the act or process of nourishing or being nourished

Going forward one year, I thought I would share my own personal practice + re-rooting activities. 

A few basics: 

1. Morning Routine

Take two minutes of stillness. Journal one page.  Eat breakfast every day with protein, whole grain OR potato & fruit or vegetables. This killer combo sets the tone for managing your blood sugars, energy level and hunger throughout the day. Below is Oatmeal + Sunflower Butter + Mint + Ginger + Cinnamon + Banana. 

2. Hydrate

Drink more than 8 cups of water per day to help your body efficiently flush toxins and better absorb nutrients. Start with apple cider vinegar, lemon & spice H20. Make lots of tea. Rosemary + Ginger + Honey + Turmeric + Apple Cider Vinegar + Garlic + Lime. 


3. Add Greens + Fiber

Eat more than 5 FULL cups of vegetables and fruits a day. Emphasize veggies! During the winter months roasting seasonal vegetables are an easy and flavorful option. Also, adding greens to any recipe –  salad, soup, chili or stew.


4. Meal Meditations

During your meal preparation +/or meal time, try a meal meditation: 

Connect with each ingredient in your meal. Observe it in its whole form, feel it, smell it, taste it and most importantly, connect to it. Read how to create your own meal bowls.

Silent Meal Meditation Classes begin in March + April at The Local Juice12 – 1 PM WEDNESDAYS. Please contact for more information.


5. Snacking 

Eat a balanced snack. Always pair protein and fiber – and try to eat what’s in season. For example, a pear with a handful of almonds, apple slices with natural peanut or almond butter, or raw yogurt with pomegranates. Use the chart below to assemble your own combos. 

Protein Fiber
Nuts (1/4 c) Apple
Seeds (1/4 c) Persimmon
Nut Butter (1 – 2 TB) Pomagranate
Energy Burst  Carrots
Yogurt (1/2 – 1 c) Cauliflower
Lentils (1/2 c) Green Beans
Beans (1/2 c) Celery
Chickpeas (1/2 c) Any Fruit
Smoothie (Protein + Fruit + Greens) Any Vegetable
Raw Milk Cheese (1 oz) Whole Grain Crackers

To open your pomagranate:

Place under water, then break open to release the seeds from the membrane. 


6. Make an appointment for a Kitchen Therapy session once per week: 

Have a sit still & rejuvenate day at home.  Kitchen therapy:  Prepare what I need for a supportive week. 1) make a batch of grains {polenta, spelt berries, wild rice} 2) cook vegetables 3) make greens readily available 4) prepare proteins 5) make tea 


7. Expand your relationships.

It will be my First New Year Married – Love, relate & meditate 2017. Excited to learn more about meditation in the next year. Spending time with my new family, exploring more functional nutrition & health, sharing our landing space & expanding our sustainable living. 


8. Travel – Inspirational trips

My first personal inspirational trip will be to India – {Stay tuned for the travel posts about farming, culinary & daily lessons}

Be in love with your life. Every minute of it. – Jack Kerouac

9. Shop more consciously. Below are the links to where my above travel items stemmed from. 

Devinto Design Leggings & Underwear 

Wellfleet Clothing Swap 

Dumptique Martha’s Vineyard

Homegrown Trades 

Shift 

Wind-born Journal

Artichoke Bathing Suit (+ socks)


10. Join our NFTGU Community – HUGE NEWS!!!! 

The first issue of Nutrition from the Ground Up guide is coming! 

Get the basics of structuring a nutrition practice, from nutritional building blocks to pantry design. nutritionally complete recipe suggestions with substitution ideas to encourage your intuitive cooking practice to grow – including smart snacks and quick meals. My seasonal produce picks will inspire you to use what’s fresh now. There will be mindful moments that recognize and strengthen the mind / body connection between you, your nutrition practice, and your overall well-being.

Featured Recipes

Yogurt

December 26, 2016

yo·gurt

a semisolid sourish food prepared from milk fermented by added bacteria.

Yogurt contains many vitamins and nutrients that have positive implications for your health. Nutrients include B12, riboflavin, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all of which have important health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and promoting strong, healthy bones. However, the beneficial microbes (bacteria) present in yogurt during the fermentation process may be helpful with digestion, absorption and immunity. The root of sustaining a healthy body.  

Found in yogurt:
Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Bifidus

Best uses: 


SNACK: 1/2 cup yogurt + fruit (or veggies)

BREAKFAST: 1 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup whole grain + 1/2 cup fruit 
sample: yogurt + oatmeal + banana 

LUNCH/DINNER: 2 TB yogurt + protein + grain/potato + vegetables 
sample: yogurt + lentils + sweet potato + greens 

 

Yogurt
This was noted during the Healthy Soil, Healthy Gut presentation at the Soil + Nutrition Conference.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup yogurt
  2. 1 quart milk
  3. Mason Jar
  4. Sauce Pan
Instructions
  1. Place yogurt and milk into sauce pan to heat on low until temperature reaches 100 degrees. Pour into clean warm mason quart jar, cover and keep at 100 degrees for 8 - 30 hours. I prefer the 30 hours. You may use a Brod & Taylor (see below), an oven or a water bath.
Notes
  1. This would be considered raw, because of the 100 degrees used.
Adapted from John Bagnulo, MPH, PhD
Nutrition from the Ground Up http://nutritionfromthegroundup.com/

Milk: 

: milk from cows or goats that is used as food by people.

: a white liquid produced by a plant. (almond, hemp, oat, rice, coconut, cashew)


Top Milks to pick for homemade yogurt:
Raw Milk 
Goat Milk
Sheep’s Milk
Jersey Cow Milk

Why is raw better? 

The majority of dairy milks are heated to kill the existing bacteria, a process known as pasteurization. However, we may need that bacteria! There are also more Vitamin A, B vitamins, + enzyme phosphatase (needed for calcium absorption) in non-pasteurized milks. 

Whole Milk is best! – Vitamins A + K are fat-soluble (they need fat to be absorbed) 

Bifidobacterium Strains: (make sure to use a yogurt with these *) 

* B. Lactis – Immunity

*B. Bifidum – Immunity, GI Support 

B. Breve  – GI Support, Anti-aging (kimchi, sauerkraut + pickles)

B. Longum  – Constipation, Brain Function (we are born with)

*Lactobacillus acidophilus – Yeast control, breakdowns lactose

Lactobacillus plantarum – Controls inflammation + fortifies gut lining. (kimchi + sauerkraut)

alternative yogurt

Kefir can be defined as a tart drink made from a cow’s milk fermented with certain bacteria. The main difference between yogurt and kefir in terms of production is that kefir cultures at room temperature, whereas yogurt is started at room temperature, and is then cultured in an appliance that maintains around 100-110 degrees fahrenheit. The most significant benefit of kefir is the fact that it contains 10 times the amount of probiotics as regular yogurt. 

Suggested Study Reading:

Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry

Featured Recipes

Kimchi

December 16, 2016

Kimchi

Korean Cookery. a spicy fermented mixture containing cabbage, onions, and sometimes fish, variously seasons, as with garlic, horseradish, red peppers, and ginger.

Why add it to your meals? 

Kimchi is full of beneficial microbes for your gut health. Microbes help us digest and clear out toxins (boosting immunity). There are some studies that also show when eating meat with kimchi, less inflammatory markers are present. Most Americans don’t have all of the microbes we should in our GI tract, therefore adding 2 T of Kimchi to your meal will help you digest your food and send lots of lactobacilli bacteria (GOOD) to your inner eco-system. 

GUT HEALTH = physical, mental, and emotional well-being

Kimchi is high in Vitamin C + A. It can also produce amino acids, absorb minerals, and eliminate toxins. So what are we waiting for? 

There are over 300 different recipes for Kimchi and not any two taste exactly the same due to the fermentation process. You can intuitively make one your own with different herbs, seasonal vegetables and spices.

The two ingredients I chose to start with are Cabbage + Daikon Radish. 

Napa Cabbage: 

  • Vitamin K,  C & B6
  • Potassium, phosphorus, Calcium & magnesium

Daikon Radish: 

  • Vitamins A, C, E & B-6
  • Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium & Iron

Add your own: 
ginger
scallions
garlic 
onions
shallots
Coriander Seeds 


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Start slicing your cabbage and any other vegetables you choose. I recommend going to the farmers’ market to scope out what’s available. 

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You’ll need a bigger pot to massage all of your ingredients. Sprinkle a good quality sea salt (without anti-caking agents)  + organic red pepper flakes over your ingredients and let sit for a couple minutes.

Kimchi

You’ll notice that your cabbage will start sweating. It’s time! Connect your hands to your ingredients and start massaging for at least 5 minutes. 

Kimchi

The juices will build up and when you intuitively feel it is enough, pour everything into mason jars, a large glass jar or a fermenting crock. Make sure liquid is covering the ingredients. 

Kimchi

“To ferment your own food is to lodge a small but eloquent protest – on behalf of the senses and the microbes – against the homogenization of flavors and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe. It is also a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we remain passive consumers of its standardized commodities, rather than creators of idiosyncratic products expressive of ourselves and of the places where we live, because your pale ale or sourdough bread or kimchi is going to taste nothing like mine or anyone else’s.”
Michael Pollan, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

kimchi

When you are ready to cover, you can place a larger cabbage leaf on the top to help keep fluids covering ingredients. With your hands, push ingredients down into the jar to release as much oxygen as possible.  You may need a weight to hold the ingredients down.  Leave for 3 – 5 days, burping each day (opening the jar) or until taste is desired. 

with love

 

 

Featured Recipes

Vegetable Meatballs

December 16, 2016
meat·ball
 
a ball of ground or chopped protein with added seasonings. 
 

This past Fall, I got married to Shawn Vecchione and was honored to enjoy some of his family’s famous Italian recipes the night of our rehearsal dinner. See, this was quite a big deal! The Vecchione Family ran an Italian restaurant, Villa Vecchione, at the corner of Main Street and Potter Avenue in Hyannis, MA until 1992. This is the same location I now own The Local Juice with my partner, Jen Villa. One of their “secret recipes” was also enjoyed that evening….THE FAMOUS VEGETARIAN MEATBALLS. I haven’t received the recipe yet, but I was totally inspired to intuitively make my own for this season. 

Vegetable Meatballs

 

Vegetable Meatballs
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups oats
  2. ½ cup oregano
  3. 6 dates
  4. 2 cups almonds
  5. 1 cup nutritional yeast
  6. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  7. ½ tsp pepper
  8. 3/4 bunch kale
  9. 6 carrots
  10. ½ cup chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients in food processor. Roll into small balls and place on baking sheet coated with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce, 1 cup veggies + spaghetti squash OR as an appetizer with sauce on the side for dipping.
Notes
  1. Makes about 30 vegetables meatballs.
Nutrition from the Ground Up http://nutritionfromthegroundup.com/
 What is Nutritional Yeast? 

Simple, yet complex. It is an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses from a fermentation process. Just like other fermented foods, it has benefits like antiviral, antibacterial and immune boosting. The nutrient package is pretty impressive: B vitamins, 9 grams of protein per 1/4 cup, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium and zinc. The nutty cheesy flavor makes it a great addition to lots of vegan dishes or in place of other processed condiments. NOTE: Be sure your nutritional yeast is labeled Non-GMO. 

Villa Vecchione

Featured Lifestyle Recipes

Fermenting Winter Squash

December 2, 2016

wild:

living or growing in the natural environment.

fla·vor:

enhance the taste of (food or drink) by adding a particular ingredient.

The book of the month is WILD FLAVORS, one chef’s transformative year cooking from Eva’s Farm. I purchased this book directly from Eva’s Gardens in Westport, MA on my own exploration of building relationships with as many farmers as I could in order to get closer to my food sources. It’s wonderful to see more chefs and farmers working on so many rich projects. We recently used this book in a nutrition from the ground up workshop to demonstrate how to ferment one of my favorite types of squash:

 delicata.

A squash with delicate skin, easy to cut and full of fiber, potassium, vitamin B, C and magnesium. It belongs to the summer squash family, however is consumed the same time of year as winter squash. Delicata squash can be baked, sautéed, steamed, grilled, but in this post we will share a unique way to enjoy this squash throughout the season, fermentation. 

Order your own copy of the book  + Follow Wild Flavors on Facebook

 

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Meet Briget Bride, a psychotherapist who has a passion for preserving locally harvested treasures from farmers and foraging far and wide. She finds ingredients that are in season to bring into her kitchen to play with, making intuitive sauces, jams, syrups and healthy additions. I am so grateful to have her come to The Local Juice for monthly workshops. 

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Briget has a private practice in the metro south of Boston, since 1993. through her own work she has cemented the belief that the mind and body are one organism that cannot be separated. This naturally includes food, where our food comes from and who grows it. This has fueled her passion for living a healthier more compassionate life by being more connected with nature, people, and how we nourish ourselves. Listen to the workshop or scroll down for easy instructions. 

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Fermented Delicata Squash
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Ingredients
  1. 12 whole allspice
  2. 3 cinnamon sticks
  3. 1 TB whole cloves
  4. 1/2 nutmeg
  5. 4 onions
  6. 4 pounds delicata squash
  7. 8 TB sea salt
  8. 2 Gallon of water
Instructions
  1. Prepare pumpkin-pie spice mix. Combine allspice, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and nutmeg. Make the brine: 2 gallon of water, 8 TB sea salt + pumpkin-pie spice.
  2. Sterilize the jars, bands, lids and rocks (see below)
  3. Cool brine to room temperature.
  4. Slice squash in half and remove the seeds.
  5. Thinly slice onions and squash.
  6. Fill jars with layers on onions and squash.
  7. Press down to compress the vegetables and eliminate any spaces between them.
  8. Stop filling jars when there is 2-3 inches from the top.
  9. Pour brine to cover vegetables.
  10. Place rock on top of vegetables an push down.
  11. Screw the lids on the jars.
  12. Let sit at room temperature for 3 days, then move to refrigerator.
Notes
  1. You will have brine leftover, so plan to ferment other winter vegetables.
Adapted from Wild Flavors
Adapted from Wild Flavors
Nutrition from the Ground Up http://nutritionfromthegroundup.com/
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NOTE: You’ll notice there will be a different texture when you slice the delicata squash thin versus slightly thicker. Both are amazing, so experiment to find your favorite. 

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sterilize the jars.

Wash jars with soap and thoroughly rinse them thoroughly or run them through the dishwasher (with no other items in it but the jars). Place them on a clean cookie sheet/roasting pan, right side up. Then, transfer them to the oven that has been preheated to 230 F where they must be for 20 minutes for sterilization. Cleaning is the first step, sterilization is the second. Remove when time is done and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap if not using right away.

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Making the brine.

We used 8 tablespoons of sea salt + pumpkin-pie spice with 2 gallons of water.


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Packing your jars:

Simply layer onions and squash, but remember to leave 2 – 3 inches from the top. 

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Rocks

Scrub rocks with a brush. Boil rocks for 20 minutes. Put vinegar in the water. Do not use lime stone. Granite is best. Don’t forget to remove rocks from the jars when the flavor you want is achieved. 

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NOTE: Press rocks firmly into jars to pack vegetables. Leave the rocks in the jars, place lids on jars and let sit for 3 days at room temperature. Then, move into the refrigerator. 

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More resources: 

Cultures For Health – Lacto-fermenting Squash, Pumpkin + other Winter Vegetables

with love

Featured Recipes

Fermentation

November 7, 2016

Fermentation is an ancient process of food preservation and has existed in every society and culture we have record of.

Fermenting vegetables begins with lacto-fermentation (lactic-acid bacteria also known as probiotics). The lactic acid bacteria work with the naturally occurring yeasts to break down and preserve the food.  Lactic acid is a natural preservative that hinders the growth of harmful bacteria and enhances the nutrient content of the food. Lacto-fermentation increases the vitamin and enzyme levels of the food and makes the raw food easier to digest.  

Fermenting Vegetables

When it comes to fermenting vegetables there are three things that really matter:

  1. Water: the quality of the water matters. Use filtered water, if you do not have a filter fill a bowl with water and let sit uncovered overnight, the impurities will evaporate
  2. Salt: use salt that is free from anti-caking agents, I prefer sea salt. How to tell if your salt has anti-caking agents on it? Read the ingredients.
  3. Vegetables: try to use the freshest most organic vegetables that are free from chemicals

Making a Brine

Sometimes you will need a brine to ferment your vegetables, and can most of the time salt to taste. If your vegetables aren’t naturally water producing like say carrots you’ll need to make a brine.

A good rule of thumb is a {5% salinity brine}:        

3 tbsp sea salt  :  1 quart filtered water

Weighing Down the Vegetables

Fermenting is an anaerobic process therefore the vegetables must stay submerged. Sometimes your product will stay submerged on its own, or when it doesn’t  you can use a cabbage leaf or pickling weights.

Time

How long your product will take to ferment will vary. There is no set amount of time but you should let it sit for at least 3-5 days. You can start tasting after day 3 and then keep tasting until your pallet is satisfied.  

Homemade Sauerkraut

 

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Grab a common cabbage, sea salt, mason jar (or crock), a large bowl, knife AND your hands! 

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Add 1 TB of Celtic Sea Salt to 1 head of cabbage. Then, begin massaging your shreds of cabbage until it is slightly tender with lots of juice. You can add ginger, turmeric, other spices or vegetables (see below! I added juice pulp). Fill a mason jar OR a fermenting crock if you have one to use. Whether you’re using mason jar or crock, you will need a weight to sit on top of the cabbage. 

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If you’re using a crock:
 Keep the crock in a warm area (68-72 degrees) for the first couple days and then move it to a cooler area (59-64 degrees) for the rest of the time. NOTE: you can ferment your sauerkraut for a minimum of three days. Be sure to add the salt water mixture to the seal when it runs low.  

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After 2 weeks you can open the crock to skim off any layer of mold or bubbles (don’t worry, it’s natural) and add more salt water mixture to the original level. NOTE: the longer you wait, the stronger the sauerkraut gets! 

img_4577If you’re using a mason jar: Allow it to sit and some of the natural water from the cabbage should rise. If necessary, add some of the cooled salt water until the top of the cabbage is submerged 1 inch. You can then use a great device called, KrautSource OR use a larger mason jar and place a smaller jar filled with rocks as a weight to keep the cabbage well packed. Check out The Art of Fermentation for more reading. 

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Lacto-Fermented Pickles

To make pickles you first have to make your own whey by straining yogurt in cheesecloth over a bowl overnight. The liquid that has separated, the whey, is the key ingredient to making your pickles.

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Next you add 4 tablespoons of whey, 1 tablespoon of non-­‐iodized salt, 2 teaspoons of seasoning of your choice and sliced cucumbers together in a mason jar. Be sure that your salt has color, such as pink sea salt! Then just fill it up with purified water to cover the top of the cucumbers and top it off with the lid. Be sure to use water without chlorine. Put the jar in an open container to prevent a mess from what takes place next.

This is when the lacto-­fermentation begins! First the bad bacteria are killed off because they are no match for the salt. The good bacteria, also known as lactobacillus, survive, multiply and get to work. They convert lactose and other sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the cucumbers.

Preserving your vegetables this way provides many health benefits. According to http://www.culturesforhealth.com, “Lactic acid also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. That is why lacto-fermented foods are considered probiotic foods.”

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If your pickles are not turning out right here is some troubleshooting advice. The room temperature could have been too hot during the fermentation process. It is best to lacto-ferment veggies right after picking. You can also add grape leaves to help keep that delicious crutch! Be sure to read the labels of your ingredients.

Special thank you to Alie Romano, a chef specializing in fermented foods who held a guest workshop at The Local Juice.

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with love

 

 

 

Featured Recipes

Cauliflower Grits

September 1, 2016

Make your own cauliflower grits by placing raw cauliflower into a food processor until it is the consistency you’d prefer. Then sauté with olive oil + seasoning. 

cauliflower grits

Seasonal ingredients have more nutrients + flavor: 

Native corn has phosphorus & niacin to support your body with critical functions. Eat corn when it is in season from a local farm that confirms they plant non-GMO corn. We can also mindfully thank cauliflower for giving your body vitamin C that supports the body’s muscles, bones + immune system. 

corn

Carrots are amazing root vegetables with beta-carotene, vitamin A + C. Don’t forget to try all the different varieties.

  • Bolero: sweet, juicy, crunchy, orange 
  • Ithaca: sweet, light taste, deep orange 
  • Little Finger: extra sweet, orange 
  • Nantes Half Long: tender, sweet, deep-orange 
  • Purple Dragon: sweet, rich, purple skin, yellow core
  • Royal Chantenay: sweet, tender, reddish-orange 
  • Scarlet Nantes: sweet, juicy, fine-grained, coreless, orange-red 
  • Short ‘n Sweet: sweet, juicy, bright orange
  •  St. Valery: sweet, tender, little core, bright reddish-orange
  • Touchon: crisp, sweet, coreless, orange

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Mussels are your B12 shot! They have readily absorbed source of B & C vitamins, amino acids & minerals like iron, phosphorus, potassium , selenium and zinc. 

NOTE: Mussels are on average $3.00 per pound. This locally delicious meal fed a family of 3 for under $15.00. 

mussels

 

 

Summer Mussel Stew
You can choose to add any seasonal produce you picked up at the farmer's market.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lb Mussels
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 1 lemon, cut in half
  4. 2 ears of local corn, in half
  5. 3 carrots, slices
  6. 2 inches of ginger root, chopped
  7. 3 cups of cauliflower grits
  8. 2 TB olive oil
  9. dash of sea salt
  10. a few dashes of curry
Instructions
  1. Place mussels into a medium pot with water, ginger, carrots, corn, lemon. Cook on medium to high heat for 10 minutes until mussel shells are open. In a skillet, saute cauliflower grits with olive oil, sea salt and curry. Serve stew over grits.
Nutrition from the Ground Up http://nutritionfromthegroundup.com/
with love

Featured Recipes

Energy Bursts

August 30, 2016

en·er·gy

the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.

These are power snacks that contain {Protein} + {Fiber} to balance energy levels + hunger. They are also fabulous to serve for parties that may remind your guests of cute little donut holes. 

Simple Ingredients: 

1 c Hazelnuts or your preferred nut
1 c pepitas
1 c goji berries
1 c chia seeds
1 c coconut (shredded)
1 c maple syrup
6 medjool dates
4 c {Juice Pulp OR grated} – carrot, lemon, ginger & turmeric  

In a food processor outfitted with an “S” blade, or a heavy duty blender, process hazelnuts + pepitas until coarsely ground. Add the dates and goji berries, then process until mixture sticks together. Place into a large mixing bowl, add juice pulp, maple syrup + chia seeds. Form the mixture into two tablespoon size balls and roll in coconut. Makes 16 servings. 

Nurturing Portion = two

Meals-to-go

You can easily throw two energy bursts onto a salad for a quick lunch. Another delicious idea is to add curry to your energy bursts for a spicy change up. We love using these creative nuggets at The Local Juice Bar + Pantry

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with love

Featured Lifestyle

Cultivating a Positive Body Image

August 26, 2016

Body image is defined as “The subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body.” It encompasses one’s own ideas, memories, generalizations, beliefs and feelings surrounding their body. In essence, it’s how you feel in and about your body.

  • A negative body image includes a distorted perception of one’s own shape, feeling uncomfortable in your own body or feeling self-conscious or anxious about your body’s appearance. It also includes negative perceptions like the thin ideal;  the idea that an individual is only attractive when they obtain a certain body size. 
  • A positive body image could be described as a clear and genuine perception of your body’s shape, but it’s also more than that. It’s feeling confident and empowered in your skin, no matter its shape, blemishes, or past. It’s feeling free from the restraints of the thin ideal. You appreciate and celebrate your body for everything it does for you and place little emphasis on physical appearance, whether it be your own or others.

Body image affects everyone; male, female, young and old. In recent years, the media has waged a war on our individual body image. Research has increasingly demonstrated the media’s link to the thin ideal, and it’s seeping deeper into our society, affecting us more and more. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA):

  • 98% of american women are not as thin as fashion models
  • 42% of 1st-3rd graders want to be thinner
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
  • 70% of 18-30 year olds don’t like their body
  • 60% of those in middle age remain unsatisfied
  • 50% of girls use unhealthy weight control methods such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking, vomiting, or laxative use.
  • 25% of pathological dieters progress to a full blown eating disorder. 

Letting go of the oppressive diet culture:

Diets hold us back on our journey to body positivity as they encourage a restriction mentality and hold food as a token object, one that can be taken away as a form of punishment. Food should never be looked at in this way. We should look towards each meal as a form of nourishment and act of self love. When we eat well and balanced, it is a form of self respect. When we use food as an object of control and degrade our bodies natural urges, that is when we begin to mistreat ourselves and fall into negative and oppressive patterns.

How does our body image affect our nutrition practice?

Our body image affects us in a multitude of ways; socially, emotionally, mentally and behaviorally. People with negative body images are more likely to develop an obsession with weight loss and will go to extremes to obtain their ideal body image. This can be in the form of food restriction, extreme dieting, exercising, etc. All of which can affect our nutrition practice and lead to an imbalance. When we eat and think only in terms of weight loss, we lose the connection between food and health. When we begin to manipulate food in unhealthy ways we look less for nutrients and more for low numbers. Low fat/sugar/calories does not mean it’s healthy and limiting calories does not ensure weight loss. When we think in these definitive ways we give into diet culture and fall out of balance with ourselves.

With a positive body image, one is able to truly cultivate a nutrition practice; one that is based on balance and nurturing each and every cell in your body. Emphasis is on natural and whole foods that will keep your body running smoothly from the inside out, not on low nutrition facts. Positive body image helps one accept what our bodies need to run properly and nourish it completely. Hunger is seen as a sign of self respect, not weakness. Body positive individuals listen to their bodies, understand what they need and accept themselves as they are. Giving up diets and prior idealizations, we are able to truly realize body love.

How to cultivate a positive body image:


We talk about cultivating a nutrition practice, but what about a self-love practice?

Begin with examining your own thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and prejudices about your own body, weight and eating patterns. Can you replace any negative thoughts with positive ones in your own daily life? Here are a few ideas to practice:

  • Practice mindfulness throughout the day, especially during meals and exercising. Eat mindfully, slowly, and in a calm quiet area. Pay attention to your food, thoughts, and nourishing yourself.
  • Think critically about what you see in the media and online. We are bombarded by so much information and images on a daily basis, it’s hard to take the time to examine what’s true and what’s false. 
  • Practice acts of self-love daily. From writing daily affirmations to practicing meditation to yoga and journaling. Find something you love to do and practice it daily.
  • Surround yourself with positive people that lift you up and encourage you to be your best possible self.
  • Wear clothes that represent your true authentic self. Find things that make you feel comfortable and happy.
  • Look at yourself holistically, you may be a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love yourself along the way. 

Meal Meditations: 

Before your meal, try a sequence of Sun Salutations: 

Sun salutations are great to do before meals. Thank the sun, the earth, the soil, visualize your garden, a farm, the farmer, the plants growing, rain falling, seeds coming out of the ground + the energy that’s in your food. A lot of hard work has gone into your meal.


Right before your meal, try the Zen Meal Chant: 

First, let us reflect on our own work and the effort of those who brought us this food.
Second, let us be aware of the quality of our deeds as we receive this meal.
Third, what is most essential is the practice of mindfulness, which helps us to transcend greed, anger and delusion.
Fourth, we appreciate this food which sustains the good health of our body and mind.
Fifth, in order to continue our practice for all beings we accept this offering.

meal meditation


During your meal preparation +/or meal time, try a meal meditation: 

Connect with each ingredient in your meal. Observe it in its whole form, feel it, smell it, taste it and most importantly, connect to it. Read how to create your own meal bowls.

meal meditation 2


Books 

How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful Eating by Rachel Bartholomew + Mandy Pearson

Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar


Mindful Moment with Dr. Mary: 

“Allowing for intuitive cooking means being Open, Relaxed, and connecting with the Creative part of yourself.

Open comes when we operate from a ‘judgment-free zone.’ Acceptance of others, of possibilities, of combinations, and of course — of ourselves.

Relaxation comes when one engages in self-care. More than adequate sleep, good nutrition, plenty of water, regular soaks, meditation, progressive relaxation, and exercise.

Creativity comes when you engage in self-acceptance and allow for things to flow.”

~ Mary Acunzo, Ph.D {we’ll be hearing more from Mary in the future!}

 

A special thank you to Olivia Eldridge, a Delicious Living Nutrition intern, for working on this post with me. Olivia is studying Psychology at Emmanuel College in Boston, MA with a strong interest in Eating Disorders and Nutrition. 

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with love

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Lifestyle

Spreading the Love: Bridget Pasalacqua

August 22, 2016

This month, I’m happy to share my fifth interview with a mentor that is one of my best friends. There are many that challenge us to understand ourselves, grow our spiritual practices and cultivate our lives. This series is to share with you a few of my own personal mentors that whether they are aware of it or not, have made a huge imprint on my life, love and world. 

friend

: a person who you like and enjoy being with; a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

First, a little bit about our friendship. It started through her husband, an elementary school friend of mine. Mike Pasalacqua was in a band called Bogged Down, and let’s say I was a “big fan”, pretty much groupie status. As I made it to the front of the stage every show, I was surrounded by all of the girlfriends of the band. They made me feel like I was supposed to be there. This show experience created an instant sense of community through music, which became a valuable tool of mine. Every year, our friends come together to travel to the Catskills to the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. Bridget and I have bonded through music, growing as individuals, food, gardening, loving life and building our lives everyday. She’s my soul sister. 

 BP1

What has been your journey into what you do?

In hindsight, becoming a nurse was more of a calling than a choice for me. I have worked in several nursing settings such as geriatrics, med-surg and oncology. My mother is a nurse as well and her work ethic is inspiring. Advocating for those in unfortunate situations, is a privilege. Today I am working, as a Case Manager, with an incredible and intelligent team of Registered Nurses and Social Workers. Many are also mothers. The support and life experience they provide is an essential part of doing my job. The obstacles our team faces vary from social to financial issues. Treating each case individually and holistically is key. Working as a Case Manager has opened my eyes to issues in health care such as, the complicated world of health insurance and the economy’s impact on health care.

What have you cultivated along the way? 

Witnessing a multitude of health problems in patients has led me to cultivate a strong connection with nature in order to maintain my health and the health of my family. Living in harmony with the seasons by seeking local produce and honoring natures gifts is very important to me. I have observed the chaos of modern day living and its affect on our health as individuals and society. I have found that actively seeking a mind-body-spirit connection is a beautiful way to live. I too lose myself in the fast passed pressures of life. Cultivating healthy relationships, recipes and body image is a priority. Even more so now that I have a daughter.

BP8

What inspires you?

I am inspired by art, music, nature and inspired most by those who stand up for what is right. By this I mean those who seek truth and aren’t afraid to point out problems as long as the next step is a solution. Together we can do anything! I am blessed to have so may inspirational people to look to. From well known role models such as Jane Goodall to those closest to me such as my husband He manages to work a full time job, come home and work in the garden, brew beer and bee keep to keep us connected with our food and its healing properties. That’s inspiring. The look on my daughters face when she discovers something new, that’s inspiring. How we live is how our children are taught. There is nothing that inspires me to live well more than my daughter.

What are the biggest things youve learned? 

I’ve learned that if you feel passionately about something whether it is art, music, food, the environment, social-economic issues go with it. Follow it. Discuss it. Support it. Perhaps not only are you seeking it but it is seeking you.

BP10

What are your intentions? 

My intentions include making this world a better place for our children. I intend to teach the importance of being connected to and respecting our environment. I intend to practice supporting local farmers, businesses who support fair trade and environmentally friendly products. I intend to support progressive ideas rather than regressive ones. I intend to act out of love rather than fear. I know my daughter is watching. Just the other day I caught her mimicking my yoga poses and deep breathing. She is only 16 months old! I intend to celebrate life with music, good food and friends. I intend to speak out against corporations that continue to put harmful ingredients in our everyday products. Awareness is key. I intend to do all I can to help patients have safe transitions home and will do all in my power to provide them with affordable medications and services. We live in a time where often the best treatment is erroneously unaffordable. I intend to do all I can to make sure everyone has access to quality health care.

How do you feel about your energy?

As far as my energy’s goes, if you read the last paragraph you might say its intense. For the most part I feel that my energy is good. I try to be aware of it and I do hold the belief that it is directly responsible for what comes back to me. In physics energy is a property of objects that can be transformed. I find it interesting that it doesn’t die. Energy can only be transformed. I like to combine science with my spirituality. I suppose that’s part of being a nurse. Our energy is the most important element in shaping our lives. This is why how we fuel it is so important. Conceptualize food on a cellular level. Is the energy provided by an animal that was raised in a small cage or crowded pen and fed GMO wheat with antibiotics equal to the energy provided by an egg laid by your neighbors chicken who roams freely and eats pesky grubs? Choose your fuel. Make no mistake, I will be buying eggs from my neighbor.

BP6

What is your relationship with food? 

I have become very connected to my food. I seek whole food without strange, unpronounceable ingredients. Time spent in my kitchen experimenting with recipes is sacred. Sharing food with friends and family is a blessing. I have made a habit of baking vegan cookies for my daughter. She enjoys watching and licking the spoon and they make a great on the go snack. I don’t partake in supporting the industrialization of our farms. I wasn’t always this way. In the 90s I was all about diet coke and fat free foods. I was overly concerned with being thin and body image. When we step away from commercialized products and seek real nutrition, our lives and energies improve tremendously. I have never felt better. This is a direct result of my relationship with food. Many say, “I cant afford to eat like that”, referring to the avoidance of processed foods. The truth is, we cant afford not to. The long term affects of consuming processed foods and industrialized animal products are devastating not only for the individual but for the environment.

What’s your favorite meal to create for yourself or others or both?

My favorite food to prepare goes with the seasons. In the spring its roasted asparagus. Summer comes and its Swiss chard and fresh eggs, strawberries in salads and blueberry cobbler. In the fall its apple crisp. Winter comes and its savory stews.

BP2

Who are your favorite teachers? why? 

The best teachers are the ones that lead you to the lesson but do not tell you what to think. Bonnie Jefferson is a retired BSN, RN and Patient Care Director that I had the privilege of working under. I believe that we hold many of the same beliefs. She taught me that kindness is more effective then sternness or the infliction of feat will ever be. She is a great leader and role model.

What is your vision board for 2016? 

I plan on remaining true to myself and enjoying the remainder of 2016. Time with family and friends is most important. I plan on watching my daughter grow and learn. I plan on learning with her. What’s better than seeing the world through a child’s eyes? If time provides blogging about being a working mom while homesteading is something I am interested in.

BP3

What’s your favorite book and why?

As far as reading goes, I wish I did it more. My favorite book right now is, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It was introduced to me by Mary Jo Feresten an RN Case Manager that I admire for her class, intelligence and kindness. She has raised some very successful children. It is a book about eating with the seasons and is written with passion. I keep, Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das at my bedside. A friend, Evan Small who is spiritually focused and lives a lifestyle that most can only dream of, let me borrow it over ten years ago. I couldn’t wait to introduce it to my father who believed that, “Jesus was hip to Buddha.” When my father died, my husband, then boyfriend gave it to me. It really brings the reader inward. I enjoy anything that is thought provoking.

BP5

How do you balance your life? 

Finding balance is challenging. I work 32 hours as a RN Case Manager and have a home, two acres, 16 month old, wheaten terrier, multiple gardens and bees. In order to maintain any kind of balance I must plan ahead. The most important part of my day could very well be that short window of time I’m up before my family. That’s time for coffee and meditation. It helps with balance. Staying inspired also helps keep me balanced.

How do you practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness and balance are two things I’m constantly striving for and admittedly not always able to achieve. Being mindful definitely takes practice. I try to stay present and live in the moment. If my mind spends too much time in the past or future I find myself losing balance. Incorporating yoga and/or meditation into my daily practice has proven to be beneficial. Mindfulness is a daily practice.

BP9

What are some thoughts you’d love to share with others?

I would like to thank my dear friend, teacher, road trip, live music companion and local food enthusiast, Nicole Cormier RD, for providing me with the opportunity to answer some of her questions. She is a constant inspiration.

Connect with Bridget: 

Facebook
Instagram

Thank you for letting us Spread the Love with this month’s inspirational interview. Look forward to next month’s interview with love from, Shawn Vecchione. Let’s learn to love and be ourselves with the help of each other!

with love