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Welcome to Cultivating Health! If you haven’t done so already, sign up for Juicy News, my monthly e-newsletter that gives you practical health and nutrition tips that will have a profound impact on your health and happiness if you’re ready for change. Juicy News topics include:

  • menu planningjuicy_icon
  • digestive issues
  • detoxification
  • hormonal imbalances
  • adrenal fatigue & stress
  • moods
  • cravings (especially sugar cravings)
  • play
  • playful eating
  • self-care
  • work-life balance

Of course, there is always a delicious, seasonal recipe in there, too!

In addition to juicy health tid bits, you will receive invitations to special events including nutrition playshops, cooking demos and classes and PLAY events.

As a token of my appreciation, you will receive a free 15 minute phone consult AND my Top Kitchen Tips & Tricks to save you time and aggravation and bring the fun back into meal prep.

Here’s to cultivating YOUR health!

 

Feeling bloated, heavy and fatigued? There are a variety of uncomfortable and annoying symptoms related to toxic buildup. Detoxing is your answer to feeling more energy, clarity and even to kick start weight loss!

In this teleclass series, you will get the tools needed to incorporate a gentle, yet effective cleansing program into your spring cleaning routine, and detox your mind and body with the help of an experienced Certified Health Coach and Nutritional Consultant.

During this four week program, you will spend one week easing into and planning for the detox, two weeks detoxing and exploring play and other forms of self-nourishment and one week re-introducing foods and preparing the body for a healthy new routine. This is a great way to renew and rejuvenate your body and spirit! Learn more about detoxification and it’s benefits in this recording.

corporate wellness

This teleseries includes the Cultivating Health Cleanse Playbook which includes:

  • Detox strategies
  • Sample Menu Plans
  • Detox Supply List (food and self care items)
  • Recipes
  • Supplement Recommendations
  • Strategies to Enhance Your Body’s Detox Power
  • Detox Resources

For an additional $100, sign up for a 1.5 hour nutrition consultation to personalize your detox experience and hone in on your unique health and nutrition needs. The consultation includes a Holistic Health Plan outlining food, supplement and lifestyle recommendations to empower you to improve your health and happiness!

Time: 7-8:15pm
Dates: Mondays, March 24 – April 14
Location: Your couch!
Investment: $90 or $190 with personalized nutrition consultation
Register by: March 21

Eventbrite - Detoxify: Spring into a Healthy New You!

Feel free to post your questions below. For a list of all of my upcoming events, please visit the playshop page.

The Skinny on Fats

  • September 9th, 2013

In my practice I get a lot of questions about fat.

Kim, should I buy low-fat products and eat a low fat diet? What about a no-fat diet?
Are vegetable oils spreads good for me or not?
What’s all this coconut oil hype?
Is butter going to jack up my cholesterol? What about animal fats?

All of these are valid concerns and with all of the the fat fads out there, it can be challenging to decipher which fats are best if any at all. I tell my clients that you want to eat fat in its natural form with all of it’s synergistic components. This is why I don’t recommend no or low-fat products. Often additional ingredients (i.e. sugar) are added to low-fat products to give it the same texture and mouth feel of the full fat version.

Unfortunately, this often can leave you feeling unsatisfied. It reminds me of those Wendy’s commercials back in the 80’s – “Where’s the beef?!” It’s better to eat less and go for the full fat version to satisfy your body’s needs. You don’t want the body to have to search for the “beef,” because these cravings can often lead to unhealthy decisions!

So why is fat important anyway? 

Fat serves many critical functions in the body including:

  • insulation – warms and energizes the body
  • protection – cushions internal organs and holds them in place
  • transportation of nutrients – carries important fat soluble vitamins A, E, D and K where the body needs them most.
  • structure – forms the structure of cell membranes and builds tissues
  • hormone regulation – helps various parts of the body communicate and function
  • nervous system health – plays a major role in brain and nerve development in addition to normal brain function and nerve transmission

There is a misconception that saturated fats are bad, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Saturated fats strengthen our immune systems, protect our heart and liver against toxins and stress, keep hormonal receptors on our cell membranes working properly and are required for hormone production.

Polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, safflower and sunflower oil should be limited and never heated. Studies show that many vegetable oils in the diet disrupt the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio which creates inflammation in the body. When we consume too many polyunsaturated fats and limit our saturated fat intake, our cells become flimsy and don’t work properly.

coconut and fat

So what fats should we consume? Let’s take a look at traditional diets before the invention of packaged foods. Most people enjoyed old fashioned, organic butter from grass-fed cows, unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil, balanced fats found in high quality foods (i.e. grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, nuts and seeds, avocados) and even minimally processed coconut oil.

If you want to learn more about the importance of fat, what fats to enjoy and how to prepare them so they don’t oxidize in the body and create inflammation, join me for my Skinny on Fats teleclass on September 18. I’ll be covering lots of information vital to your health in just one short hour.

Do you have a story or recipe to share using healthy, traditional fats? Feel free to post them here!

 

gluten-free salads

We had a great time on Saturday at the “Gluten-Free Summer Salads Playshop.” The group whipped up five seasonal salads including a Buckwheat Garden Salad, Italian Aduki Bean Salad, Quinoa Salad with a Lemon Tahini Dressing, Raw Kale Salad and Blueberry Avocado Salad. All were quite beautiful and delicious. Well, almost all of them – the aduki bean salad looked just like that – dookie. Fortunately the taste made up for it and as one of my students said, “it reminds me of refried beans, only slightly prettier.” Although that’s not saying much, I guess the presentation of the dish was not a complete loss!

So I wanted to take the opportunity to share the recipe for the Blueberry Avocado Salad inspired by Kimberly Snyder. So yummy and I LOVE the contrast of the deep indigo blueberries with the bright green avocado. Add some red raspberries or strawberries to the salad to make it festive for the 4th of July! But before we get to the recipe, what are some benefits of blueberries?

Blueberries are a cooling food full of vitamin C, pro-vitamin A and manganese. Loaded with anthocyanins and other antioxidants, blueberries are anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighters! They help to keep your memory sharp, your blood sugar levels and cholesterol low and they are good for your eyes and contain bacterial fighting properties that help to keep your urinary system in good shape.

fresh berries

Here is a delicious, simple recipe that contains avocados which contain healthy fats to help you absorb the fat soluble pro-vitamin A in blueberries!

Blueberry & Avocado Salad

Source: inspired by The Beauty Detox Foods by Kimberly Snyder

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups blueberries
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 6 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 2 – 4 tsp of raw honey, maple syrup or coconut nectar (or 10 drops stevia)
  • 3 – 4 TBSP of freshly chopped mint.

Directions:

1. Add the blueberries, avocado and mint to a mixing bowl.

2.  Whisk together the lime juice and sweetener and pour over the fruit. Gently toss together, being careful not to mash the avocado pieces.

3.  Enjoy!

 

What are some of your favorite ways to use blueberries? Please feel free to post them below!

 

Ditching Wheat Belly

  • June 18th, 2013

Let’s face it. Wheat isn’t what it used to be. It has been hybridized over the decades to contain more gluten, the sticky protein that gives bread it’s elasticity. Unfortunately, its “stickiness” has caused wheat to become increasingly more difficult for most of us to digest and creates inflammation in the body.  As a result, many people who are not celiac experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms and find that they feel better when they remove wheat from the diet.

In fact, it’s estimated that 99% of the people who have either a gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed. Crazy, right?

So what are some of the common signs of a gluten intolerance?quinoa salad

  • bloating – wheat belly!
  • gas
  • digestive distress
  • fatigue
  • headaches and migraines
  • dizziness
  • auto-immune disease diagnosis
  • joint pain
  • hormone imbalances
  • mood swings

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consider eliminating wheat and other sources of gluten for 3 weeks and then re-introduce wheat and see what happens.

In the meantime, join me for “Gluten-Free Summer Salads” and learn how to use seasonal veggies, herbs and fruits to make an amazing dish for your next potluck or summer picnic. It IS possible to eat healthy and gluten-free at the neighborhood cookout without sacrificing taste. You’re dish will be a conversation piece, and folks will ask for the recipe after they have scarfed down every last morsel. We will also discuss proper bean and grain preparation techniques and how to store your fresh herbs. Includes materials, recipes, lunch and laughs.

 Feel free to post links to your favorite gluten-free recipes or resources here. One of my favorites is Elana’s Pantry.

 

Chelsea and I just started week two of the PLAYdetox at the Glenn Dale Community Center. We checked in with our awesome detoxers after week 1 which was all about getting mentally and physically prepared. To be honest, week 1 is no joke. And, if you ask the beautiful women we are working with this month, they will confirm! Each participant had a different way of approaching their prep week to get their bodies and minds in the right place for the adventure that was about to start.

So what does prep week look like?

Well, before you even decide to take the plunge, take a look at your schedule and see if this program is even feasible for you at this time. If you have a family vacation coming up or a business trip, it’s not that it can’t be done, it just makes life more difficult. Personally, I like to cleanse when I know I can cook in my own kitchen for the most part. Also, I find it challenging to eat slightly steamed veggies and legumes when my family is chowing down on crab cakes and sweet potato fries while enjoying a microbrew. Actually, I get downright cranky.

fresh berriesAlso, detoxing is not for everyone. If someone is deficient and experiencing illness or burned out adrenals, their body needs to be built up before it can muster the energy to cleanse efficiently. Generally, it’s best to just put these folks on a whole foods diet that isn’t terribly restrictive. Pump ’em with organic veggies, legumes and high quality animal proteins and fats. Dump the sugar and flour.

The next important step is to start to prepare the mind and the body for day 1. Now some people go with the “let’s go crazy before we have to give up everything” approach, but unfortunately, for those addicted to caffeine and or sugar, it can make day 1 seem like a near death experience. Use this week to add more vegetables into the diet and reduce or even cut out poor foods such as sugar, refined carbs and coffee. It’s also a great time to try out detox recipes and channel Goldilocks to perfect your gluten-free breakfast porridge. During the experimentation phase, the porridge can look and taste like mushy gruel until you get it JUST RIGHT. Sometimes people find combinations that blow their minds. This is the goal of week 1. You gotta have something fun in the morning to get you going (literally and figuratively). And of course, you need to make time to shop for your food and supplements.

Now food is only one part of the detox experience. Our lymphatic system, which is basically the sewer system of the body, often gets bogged down by rancid fats, undigested proteins, dead blood cells, toxins, opportunistic bacteria and other pathogens. It’s an integral part of our immune system that needs to be cleaned and moved. Unlike our circulatory system which is always pumping due to our amazing hearts, the lymphatic system can only be stimulated by muscle movement. So what are you supposed to do? Figure out how you’re going to get your butt moving during the detox! Exercise, massage, foam rolling and dry brushing are great techniques for moving lymph.

Because PLAYdetox is a holistic approach to cleansing the body, we also have to consider the mind. Often we allow our thoughts to be hijacked by Negative Nancy. You know who I’m talkin’ ’bout! Nancy says things like, “I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, coordinated enough, strong enough, disciplined enough, creative enough, yadda, yadda, yadda. We doubt ourselves and never feel like we are good enough which is ridiculous. This kind of stress is more toxic to the body than a McFlurry.

So, just like you give your body tons of yummy, energizing veggies during a detox, you also need to pump that mind full of playful, sexy, super thoughts about you and your fabulous life. Chelsea and I enjoy creating affirmations and intention statements with our our participants, weekly. We also incorporate deep breathing and introduce a play menu in week 1 to relax the mind and soothe the soul. It’s a great time to internalize those powerful affirmations.

So let’s hear from you! If you were to detox, when would be a good time to start this spring, and what kind of intention statement would you create for yourself?

Do you find it difficult to eat well and exercise during the Holidays? The Holidays don’t have to be a struggle or full of guilt around poor food and lifestyle choices.

Join Chelsea of Groove Dance Fitness, LLC and Kim of Cultivating Health for an exciting Healthy Holidays Open House at the Glenn Dale Community Center!

PLAY will explore healthy alternatives to sugar and ways to bring that sweet flavor into your Holiday menus. Learn and PLAY games that will keep your family entertained and fit during the Holidays. Explore movement that is fun for the whole family that will keep the trimmings from tackling your waistline.

Wear comfortable clothing and tennis shoes, and please bring water and your sense of humor.

Date: December 1
Time: 2 – 4pm
Location: Glenn Dale Community Center
Investment: FREE
Register: Space is limited so please register soon with Eventbrite!

This program will give you a taste of what’s to come in PLAY’s Fitness & Nutrition classes at the Glenn Dale Community Center this winter. We have PLAY for Success to help you set and keep your healthy New Year’s resolutions and PLAY for Energy to reinvigorate and energize you when you have those winter blues!

If you missed our debut PLAY Ladies Night Out! event, not to worry. I am posting a couple of the seasonal cocktail and mocktail recipes in this post for your enjoyment! We had a grand time with 18 lively women ready to PLAY! Chelsea kicked-off the fun with the thought-provoking, yet amusing game, “If I Were Queen of the World…” While sipping a glass of fresh, seasonal vanilla infused peach sangria, participants shared their wishes for the world which included everything from a world where everyone was kind to men relinquishing ownership of the remote control.

Other games included a fast-moving game of “PLAY charades” with a variety of food and movement related subjects and “Pass the Cucumber” which was a great thigh workout and team building exercise. I considered posting photos of the cucumber game, but decided to spare the participants from embarrassment. As one of our pregnant participants said, “It’s a good thing I’m not further along as I would have had the baby from laughing so hard!”

In addition to Chelsea’s delish peach sangria, we served a fabulous Fizzy Basil Watermelon Caipirinha and a Cucumber Lemonade Chiller with fresh rosemary from my garden. We used local fruits, veggies and herbs when possible and it made for outstanding drinks! The mocktail versions were served with extra sparkling water instead of booze. I also made a thirst-quenching herb water that included sliced limes, lemons, cucumbers, ginger and mint. This concoction can be served in still or sparking water and is a great alternative to plain water – tasty, refreshing and alkalizing!

 

PLAY Ladies Night Out!

Serving up fresh cocktails and mocktails.

 

Here is the recipe for the favorite drink, the Fizzy Basil Watermelon Caipirinha.

Inspired by Marc of norecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups Cachaça (liquor optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut crystals (make into a simple syrup, can also used whole cane sugar)
  • ½ cup basil leaves finely chopped
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 sweet lime juiced (optional)
  • 1 small seedless watermelon peeled and cubed (from a 3-4 pound melon)
  • 2 cups ice
  • mineral water

Directions:

  • Muddle together Cachaca, coconut crystals, basil, and lime juice.
  • Peel and chop watermelon; transfer to a food processor/blender and puree.
  • Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract all the juice. (Repeat if necessary.)
  • Add watermelon juice and Cachaca mixture into a blender, add 2 cups of ice and blend.
  • Divide among 4 glasses. Add a splash or two of mineral water to taste.

 

Equally, delicious and refreshing, here is the Cucumber-Lemonade Chiller recipe inspired by Delish.com:

Ingredients:

  • 3 large cucumbers
  • 1 TBSP of chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¾ cup gin optional
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 TBSP of agave syrup (you could also use raw honey or coconut crystal syrup

Directions:

  • Cut 12 thin slices of cucumber for garnish (optional).
  • Peel and chop the rest of the cucumber; transfer to a food processor, add water and rosemary, and puree.
  • Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract all the juice. (Repeat if necessary.)
  • Add gin, lemon juice, and agave syrup to the cucumber juice; stir or blend until the agave is dissolved.
  • Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with cucumber slices and rosemary sprigs.

 

Finally, the evenings menu included a Summer Quinoa Salad, Tarragon Chicken Salad, green salad, crudite, hummus and cheese and crackers.

If you’re interested in joining us for our next PLAY Ladies Night Out! event, follow us on Facebook  or sign up for Juicy News and be sure to select PLAY. Learn more about the PLAY Program at www.letsPLAYhealthy.com.

Chelsea and I are excited to debut the first event in the PLAY – Ladies Night Out Series: Games, Cocktails & Mocktails!

We designed this event to provide women in our community an unconventional opportunity to unwind, have fun, and experience new ways to create vibrant health in their busy lives.

Chelsea and I will inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to being “fit and healthy”. During the night you’ll be movin’ and groovin’ playing fun and sexy games and sipping on several delicious cocktails and mocktails made from fresh organic seasonal fruits and herbs.

Dress cute, and come ready to move and lift your “spirits”!

The night includes games, drinks and a light dinner. Checks are accepted, please contact us at 202-596-PLAY before Friday to make payment arrangements.

Date: Friday, July 27, 2012
Time: 7:00 to 9:00pm
Location: Greenbelt, MD
Cost: $20

Register: http://playladiesnightout.eventbrite.com

Not to worry, if you can’t join in the fun this Friday. We plan to make PLAY Ladies Night Out a regular event. So many games, cocktails and mocktails and so little time! Chelsea and I have begun to explore healthier versions of cocktails and their mocktail counterparts. We’ll share a few drink ideas with you for your next occasion or just to celebrate YOU and your fabulousness after a long day. The drinks will focus on natural sweeteners such as fruit, stevia, raw honey and coconut crystals instead of heavy mixers with high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors.

We’ll show you how to use seasonal fresh fruits, veggies and herbs to infuse healthful nutrients into your adult beverage. They give the drink much more depth and flavor than their artificially sweetened counterparts. If the idea of fresh herbs in a cocktail throws you for a loop, consider them as sexy sprigs of flavor that jazz up any beverage. By themselves, they are quite potent, but when used in a cocktail, they are subtle and flavorful. Some of our favorite fresh herbs include spearmint, rosemary and basil.

Mojito Mocktail

Mojito Mocktail (minus the muddle)

One of my personal summer gems is a mojito made with fresh lime, sparkling water and muddled spearmint and stevia for sweetness. Of course the rum is always a nice touch, too!

There are a several organic spirits distilled from organic grains on the market. I’ve included a few to get your started:

There are also some mixers on the market that are made without the use of artificial colors, sweeteners and flavors. I’ve only tried a few of these, so I can’t vouch for all of them. Try them and let me know!

More refreshing drink ideas coming your way…

5 Reasons to Detox

  • February 21st, 2012

Baby got backed up?

With my upcoming PLAYdetox with Chelsea Calhoun of Groove Dance Fitness, I thought I’d use a few blog posts to highlight the process of detoxification and its importance to vibrant health. If you’re new to detoxing, you may wonder why you should consider it. Well, if you think about it, you cleanse many things including your home, car (unless you’re my husband…sorry, Cutie), garden and even the outside of your body (at least we hope so). Now, how often do you clean out your insides? Food poisoning, the flu and colonoscopies DO NOT count!

First, your organs need a break just like everything else, and the best way to rest your organs is to take pressure off of the digestive system. This can be accomplished by consuming 1)less food and 2)nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest, nurture the body and support detoxification pathways. When you overuse the body, it starts to break down because it becomes overloaded and gunked up with toxins which create imbalances in the body’s organ systems. So think of detoxification as a way to reboot, renew and rejuvenate. We’ll talk more about supportive nutrient-dense foods in upcoming posts.

Secondly, we most likely need to detox because of either nutritional deficiencies or dietary excesses. We eat too many processed foods, yet we don’t consume enough nutrients. On top of it, the body has to steal nutrients from itself to deal with the “food-like” substances that we consume and other stressors such as pollution, pesticide exposure and a screaming boss or child. Finally, we over-consume food in general, particularly congesting foods such as sugar, refined flours, coffee, rancid fats and alcohol. These excessive foods cause inflammation, pain, sickness and excess acid in the body.

Thirdly, stress, negative thinking, food allergens, toxins, a sedentary lifestyle or too much exercise, dehydration and a poor diet contribute to excess acid in the body, thus disturbing its delicate pH balance. If you’ve been following the holistic health community, you probably have heard about the importance of alkalizing the body. This is because the body likes to keep the blood’s pH between 7.3 and 7.4. In particular, stress, negative thinking and refined foods cause the blood to become too acidic which depletes our cells of oxygen and damages cell membranes and tissues. Remember, we live and die at the cellular level so it’s important to take care of those cells! A sedentary lifestyle and dehydration further exacerbate the problem. This acidity and stagnation of wastes can cause a host of problems including weight gain, joint pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, headaches, migraines, brain fog, gout, acne, frequent colds and other illnesses, food allergies, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances, infertility, yeast overgrowth, constipation and other bowel disorders, low energy, depression, kidney stones and diabetes.

Fourthly, we are inundated with environmental toxins. These chemicals can be found in our food, water supply, body care products, the air we breathe, carpets, furniture fabrics, mattresses, clothing, cars, household and gardening products, medications, plastics, paints, electronic devices and packaging. Here is a comprehensive list of the most common toxins found in our bodies. Not only do these toxins wreak havoc on the digestive system, but they often disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems and may eventually cause cancer. Symptoms of toxic exposure include fatigue, headache, allergies, illness, twitching eyelids, muscle aches, joint pain, vision loss, memory issues, brain fog, hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, sinusitis, loss of libido, impotence, sleep disturbances and skin eruptions. I bet you’re starting to see a pattern!

Fifthly, stress and negative thinking are the BIGGEST toxins out there. Some experts say that negative thoughts and emotions cause two to three more times acid build-up in the body then from the ingestion of acidic foods. Now, that is profound. So if you’re eating poorly and stressed out most of the time (hello, America), you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Regularly cleansing of the mind and the incorporation of affirmations, positive thoughts and/or prayers is imperative to maintaining good health and keeping serious illnesses at bay.

In a nutshell, stress, processed foods and toxic exposure causes our elimination systems to become overwhelmed and backed up. Think of your car filter or HEPA filter in your vacuum or house ventilation system. They get gunked up and don’t work as well after awhile and require cleaning or replacement. Well, it’s difficult to replace your liver, kidneys, skin, blood, bowels, lungs and lymphatic system so you’re only option is to find a lifestyle and cleansing program that supports your body’s natural detoxification processes.

Now detoxification isn’t as scary as you think. Stay tuned and consider cleansing the body, decluttering the mind and lifting your spirits with the PLAYdetox!

 

 
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