Eat. Play. Love.

All Posts for ‘playshops’ Category

 

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!

 

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?

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!

 

If there is one thing all of us could use a little more of, it’s time for play. Sometimes incorporating more fun and play into our lives seems like a daunting (perhaps even stressful) task. Who has the time between work, family, friends and keeping up with housework and cooking meals? Although it might seem like another thing on our “to do” lists, play is very important to our happiness, health and spiritual growth. On a physical level, it calms the nervous system and keeps our cortisol levels in check. When our cortisol levels are elevated, the immune system is suppressed. In addition, there is a correlation between high cortisol levels, increased blood sugar levels and extra abdominal body fat. On a spiritual level, play is a way of connecting to our inner child and our real selves that we often forget as we go about our busy adult lives. Play helps us find our center. It brings a smile to our faces and what’s the point of living if we don’t enjoy it?

So you’re convinced you need to play more, but aren’t sure how to make it happen. Well, Chelsea Calhoun of Groove Dance Fitness and I have partnered together to bring you PLAY – Play. Love. Achieve Youthfulness. PLAY is an innovative program designed to help you transition into a healthier lifestyle that is carefree and effortless. Our interactive approach and informal group setting provides an opportunity for maximum support and growth. You’ll find enjoyment in discovering new foods, experiencing alternative forms of traditional physical activity and practicing self-nourishment.

We’ll show you how to PLAY spontaneously, how to schedule in PLAYtime and how to incorporate PLAY into life’s seemingly mundane tasks. If you’re interested in learning a few powerful tools to bring more PLAY and joy into your daily routine, please join us for a FREE orientation on February 6th at 7pm at Signature Blue Events. Chelsea and I will give you a taste of how PLAY can help you create a vibrant, joyful life. This winter’s program at Signature Blue Events will focus on mindful eating, cravings, hydration and how to make movement an integral part of your day.

Looking ahead, we’ll be offering PLAY Detox in March. This program will give you the tools needed to incorporate a gentle, yet effective cleansing program into your spring cleaning routine. By detoxing your body with the help of an experienced Health Coach and Nutritional Consultant and Fitness Professional, you will have more energy, clearer thinking and better digestion. You will spend one week easing into and planning for the detox, two weeks detoxing and one week re-introducing foods and preparing the body for a healthy new routine. For more information, visit PLAY Detox. There is a special discount for participants who sign up for both PLAY and PLAY detox.

In the meantime, stay tuned here for PLAYtips…

 
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