Dessert For the Holidays

Today I’d like to talk about desserts. What is your favorite one for the upcoming holiday season?

My all-time favorite is a cheesecake. I have experimented with many versions of it.

This is my most recent version: Carrot Cheesecake.

I used dates, almonds, and coconut for the crust.

The filling had carrots, dates, lemon, coconut, and cashews. For the frosting, cashews and coconut worked wonders.

It turned out very delicious!

I’ll post the recipe with the method of preparation soon. Stay tuned ūüôā

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

Vegetable Broth

Today I’m excited to share with you how easy it is to make your own vegetable broth.

For this purpose, you can use kitchen scraps or whole vegetables.

Organic vegetables and herbs are the best as they have less of the pesticides and other non-edible chemicals.

A vegetable broth is a staple in our household. It is delicious and full of nutrients. Enjoy!

You can find my basic recipe and method of preparation here: Vegetable Broth Recipe.

You can also check out this 2-minute video on how to make this broth.

Do you have questions or experiences to share? Let us know!

 

References:

Bauman, E., & Marx, L. (2012). Flavors of health. Bauman College: Penngrove, CA

Tasty. (2016). How to make veggie stock from kitchen scraps (video). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcUEZaOp-5s

 

 

 

 

A Pre-Holiday Tuneup

The Thanksgiving and New Year holidays are upon us! Have you started feeling the rush and the excitement of the season? It is a time to start wrapping up the current year,  setting new goals, and reconnecting with family members and friends.

Additionally, some of us celebrate the spiritual meaning of the season – learning from the past experiences and welcoming the new opportunities.

It can be a stressful time. Many people can gain weight during this holiday season.1 If it ever happened to you, you are not alone! The reasons for the holiday weight gain are extra stresses from having to do too much, not getting enough sleep and rest, engaging in social eating and celebrating, etc. In my family, there are four Holy Season birthdays!

Let’s review some key points that can help us stay on the toes, remain energetic and productive, and prevent unwanted weight gain.¬†The less you gain, the less you’ll have to try to lose in the new year!

  1. Reevaluate your food and nutrition choices. 
    • ~ Eat more of the foods that are light and nutritious.
      • Think vegetables of all types and colors! They contain many nutrients that help the body offset the stress and keep the metabolism active. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommendation is 2.5 cups of vegetables per day.2 If that sounds too much, do what you can as it still counts.
    • ~ Hydrate yourself.
      • Adequate intake of liquids is a must for your body to stay energized and cleansed from the inside out. Plain or mineral water, green tea, and herbal tea are excellent choices! How much¬†of the liquids to drink per day? The average recommendation is 2 quarts (about 2 liters) per day; according to the study, up to 2.5 liters for women and 3.3 liters for men per day, depending on the activity level, age, and health status.3
    • ~ Talk to a holistic nutrition¬†professional.
      • Get individualized tips on the holiday weight gain prevention. Gain less, and you’ll have to lose less!
      • RSVP for a free initial discussion and mention 10% off regular price during the holiday season!
  2. Adjust your exercise routine.
    • ~ If you feel that there is no time or no energy to exercise, you are not alone.
      • Applying a creative attitude toward physical activities and movement options can save us from feeling guilty and offer more choices.
      • The bottom line is to keep moving throughout the day: walk, take stairs, and schedule regular stretching breaks.4
    • ~ Yoga practice counts as a physical activity.
      • Some styles are vigorous, while¬†others are more gentle.
      • During a busy and stressful season, your body may prefer an activity that is less intense and taxing. In this case, Yoga might be an appropriate option to try.
    • ~ Restorative yoga and Pranayama (yogic breathing).
      • These practices help to minimize the mental and emotional effects of stress and relax the overused parts of the body.
      • We offer one-on-one Yoga classes, customized for your body type and body issues. RSVP for a free initial discussion and mention 10% off regular price.

We wish you a safe, healthy, and blessed holiday season!

Namaste.

 

References:

Clark, J. E. (2015). Diet, exercise, or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight loss and changes in fitness for adults 18-65 years old who are overfat or obese: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders. 2015; 14: 31. doi:  10.1186/s40200-015-0154-1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429709/

Helander, E., Wansink, B., & Chieh, A. (2016). Weight gain over the holidays in three countries. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016; 375:1200-1202, September 22, 2016, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1602012  http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1602012

Popkin, B., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Review. 2010, Aug; 68(8): 439-458.¬†doi:¬†¬†10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x¬†¬†https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

Stewart, H. (2016). Fruit and vegetable recommendations can be met for $2.10 to $2.60 per day. USDA. Economic Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2016/march/fruit-and-vegetable-recommendations-can-be-met-for-210-to-260-per-day/

 

 

 

Yoga Practice: How To Make It Pleasant

Yoga Practice: How To Make It Pleasant

Yoga practice can be a life-transforming experience. It can recharge your body, mind, heart and soul with new refreshing energies and gently bring all aspects of your being into a state of balance. The practice can include doing poses (asanas), pranayama (deep breathing), meditation and deep restorative rest.

There is one requirement for these amazing benefits to happen: the practice has to be regular. The word “regular” could mean different ideas to different people, and I encourage you to ponder and define it for yourself. At least, if you come back to the mat somewhat consistently, then you can start feeling and noticing positive changes.

No doubt, Yoga is becoming more popular. More studios and styles are popping up. Many of us have tried at least one community Yoga class or tried practicing at home. I attended several Yoga teacher trainings and have been teaching Yoga for the community and private clients for eight years. Following my inner calling, I established my own home Yoga practice more than two decades ago and would like to share some insights with you.

So, what makes a Yoga class a great experience? What helps you as a Yoga practitioner, whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned student, experience a feeling of lightness, recharge, emotional freedom, mental clarity and happiness during and after a Yoga class? Let me attempt to sum up the key points here for you:

1.  Know Thyself.
Throughout your Yoga practice, stay aware of your body’s capabilities and limitations. Accept what you can do in a moment and let go of any comparisons and expectations. Try not to force yourself into the “perfect Yoga image” in your mind. The body may feel very different on different days. Be grateful to your body and its abilities.

2.  Breathe.
Stay focused on your breath and invite your breath deep into your belly and the tiniest parts of your lungs. Breathe as slowly and as fully as you comfortably can. Notice the rhythm, temperature, pattern, length, and smoothness of your breath and allow it to become more relaxed. Practicing on an empty stomach or two to three hours after your last intake of foods and beverages helps relax the chest and abdominal muscles that orchestrate the breathing process.

3.  Soften.
Yoga practice is a time for inner reflection and inquiry. By consciously softening and relaxing your mind and heart, you can tune into your inner being more fully. Mental activities such as thinking, planning, and solving problems or reviewing emotionally upsetting situations are best to deal with outside of the Yoga class, so ask your mind to wait patiently until after the end of your practice.

3.  Listen to your body.
Listen to the feelings, sensations, sounds, urges, inner dialogs and other cues coming from your body. At one moment, you can notice some tightness in your back. Later, it could be a sense of release in your shoulders or neck or a feeling that you need to come out the pose sooner. Observe your body going through the experience of Yoga practice, stay gentle with yourself and respect your inner messages.

The last but not least: before you begin attending Yoga classes in the community or practicing at home, visit your health provider, review your medical history together and decide which type of Yoga practice might be your best fit. Keep your health team updated on any changes in your well-being.

As a general rule, gentle and restorative Yoga practices can be suitable for many different bodies. When you approach your Yoga practice with awareness, your own body will “speak to you” and teach you which poses, techniques and styles work the best for you at any given moment.

I wish you safe and pleasant Yoga experiences! Namaste.

In Health,

Nataliya

 

Bibliography:

Iyengar, B.K.S. (1976). Light on Yoga. Schoken Books: New York

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center. (2008). Yoga: Mind and Body. DK: New York

 

A Heat Wave on a Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco Bay Area


A Heat Wave on a Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco Bay Area

Finally, the long-awaited Labor Day weekend is here! This year, a heat wave hit the entire Bay Area. Here is an image of a beautiful sunrise I took during my today’s morning jog around eight o’clock in the morning. The temperature was already around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips for the humans:

  • – On a scorching day when the temperature is in the triple digits, it is essential to wear light and breathable clothes, stay in a cool shade as much as possible and hydrate¬†yourself often by drinking more water. Sweating helps to evaporate the internal heat and prevent the build-up of excessive heat.
  • – Interesting that in some Asian countries there is a custom to drink lots of hot tea when the weather is at its hottest. ¬†It might not make much sense, right? In fact, drinking hot tea helps to sweat more profusely and promote rapid internal cooling.¬†When my family and I lived in the southern latitudes, the typical summer temperature was often above 100 degrees and we served hot tea 4-6 times a day. And yes, each of us was sweating a lot!
  • – What kind of tea might be the best? It could be 1-2 cups of your favorite green or black tea, and a few more cups of herbal teas served with lemon slices. If drinking hot tea on a sweltering day does not resonate with you, a cold or iced tea is always another option. The key is to keep your body moist from inside out. My favorite teas are Organic Jasmine Green Tea¬†and ¬†Organic Peppermint Tea.

Tips for the pets:

  • – What about our furry friends? A pet that you own is part of your¬†family. Do you know that animals¬†are not able to sweat and because of that they get overheated very quickly?Overheating can do severe damage to their internal organs and tissues. Cars and other vehicles do not provide a favorable environment for the pets unless an air conditioner is running and keeping the space refreshing.
  • – Keeping the animals in a cool shade and offering them fresh water during the day is essential. Wet food or rehydrated dry food can provide additional hydration. ¬†One of the foods that my cats love is rehydrated¬†Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets.¬†They also enjoy Chlorella Tablets¬†as a healthy crunchy supplement.
  • – Fresh vegetables¬†are an excellent source of hydration and some pets like eating them as a snack or mixed with their regular food. My friend’s dogs like to chew on fresh carrots and broccoli. My cats like avocados and corn on the cob. If you notice that your pet is interested in fresh vegetables, it might be best to discuss it with your veterinarian.

Tips for the plants:

  • – On a very hot day, the plants need extra care as well. If you have a lawn, a garden or pots with flowers, herbs or bushes, keep your plant family members happy and thriving by giving them extra splashes of water on a sunrise and sunset.

Hope my thoughts were inspiring and helpful to you. I wish you, your family, pets, and plants to have a pleasant holiday!

Nataliya

Bibliography:

Ward, E. (2017). How Hot Does It Get in a Parked Car? (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbOcCQ-y3OY Available at https://www.drernieward.com/