Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter Health

'Tis the season to be jolly. Cheers to the holiday season.

  • Exercise. Regular exercise can beat those winter blues, prevent weight gain, and boost your immune system. At times it can seem easier, cuddled on the couch with warm tea and blankets watching holiday movies. Get up. Move. Even if you do not want to face the bitter cold to exercise outdoors or defrost your car to make it to the gym, try at home workouts. You can effectively use your body weight. Try wall sits for several minutes during your favorite TV show, hold planks, strengthen with push-ups and triceps dips off of a chair - rotate and repeat exercises to create a circuit. Put your technology to good use by downloading exercise apps or videos. 
  • Avoid skipping meals. You're looking forward to indulging at a holiday event, so logically you skimp on your earlier meals. However, this can lead to overindulging at the event, especially if you have a drink or two - drinking on an empty stomach can lead to mindless eating. Enjoy those special "treats" in moderation.
  • Remember to eat fruits and vegetables. The goal to aim for at least 5 servings of fruits/vegetables daily doesn't change during the holidays. Try roasted vegetables or making a warm soup. If you're craving sweets or indulging to a second serving of dessert, try eating fruit or a smoothie first. 
  • Stay hydrated. It's easier to think about drinking water to quench your thirst when it's hot outside. Try to maintain adequate hydration to help curve food cravings, skin integrity, and energy. 

Remember, during all the holiday cheer and stress to be kind to others. Be grateful and thankful for your experiences and the people in your life. Spend time with loved ones, give back to your community, and volunteer at a local charity event.

Happy Holidays! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce (vegan)

Looking for a simple yet flavorful dish tonight? Try this pasta with pumpkin "cream" sauce!

2 cups of pasta (such as whole wheat Fusilli or Penne)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of fresh spinach 
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut milk (or almond milk)
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
2 Tbsp ground pumpkin seeds

1. Cook the pasta according to instructions. Drain. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil at medium temperature.
3. Add spinach and toss with a spatula or tongs to coat spinach with oil. Add thyme and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and garlic has slightly changed color. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Mix in tomato sauce and pumpkin puree.
4. Add coconut milk.

5. Skip the salt and pepper to taste. For this recipe add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.
6. Add to cooked pasta and toss well. Cover and let sit for a few minutes. 
7. Garnish with ground pumpkin seeds.