Curried Butternut Squash Soup

I love making soup in my blender! It’s so easy, packed with nutrients, and delectable. These days a warm bowl of creamy soup is all my body needs. Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think if you decide to wrap your taste buds around all these spices.

Ingredients:

1 bag of frozen butternut squash..you can use fresh but I said this recipe was easy!

1 can of Thai Kitchen unsweetened coconut milk or 1 cup of vegetable broth if you prefer not to use coconut milk

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp. of mild curry powder

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of ground cumin

1 tsp. of coconut oil or 1 tsp. or 1 tsp. of olive oil

Pinch of Himalayan salt and pepper..more to taste when you heat it up

Place all of your ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.  If you prefer a thinner consistency, add 1/2 cup of water.  Place soup in a saucepan on low heat. Or if you have the option to make soup with your blender, DO IT!  Stir occasionally, adding more spices if necessary.  Let simmer for 10 minutes and that’s it. I added a few red pepper flakes. But toasted pumpkin seeds are also tasty.

Breathe with the flow of life!

“Where do you get your protein from?

 

This is a frequent question that many people ask me.  Have you ever noticed that many of us take a very broad and complex subject and somehow filter out one or two aspects of that subject fixating on them and ignoring the rest of the particulars?  We grab onto one thing and don’t spend the time to investigate further.  I have been asked this question throughout my journey and my answer with a big smile as always was, ” The same place that the “meat” that you eat gets its protein from, GREENS!!!!”  Many of the animals, such as chicken, pork, beef, and turkey, that people consume don’t eat other animals, they graze on greens and/or grains. Okay, pigs eat some of everything so maybe they are the exception, lol.  Have you ever met someone who was diagnosed with a protein deficiency? But I have met people who have been diagnosed with too much protein in their urine.   The recommended amount of protein for women is about 46  grams a day and men about 56 grams a day.  Take your weight and divide it in half then subtract 10 from it is the formula that I got from a nutritionist. Too much protein is known to be dangerous to your kidneys, especially those that have kidney disease.

So what is protein??? Is it the meat or is it the essential nutrients that the meat is composed of?  Protein is made up of 100 or more different amino acids. These complex amino acids contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.  I won’t go into Chemistry 101, but I had to give you an overview. Okay, so the body requires twenty different amino acids of which eight to ten are referred to as essential amino acids.  There are two types, essential amino acids, which are the ones that our bodies cannot make and non-essential amino acids, which are ones that our bodies can make. The non-essential are just as important, but they form from compounds that are already in the body at a rate that meets the needs of normal growth and tissue repair.  The essential amino acids are: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, and Histine, which is only essential for babies.  There are fourteen non-essential amino acids, but I will spare you with the names;-)

My point is that you do not have to eat meat to get all of your essential amino acids.  You just have to be more aware of the food that you eat to make sure that you are getting a complete protein, all of the essential amino acids, which is something that I had to learn to do over the years.   Green vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, have more protein per calorie than some meat and they are also easier to digest as well as provide disease-fighting nutrients. It is a known fact that green veggies are about 1/2 protein, 1/4 carbs, and 1/4  fat.  One hundred calories of broccoli have about 11.2 grams of protein plus fiber versus a 100 calorie steak which has about 5.4 grams of protein no fiber.  I know that this is an eye full, but let’s learn to dig a little deeper before we start projecting. Please seek your own truth.  Research, research, research!                              Breathe with the flow of life.

I want to be strong as a gorilla!

Eating Consciously

B.A.S. (Big Awesome Salad) for lunch! Spring mix, arugula, portobello mushrooms, cucumbers, sun dried tomatoes, and kelp noodles. I forgot how good I feel when I consciously eat more raw foods. My energy is through the roof! I can’t live without my greens. For real, for real. Your body doesn’t have any other choice but to feel good when you are living a nutrient-dense lifestyle.  What’s your current health and wellness lifestyle?

The Importance of Food Combining

Making great tasting juice is beyond just juicing!  Food combination is the key to optimal nutrition and taste.  All of the recipes in Fresh Pressed Yoga are based on a common principle-that the nutrients, when brought together, complement each other.  Basically, each impacts the action or absorption of the other.  A symphony of love and well-being is created within your body.
The key is to enhance absorption at all times! Awareness of the various elements of each meal and snack can bring improvements to most daily eating lifestyles. Try eating a lentil salad or mixed legumes with avocados to provide a mix of B vitamins, fat, and folic acid. Understanding absorption is an important aspect of good nutrition.  Learning how to combine certain foods can help you raise your level of nutritional health.

Nutrition is Health and Health is Wealth!

BREATHE WITH THE FLOW OF LIFE

Foods to Help Fight Depression

One of the most overlooked aspects of mental health is nutrition. Food plays a significant role in our physical health, as well as our mental and emotional health. When you are struggling with depression, it can feel a bit overwhelming to think about eating the right foods. However, some of these small changes in your diet may help to decrease your symptoms and have a positive effect on your daily life.

What Foods Can Help With Depression?

Whatever your dietary preferences, there are a variety of options that can provide mood-boosting benefits:

Fish

Wild-caught fish, especially the more oily types such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, and tuna (not canned), are great choices to help fight depression. Why? Because they are rich sources of Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats help to build connections between brain cells as well as build and strengthen the receptor sites for neurotransmitters. So, an increase in Omega-3’s in your diet can help lead to increased serotonin production and improvement of mood.

Nuts

Although other nuts such as cashews, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts are helpful in supplementing Omega-3 fats, walnuts seem to be the winner in this category. Walnuts are known to support overall brain health, being one of the highest plant-based sources of Omega-3 and a great source of protein to help keep blood sugar levels at a healthy balance.

Beans

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, both of which help to maintain stable and consistent blood sugar levels. In addition to helping minimize the blood sugar spikes and dips that can affect our mood, beans are also great sources of folate. Folate is a B vitamin that helps the body use vitamin B12 and amino acids, helping the body to detox cells and create new cells. Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) are very high in folate, offering over 100 percent of the daily recommended value in just a half cup. Pinto beans are another great choice, with a half cup serving offering 37 percent of the daily recommended value of folate.

Seeds

Flaxseed and chia seeds are wonderful additions to your diet if you struggle with depression. As with some of the other foods mentioned, these two types of seeds are particularly great sources of Omega-3 fats. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds provides approximately 61 percent of your daily recommended amount of Omega-3 and one tablespoon of flaxseed provides roughly 39 percent of the daily recommendation. As you can see, these two seeds pack a powerful punch if you are looking for small ways to improve your diet and your mood.

Pumpkin and squash seeds are a great addition to increasing tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that produces niacin and helps create serotonin. Although turkey is what most people tend to think of when hearing the term tryptophan, there are many other food sources that offer greater amounts of this essential amino acid. Pumpkin and squash seeds near the top of the list, with just one ounce providing approximately 58 percent of the recommended daily intake of tryptophan.

 

Vegetables

Yes, you need to eat your veggies! Although this is important for everyone, eating vegetables can be of great help if you struggle with depression. Leafy green vegetables, in particular, are good sources of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is one of the three main types of Omega-3 fatty acids, the other two being DHA and EPA. When considering vegetables to help increase your Omega-3’s, the powerful players tend to be Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, and watercress. Folate, fiber, and other nutrients also make vegetables, especially the darker leafy greens, a wonderful choice when looking for foods to help improve and stabilize mood.

One Ingredient Foods

Generally speaking, it is best to allow your body the freedom to digest foods as close to their natural state as possible.

Many of the processed foods or things you might find at a convenience store are filled with preservatives and offer little to no nutritional benefit. Your body is trying to make sense of what to do with such food, and it can significantly interrupt or rob your body (and mind) of key nutrients and energy it needs to function at its best.

What Foods Aren’t Helpful for Depression?

If you’re coping with depression, it can be just as important to know what not to eat. Unfortunately, many of these foods are of the sort that many people turn to when they’re having a rough day. Being aware of the negative impacts of these foods on your mental health can help you make better decisions:

Sugar

We know that sugary foods and drinks are not good for our bodies. What you may not realize is that, just as sugar can impact your waistline, it can also significantly impact your mood. There are food choices all around us that are filled with sugar such as cakes, cookies, cereal, drinks, and even condiments such as barbecue sauce, salad dressings, and more. You may also be surprised how many foods are perceived as “healthy,” yet contain extraordinary amounts of sugar. Examples of tricky foods like this are granola bars, energy bars, trail mix, and honey roasted nuts.

Keep in mind that sugar will not always be labeled simply as “sugar” on the ingredient list. In order to be on the lookout for added sugar, you may want to also look for the following terms:

  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose

Be mindful of your choices, and limit foods that are high in sugar, particularly those with added sugars. Keeping your blood sugar levels more evenly balanced through the day can help your mood stay more evenly balanced, too.

Refined Grains

Just as with sugar, we are surrounded by processed foods that use refined grains. The term refined refers to forms of sugars and starches that don’t exist in nature, as described by psychiatrist and nutritional expert Dr. Georgia Ede, MD She goes on to share that, “If you are looking at a sweet or starchy whole food that you would come across exactly as in nature, you are looking at an unrefined carbohydrate.”

Many of the foods we seek for convenience are the very things that may be hijacking your mood. Foods such as white rice, pasta, crackers, bread, chips, and breaded foods are full of refined carbohydrates that offer little to no nutritional value and rob you of important B vitamins in the process of digestion. Keeping these refined carbohydrate foods in your diet will take your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride throughout the day, which can also result in symptoms of low mood and fatigue.

Alcohol

Not to ruin the party, but limiting alcohol is in your best interest if you struggle with depression. Alcohol is a depressant and can lead to impaired vision, judgment, and reaction time. Many alcoholic beverages can actually be quite sugary which, as we’ve been talking about, has a way of sabotaging your mood and causing blood sugar levels to elevate and crash. Although some research has shown that small amounts of alcohol such as red wine can be helpful, it is in your general best interest to steer clear if you struggle with depression. As suggested by Dr. Ede, “Alcohol will not solve any of your health problems, because no health problem is caused by a lack of alcohol.”

Caffeine

Yes, caffeine can help you start your day with a boost. However, it can also lead to crashes later in the day, and leave you feeling as if you need more to regain energy. Many Americans find themselves over-caffeinated, as we drink coffee and energy drinks regularly. Although caffeine itself has not been shown to cause depression, it is suggested that caffeine be consumed in moderation and not be used as an energy source. A better alternative is green tea. In addition to antioxidant benefits, green tea is also known to provide theanine, an amino acid that offers an anti-stress benefit that can be helpful for those struggling with depression.

Food for Thought

 

Our bodies interact with the foods we eat and the choices we make each day can impact our body’s ability to function at its best. Although there is no specific diet that has been proven to alleviate depression, we can see that there are plenty of nutrient-rich foods that can help to keep our brains healthy.

It is a good idea to talk with your medical provider before making significant changes to your diet. Remember to also be patient with yourself as you begin to try new foods and give your body time to adjust to the changes you are making. Making better food choices can help your overall health as well as make a positive impact on your emotional wellness.

Mother Nature

Ok, I’m over this weather!  Now usually I am one with Mother Nature. I spend a lot of time outside no matter how cold it is. My winter gear keeps me cozy and warm. Feeling the crisp air caress my face, reminding me to wrap my scarf around it. Watching Ginger and Zen run through the snow chasing after their balls. Listening to the birds sing a happy song with cold air heating up their rhythm. But I am ready to grow some food!
I’m getting anxious! Anxious about how much deeper our souls of the soil is going to be. What’s going to bloom; what’s not going to bloom? What will we learn about ourselves this season?  Mother Nature, please spare me.
I need to feel the wiggle of a worm on my hands.  I need to smell the sweet air of compost.  I need to be needed by the spicy mustard greens and picky pickles. Mother Nature, please spare me!

I need to, Breathe with the flow of life, today!

Energized

I’m on a roll Health Warriors! Nori rolls with sunflower sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, and carrots. And a side of spicy mustard. I am so full of energy. Off to the trails with my special two. The Sun is beaming with love today!

What gives you energy?

Inhale……Exhale……Let Go!

I personally can’t stand moving time forward in the spring and back in the fall.  It doesn’t do my inner clock any good! And, my poor dogs get totally confused because their feeding time changes, LOL. So, here is a breathing exercise that helps me relax and stay balanced during these man-made times.