on maple-glazed carrots.

These neon-colored roots are a staple in our refrigerator, mainly because they are cheap, last forever, and pretty good for you with all that beta-carotene in them. Mostly, they wind up blended in our smoothies, but sometimes I cook a batch as a side dish. And cooking carrots is probably better for you, anyway, because it helps your body absorb those carotenoids (that may not be the correct spelling!), as long as you aren’t boiling them and dumping off the water, which is basically tossing out the nutrients. And carrots, as you probably know, are really good for your eye and skin health, since the beta-carotene turns into vitamin A.

This is what I put in my pot of maple-glazed carrots last night (but keep in mind, all measurements are approximate, as I hate measuring):

~two cups of sliced carrots 

~two tablespoons of butter

~one tablespoon of orange juice (freshly squeezed if you’ve got it)

~a big pinch each of cinnamon, ground ginger, and cloves

~salt to taste

~one to two tablespoons of maple syrup

Melt your butter in a saucepan, add the carrots, OJ, and spices, and cover. Simmer, still covered, until the carrots are getting tender, stirring every so often. If you cut them in fat chunks, you’ll need to add a little water to the pot, too, but it will cook off. You just don’t want your saucy stuff sticking and burning on the bottom of your pan. Anyway, then add your maple syrup, simmer uncovered until the glaze is kind of thick, and you’re done! Super easy. 

Happy carrot-cooking!

 

on morning drinkies.

Besides smoothies, and a few cups of coffee, we’ve added a few additional drinkies to our morning repertoire: 

Maca tea, for starters, is what I’ve been drinking. The more I research this powdered little tuber, the more I have great respect for it, gross though it may be. Maca powder is actually really good for keeping your hormones in check (and boosting libido, if you need that). I’ve been drinking a teaspoon mixed in hot herbal tea each morning, since I’m currently on the pill, but I plan to go off birth control and keep up the maca-drinking habits. This may have totally been my imagination, but I swear when I drank maca every day during my placebo week, I didn’t have any cramps (I normally have debilitating ones and down an embarrassing amount of ibuprofen). Maca gets clumpy in tea, though, so I recommend letting it steep (the herbal kind can steep for five or ten minutes, which seems to me good), and then I whisk in my tablespoon. You’ll need a bit of raw honey, too!

This technically isn’t a totally new drink, but we have added kefir to our breakfast smoothie blend. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can probably find a bottle lurking in the refrigerated foods section at your grocery store (unless you’re super hardcore, and make your own). It’s kind of like effervescent runny yogurt, but tangier. It’s also practically lactose-free, which is how a few bottles wound up in our fridge. 

You can get kefir in a lot of different flavors, but I’d recommend sticking with plain, and avoiding all the added sugar and other things they add in that you don’t need. You can make your own fruit-flavored kefir at home, anyway, if you drink it by itself and don’t sneak it in a smoothie. And kefir packs a more powerful healthy-bacterial punch than yogurt, so I think, as far as dairy products go, we’re sticking with this one. Kefir actually helps Timothy’s stomach issues, which is a big deal in our house!

I would recommend, if you are, too, a smoothie drinker in the morning, reducing the amount of dark leafy greens you put in your smoothie if you use kefir as a base. I love our kale, but kale and kefir are not, at least in my mouth, BFFs. 

Besides maca powdered tea and kefired smoothies, we’ve also been consuming two cups of gelatinous hot toddies a day (one in the morning and one at night). Gelatin has a lot of protein and collagen and amino acids (I think), and who doesn’t want more of that? I’m hoping to see a difference in my skin and hair, and a difference in Timothy’s gut. But anyway. We get the kosher, grassfed beef kind, I think the brand is Great Lakes. You’ll have to mix your tablespoon in a bit of cool water first, stir it up really well (it will turn the water to Jello), and then add hot water from your tea kettle to top it off. We also sweeten it with honey, add a few drops of lemon essential oil, and sometimes a few shakes of good cinnamon. It takes the icky taste out.

Well, there you have it! It’s a lot to drink, I know, but if you start out your day early and with a cup of maca and herbal tea, a glass of probiotic-laced smoothie, a mug of black coffee, and a hot cinnamon-lemon gelatin-toddy, you’re most likely off to a good start.

Happy morning drinking!

on quick breakfasts.

We’ve probably been consuming smoothies in some form or another for breakfast every single day for the past, I don’t know, eight months maybe? It’s a habit. In our pantry, you’ll always find bags of smoothie-goodies: seeds, raw honey, coconut oil, maca powder, dried berries, etc. I wouldn’t consider our habits part of a diet, as I think going on a diet just makes you feel guilty when you cheat, but we do try to eat as mindfully as possible. Sometimes that just means being aware that we’re not consuming the best food ever, but awareness is still valuable! 

Anyway, when we took off to Australia, I tried to cram as much health as I could into our luggage. As many essential oils as would fit in our quart-sized ziploc, baggies of fermented cod liver oil capsules, a to-go container of coconut oil (you can seriously use that stuff for everything). But I couldn’t bring our Vitamix, obviously, and so we ate out a lot. 

After coming home, I thought we’d be back to normal. And spend a week or so detoxing.

But I wasn’t counting on being as jet-lagged as we are, and I forgot that we don’t have any groceries, and there are more important things looming before me (like the mass of sandy laundry stinking up our not-unpacked luggage. Side note–we busted the wheels on all three of our suitcases. What a nightmare).

So here is what, for the past couple of days, we’ve had for breakfast: gluten-free toast smothered in coconut oil, raw honey, and enough chia seeds to make it all super crunchy. Washed down with a cup of maca powdered-OJ.

And you know what? I’m not going to feel guilty about eating toast. It’s fast. It’s not too bad. If we had bananas, I might try chopping one up over the toast, too. Or maybe adding cinnamon–the good kind, no cheapies. To make a long story short, that’s my suggestion if you need a fast brekkie.

Happy diet-cheating, or toast-eating, or whatever you may find yourself doing!

 

 

on detox baths.

I’m not sure this was such a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bath. In fact, I’d probably take one every night if I could; I am so cold-natured I never feel warm in the winter, and I also love relaxing. I never get tired of hunkering down in a hot lavender- or juniper-scented bath, a candle lit somewhere nearby, with a glass of girly pink wine and a magazine I don’t mind splashing water on.

A detox bath, however, is not nearly so enjoyable.

I like being warm, mind you, but I thought my insides were cooking when I detox-bathed. The ginger, and maybe even the salt, made the water feel infinitely hotter than it actually was, and it turned my skin bright pink. I sweated so much. I hate sweating; I’ve only sat in a sauna maybe three minutes of my life, and it was horrible. 

But I saw in that murky mess for a solid hour, occasionally turning the faucet back on to fill up the tub (ours is a bit leaky, but it also helped me keep the water near boiling). I’m not sure how many toxins left my body, because the bathwater was swirling with undissolved ginger, but I like to imagine it was a lot. 

If you are brave enough to try a detox bath, here is what I did:

I combined two cups of Epsom salts, one cup of baking soda, and about three tablespoons of ground ginger in steaming bathwater, as hot as I could stand it. I had fresh ginger I could have grated myself, so I might try that next time.

Happy detox-bathing on this blustery Black Friday!