Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yoga pants are for yoga (sweet and tangy chard)

One of my more favorite questions to ask is- "Does your current diet support who you are and where you want to go?" Sometimes I worry that this may come off a little too esoteric. What the eff does she mean by that?

Well, If we are what we eat- if our food effects how we look, how we feel, and how we think... then, is your current diet supporting you in looking how you'd like (this does not only refer to weight)? Are your meals giving you the energy to accomplish your goals? Is your food providing you with positive motivating thoughts, or negative self destructive ones? Do you eat foods that support your values?

The other day I met some friends and their children at the park. One of the mom's, and fellow health counselor, showed up looking fierce. She had just returned from a consultation with a client and from her hair to her shoes she looked professional, fun, and sexy. Apparently a friend, who works as a stylist, gave her a little guidance and supported her to pass on some of her more difficult to get rid of clothing items that no longer suited her (ie:maternity clothes). Her stylist nicely suggested she stop wearing yoga pants to work and to save them for the gym. This experience seemed to have breathed new life into my friend, she looked on the outside how she felt on the inside, you can't get much more authentic than that.

This got me thinking... Does your current style support who you are and where you want to go?
I have always admired people who took the time to put themselves together in a way that reflects how they feel on the inside, the colorful, fun, funky ones. Admittedly I spend a majority of the winter in my pajamas or my "yoga clothes". I'm on Block Island, I see noone, I work from home, I get dressed when I am leaving the island or meeting with a client and that's pretty much it. Even when going for walks I just put my coat on over my slug-wear. Do I think this supports who I am and where I want to be going with my life? Nah- ah. I feel so much better the days I get dressed, and better still on the days I really get it together and dress nice. I am more motivated, feel better in my skin, and confident. What I recognize though is this takes energy, what I know is energy creates momentum and in turn creates more energy.

So with all my energy going here there and everywhere (slowly my new life is coming into focus), where do I find the time? How do I make the effort and does what I wear really effing matter? Streamline some things, simplify some others, tighten up sistah!

This, like so many other things, led me to the kitchen. It has been either chef Persephone or canned soup in the kitchen lately, seems I need to find some balance there. Perhaps you may benefit from this change as well. How about a simple series, meals with only a few ingredients that need little to no equipment (ie:blenders, food processors, etc.). This way "mommy" can get her groove back, or just find enjoyment in a multitude of things.

Starting now.

Last year I remember making swiss chard with a balsamic reduction. The reduction took about a 1/2 hour and my eyes watered from the intense vinegar vapor which took over our house. It was good, but this one is better and so much simpler!

Sweet and Tangy Chard
1 bunch of swiss chard
1/2 onion
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 Tbl (real) maple syrup
touch of salt

chop chard
dice onion and ginger
saute chard stems with onion and ginger, add leaves, sprinkle with touch of salt while wilting
drizzle with maple syrup and toss to coat leaves

Egg salad and spinach sandwich with sweet and tangy chard.
A simple, yet delicious meal!

I make my egg salad with mustard, very little mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Chop is a connoisseur and he says its the best, even without all the mayo.

Notice Wes' bib and stripe coordination, this boy has style in any season, and how could you not give all the attention in the world to that face?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Farmaesthetics (beet &carrot salad with Honey dijon)

Hand written labels and glass bottles say ooh la la- what's inside says-I care about myself.

I have to get out of the habit of writing about events after the fact, however...

This past week I was at Farmaesthetics in Newport facilitating a discussion on our emotional connection to food. Farmaesthetics is a beautiful skin care line created with the environment, our health, the health of our skin and the utmost of self care in mind. The products are all locally made using as much organic and local ingredients as possible... yummy! The shop is a beautiful space, created by the owner and producer of Farmaesthetics, Brenda- her story is a fun and inspirational one (you can find that here).

Anyway, I was a bit nervous as I always am when standing up in front of a group, though something felt different about this time. I don't know if it is the experience that I have now, having spoken in front of groups more frequently or something else, but I was definitely feeling relaxed. It felt almost as if there was more to this general relaxed state I was feeling. Eventually I attributed it to bearing and rearing a child. I think it made me feel more prepared, I handled a stressful birth and difficult adjustment to motherhood, and so now this was going to be cake. I found an even greater sense of calm when I realized that everyone was excited to participate in the discussion format and a great conversation was about to transpire.

It was a wonderful night, in a beautiful space, and I think everyone came away with a new perspective on at least one aspect of their lives. I know I was liking the confident, relaxed, version of "presenter Persephone" and plan on sticking with that for all future events.

A large focus of our discussion ended up being about the importance of eating locally, voting with our dollar (in terms of supporting organics, local, etc.), and some of the political aspects of where our food comes from, who pays for this, and how we can make small changes within our community. Since we were there to talk about the emotional connection to food, it was fun to watch the emotions soar during what became a somewhat heated conversation, but then be able to focus that energy with a call to action (educate, educate, educate) and bring us back to the original topic- how our entire physical, mental, and emotional being, is linked to what we put in and on our bodies.

Food is my passion, food and its effect on people and in turn the planet is a major focus in what I do as a Health Counselor. There is a direct correlation between food and how people feel, how they view the world, and how they treat others. I believe there would be alot less anger and hostility if America didn't "run on Dunkin". So, it was nice to be reminded of the importance of what we put on our bodies, and that anything lathered on our skin is being ingested all the same, through our largest organ.

The next day I went to a doctor's appointment and picked up some literature on this very subject. The fliers go something like this- Toxic Chemicals Are in Many Products- Knowledge is Power- Learn Which Everyday Products Can Cause Health Effects. "Everyday Products"-this means, air fresheners, cleaners, antibacterials, detergents, pesticides, plastics, cosmetics and fragrances are messin with our health! We hear this all the time, we inherently know this, lets start to pay attention and make changes. If you want to educate yourself more fully, really get acquainted with the nasty-ness visit Got asthma? Got migraines? Seriously check it out.

The adorable yet sophisticated little shop in Newport

And a recipe for the skin. Perfect for New England spring, when we still have to dig into our root cellars to find veggies.

3 beets
3 carrots
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 raisins

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
3 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 heaping Tbl of local honey
3 Tbl EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
water till desired consistency

Shred the carrots and beets in a food processor with the grate attachment, keeping them separate if you want to make a pretty swirl in the bowl. Toss the raisins and sunflower seeds and 1/2 the dressing in with the beets. Toss the remaining dressing with the carrots.
On a plate over salad greens or in a bowl, lay the beets out in a circle pattern, then the carrots, alternating till you've covered the plate. Pretty and alluring...