Nothing like a Wednesday night and a little recipe reorganization...

Breakfast Foods

Vegetable Dishes

Snacking Foods (Sweet & Savory)


Nutty Chocolate Dream Balls


Banana Smoothie (like a daiquiri only healthier)
Green Smoothie

Be A Fruit Whore

When it comes to fruit, the phrase "less is more" need not apply.  Fruit is the only food group, other than vegetables, where we can indulge and be free from the rules of portion control and calorie counting.  Have you ever heard of someone getting fat from eating too many blueberries? Strawberries? Apples? I don't think so...

Why is fruit so amazing?  Well, for one, it is low-fat and low-calorie.** Fruit is water based, hence it is hydrating.  Because of the high water content, fruit moves through the digestive tract quickly, cleansing our system, while also nourishing it with vitamins and minerals. 

Fruit does contain sugar, but if sugar were ever good for you, it is good when it comes in the form of fruit.  Fruit is naturally sweet, unlike the sugar you find in packaged snacks and candy.  The fiber in fruit, slows the absorption of the sugar into the bloodstream. The slow absorption of sugar keeps blood sugar balanced, rather than spiking it up high, and then dipping it down low. Candy on the other hand, is high in concentrated sugar and most of the time processed sugar.  It never contains any vitamins and minerals. In fact, high concentrations of processed sugar, like high fructose corn syrup, leach nutrients from our body. 

What kind of fruits should you be eating?  The answer is obvious, right?  -- All of them!  If you are eating a lot, aim to eat fruits that have a high water content like apples, grapes, kiwis, pineapples, strawberries, and melons.  And as a note,  fruit is always healthiest in its natural form, either blended in a smoothie or eaten just as is. 

What is your favorite fruit and/or smoothie recipe?


**Avocados and olives are two fruits that contain fat -- and a lot of it for that matter.  The fat is all healthy and good, but as we know, too much healthy fat can become bad if our body is consuming too much to burn it all off.  Moderation is key when it comes to these two fruits.

** What about coconut? Coconut is not technically a fruit, but a nut.  And, it sure is fatty.  It contains the good fat, which the body quickly puts to use, but again moderation is best when you're dealing with a nut of any kind. 

A Sunday To Recover... & PB Winner!

Happy Sunday!  The weekend weather has been absolutely beautiful in NYC and those that were running in today's half marathon certainly lucked out weather-wise.   I wish I had known about it because a half marathon is something I would enjoy and survive (I am not so sure I feel the same about a full on marathon).  And timing worked its magic because instead of running the marathon, there was brunch to be had at the Atlantic Grill.  Eggs Benedict to be exact.  Breakfast was enjoyed with my sister, her fiance and Jimmy.  We all thoroughly enjoyed our brunch as we were recovering from last night's 3-bottle-of-wine-dinner celebrating my sister's engagement. 

Last night was a night to forget about fat, carbs and calories and a night to enjoy some of the best food in the city.  We received the royal treatment at Eleven Madison Park and I have to say that there is no better restaurant in NYC when it comes to food, service and overall experience. Jimmy certainly thinks so, and he has written a review on his blog, Golden Eats. Truffles, lobster, prawns, pork, chicken, amuse-bouches, butter from France, macaroons, complimentary cognac...these are just some of the foods we enjoyed.   It was a perfect night with perfect flavors and perfect company.   So today is a day to recover and of course, a day to plan for a week of healthy eating! 

I'd like to pose a question... Are there moments or occasions in your life when you let go of your healthy ideals?  And then afterwards, what do you do to get back on the healthy track?

For me, there is nothing like the power of a green drink to get back on the healthy bandwagon.  It revitalizes the system and shoots it with much needed nutrients, especially folic acid.    Candle Cafe has a fantastic Green Goddess drink with mixed greens, apple, lemon and ginger.  Today it is calling my name....

And with that, I want to announce the winner of the Peanut Butter and Co. Give Away! Congratulations to Naomi of One Fit Foodie whose homemade protein bars are not only creative, but also delicious, easy to make and most importantly, healthy!!  I love the incorporation of the chia seeds and protein powder.  My question to Naomi is, what protein powder do you recommend for this recipe? And do you have a link to the recipe on your blog for exact measurements? 

Off for a Green Goddess! 

Essential Oils vs. Purell

Last weekend at IIN I was chatting it up with some new found friends in the bathroom. As we were leaving the bathroom for the start of class, I walked over to the Purell Hand Sanitizer and pushed twice, dispensing 2 dollops of the clear liquid gel into my hands.  Before I could enjoy the disinfecting bliss, I heard a loud shout, "NOOOOoooo!" My heart jumped. "NOOOOoooo!" It's 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday! Why was my new acquaintance yelling at me?  What could I have possibly done?  Little did I know, I was about to get a lecture on Purell Hand Sanitizer: the hows and whys that it is terrible for you.  I left the bathroom thinking I was going to die because I had used it. Perfect...

So here is what my new friend told me:

1) The alcohol content in Purell is SOO high that it is toxic, especially when absorbed through your skin. She even went as far as to say that the alcohol is absorbed into our organs and poisons them.

2) Purell kills all the good bacteria on your hands as well as the bad.

3) Howie Mandel's (aka germaphobe) excessive use of hand sanitizer has made him highly susceptible to warts and other fungal bacteria on his hands.

4) Use essential oil, like lavender, or softer forms of packaged disinfectants (see Burt's Bees) to naturally sanitize your hands.

When she finished her rant, I was officially horrified by my history of Purell use and decided that some research must be done to substantiate my concerns. Here is what I found....

The alcohol content in Purell is 62%, which is the necessary amount needed to kill bacteria.  "Two ounces of Purell is equal to 4 shots of alcohol" ( or 120 proof already, if you ingest it, the alcohol content is considered potentially harmful, and more so life threatening to young children.  The only information I could find about organ toxicity was on the Skin Deep website.  This information was enough for me to want to do a switcheroo to more natural forms of hand sanitization. Click here to be brought to Skin Deep's page on Purell.

Purell does in fact kill both the good and the bad bacteria.  While, it is good to kill the bad, it is not so great to kill the good.  The good bacteria protects our body from infection as well has helping it to fight the bad bacteria. If we get rid of the good, how will we fight the bad??

As far as the Howie Mandel claim, I have not found any information talking about his susceptibility to warts due to Purell overuse.  I did read that he wears rubber gloves, but only to avoid the germs from day to day contact with surfaces and people. Supposedly.

In researching essential oils as natural antiseptics, I discovered that this claim is true! And not only is lavender a natural disinfectant, but so are clove, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme and pine. There are a lot of interesting websites out there that talk about the use of essential oils for home cleaning and air purification in addition to their antiseptic qualities.  I will list some of these sites at the end of this post.  I do feel obligated to question whether or not a medical professional would support the use of these "natural" or "holistic" disinfectants in a hospital. I HIGHLY doubt it, and so with that said, please use essential oils as you see them pertaining to your life.  For me - a person not wanting to kill the good bacteria - I tested out lavender oil and plan to try Burt's Bees product for potential use after my rides on the NYC subway. 

To summarize my thoughts on this subject:

Essential Oil/Natural Health Store forms of hand sanitizers = BETTER & FUN TO TEST OUT

I now use lavender essential oil and my boyfriend likens me to some kind of witch, or potion maven apothecary. Whatever. It smells good and it is soo relaxing! I have taken to dabbing a bit behind my ears and on my neck before bed and it is lovely.

There are lots of ways to enjoy essential oils other than as sanitizing agents.  They relax and energize, and can be used to support our health in many ways.  This is just the tip of the iceberg - I plan on reading more and more on this subject and promise to share the interesting tidbits along the way.

Here are some of the interesting sites I stumbled across:

Stream of Consciousness

Essential Oils - Their Properties

The Real Essentials

Do you use essential oils and if so, which ones and why? 

Peanut Butter Love and Special PB & Co. Give Away

Yummmm, nothing conjures up memories of comfort and childhood contentment more than peanut butter...and jelly on Wonder Bread...but we don't do the refined white carbs anymore.  Peanut butter is a comfort food like none other and because of its high fat content it has been dubbed by many - a food to be avoided.  I'd like to argue for peanut butter, as I am sure many of my nut butter loving blogger friends would as well.  So despite peanut butter's heavenly taste and obnoxious fat content, what is there to love about this vegetable based food? 

Well, maybe it is just that. Peanut butter is vegetable based! It comes from the legume or bean family, which means it is a great source of vegetable protein. Peanut butter also has vitamin E, folate, potassium, magnesium and an array of other vitamins and minerals. Yes, peanut butter is high in fat, but the majority of it is the unsaturated heart healthy fat, while a small portion of it is saturated fat.  The ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat in peanut butter is similar to that of olive oil, and olive oil is the main component of the healthiest diet in the world (the Mediterranean Diet).  In addition to ALL the vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fat, peanut butter is SOO filling.  Incorporating peanut butter into any healthy meal suddenly gives the food staying power equal to that of two meals. Enough said.  Onto the PB snack...

A tasty, easy and healthy peanut butter treat... Nutty Chocolate Dream Balls. All you need is a jar of PB & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams and some oats!

Pour some oats and a spoonful of the Dark Chocolate Dreams in a bowl. 
Mix together well and then roll into small balls.  
Set to chill in the refrigerator. 
Eat them as early as 30 minutes later!! 

These treats are so easy to make that it's hard to believe that they taste as delicious as they do.  The taste is something close to that of chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough. I guarantee that you and your family will love them, and even better, if you have kids, they will LOVE to make them :)  The addition of the oats not only adds to the texture, but it incorporates whole grains and additional fiber.  Peanut Butter & Co peanut butter is  all natural, gluten-free, vegan, free of refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and trans fat.  

The only issue with this peanut butter is that it is soooo good that you really have to open the jar with some serious self control.  Also, I recommend setting aside a small number of Chocolate Dream Balls so that you do not overeat.  I like to pack 3 for my lunch time dessert.  

Peanut Butter & Co. has graciously offered to give away three jars of their delicious peanut butter - Dark Chocolate Dreams, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl (A-mazing!) and White Chocolate Wonderful! Enter to win by leaving a comment with your favorite peanut butter creation, also if you are on Twitter follow the Peanut Butter & Co @PeanutButterCo. 

I will contact the winner next Saturday to get your shipping info and phone number so that the Peanut Butter & Co. can send out your gifts!  Please note that the gifts can only be sent to a US non PO Box address.  If you do not have a blog to link back to, please leave your email address in the comment box. 

Check out more flavors by the Peanut Butter & Co. here.

** Peanut Butter has a high calorie density, meaning there are a high number of calories per pound.  Make sure you consume peanut butter in moderation for healthy weight maintenance. 

Nothing Like A Little Nutritional Yeast

I first heard of nutritional yeast when my friend Natalie mentioned it in a post on her blog, Lil Runner.   Curious, but not yet convinced, I heard it mentioned again two weeks ago during class at IIN . SOLD...Two reliable sources pushed me over the edge.  I hit the health food store running and bought myself a bottle of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified NOW Nutritional Yeast Powder. Always willing to test out a healthy food or food-like substance, I was in heaven with this new assignment. 

First off, many of you might be wondering what is nutritional yeast? If you are female, you might ask, will it cause excess yeast to grow in my body?  Gross... but, no, apparently it does not*.  Nutritional yeast is a supplement, that comes in the form of powder or flakes that can be added to foods to boost its nutritional content. Many vegans and strict vegetarians consume it for the protein and wide array of B vitamins, most importantly B-12.  It is also a good source of folic acid, so all you pregnant ladies, or soon to be pregnant ladies, might enjoy trying a tablespoon or two.  Beside the folate and B-12, nutritional yeast has a good amount of fiber and potassium PLUS it is gluten-free. I know, I just want to run out and get yourself some!! 

Let me tell you about the taste.  Yes...I'd love to hear from some of you on your thoughts regarding the taste of nutritional yeast.  Natalie told me that it is great sprinkled on popcorn because it adds a kind of a "powdered cheese-like" taste and feel.  This morning I sprinkled just a little bit into my scrambled eggs as they cooked.  And it totally enhanced the flavor to be richer and yes, almost a little cheese-like! In the reading I have done, I am learning that nutritional yeast mixes nicely in liquids, so it could be great added to a smoothie or salad dressing.  It can also be used to flavor grains like brown rice or quinoa. If you are a user, please do share some ideas on how and where to use this great stuff! 

Nutritional Facts NOW Nutrtional Yeast Powder
(based on serving size of "2 Heaping Tablespoons")

Calories: 60
Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Sodium: 5mg
Potassium: 320mg
Total Carb: 5g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 0g
Protein: 9g 

On another note, last week I received some Purely Elizabeth Apple Spice Muffin Mix thanks to last month's Super Breakfast Bowl Challenge. This is a new line of baking mixes that was founded by a fellow IIN'er, Elizabeth Stein.  The muffin mix is free of sugar, dairy, wheat and gluten.  In addition to the actual muffin mix, the recipe calls for applesauce, olive oil, maple syrup, an apple, water and some vanilla. 

I also received a wonderful Mighty Leaf stainless steal mug.  Hooray!! I promise to soon post the recipe for the Nutty Flax 'n Granola that luckily won me these fun prizes (oh, wait, you can find it in the Breakfast Bowl link above).  Anyway, I will be sure to let you know how the muffin mix works out once I give it a whirl! Night all. 

*Nutritional Yeast, based on the research that I have done, is considered safe for those following the Candida Diet. It is not active yeast and does not cause yeast infections/Candida albicans overgrowth.

About Me

New York City
Welcome! My name is Christine and I have landed here to share my love of healthy living and eating. I live in NYC where I am currently enrolled in the School of Integrative Nutrition. I am already certified as a holistic health coach and I have started seeing clients to help them reach their wellness goals. I started hot mama health to share the idea that it is fun to be healthy! Health is an adventure with endless foods to taste, exercises to explore, and challenges to meet! If you do not already feel this way, I hope that I can bring you into the light or at least stir a little inspiration here and there.
View my complete profile
There was an error in this gadget