Tahini Dressing & Complete Breakfast

Because a dear friend asked me for it, I've created a very tasty tahini dressing yesterday! It's creamy, hearty, raw vegan and delish!

RAW TAHINI DRESSING

1/2 c olive oil

4 Tbls nama shoyu {or soy sauce or tamari}

3 Tbls raw tahini

4 cloves garlic

2 lemons, juiced/squeezed

Put all ingredients into your high speed blender and mix on high until completely smooth without any chunks. Should be a pale yellow color. 

Try it over wild arugula.

My boys quite regularly eat organic oats for breakfast. So I take the opportunity to add some extra nutrients as well as local honey for sweetness. Of course you can add raisins or dates but my favorite is hemp seeds. I get the organic whole hemp seeds and pour about 2 Tablespoons on it. Sometimes I add a probiotic or a flax/omega type of an oil for creaminess. 

If your kids are like mine and don't often like whole berries, try blending berries with the oil and honey and pour that over it for extra antioxidants and fruit intake. 

I also try and get them to drink their greens as well. Instead of just a glass of milk for breakfast, I add frozen banana, protein powder and a huge handful of red butter lettuce or romaine. If blended well, you can't even see or taste any greens. My kids ask for it daily.

Oh and if you want to go an even extra healthy step, check out this recipe {a really cute blog} idea for warm sprouted buckwheat cereal {grain free and raw vegan} in place of oats. 

Anyways, cheers to a relaxing healthy weekend.

Balance. Is there such a thing?

Photos of my boys COURTESY OF CHRIS NELSON

It's so unlike me to take this long of a break from my blog. But, like everybody, I sometimes lose motivation and "can't find the time". If time is ever of the essence, SADLY, my blog comes last. I love doing it so therefore I make it a priority but because of the holidays and the many demands of my other business, my creative brain, has been on hiatus. I usually have so many ideas seeping our my pours that I can't type fast enough to keep up with them. 

My boys have been living off of avocado and brown rice sushi rolls, kale chips, raw vegan ice cream, green smoothies, pasta with red sauce, cereal, and some steamed egg yolks for the past 2-3 weeks. Oh and I can't forget to mention the holiday junk that has somehow made it into their mouths. 

When things get crazy, I get less and less healthy. It's a vicious cycle but one we can all relate to. Am I wrong? 

I have spent the past few weeks cleaning up the holiday mess, taking care of my little silly kids, meanwhile trying to attend as many of the holiday functions as possible, and if there is any time left I have been helping a sick friend of mine.

So anyways, I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with everybody.

I feel like the word BALANCE has come up quite a bit these past few months. And I definitely have an opinion on this matter. 

There is a book in my bathroom right now, on the floor, by Matthew Kelly called Off Balance, getting beyond the work-life balance myth. I haven't read it yet but the title made something click inside my head. Like DUH! No wonder I haven't found it. 

I think there is this facade that we will someday actually find balance in our lives. Like there is a tipping point where suddenly, you're BALANCED!? As if "healthy" or "successful" people have it all figured out. And they somehow found the perfect balance in their lives. And that's why they are healthy or successful. 

And prior to having this "ahha" moment I think I was doing anything and everything to find this balance point. Where my life would be EASIER. Somehow I would find the perfect way of juggling babies, mommy hood, running a successful food business, writing for my blog, being a nice "wife" and having some ME time {with friends or yoga or walks on the beach} all the while making my mark on this planet - fulfilling my so-called purpose? Wait, really? Let me say that out loud…I thought I could actually balance those things? YEAH RIGHT. 

Well, this preconceived notion had me left feeling like a failure.  Because my life is so chaotic. I half ass every sector of my life. So nothing ever feels complete and perfect. Everything feels sort of lacking. 

And so somehow I am left with random expectations that I can't seem to live up to. Expectations that I made up in my head and keep me always feeling bad about myself. Doesn't sound very logical or smart, does it?

Well, what if I decided to not have those expectations. To accept that everyday will be chaos and there will always be hurdles and bumps in the road. Hey, now, I can come home and feel like I am NOT a failure. Like life is perfect in an imperfect way. Could it be that simple?

These past few weeks have been eye opening for me. After a super strong, enlightened, loving/caring, RAW VEGAN single mom friend of mine went to the hospital for basically anxiety/depression/stress, I realized that although finding that perfect balance is impossible, I see the value in not being too serious or focused on one thing, even if it is your passion or your faith or your job!  

A) We are too hard on ourselves. B) We see struggle as failure. C) We have a hard time seeing outside that bubble we live in. And finally D) There is an element of FEAR in everybody's goals. Afraid of screwing up. Or dying. Or not living life right. 

I know I wouldn't have any sort of sanity if I didn't have friends, family and loved ones who keep me AWAKE to the world outside of my everyday bubble. My everyday insanity. As a boss, as a mom, as a business owner, as a workaholic, as an athlete or even as a nun or priest, whatever it is your put all your energy into, all your dreams and your passions --- there needs to be something to balance it with. Like a quick reality check. 

Surrounding yourself with only those that seem perfect or are the SAME as you can be uplifting and reaffirming but can potentially be brining you down. 

When I live in my raw food or vegan bubble or even my bubble at home around my two kids, I can get very critical. I become obsessive and try and find perfection. And then once I hit that mark it's not perfect anymore. I constantly strive to be better. And therefore more critical and more FEARFUL. 

It's important to befriend those who are different. Those who aren't in your "bubble" per se because not only do they make you a stronger and wiser and more accepting person but those "healthy" relationships will bring us down to reality. Make us take a deep breath and realize we are OKAY. We are like everybody else, maybe even doing a better job in some areas of life. A natural dose of prozac. 

Once I step outside and talk to others, have a drink, a discussion or a meal with others, I see that I am not only doing a great job but others struggle with the same stuff. 

 

  • You mean my kids aren't the only ones that throw tantrums? Or bite?

 

I thought I was a bad mom, because the action is so bad I can't imagine others having this same problem?

 

  • I'm feeling bad that I literally wanted to either take 2 shots of tequila right now or throw my kids in their rooms for the entire night?

 

But, I also just reread an article about how toxic alcohol is and how it causes cancer. Now I feel bad about that. Real raw foodists and vegans don't drink alcohol. I'm failing at this health food thing.

 

  • We don't EAT sugar. 
  • My kids don't have time outs. 
  • I'm a bad parent if I don't take my child to the doctor when he has a fever. 
  • I won't have a babysitter because my child cries when we leave. I am abandoning him. 
  • I don't eat pasta. It's not raw. 
  • I am a VEGAN. 
  • I am a raw foodist. 
  • I am an entrepreneur.  
  • I created PUREmamas, I can't give my kids any junk or I'm a hypocrite.
  • There are so many starving children in the world and I just bought a pair of jimmy choos. 
  • I'm feeling bad that I ate cooked noodles with red sauce instead of spiralized zucchini.

 

I just read on a raw food blog today how bad pasta is because it's cooked. I know better. I have no self control or will power and I don't have time. But time is not an excuse. 

 

  • I do yoga. 
  • We are "green".
  • I am a good Christian, I don't do that. 
  • If I choose to do that I am not serving God. 
  • All these other companies are thriving right now. Doubling their business this year. I can't sit here and play with my kids, I need to be working. 

 

{note: these thoughts are random examples, not thoughts that go through my head or are true to my life}

Our thoughts can be destructive and mean, causing fear and instilling failure. Our thoughts become statements that start to define us and we suddenly need to fit into those roles that we gave ourselves. Mainly because we want to find meaning in our lives and we want to define ourselves and identify with a group or a purpose.

This is normal.

And this can be somewhat healthy. UNTIL it becomes an obsession and creates unrealistic expectations that we seem to need to live up to. It then instills failure into our brains. It can consume and control our every thought and action. 

Instead we should see ourselves as beings human and exactly as the SAME as those who seem so different. 

We NEED friends or acquaintances to remind us that we aren't bad or doing things wrong. We need friends and neighbors to laugh with. Life is just crazy and funny and perplexing. There is no RIGHT and no wrong. Right/Wrong is a matter of opinion and/or created by our own minds and traditions.

Not to mention, it's okay to screw up, to fall off your path. You only grow and learn from mistakes. And so we can look back and find perfection in all that went wrong because it will only make that next job better. 

Some of the most successful peopled "FAILED" like 10 time before they finally succeeded. 

Striving for perfection and living in a bubble can cause serious health problems. I don't care what you eat or drink everyday, if you're feeling imperfect, sad, anxious, upset all day everyday you can't reach optimal health and you'll eventually get sick anyways. 

Some of the heaviest drinkers and smokers never get cancer and live until they are 95. 

I often find that LAUGHTER is the best medicine of all. It keeps us mentally happy and sane. I don't want to say "F it" and not care about our planet anymore or not care about my health and children or goals and passions just because "we could die at any moment" but we definitely are too harsh on ourselves, our partners and children because of these expectations.

I often envy those that feel no guilt, have no empathy and never have to say sorry. I wish I could just brush everything off, move on when things aren't perfect and not care. I overly care about who I am, what I do and how I affect people. 

I read a book recently though that talks about LIFE and death in a very spiritual way. There is a section in there about parenting. I loved this chapter because it explained to me that we often try and protect our children, keep them from seeing things or doing things that might hurt them, either emotionally or physically. But in the end it's that protection that is actually hurting them. No child will ever grow to be an EMPATHETIC, enlightened, spiritual, deeply loving and understanding adult if they feel no pain. It's the pain in our lives here on earth that develop our souls in that way. It's our job to instruction them through those times and be there for them but not to prevent those events from happening. 

This post might seem scattered because I'm talking about a lot of things in one sitting but my point is, if we are going to try and find balance, I think we need to balance the obsessions and passions with some light heartedness. 

Leaving my kids behind with a loving adult and going out with my friends is the BEST prevention when it comes to being mentally stable and sane. It means I'm a good mom, to recognize that I NEED help. I need time to gather myself so I don't take it out on my children. 

If a glass of wine, as toxic as it might be for us, helps keep you sane and happy but doesn't control your life, PLEASE indulge.

Again, take all the vitamins you want to stay healthy but no vitamin will protect you from being hit by the vitamin truck. Is that how the saying goes?

Set goals you can REACH. That will bring you a sense of accomplishment. Focus on those things you DO do well. Just don't obsess. Afterall, we have enough people judging us everyday, why waste energy judging ourselves? Instead LAUGH about your flaws. Laugh about others' flaws.

LAUGH UNTIL YOUR STOMACH HURTS. 

Joy and laughter truly can prevent and reverse an unhappy self. 

 

Many Thanks & Lots of Love

I was at the park yesterday, super early, with my little munchkins. We were the only ones there except for two young fathers and their, I'd guess, 9 year old sons. 

The guys were playing tag, racing around the park. At one point, one of the boys ran over to his dad and dumped sand down his shirt! Despite being totally irritated with the annoying sand in his shorts and all over his back, he was laughing. Then suddenly his laughing son tripped and fell pretty hard, scraped his knee and was holding back tears. In that split second the mood changed. His dad sort of chuckled as he casually walked over to offer his son a hand.

"Don't LAUGH." The boy shouted at the top of his lungs, "It's not funny, I HATE this park!" He said, standing up and walking away. His dad, still pulling on his shirt to get the sand out says, "that's what you get for putting sand down my shirt. It's called KARMA!!" And they kept walking. Smiling. And everybody sort of moved on with their day. 

Watching the event unfold was interesting on so many levels. Wes, my sons' dad, would have handled that scenerio the EXACT same way. Yet, as a mom, I would have handled that scenario completely differently. And not to mention, my son would most likely never have put sand down my shirt. Because I'm his mom. It was an experience that has stuck in my head. An experience only a DAD could have with his son. It was a moment, for me, of assurance and clarity: I couldn't raise my sons alone without the help of their dad. 

Dads and moms might not realize that by just hanging out with their sons, they are TEACHING them priceless lessons, social interaction, giving them confidence, teaching them to grow up strong and independent. Something that Mom just can't do. Period. By the mere fact that we are NOT boys.

I watched my Mom raise my sister and me without a "man" around. If you've read any of my past long-winded posts, you'll know that I've grown up with a pretty indifferent and maybe cynical view on the role of the Men/Father/Husband because of this. I have seen so many of them abandon their kids or selflessly drink their problems away or cheat and lie. Because of this I really have only EVER trusted the females in my life. At least, until now. {I know, this sounds pretty heavy, but I'm just being honest and I don't really think I'm alone here}!

As I'm growing up, I'm watching my friends get married to some amazing men. And now these guys are becoming wonderful Fathers - I'm not surprised. And even more importantly, I am seeing my sons' Father influence my boys in ways I could never do! Just talking to them. Laughing with them. Guiding them. Teaching them things like work ethic. Sports. Sex. Failure. Success. Attitude. Toughness. All of those things. In ways I wouldn't be able to do.

The fact that I'm now RAISING boys to become men. Fathers. Husbands. Talk about scary and a LOT of pressure!!! I have to teach them something I know nothing about. Something I haven't really been proud of growing up: How to be a MAN. Wow, the irony.  

But, it's healthy for me to conquere these FEARS and create my own reality and my own life despite the many possible outcomes. Trusting Wes to be there for me and my two boys has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I never even realized I had these cynical outlooks until I turned 28 and was pregnant with my first son.

Thank you, Wes, for not letting me down, despite my doubts and fears at times. Thanks for being there for our sons in ways that I never knew possible. I have no doubt you will be the most important, strong, wonderful role model and figure in their lives forever. That is something no money can buy. And a gift to me that is beyond words {insert my tears falling on keyboard as I type}. I'm proud to be honoring that today. 

My outlook on Men/Husbands/Dads has forever changed because of you. Thank You. And my boys thank you too. 

And a BIG thanks to all of you Husbands and Dads who are there for their kids in these ways. For doing the dirty work at times, or even just being there with us while we do it. Having somebody to just experience life with is special enough. 

I can speak for a lot of moms out there too when I say SORRY for being hard on you sometimes by pointing all those things you DON'T do because even if those things DO exist {wink} doing so minimizes all that you DO do. 

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! We love you.

Renee Heigel On Natural Pregnancy

 

I'm proud to introduce you all to Renee Heigel. Renee shows women entrepreneurs in their mid-20s to mid-40s how to strip down their diets to eat more local, whole foods, so they can lose inches and love themselves naked. She is a Certified Health Coach as well as a loving wife and mother and a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

THE SECRETS OF GROWING BABIES: 
What Every Woman Needs To Know About Preparing For Natural Pregnancy

Years ago, after a trip to Jamaica where I found myself hiding underneath my bathing suit cover-up, I made a decision to make a change. I came home and did a seasonal detox that completely changed my life. I couldn’t believe that it was possible to feel this incredible and I immediately wondered how I could feel this euphoria all the time.

Now, let’s press rewind and go back years before the pivotal-moment-of-truth detox occurred. My eating was totally out of whack. I had all sorts of cravings and I was working super hard running a business and not taking the best care of myself. I had hormonal migraines weekly, out of balanced emotions, fears around getting pregnant, no period at all for over a year after getting off the pill and I was pretty stressed out. My fiancé at the time (now my awesome hubby) and I talked about babies and I even said I wanted a baby and the practice would be fun…. However, when it came down to being pregnant, changing my life and being responsible for someone else I had all of these fears. Was I healthy enough? Would I be a good mother? Can I even get pregnant? Will I still get to travel? What will I eat? Will my body supply enough nutrients? Will my life change? What is my body going to look like? Will I know what to do?

Stepping through fear is where we grow the most. A year and a half later, I was pregnant…

As an avid gardener and composter, I often viewed that growing blueberry in my belly as my own organic garden-experiment of love. Looking at life through different eyes, I began setting intentions for everything I wanted to have happen in this new role of mama. Everything from the best super foods, non-toxic paint and sustainable furniture, the birth and greener-cleaner self-care and cleaning products became my priorities.

The fears woman face when it comes to their first pregnancy and birth are normal. When we eat well we are less fearful in general. Our food affects our mood. We can physically change the cells within our body with diet. The following 4 simple tips are a must in a healthy woman’s pregnancy journals and toolkit.

  • Don’t make drastic changes. High quality food nourishes and grows the baby and it also prepares the body for birth. However, sudden and big changes to the diet upon getting pregnant can have side effects. Especially pregnant woman will want to stay away from intoxicants, highly refined and chemical-laden products. If we decide to switch to a new healthy diet plan suddenly for baby, the body will begin to heal. However the flush out and release toxins not only have the potential to harm the fetus but they also usually come up in the body in the form of symptoms such as skin disorders, allergies, changes in hair, nail, skin or hormones. If you want to cleanse or switch to a new lifestyle or diet wait until you are done nursing your child.
  • Crowding out.  Crowding out is an effective strategy because instead of focusing on all of the foods you want to eliminate, you are finding nourishment to add in. You want to increase your WATER intake to half your body weight in ounces per day.  Increase alkaline foods such as, dark green leafy veggies like collards, chard, kale, spinach, parsley and cereal grass. These greens are packed with folate, calcium and dozens of key vitamins and minerals necessary to grow a strong healthy baby. Craving sweets? Note that this can also be a sign of dehydration. Crowd out sweets by eating natural sweet treats like non-citrus fruits, dates, sweet potatoes and squash. Add in seeds and nuts for omega-3’s. Omega 3’s maintain the nervous system, clean the arteries, renew our cells and are also a good anti-inflammatory. High quality fats (oils) such as fish oils, hemp seed, chia seed, pumpkin seed, flax seed and rape seed are also necessary to help us assimilate the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and a bonus is that they also help us reduce cravings.
  • Supplements.  Is my body ready to grow a baby? The world we live in today is much different than 40 years ago. We are exposed to free radicals and the soil quality has to a great extent depleted leaving the quality of our foods (even if they are local or organic) and air to be less than what our bodies may need. I personally was one who didn’t think I needed supplements because I was eating a diet that included a healthy variety of local and organic foods. I decided to pay my holistic doc a visit while we were trying to conceive and I’m glad I did! I found out that I was lacking in protein, calcium, magnesium, B-12 and zinc in my diet. I wasn’t at super low levels or anything however once a baby is growing inside a woman they take whatever nutrients they need and can deprive mama of nutrients. This can led to future issues for woman t later in life. Take your prenatal vitamins because we need to drop this notion that we don’t need supplements because I’d rather be on the safe side, you know? B-12 is one that needs to be absorbed sublingually so using a spray or patch is typically best especially for non-meat eaters. Vitamin D is recommended at least 1000 IU’s per day. Most importantly, if you haven’t done so, get a blood test even if you are super healthy. Find out what you might need to replenish your nutrient supplies and if your levels are good then you’ll feel that much better. The vitamins and minerals important for reproductive health (vitamins A, C, E, B complex, zinc and selenium) enhance fertility and are lacking in the Western, highly processed diet.
  • Balancing Foods. Simple rule of thumb: too much of one thing is never a good thing when it comes to our diets. Diversity is best. There are foods that support the uterus and the reproductive capacity. Foods that help you to have good milk supply after the baby is born. However, if we eat too much of one thing it throws everything off. If a pregnant woman is craving salt, she is probably lacking in minerals. Too many nuts (Omega-6 fats) for example can hinder us in absorbing the Omega-3 rich foods like chia, hemp, flax and sea greens. Try not to stick to one type of seed or nut—mix it up. With oils a good balance between olive, grape seed, ghee or coconut oil is important. Beans and dark foods with salty flavors cooked with seaweed are great for pregnant woman. If you are into juicing, the first trimester is especially important to have LOTS of greens so load up and just eat a variety. Protein is key for development of your little bambino and there is protein in everything that grows. Make sure it is not refined and the biggest key is to find the most high quality protein available. 

The most vital ingredient for everyone in terms of food is awareness. Our food is not the only nourishment we are ingesting daily. We also take on an emotional and spiritual transformation for self-respect and clarity while bringing a child into the world. As woman we have such an opportunity to use our pregnancy as a stepping-stone for learning about our healthy-selves. Even the healthiest of people need guidance, accountability and another set of ears and eyes to give a different perspective. As a holistic health coach I have both a health coach and life coach because I need support just like everyone else and it’s okay to ask for support. Ladies, we are all in this together. If you are looking for extra support with your journey in health and wellness, check out my website to learn more, sign up for my newsletter or find Local Nourish Flourish on Facebook.

You can learn more about Renee and her programs at www.reneeheigel.com and sign up for her newsletter, Local Nourish Flourish.