Discover... Peach!

A life full of health & wellness does not entail just fitness, or just nutrition, or just a healthy mindset, it is a combination of all things which aim to better yourself, your health, and your life. With this, comes the challenge of developing a healthy mindset in all areas: food, fitness, and feelings. Fortunately, fashion plays a huge role in how women feel each day by contributing to our confidence, and therefore, success-- even if that success just means fitting in a workout, grocery store trip, and lunch with the girls into your jam-packed schedule!

There is not one woman out there that wouldn’t ask for an additional 3+ hours each day. However, this is, unfortunately, an impossible reality. But, an athleisure-wear company, better known as Peach, makes actual reality a little easier, and more fashionable. Peach harnesses the very thing every woman today is looking for: comfort, style, and confidence! By designing clothes which woman can put on in the morning and wear, comfortably and confidently, for the rest of the day, the company strives to elevate women’s every day-- yes, you CAN go from barre class to the bar and still wear a rocking outfit that fits the scene for both activities. Born in Boston, MA, Peach encompasses female entrepreneurship and focuses on improving women’s every day by understanding the reality that the majority of women don’t have time to worry about whether their outfit fits the scene.

As a wellness coach, I discovered Peach and quickly realized that confidence linked to fashion is a missing puzzle piece in many women’s lives. As I mentioned before, in order to create a life full of health & wellness, you must also focus on the health and wellness of your mind, specifically your confidence. One of my favorite sayings is: “if you are confident, you are beautiful.” Fortunately, the clothing line designed by Peach allows women to rock both their outfit and confidence, all-day, every day. Check out this awesome athleisure wear line https://www.discoverpeach.com/s/kikiw and get your Peach on! If you are looking for guidance in creating healthy habits that will allow you to feel and be your healthiest, get in touch with me at http://www.kikiwalkerwellness.com/. I work and live in Boston, but work virtually all over the country!

 

The Endless Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are a couple of products in this world that sit at the top of the totem pole for me and Apple Cider Vinegar is definitely one of them.  Remember how the father in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding” used Windex as the cure-all – well my Windex is Apple Cider Vinegar. As far as I am concerned, there is not much it can’t do! It is the perfect go-to product for almost any need, whether it be for your skin and/or hair, pet, aiding in digestion, or for keeping the house spic & span, ACV can do it all.

 

Why you ask is ACV so fantastic? First and foremost, it is a completely natural product.  The process of making apple cider vinegar goes like this: apple juice (from apples of course!) is fermented to hard apple cider, which is fermented a second time to apple cider vinegar. Now you may be saying, ‘I have heard fermented foods are good for me, but I’m not sure why?’ A fermented food is a food that has had its carbohydrates and sugars turned into alcohol or beneficial acids. Fermented foods, just like living foods, have living enzymes that your body needs for proper digestion, which ensures that your body makes full use of the food you consume.  

 

Below are the many ways that ACV can be added to your everyday!

HAIR:

Use ACV as a rinse in your hair after shampooing to add healthy body and shine! Mix a tablespoon or two in a glass of water and pour over your head at the end of your shower or bath. Make sure to rinse out well!

FACE:

ACV can assist in regulating the pH in your skin. It is important that we balance the pH in our skin because the pores of our skin are made up of a combination of oil and sweat glands which help to keep your skin healthy and elastic. Making sure the skin’s pH is in a healthy range will ensure even greater health for your skin.

Dilute 1 tbsp of ACV with a glass of water and use as a toner on your skin after washing your face at night. Also, apply in the morning before putting your daily moisturizer on and try dabbing a little on any dark spots and let soak in overnight!

DIABETES AND WEIGHT LOSS:

ACV lowers glucose levels, which can be helpful for someone that has diabetes. It is also known to help you feel fuller longer so it can aid in weight loss.  

PROMOTES ALKALINITY:

Even though ACV tastes acidic, it actually promotes alkalinity in your body. When bodies are in an alkaline state, we are able to fight off major diseases more effectively.  Studies have actually shown that cancer cannot live in an alkaline body.

CLEANING SPRAY:

Most household cleaning products are full of unwanted chemicals. Therefore, even if you do not realize it, you will end up ingesting the chemicals. For example, if it is on your countertop, your food is then exposed to the chemicals and subsequently ingested by you and your family. To prevent this, create your own cleaning spray! It’s as simple as this:

Pour ½ ACV and ½ water in a spray bottle and clean away! Your house will sparkle, smell fresh, and be chemical free!

SINUS AND ALLERGIES:

First of all, ACV does wonder for your immune system. Since it is rich in natural minerals, vitamins, and enzymes, apple cider vinegar is a detox-wonder. The unique acids in apple cider vinegar can bind to toxins and help the body eliminate them more effectively as well as aid in stimulating circulation and help detoxification in the liver. In addition, it also breaks up mucus throughout the body and cleanses the lymph nodes to allow for better lymph circulation. A healthy lymphatic system results in the removal of toxins from the cells in your body while improving your immune system.

So, when you are feeling under the weather or allergies have gotten the best sinuses, dilute 2 tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water or hot tea, and enjoy!

SUNBURN RELIEF:

Of course, it is best to avoid too much sun exposure and a sunburn, but when it happens, dilute some ACV in water and pat the solution on your sunburn, or pour a cup into a cool bath!

 

Believe it or not, I have other uses for Apple Cider Vinegar, but I think these will keep you busy for a bit! Have a happy & healthy day!

 

Avacado Superfood Salad

INGREDIENTS:

2 avocados

1 bunch of kale, leaves torn and lightly massaged

Juice of 1 lemon (to squeeze on as dressing)

1/2 cup of parsley

1/2 cup of cilantro

1/4 cup of mint

2 Tbsp goji Berries

2 Tbsp hemp seeds

1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

Pinch salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

 

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and prep greens, avocado, and lemon juice. Mix together in a large bowl, then add goji berries, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and salt.

GREEN TEA POACHED HALIBUT OVER SPINACH


INGREDIENTS

 

                       4 cup brewed green tea

                       3 No Size inch piece fresh ginger half minced, half whole

                       1/2 No Size lemon

                       4 piece halibut, 4-6 oz. each

                       2 clove garlic

                       1 tbsp Dijon mustard

                       1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

                       2 tbsp lemon juice

                       2 cup fresh spinach

                       1 medium English cucumber

                       1 bell pepper julienne

                       1 carrot julienne

                       3 medium green onions sliced

 

DIRECTIONS

 

Pour all but 1 tbsp green tea in a pan and add the whole piece of ginger and the lemon. Bring to a low simmer. Add halibut and poach for 7-10 minutes, turning once. Remove the halibut from the liquid and place in the refrigerator. While fish is cooling, combine the rest of the ginger with the garlic, mustard, olive oil, lemon juice and remaining green tea to make the dressing. Arrange the spinach on plates with cucumber, bell pepper, and carrots. Place the chilled halibut on top of the salad, pour the dressing over it and garnish with green onion.

Zucchini Bread

INGREDIENTS

 

2 ½ cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup olive oil

¾ cup fat-free egg product or 3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 ½ cups flour

3 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

 

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottoms only of 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix zucchini, applesauce, oil, egg product, vanilla and sugar until well blended. Stir in all remaining ingredients except walnuts until well blended. Stir in walnuts. Spoon batter evenly into pans.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remo

Protein Power Balls

INGREDIENTS

 

1 cup organic Brown Rice Krispies or Old Fashioned Oatmeal (not quick cooking) 

1/4 cup Flax seed

1/2 cup Raw honey

1 cup Peanut, almond or sun butter

1 cup Juice Plus+ Dutch Complete Complete Protein Shake Mix

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients.  Make into small golf ball size balls.  Place on a cookie sheet or plate and put in freezer for at least one hour.  Take out and put in ziplock freezer bag for storage. My want to thaw for a couple of minutes, but not necessary.

Homemade Maple Almond Granola

INGREDIENTS

 

2 cups raw, whole rolled oats

½ cup sliced raw almonds

¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

2 Tbsp maple syrup (100% maple syrup, preferably grade-b)

1 Tbsp  raw honey

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp coconut oil

½ cup unsweetened shredded  coconut

¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 large pinch fine sea salt

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 300º. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl & use your clean hands to mix and toss to coat. The coconut oil might be liquid or solid.  (it has a melting point of about 75ºF.) Run the glass jar under warm water to melt if solid. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet & bake for 10-12 minutes, until very lightly toasted. Mix – bake until lightly brown.  Cool before serving or storing. This granola can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

 

Note: It is very easy to over cook this granola. 

Sweet Potato, Kale and Corn Chowder

INGREDIENTS

 

 1 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 sprig fresh thyme, minced

3/4 tsp ground turmeric

1 medium tomato, chopped

5 cups vegetable broth or water

1 cup fresh or frozen organic corn kernels

3 cups stemmed and chopped kale leaves

Salt and ground white pepper, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp organic cornstarch

1 Tbsp tepid water

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

 DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute carrots, red onions, celery, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. 3 minutes. Add thyme and turmeric. Combine well with vegetables. Add tomatoes and broth; simmer 20 minutes.

Add corn, kale, salt, and white pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Season with cayenne pepper.

Thicken either of two ways: Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon tepid water. With soup simmering, stir in cornstarch mixture. Continue to stir and simmer 3 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. 

 

Zucchini Lasagna

INGREDIENTS

5 medium zucchini (2 lb.)

tsp kosher salt, divided

½ tsp black pepper, divided

½ tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb. lean grass fed ground beef

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 (15oz) whole milk ricotta cheese, room temp

2 large eggs

½ cup (packed, 1oz) chopped fresh basil

1⅓ cup no sugar added marinara sauce

8oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

 

 DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice zucchini

lengthwise, into ¼-inch-thick strips. Brush

with olive oil & sprinkle with ½ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp black pepper & ½ tsp garlic powder. Grill the slices, 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden & firm.  Spread on paper towels to soak up moisture.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, approx. 3 minutes. Add the meat, garlic, ½ tsp kosher salt & ¼ tsp black pepper. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until meat is browned, 5-7 minutes. Drain into a colander, then mix in a bowl with 1 cup marinara sauce.

In another bowl, with a fork, mix together the ricotta, eggs, basil, & remaining salt and pepper.

Assemble the lasagna: Spread ⅓ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish; Top the marinara sauce with a layer of zucchini, then a 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, a 1/3 of the meat mixture, & a 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese; Repeat. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden, about 30 minutes. You can finish by broiling for 2 minutes on high to brown the cheese.

Healthy Nuggets

 INGREDIENTS

 

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1-2 cups of pickle juice

paprika

onion powder

garlic powder

salt and ground black pepper

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup coconut oil

 

DIRECTIONS

Marinate chicken in pickle juice. Make sure the chicken is fully immersed in the pickle juice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour

When the chicken is marinated, place the tapioca flour in a small bowl. Set aside

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces & season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, & onion powder. Fully cover the chicken with the seasonings. Flip over and season the other side.

Lightly roll the chicken in the tapioca flour. Try not to handle the chicken too much; this can make the flour & seasonings fall off.

Place the coconut oil in a medium sauce pan or non-stick skillet & heat over medium-high heat. Add the nuggets in a single layer & let cook for about 3 minutes on each side. When they’re browned on the bottom, flip over & brown the other side.

Remove from the pan & season with more salt. 

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

 

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup soy sauce (Bragg liquid amino)

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 cup cold water

3 Tbsp.  organic cornstarch

(optional toppings: sliced scallions & toasted sesame seeds)

 

DIRECTIONS:

Add chicken breasts to the bottom of your slow cooker in a single layer.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic, onion, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, & black pepper. Pour mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Cover slow cooker, & cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through & shreds easily with a fork.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a separate bowl & shred it using two forks.

Transfer the remaining teriyaki sauce from the slow cooker to a medium saucepan.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cold water & cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved & no longer lumpy. Pour the cornstarch mix into the teriyaki sauce mixture, & whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, & let boil for approx. 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, & pour sauce on top of the shredded chicken. Toss to combine.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa topped with scallions (green onions) & toasted sesame seeds if desired.

 

Home Cooking!

We all remember the old saying “The kitchen is the heart of the home.” At home with our immediate family and extended family, we find ourselves gathering more often than not in the kitchen to chat, celebrate, and often share a serious conversation.  Dinner parties often end up gathered around the kitchen’s island.  I believe it’s safe to say in most cases, the kitchen is where it all happens!

I’m also very fond of the kitchen because it’s where clean and mindful eating starts.  Preparing and cooking your own food is beneficial is so many ways.  Here are just a few:  

·      It is the surest way to make the best choices 

·      You control what you’re eating!  There’s a reason why restaurant dishes taste so good—think about all those hidden ingredients you’d never consider at home

·      You can cook with spices proven to boost your overall wellness

·      You prepare enough food for multiple meals, setting yourself up for the next day, or several days with healthy choices

·      It’s much more economical

Perhaps you’ve seen the December 2014 issue of National Geographic- The Joy of Food Bringing Family and Friends Together.  There are pages and pages of how sharing and celebrating food is a part of every culture and even religion.  The article reminded me of the old saying “To break bread together.”  Not only is this phrase as old as the bible, it captures the power of a meal to build relationships, bury anger and create laughter.

 

With New Year’s resolutions around the corner, you might consider making one that includes I will try my best to cook more meals at home.  We’re all busy and can think of a million excuses not to cook, but a saying that always rings in my head is “you have time for what you make time for!”

 

Knowing what’s in your food is your best bet for clean living!

Spices to Live By!

 Img credit:  Luz Adriana Villa

Img credit: Luz Adriana Villa

It’s time to give your spice rack a little love. Below I have listed some spices that boost overall health and wellness and will get you excited about flavoring your food while enhancing your overall body and brain function.

Cumin: Give you brain an extra boost -  Lab studies indicate that cumin’s anti-inflammatory properties can improve memory as well as lower stress. Add a little to your delicious homemade hummus or sprinkle it over pumpkin seeds before roasting.

Ginger: Ease Muscle Pain AND Improve Digestion - Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce muscle pain. After an intense workout, add fresh ginger to your smoothie or vegetable sauté. Ginger has also long been touted as an excellent remedy for nausea.

Cinnamon: Support Strong Bones - You’ve probably heard that a dash of cinnamon can help balance blood sugar (this is true), but did you know that cinnamon also supports strong bones? The manganese found in cinnamon helps bones stay healthy and strong, so try sprinkling some in your smoothie, lemon water or morning fruit bowl to support a sturdy frame.

Cajun: Slim Down - The capsaicin found in red peppers and chilies helps boot your metabolism, encouraging the body to burn fat. Studies have also shown that people who add heat to their food have a tendency to eat less, helping maintain a healthy body weight. Experiment and add to veggies, soups and all meats.

Turmeric: Improve Mental and Physical Health - Turmeric helps alleviate arthritis and lower cholesterol. Its high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties also improves mental health as well as lowers the risk of certain cancers. Plus, it’s delicious added to almost anything. Sprinkle in eggs, smoothies, soups, veggies, grains and meat. Delicious!

Parsley: Improve Skin Tone - Parsley is a wonderful source of Vitamin K, which reduces inflammation in body, boosts the immune system and helps protect the body from cancer. In addition, parsley also contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which helps reduce scars and blemishes, plus it stimulates the production of collagen, helping your skin look younger and fresher. Add fresh parsley to smoothies, veggie sautes, omelets, or even make your own parsley tea.

Sage: Preserve memory and soothe a sore throat - If your stomach is feeling upset or your throat is sore, brewing some sage tea or investing in an herbal sage spray can bring immediate relief. Research also suggests the herb may improve some symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease by preventing a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in memory and learning. Add sage to soups, sauces and roasted sweet potatoes for a delicious, healthy treat.

Chili Cumin Sweet Potatos

Serves 4

Gather:

2 large yams (or sweet potatoes)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

Step by Step:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Thoroughly scrub your potatoes under cold running water – you want all the grime OFF your potatoes as you’re leaving the skin on.
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. They don’t need to be perfect, but the more uniform in size you get them, the better. I went for 1 ½ inch pieces.
  4. Throw the potato chunks into a large bowl.
  5. Melt your coconut oil in the microwave (this’ll only take a few seconds).
  6. Drizzle the coconut oil over the sweet potatoes.
  7. Add the cumin, chili powder and salt.
  8. With clean hands, toss the potatoes with the oil and spices.
  9. Spread the seasoned sweet potatoes even onto a jelly roll pan.
  10. Place in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  11. At the 15 minute mark, open up the oven and, using a spatula, flip the potatoes over the best you can.
  12. Close that oven up and set the timer for another 15 minutes