Beauty and Coconut Oil

Coconuts

I recently read a great article by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition that discussed 9 uses of coconut oil for to help solve your beauty problems.  I love this product so much. It makes cooking so much easier and is also a clever way to solve some typical cold weather issues we have with our skin and hair this time of year. Here is their list of 9 surprising beauty uses for coconut oil:

  1. Sugar Scrub
  2. Night Cream
  3. Body Moisturizer
  4.  Conditioner
  5. Mouthwash
  6. Make-up Remover
  7. Body Butter
  8. Shaving Cream
  9. Secure Fly-aways
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Gluten Intolerance – Are you affected and don’t even know it?

An estimated 15% of the US population is affected by gluten intolerance. 1 of every 133 has celiac disease, a disease with over 300 symptoms. 97% of those effected with celiac don’t even know they are. There are 0 drugs to treat celiac. The only way to treat this disease is to know what exactly you allow in your body.

Gluten Intolerance Symptoms

Take a deep breath and release your stress.

Before I moved to California I was working in a fast paced industry and city. Life at times was overwhelming with a sense of feeling defeated by the grind. This stress manifested in more places than just my work life. My closest relationships started to fall a part around me. I felt like I was all alone. It wasn’t until a close friend of mine told me she needed to have a ‘break’ from me because I was too negative to be around, that I realized what I was doing to myself and the people around me. It was there and then that I began my journey to self recovery. I was the only one that could get myself out of a self-pity state of mind because I allowed myself to get into this situation in the first place. The first thing I decided to do was to only focus my energy on the people and things in my life that give me a real sense of peace, love and happiness. Anyone that was a negative influence in my life, I distanced myself from immediately. This was the beginning of something more powerful than what I realized at that moment.

Now that I am through those rough times I can look back on them and truly say that I am grateful for those struggles. I learned a lot about myself and the people around me. Today I am a stronger and happier person for those experiences. Real friends and family stuck by me and were open and honest with me. The close friend I mentioned before, that needed a break, gave me something more than she will ever realize that day. It was my ‘ah ha’ moment. For that I will always be grateful. We remain extremely close friends today.

As you read this, perhaps you are starting to relive some tough times you’ve experience in your life and what you did to cope with the stress. Or maybe you are going through something stressful now wondering, how I was able to turn my situation around. It’s a simple concept really….our thoughts manifest our reality. If we focus our energy on negative thoughts that is what our reality becomes. If our thoughts become more positive our reality will shift to be more positive. Our minds can be our most powerful tool or obstacle in life. It’s how we choose to use our mind that will make the difference in our life experiences.
(For more on this topic I suggest you read Deepak Chopra’s book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence as he goes into great detail about how our mind can help us create a more fulfilling life. However there are many other books written on this subject such as The Secret, The Power of Now etc.)

In addition to having a positive attitude I started reading about the physical and mental benefits of meditation and breathing and how to incorporate all 3 for a more balanced life (in additional to exercise and eating clean). Today I am still on a life long journey of self recovery but instead I like to call it self discovery. I have made a goal to learn more about different breathing techniques and to continue meditation this year so that I can enhance clarity in my thoughts, reduce stress and improve my energy. Personally I am not the type of person just to believe something ‘because’. I need proof that there is real benefit – scientifically – before I will invest my time and energy. Below is a short video that demonstrates how breathing can change your life positively both physically and mentally from a more scientific perspective. I’ve also listed some of the resources I’ve used in my readings.

Simple to make and delicious – Shrimp Ceviche

Wow it’s been a long time since my last post! Time flies when you’re having fun and living life.

Over the summer I learned how to make an amazingly tasty and simple shrimp ceviche dish. My brother’s girlfriend came to visit from San Diego and made us this delicious and refreshing dish for pool side eats. I’ve been meaning to share this recipe because it really is so simple and makes for a great snack or when you are entertaining.

Ingredients List

1 (1lb) Bag of Frozen Shrimp (already cooked)
1 Bunch of Cilantro
4 Tomatoes (more if you really like tomatoes)
1- 1 1/2 cucumbers
1 Med Onion (white or yellow, it doesn’t make a difference)
1 bunch of radishes (optional)
Lemons or limes (a bunch, it depends on what sizes they are & either one or both is fine. I used 2 – 3 each. It all depends on how much citrus you like)
Salt
Pepper
Avocado
Tostadas
Hot sauce

DIRECTIONS: Dice all the veggies & shrimp into little pieces, except for the avocado. The smaller the pieces the better. Once everything is diced up finely in the bowl add salt, pepper and squeeze the lemons/limes to taste. I encourage you to taste as you go. You may decide you want more cilantro, citrus or tomato etc. It’s best served chilled so cover and let it marinate in the natural flavours and juices for about 30 minutes to an hour. Once your ready to eat take your tostadas and scoop as much ceviche as you want onto it. Then apply slice avocado and hot sauce. Now you’re ready for a taste explosion! Sometimes I put the avocado on the bottom of the tostadas because it stays on easier.

If you are entertaining it may be easier to use the Tostitos Multigrain Scoops. They are a bit cleaner 😉

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

An encounter with the Grateful Dead in northern California.

If you read my About Me page you already know that I am from Atlantic Canada and that I grew up in a small coastal town. The special thing about my town is that there are many locals that haven’t entirely left the 60’s which made for a different but fun upbringing. It’s hard not to be influenced by the hippy era in a town like St. Andrews, NB. When I was in junior high my friends and I used to be obsessed with the song Sugar Magnolia when most kids my age were listening to more modern artists such as  Destiny Child, K.C. & Jo Jo, and Backstreet Boys. For the most part we were the new generation of hippy wannabes hanging out at camps and on the beach wearing bell bottom cords, dead head tie dye shirts, learning how to play guitar and listening to bands such as Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, and Cat Steven’s to name a few.

With that background you will understand my surprise and excitement with what I believe to be a great find in northern California!

One Saturday morning in July my husband woke up and in a spontaneous gesture suggested we take a drive north of San Francisco without any real destination in mind. Once we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge we saw signs for a community called San Rafael in Marin County and decided that would be our destination. Since it was around lunch time we decided to stroll around and find a place to eat. Across the harbour we could hear live music coming from a huge patio hidden by tree’s and foliage. It sounded like a lot of fun so naturally we walked over to check it out. To my surprise and excitement we stumbled upon Grateful Dead founder and band member, Phil Lesh’s restaurant – Terrapin Crossroads!

We absolutely loved the vibe, the food and the band! The band playing was nothing other than Phil Lesh’s two son’s @Grahamelesh and @BrianJamesLesh. Let’s say talent didn’t fall far from the tree. They had a crew of friends helping them out with sound and what looked like an entourage at a table in the front. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun random day. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see the dead live and considering that won’t happen it was pretty cool to see the next generation jamming at brunch for an audience of locals.

@Grahamelesh and @BrianJamesLesh Performing at Terrapin Crossroads

Aside from the music the food was amazing. We split the chopped salad and burger which was a great choice. We quickly learned that they “support local, organic and sustainably produced vegetables, meat and fish”. I totally dig this. Even the perimeter of the patio was outlined with planters filled with herbs!  This was without a doubt my type of restaurant – the perfect fusion of creativity, music and sustainably conscious food. I will definitely be back and hopefully Phil is there performing with his friends and son’s. 

 

The Perfect Summer Meal

Turkey Burger & Green Bean Salad

One of the things I love the most about summer is the ability to BBQ when I want. There really isn’t anything that can compare. I think most people can agree. This summer I came across one of Rachel Ray’s recipes for what I consider an amazingly delicious turkey burger. As for toppings I have found that virtually anything goes. If you have something that you always have to have on your burger chances are it will go with these flavours.

However there are a few things that I do different from the recipe that I’ve decided I prefer over time:

  • I usually forego the cilantro sour cream sauce (even though I have tried it and really enjoyed it).
  • I don’t add cheddar cheese chunks to my burger mix. I find it’s hard to mix and stay together. You could try shredded cheese because that could hold. I usually just put a slice on top.

Here is what I typically use for toppings:

  • Curry Mayo (mix curry powder with mayo – as much or as little depending on your preference of curry)
  • BBQ organic yellow squash (thinly sliced and marinated in salt, cracked pepper and oregano)
  • Fresh organic hass avocado
  • Organic spinach
  • Slice of cheese (pick your favourite)
  • Organic heirloom tomato slice (I don’t put this on but my husband does)
  • Slice of sweet pickle

Now for the green bean salad – I got this recipe from one of my best friends back in Toronto. It is so easy to make and great for potluck dinners. Here is her recipe below:

Sarah’s Green Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • Two handfuls of green beans
  • Two handfuls of yellow beans
  • Can of chickpeas
  • 3 shallots
  • 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil (as much or as little but usually around 1/2 cup)
  • Fresh basil (6 – 10 leaves)

Trim the ends of the beans and then blanch them. The beans should be cooked but still crunchy. Sometimes the yellow and the green take different amounts of time so you may want to do them separately or just one type of bean like I did. Dice the shallots as small as you can. Cut up the basil. Once you have prepped all ingredients put them all in a bowl together and mix well. Finally add salt and pepper to taste and then let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

I hope you enjoy!

A new found love of mine….learning to golf in CA.

Since moving to California and having more golf courses than what I know what to do with, naturally I have decided that it is my calling to become an expert at this game. Not to be mistaken for a ‘professional’. I’ve played before and heck I even worked at a golf course in my home town St. Andrews By-the-Sea at the Algonquin Resort (previously owned by Fairmont Resorts) and my best friends husband is even a golf pro! So, I am not totally green to the game but growing up it wasn’t my sport of choice. I was a typical Canadian kid. On ice skates by the age of 4, figure skating and playing hockey competitively by 5 or 6 and then I gradually moved on to new sports as I got older and more coordinated.

Where I’m from it’s only golf season for about 5 months of the year and 2 out of the 5 might be quite chilly at times. Now that I am in a state that has golf year round and I’m a bit older and less competitive athletically why not take up the sport! I’ve been out with my husband for a few rounds so far this season and to the golfing range numerous times. For a wedding gift my brother even bought us each a full set of clubs! (What a guy!)

The top 5 reasons why I love golf :

  • each hour of golf you can burn up to 300 calories!
  • learning something new and continuously challenging myself
  • being outside
  • relaxing
  • quality time spent with my husband

I’m still working on my swing (as you can see above) but eventually I’ll get there! Once I do I’ll be sure to hit up some of the more professional courses in Monterey Bay Peninsula and post pics. Golf is something I’ve learned to love even more since being here so I felt it deserved a post on my blog.