Real food recipe: Arugula and Parsley Pesto

The garden is exploding right now, and I love it!

We have lots of greens growing: kale, chard, cilantro, parsley, arugula and basil. I just walk out the door to gather dinner ingredients these days which makes me super happy.

One of the things I make all the time with our greens is pesto. And it’s funny because I hardly ever make it the traditional way with basil. Sometimes I combine whatever I have together, like today. Arugula and parsley make a divine pesto combination.

 

 

My kids like their pesto over pasta (of course) while I just use it like dressing or sauce and pour it on just about anything.

Here’s the rough simple recipe (adjust as desired):

Ingredients:
  • A big bunch of fresh arugula and parsley leaves, washed and drained (about 2-3 cups)
  • Handful of nuts (we like tamari almonds, or walnuts)
  • One or two cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
  • A good amount of grated Parmesan Cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2-3 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Water (enough to make it to the consistency you’d like)
I generally start with the nuts, cheese and garlic in the food processor, and mix that well.  Add olive oil and water so you get a consistency of a thick soup.  Add the green leaves next, then salt and pepper to taste, and squeeze in lemon juice at the end.
Taste as you go. You can tweak it with less or more of each ingredient, depending on your liking. Enjoy!

 

No Sugar Challenge: Help The Hunger Project help the Hungry

Earlier this year, my friend and colleague Annabel Boys and I created the Sweet Charity Sugar Challenge. It came out of a little conversation we had around the holidays when we wanted to challenge each other to a few months of eating healthier with no added or processed sugar.

We did it, we went three months in 2017 without sugar. We also managed to include several courageous souls to challenge themselves as well, while giving something to a good cause.

Sweet Charity Challenge was able to raise almost $10,000 to benefit United World Schools in three months time!

During that period, The Hunger Project reached out to us because they were intrigued at what we were doing. They thought it was such a good idea to challenge ourselves toward better health, while helping better the world.

 

 

With World Hunger Day approaching, they wanted us to help them launch a fundraising campaign.

So here we are, two days from the date, Annabel and I have teamed up with them to launch the No Sugar Challenge!

It’s quite simple to join: you pledge to give up sugar for one week while fundraising for The Hunger Project to help end world hunger.

It’s giving up something small (but so beneficial for you) while giving away something BIG.

I have set up an easy way for you to donate and join!

Why give up sugar, even for a week, you ask?

If you have not heard, sugar is a major culprit to all kinds of conditions. From obesity, to diabetes, to heart disease, to name a few. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, so it’s no wonder we are consuming so much of it without even realizing.

The World Health Organization recommends that we have no more than 25g of sugar per day. In the US, an average adult consumes 4-5 times that amount, up to 100-130g of sugar a day!

Sugar is found in most processed and packaged foods. Sugar is found in most of our meals. It’s no wonder we are getting bigger, and sicker by the day.

You will find that with less sugar in your diet, you will feel lighter, have more energy, sleep better, and possibly lose those extra pounds that have been hanging around.

Annabel and I will be their consultants/ coaches throughout the No Sugar Challenge. We have set up a Facebook group to help support the community and will be there daily! Once you pledge, you will enter the community!

 

Won’t you join us in helping the Hunger Project realize their goals?

To learn more about The Hunger Project, you can check out their website here.

To learn more about the No Sugar Challenge or to join, please click here!

 

Question: Will Acupuncture Work If I Don’t Believe In It?

In my 15 years of practice, I have answered many questions about acupuncture:

How does it work?

When should I come back?

Will it hurt?

 

 

These are common and valid questions, especially from people who had not experienced it before.

The question that I get sometimes that I actually love to answer is this:

“If I don’t believe in it, will it still work for me?”

My short answer is: Maybe?

Here’s the thing: acupuncture is not for everyone, just like how pharmaceuticals or physical therapy, or any other medical interventions are not for everyone. Sometimes you have to spend time and energy to figure out what works best for you.

Acupuncture is a wonderful tool and an effective modality, for those who respond well to it. 

But do you have to BELIEVE in it for it to work?

No.

I have had a fair share of new patients who walk in (usually reluctantly) with a skeptical mind about the new experience they were about to have. I have had people who explicitly tell me that they don’t think it will work, but their wives or husbands or mothers encouraged them to try.

 

 

Because acupuncture accesses your own healing potential, it all depends on your body’s receptivity to this particular modality. I have had skeptics walking in with excruciating pain who walk out with none (and at that point, they are no longer skeptics). I have also had believers who want to feel better so badly, but they feel no change after several treatments.

Bottom line is this: it really depends on your body, and whether or not it’s ready to receive the treatment. When it is, there is almost nothing that will stop it from succeeding (not even your mind!).

The best thing to do is to give it a try, and watch what happens.

The Power of Knowing Our Tendency: How it has changed how I do things.

It was a life-changing moment after I took the personality quiz created by Gretchen Rubin.

For so long, I knew that I showed up so much better and more consistently if I had to show up for other people.I am more successful in a classroom or group situations; I show up on time to appointments and meetings; I work hard to ‘be there’ for others.

When it comes to showing up just for me, it was 50/50, or more like 80/20, which always frustrated me. Why can I not do what I want to do for myself? Why can I do it for others?

There are, of course, many reasons for this.

I was glad to have found one of the reasons, through Gretchen Rubin’s work: Better than Before.

According to Gretchen, there are four personality types when it comes to expectations: Upholders, Obligers, Questioners, and Rebels. (She’s actually coming out with a brand new book all about these tendencies.)

Most people fall in to the Obliger category : I am one of them.

An Obliger’s tendency is to meet outer expectations: other people’s expectation of you. We are more likely to show up for others, and we have a hard time meeting inner expectations. Bingo!

Having this knowledge, I now plan and strategize my life in a much more productive way.

If I have a goal to achieve or succeed in something (from exercising, to eating well, to daily mindful practices), I now seek outer accountability for better success.

For instance, I am now working with coaches to help with personal and professional goals. I work out with a trainer to help me get stronger. I sign up for a class when I want to learn about something new. I announce to friends and family (and the world), and get them involved, if I am doing some kind of challenge (oh, hello, Clean Eating Reset & Sweet Charity Sugar Challenge). I even have an accountability partner! It all works so much better because I know my tendency!

Doing it this way keeps me accountable and helps me succeed. I show up. I achieve my goals. It’s that simple!

What about you? Take the quiz and find out – it may change the way you go about life in the most positive ways!

 

Clean Eating Cooking Class: Kitchari recipe for digestion

Last weekend, my friend and colleague Betty Brown and I offered a Clean Eating Cooking class right here in Bexley. It was fun to cook and share healthy foods with several people who came!

Betty is studying to be an Ayurvedic practitioner. She brought to the class loads of information about how we can cook and eat according to the seasons, to benefit our health.

Among other things (vegetable wraps, sushi, Thai green curry) we made and tasted Kitchari, a gentle, cleansing soup with lots of grains, spices and greens. I thought I would share that recipe here for you all to try at home. It’s a great dish to have around especially when your body is feeling tense or overwhelmed. Eating this as your main meal for a few days will reset your digestion and metabolism.

If you want to participate in our next Clean Eating Cooking class, or have suggestions, please contact me directly!

kityoonlac@gmail.com

Enjoy!

 

 

Kitchari Recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

¼ cup green or golden mung dal (alternatives: red lentils)

¼ cup brown basmati rice (alternatives: white basmati rice, brown medium grain rice, quinoa, millet )

1 tsp ghee – clarified butter (alternative: olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil)

Dry Spices:

½ tsp whole mustard seeds

              ½ tsp  whole cumin seeds

              ½ tsp turmeric powder

              ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

              ¼ tsp fennel seeds

              ¼ tsp coriander seed (or powder)

               1 bay leaf

4 cups filtered water or homemade vegetable stock

1 medium carrot diced

1 medium onion diced

[Chopped greens: arugula, asparagus, bok choy, collard greens, green beans, kale, parsley, dandelion leaves, beet greens, swiss chard, spinach]

              1 cup dandelion greens, chopped

              1 cup parsley, chopped

½ inch fresh ginger, minced or mashed (use grater, or mortar and pestle)

½ cup diced burdock root (optional)

Toppings (optional):

  • fresh minced cilantro
  • ground coriander spice
  • raw or toasted sunflower seeds
  • raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
  • raw hemp seeds
  • fresh ground ginger
  • fresh lime juice,
  • unsweetened shaved coconut meat.

Cooking Method:

  • Rinse dal and rice and drain well.  
  • In a large heavy pot, on medium temperature, heat ghee until it is hot.  Stir in mustard seeds, cover with a lid until they pop.  
  • Add remainder of dry spices and cook uncovered for about 20 seconds.  
  • Add rice and dal and cook for another 20-30 seconds.  
  • Add water and stir, then add carrots, onions, fresh ginger, burdock root and greens.  
  • Increase heat to medium high, bring to a boil, then cover pot with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until dal is soft.
  • Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro, salt, ground coriander, sunflower pumpkin or hemp seeds, and any of the other toppings.   

Spring time Eating According to TCM: A Cleansing Soup Recipe

I wrote an article for Edible Columbus recently about how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views Spring time, and what foods we should consume to optimize our health according to the seasons.

In it, I offered a Cleansing Spring Soup recipe that I will share with you here. I have made it a few times, and have enjoyed substituting a couple of regular potatoes with sweet potatoes. So I am giving you that recipe here.

 

 

 

CLEANSING SPRING SOUP

6 cups of water or vegetable/chicken broth

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 cup leek, cleaned and chopped

1 cup celery, choppped

2-3 cups kale or other spring greens, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Bring liquid to boil

Add potatoes, onion, celery and salt, cover.

Reduce heat, and simmer until tender

Add kale and garlic. Simmer until kale is tender and bright green.

Puree all ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add olive oil before serving (optional).

 

Spring is a time of growth, rejuvenation and detoxification

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As temperature rises outside, birds are singing louder, buds are emerging from the ground, and tiny leaves pop and unfold from bare branches.  Life begins to appear around us again.

It’s my favorite time of the year!

Springtime in Chinese medicine represents growth, and rejuvenation.

It’s a time for new beginnings.

 

Five Elements in Chinese Medicine_ WOOD = SPRING

 

Five Element theory refers to wood, fire, earth, metal, and water in Chinese Medicine paradigm. The Principle of the Five Elements describes the flow of Qi and the balance of yin and yang. Each element corresponds to internal organ systems with correlating colors, emotions, and other symbols.

Spring season corresponds to the Liver system and its paired organ, the Gallbladder.

Liver, in Chinese medicine, rules the flow of Qi or the energy within us. Liver can easily be suppressed and stagnant during stressful times which causes discomfort and malaise in our physical and emotional states.

Liver Qi normally flows downward when in balance, otherwise it may “rebel” upward and cause Liver Yang to rise. Symptoms of Liver Yang rising include irritability, headaches, and the propensity to lose one’s temper.

The Gallbladder assists the Liver, but on its own, it rules decision-making.

In the Spring, Liver and Gallbladder energetics are more surfaced and sensitive. Our energy is ready for renewal, and the Liver and Gallbladder are ready to maximize the flow of Qi, get unstuck, get decisive, and restore balance. 

So, Spring the ideal time to cleanse and detoxify our mind and body!

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That’s why we will be starting a week of again Clean Eating Reset on the first day of Spring this year, March 20.

Join me and my community as we eat clean, restore energy and balance for one week in honor of the beginning of Spring!

 

 

Inspirations from down under: two families in a foreign land

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One of the most memorable experiences during our recent trip to Australia was not so much holding the koala bears, feeding the kangaroos, or walking on the pristine beaches. Of course those moments were amazing, and I already look forward to returning to Oz. But what I loved more was meeting and connecting with people down under, and hearing their stories.

It always comes back to human connection, doesn’t it?

We met two non-Australian families during our visit. One of which was a Swiss(not Robinson) family, with four teenage children. Geri is the father who hosted us for lunch one day in a mountain town north of Brisbane called Melaney.

Geri is a doctor who is writing a book on Sports Medicine. He decided to spend a sabbatical year in a different part of the world to focus on finishing up the book.

“We have some friends here, and I thought it would be a good experience for my family,” he reasoned.

They are renting a house off of the main street of town and the children go to the local high school. “We rented out our house, and just brought the necessities in suitcases. We are living simply this year,” explained Geri as he takes us on a ‘tour’ of their rental home where the rooms are bare with just mattresses on the floors, suitcases used as nightstands and desks.

Being with them, getting a glimpse of their current life, and hearing their stories, gave me a wonderful sense of adventure, and freedom.

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The other family we met moved to Australia from China. Bob Wong is a 6th generation acupuncturist. After finishing acupuncture degree in China, he and his wife just picked a place in the world where they wanted to start a life and family together. Yup, just like that… They looked at the world map, and picked a spot…and Brisbane, Australia it was (without ever having visited there).

Have you ever wanted to do that before? Well, they did it. And they are loving it, now with a little baby added to their team.

Of course both of these families have not avoided the challenges of living in a new country, navigating a new system, raising their children in a foreign land with no family help. But they have also mastered the art of simplifying their lives, and ‘going with the flow.’

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I have done this myself a few times, twice internationally, and multiple times within this vast country. I remember the fear of the unknown, but also the excitement of it all.

Of course we don’t have to pack our suitcases and move across the oceans to gain that space, that sense of adventure, and the new beginnings. We can do it each day in the comfort of our own home, sometimes even in the comfort of our own minds!

Fresh off the plane (and off of the jet lag cloud), I am inspired to do just that.

For me, it starts with simplifying my life (more in the next post) and getting grounded in the moment. How about you? What do you do to create more space in your life so that you can appreciate what is around you, and allow for adventures and freedom for you and your family?

Good Life Lessons from Australia : what the Aussies do to live a good life

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Greetings from Queensland, Australia!

When my husband asked if I wanted to come along with him on his work trip, I did not hesitate. It’s far, sure. It’s expensive, yes. It means taking the kids out of school, of course.

But… it’s also an opportunity of a life-time to get to a place none of us have set foot on before. It’s a great big learning adventure for the kids (more than any classroom can ever deliver). It’s a wonderful way to share life experiences as a family. Plus, they’re having summer down here. Goodbye snow, for now!

We’ve only enjoyed a few days of our time down-under, but already, I am learning from the people in this beautiful big continent how to live a full life. It’s a short list, but it’s good:

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1. Wake up early

I normally wake up very early, and often feel like I am amongst a handful of early risers because my world is blissfully quiet during those wee hours. But here, when I go out for my morning walk (around 5am), I find myself joining a nation of early risers. My fellow walkers look as if they had been up for several hours!

 

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2. Energize yourself in the morning

When I see people in these early hours, they are doing something active. They are either walking, jogging, surfing, or doing some form of activity. They are moving; they are energizing themselves.

 

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3. Surround yourself with active people

I am not the fastest walker out there, but I think I am pretty speedy. Back home, I am often walking by someone, excusing myself as I speed through to keep warm (a good incentive!).

Here, people are zooming by me, most of them older than I… which makes me want to speed to catch on with their pace. It’s like playing tennis with someone who is better than you. Not that I am competitive, but around here, I aspire to go just a little faster!

 

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4. Play

The young, and the old, both seem to be having fun at all times. They don’t let age define them. Those surfers out in the waves? They are not just young Aussie dudes, I can assure you that.

 

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5. Be outside, preferably by the water, whenever you can

People live outdoors here. Sure it’s easier when the climate allows. But I am pretty certain they are outside regardless of the weather. The other day when the sky was grim, passing showers peppered the coast all day long. People were still out on the beach, jogging the trails, riding their bikes. It was wonderful to witness and experience it with them.

These are just some things I have noticed thus far. I am grateful to be inspired by a bunch of happy people in Australia.

Over and out from down under for now!

 

 

Clean Eating Reset | January 2016 | Eat Food Not too Much Mostly Plants

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We are doing it again!

The Clean Eating Reset will start off the new year on January 1, 2016.

I have enjoyed each round of Clean Eating and have learned so much from all the participants… It’s amazing what a group of people with the same intention can do: it’s accountability at its best!

If you would like to join us, there is still time. Here are the details:

  1. It’ FREE to join and participate!
  2. It’s a week-long Clean Eating program to help you reset your metabolism, and curb your cravings.
  3. You will get the free guidelines in your inbox.
  4. You will get daily tips and recipes for meal inspirations.
  5. You will receive support (private Facebook group) from other members.
  6. No dieting. Not a cleansing.
  7. You get to eat real food!
  8. You get to feel amazing!

 

Join us by signing up here!

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The mantra for the week of Clean Eating is simply these seven words:

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.

Here’s a story from Amy who joined the Reset a few months back:

“Kit changed my life by encouraging me to try the Clean Eating Reset with her in November last year.  My goal was to feel better in any way possible – I had a 6 month old baby, a 2 year old and a 3 year old at the time, and my lifelong migraines that had eased up a bit during my 3 pregnancies were back in full force. 

I have always been a healthy eater, so I wasn’t sure how much healthier I could get.  I found out.  I followed the challenge to the letter…and I felt really good.  Less fatigue (even though I was still getting up in the night my my baby), less “cloudiness” in my head, the heaviness i’ve always had at at the base of my head and shoulders was noticeably better, and NO MIGRAINES.  I was skeptical though, so I went back to my normal habits after that week.

January rolled around and Kit led another Clean Eating Reset.  I participated again and had the same results.  This time I knew we were onto something.  Kit pointed out that feeling that good by cutting out the bread and pasta may indicate an allergy to Gluten.  The migraines had recently gotten so bad that I decided I would cut out gluten for good and stay on the clean eating path.  That was last January (almost 1 year ago), and I’ve never turned back.  I’ve never felt better, not even when I was a lot younger.  Clearly, the gluten had been triggering migraines my entire life.  Now, I get an occasional migraine triggered by stress or tweaking my neck, but the weekly (sometimes 2-3 week) migraines that I got most of my life are gone.

I am so grateful to Kit for paying attention to my needs and symptoms and applying her vast knowledge to find a way to make my life better.  My family thanks her too!”

 

Ready to join and start 2016 on the right foot? Click here to sign up!