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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Foods: Root Vegetables

The fall season is officially upon us. This time of year is marked by crisp, cool days, preparation and celebration, and an abundance of warming, harvest foods. As the temperature drops, our bodies require more concentrated, energy-rich foods like root vegetables, squashes, seeds and nuts. The fall is a great time to experiment with cooking and baking in your kitchen. While we have access to a variety of fresh produce in the spring and summer seasons, we have to plan accordingly for fall and winter. Look around. Appreciate your surroundings. Let the season's rich color palette inspire you and try adding some fall flavors, spices and seasonings into your next meal.

Eating locally grown food in accordance with the seasons helps to keep our bodies in balance and provides a deep connection to Mother Earth.

About Root Vegetables
The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded and rooted, increasing our stability, stamina and endurance. Roots are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they regulate them. Since they absorb, assimilate and supply plants with vital nutrients, roots likewise increase absorption and assimilation in our digestive tracts.

Long roots, like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish, are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots, like turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas, are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar and moods, and alleviate cravings.

Sweet Potato Wedges Recipe
Speaking of root vegetables, this is one of my favorite recipes and you will see after you make, they are SO easy! Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins A & C, iron, carotenoid antioxidants and contain calcium. Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating, because the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied longer. It's time to move sweet potatoes to the GOOD carbohydrate list!

4 small sweet potatoes
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly oil a half sheet pan. Peel and cut potatoes into 8 wedges. Combine the oil, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on the pan. Place pan on the lower third rack and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are well browned and crisp, turning once. Serve hot and enjoy!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out: The Yoga and Healing Center

Today's Friday Friend Shout Out is the Yoga and Healing Center in Scotch Plains, NJ. The Yoga and Healing Center was recently voted the BEST Yoga Studio in New Jersey by New Jersey Life Magazine. YHC offers a yoga sanctuary where you can create a life and body you are thrilled to wake up in. They work with all walks of people who want to have more energy, lose weight and feel over all amazing in their bodies through yoga, nutrition and lifestyle design.
The studio was chosen by its loyal followers in Union County, NJ. The Studio was founded by Wendy Gross-Pinto, former head yoga therapist for Deepak Chopra's Center for Mind-Body Medicine in San Diego, CA.

Wendy has a unique and inspirational teaching style and is the creatrix of Soul Sweat Yoga. Soul Sweat Asana is an amazing blend of vinyasa flow and dance. It's designed for all bodies at all levels to maximally challenge where ever the yogi student is while maintaining a sense of ease, joy, fun and freedom in the body. The goal of Soul Sweat Yoga is to help students to learn to love living in their body.
The YHC offers a 2o0 hour Yoga Alliance accredited Teacher Training class in Soul Sweat Asana. It's an amazing course and I am so very honored to be a part of this years class as the Teacher Training Coordinator. One of the things I LOVE about Soul Sweat classes is the music. Wendy's play lists are filled with heart pumping, happy tunes guaranteed to get your body moving and put a smile on your face!!

YHC is one of the most generous studios around. A portion of all proceeds at YHC goes to support charitable organizations. Additionally, as a thank you to the many Yogis and Yoginis that helped to vote YHC as the best studio in NJ, Wendy is offering a donation based Soul Sweat Class on Saturday mornings. Join 3 Healthy Chicks (or at least 1!) every Saturday for this amazing class offering!!

Yoga and Healing Center, you are doing amazing things! Making waves and setting the bar high for yoga studios in New Jersey. Thank you! You are fabulous!!!

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Relationships. Something us health counselors like to call "primary food". An aspect of our lives that nourishes us, even more so than ingesting plants and animals. We have romantic, platonic, sexual and professional relationships. Close, intimate and casual relationships, and of course and maybe most importantly, even relationships with ourselves. They are the things that feed our soul. When we are loved and cared for we feel happy and safe. But naturally, relationships can also make us feel vulnerable and insecure, making it difficult to decipher between the healthy ones and the ones that throw us off balance.

How do we decipher between them? How do we decide where the line is drawn? How do we know when a relationship is right or when to accept that it is not working? Is loving somebody enough to make it work?

I have struggled with this for some time. And, admittedly, I still don't know the answer. I am struggling now with these very questions. What if two people love each other but have irreconcilable differences? Do they make it work despite those differences, or do they sever ties and move on? On one hand, the love I feel for this person and feel in return is feeding my desires and nourishing me on so many levels. But on the other hand, knowing that their love for me comes with a price that I am not ready to deal with, tears me apart. Which hand wins out in the end? If I maintain this relationship, will the struggles make it unhealthy and therefore me unhealthy? Or will losing someone I care so deeply about be harder on the soul?

For me, I think the difficulty lies with understanding why I can not accept the love that is being given to me as it is. My own insecurities force me to believe that it is not enough. My fears and doubts force me to think that if its not the way I want it, then it can't be real. Am I creating boundaries for myself that are just fencing me in, and making it difficult for others to enter?

How do I reconcile these thoughts and this relationship so that I can be a happy, healthy person from the inside out? I still don't know, but I do know that it has to start with me. I know that I can not let someone else love me, no matter how little or how much, no matter what the price, if I don't love myself. Doubt can be a powerful thing, and when we doubt another person, we are most likely doubting ourselves. The only way we can nourish relationships with others, is if we nourish the one we have with ourselves first.