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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Healthy Chick Melodies - Lykke Li

Ever notice how your music taste changes with the season? I tend to take out my happy, lighthearted albums as the Springtime approaches because that's how I feel inside! It's exciting seeing the daffodils poke their leaves out from the Winter dirt and the music I listen to needs to fit that feeling!

What this Healthy Chick is listening to...NOW!:
Lykke Li's album, Youth Novels, is by no means new (2008), but it has resurfaced in my iTunes and has been all I've been listening to! I have been enjoying it as I drive in my car, cook in the kitchen, as I work and especially as I'm getting ready to go out! This dance pop/quirky indie album is bold, classy, charming, adorable, sensual and totally sexy!! Have no fears boys, my best friend (one of the most masculine boys I know) passed this album along to me when it came out!

Her name sounding like a play on the Norwegian word lykkelig, meaning “happy”, the similarity seems rather fitting considering the effervescence Lykke Li displays both onstage and on record. I saw her live last summer at All Points West, where she gracefully gallivanted around stage in an outrageously gorgeous outfit. As I walked away from her stage to see another artist perform she was covering Kings of Leon's "Knocked Up"...I was blown away!

A few of the gems on this album are "I'm Good, I'm Gone," "Let It Fall," "Breaking It Up," "Everybody But Me," "Little Bit (CSS Remix)."

If you want my favorite Lykke Li song (its from the EP of one of the songs on this album), shoot me an email @ lauren@centeryourhealth.net with the subject: Send me Lykke Li! and I will send it your way! I promise, it's sooo good!

What are you listening to right now? I'd love to hear, please share below!

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 Healthy Chicks Interview with Christine Pirello

Ok, I tipped all of our lovely readers off about our interview with Christina Pirello a couple of weeks ago.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Christina, she's the host of the Emmy award winning Christina Cooks! author of 5 cookbooks and founder of the Christina Pirello Health Education Initiative a non-profit organization dedicated to changing America's relationship with food. Christina holds a faculty position at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, serves on the board of THe Farm Market Trust, The Green Council of Philadelphia, The Green City Youth Council of Philadelphia, The Chefs for Humanity Chef's Council and is a member of ICAP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) and Women Chefs and Restauranteurs.

We could go on forever about how fabulous Christina is an how but lets hear directly from her....

3HC: Christina, we know you have such a busy schedule, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.

3HC: You overcame leukemia when you began to eat whole, unprocessed natural foods. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in changing your diet and lifestyle?

CP: Well, I became a vegetarian when I was 14, but I ate a ton of junk food, sugar, candy, pizza, soda...it was all vegetarian, just not healthy. When I switched to a vegan macrobiotic approach to save my health, I was forced to give up sugar cold turkey...it was one of the hardest things I have ever done...I would never want to go through that again. But I also learned about balance and nutrition, something that vegetarianism had never taught me. I learned you needed to eat well, not just give up animal products.

3HC: Do you ever crave animal products? If so, what do you do?

CP: I have to say that I never crave animal foods...it's interesting, I think that those cravings are real for people, but once you change your thinking, so do your cravings. I also think that it's important that people get the fat/protein ratio right for them...once those macronutrients are 'balanced' for each person, then cravings seem to hit the road...I know it worked for me...once I got the right balance of fat and protein in my diet, I craved nothing, not sweets, nothing...plus I cook pretty richly, beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, so there is not much room to crave animal food because I am getting what I need. I have been vegan for more than 25 years, so i think those cravings left a long time ago.

But for people craving animal foods or those who feel they need them...and I think those people exist...they need to look at that find their balance...and if they decide to use animal foods, then only organic, grass-fed and as cruelty free as possible (which for me, doesn't really exist because the animal is killed...).

3HC: How do you approach sugar today? Are you still completely sugar free? What sugar alternatives do you like to use and/or cook with?

CP: I occasionally indulge in a sugar-flavored dessert, like when a bunch of friends are out for dinner...we'll order one decadent dessert and a lot of forks! And we enjoy each bite. But the cool thing is since we don't eat sugar every day, we don't crave it...we enjoy in that moment and are done with it. At home I cook with brown rice syrup and a little agave, but mostly rice syrup is my go-to sweetener. I use Suzanne's Specialties because I like the quality and the taste of her product line.

3HC: Tell us about your other business specializing in healthy trips to exotic locations.

CP: My husband and I host vacations to places like Belize, Barbados, Italy, Sicily and next year, we will add Israel to our mix. Our trips offer the same profoundly beautiful sightseeing you would expect from trips like this, but our niche is that we offer delicious, gourmet vegan food for all the meals. You get to be on vacation and go home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, rather than bloated and sick from eating food that may not be so great for health. But we embrace each culture we visit, so the foods we prepare reflect that society, so you don't miss anything. And we stay in one place, taking leisurely day trips rather than dragging from hotel to hotel and being exhausted.

3HC: Sign us up right now!

3HC: What would you say are the best tips you can give our readers for maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle when on vacation?

CP: I would say that people need to maintain some form of exercise when they travel...hotel gym, walking, running...you see the city in an amazing way and you stay active. Also, it's easy to eat well wherever you go...holidays are not licenses to go on food binges...eat the food of the culture...and live by the simple rule of eat real food, mostly plants and not too much.

3HC: So many of our clients/students are pressed for time. What do you suggest for people who are swamped with work/commute/family/extra curricular activities/etc., but who still want to maintain a healthy and balanced diet?

CP: People need to make time to cook and take care of themselves. I worry that we have made our lives too busy to do that, to cook and care for ourselves and our families in meaningful ways. I say that we need to do some re-prioritizing to make time for cooking...even 30 minutes a day. It helps you step off that treadmill of life and settle down for a minute. But people can make simple changes like making a large pot of soup and freezing it so it's around when you need it. Pasta will always be my go to meal in a jam. Canned organic beans can make life really easy. Keeping the fridge and pantry stocked are key to preparing healthy meals in the midst of a busy life. You need to be able to walk into the kitchen at any time and know you have enough ingredients on hand to make a meal.

Exercise needs to be like brushing your teeth...not negotiable. And it's easy. Take a walk after dinner (trust me; CNN will still be there with all the bad news when you get back)...and tired is not an excuse...the fitter you are, the more energy you will have...plus it's a great way to connect with the family...talking while you walk together. Everyone has time and the money to take a walk. We have to stop making excuses.

3HC: We love that.

3HC: What would be one piece of advice you would tell all the parents out there who struggle to feed and teach their about whole foods and making healthy choices?

CP: Take a gentle approach. Being a food nazi will not get you anywhere...and involve them in the process of what the family eats...when they are invested, they will be a part of it and eat...give them a voice...and remember it takes kids about 10 times seeing it to try a new food...turn a new way of eating into an adventure and they will be game...parents have a lot of challenges today because of how our kids are marketed to...we have to fight for their health.

3HC: We know you've been cooking for years now, but how did you first approach cooking on your own? Were you a natural right off the bat, or did it take a few years to really get your cooking skills together?

CP: I was a natural, sorry...I loved the kitchen from the first...I always knew it was where I wanted to be and the place where I feel the most like myself. I grew up in an Italian family and we all cooked so someone was always mentoring me...I am wired to cook and I could not be happier about it.

3HC: What's your favorite healthy snack?

CP: I have 2...peanut butter on granny smith apples or dark chocolate. yum!

3HC: It's such a blessing that real, chocolate is healthy!!

3HC: In your opinion, what are 3 important things that one can do for their health in addition to eating well and exercising? Feel free to be specific.

CP: Drink water...not so much that you wash nutrients away, but enough to stay hydrated...it's the most important thing...and most of us are dehydrated on some level. It makes us tired, cranky; we lose focus; we think we are hungry. Drink water.

Next, scrub your skin. Using a washcloth and hot water in the shower (no soap), scrub your skin all over until it's uniformly rosy...at first, your skin will be blotchy, but as you scrub each day, your skin will release toxins trapped under it and it will be uniformly rosy colored...after a month, your skin will be soft and smooth...after 2 months, you will never need moisturizer to battle dry skin again...and you will sleep better, digest better and handle stress with more grace. i kid you not.

Last, stop all eating 2 hours before you go to sleep so your body can rest and rejuvenate itself rather than spend the night digesting...you will never wake up cranky again.

3HC: This may seem silly, but you have amazing hair...what do you do to keep it so gorgeous?
CP: My hair? Wow, I hated my red hair until college...in high school, I died it black! But then I grew to appreciate it and embrace my 'redheadedness.' Now, I wash it only twice a week with a gentle shampoo and conditioner from Aveda...let it air dry and go! I am very, very low maintenance!

3HC: Ok, last question.... we understand your latest great endeavor is the Christina Pirello Health Initiative. Can you tell us a little about that? Where do you see it going in the future and how do you hope to influence both adults and children?

CP: CEPHI, as we call it in the office is dedicated to helping people have a better relationship with food. We do this through educational programs in schools and in our communities. We hope to change the future of our children by creating a generation of people who connect the dots between food and health and make choices that better serve their lives, their health, their community and the planet. And we think that can only happen through education, so we have several programs in place to do just that.

Thank you so much to taking the time to answer our questions. We truly appreciate your time and would like to say that you're an inspiration for those of us trying to make healthy waves in our communities. Click HERE to learn more about CEPHI

The Femivore’s Dilemma

Ok, I have to post a link to this fabulous New York Times Article. I don't know how I missed it last week, but The Grist reminded me this morning. Considering I referred to myself as Blasphemous Third Wave Feminist, I thought the concept of a "femivore" should be brought up!

"Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment that drove women into the work force in the first place. Given how conscious (not to say obsessive) everyone has become about the source of their food — who these days can’t wax poetic about compost? — it also confers instant legitimacy. Rather than embodying the limits of one movement, femivores expand those of another: feeding their families clean, flavorful food; reducing their carbon footprints; producing sustainably instead of consuming rampantly.

The Femivore's Dilemma article has a brought on an onslaught of retaliatory (??) articles and blog posts claiming that the whole "eat whole, eat local" movement isn't friendly to the working woman."

My answer to that is simple.... take one of our Chick Bits....À la carte classes: learn how to shop for your food, how to plan meals for your family and how to incorporate things like greens, grains and beans into your diet without spending all Sunday afternoon soaking your beans and stressing out.

What do you guys think about the latest healthy eating label, Femivore?

Keep it Fresh!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Birth Control, The Natural Way

I should preface this blog by inserting some sort of legal disclaimer about this being the opinion of Sprouting Wellness and not necessarily of 3 Healthy Chicks. Or perhaps I should simply post it to my own blog....but it's a hot topic and considering the down time I took in February, I'd like to stir the pot. :)

I will probably get kicked out of the feminist club for saying this, but I think that the pill has been (close to) the single worst thing for women in modern history. Yes, you read that right, Ladies. I think the pill and everything about the pill sucks. Now before you call me some abomination of a third-wave feminist (I probably am) and fast forward to the next blog entry, let me explain...

There's one topic that always comes up with my female clients; birth control. They want to know my opinion on synthetic birth control, hormone replacements and how they can possibly have a fulfilling and active sex life without using synthetic hormone and/or estrogen. Here's the shocking truth: if you know your body well enough and take the time to read it, track your cycle and understand the changes you can in fact, naturally prevent birth! The only drawback is that you may have to abstain or use condoms for 3-5 days per month. oh the horror!!
Snark aside, let me get back to why I am not a big fan of the pill. I understand that it gave women freedom's in the 70s that were unheard of in the generations prior. I also understand that the pill may help to regulate menstrual cycles, clear problematic skin and reduce PMS and cramps. My answers to these are simple:

1. We no longer live in a time of sexual revolution. Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, pelvic inflammatory disease, trichomoniasis and chlamydia are real threats that may lead to infertility and even death.

2. There are natural ways to regulate menstrual cycles, clear problematic skin and reduce PMS and cramps!!
  • Exercise. This will improve blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body, including the pelvis.
  • Avoid red meat, refined sugars, milk, and fatty foods.
  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables, whole grains (especially if you experience constipation or indigestion), nuts, seeds and fruit.
  • Avoid caffeine. It constricts blood vessels and increases tension.
  • Meditate, get a massage.
  • Have an orgasm (alone or with a partner).
  • Drink ginger root tea (especially if you experience fatigue).
  • Put cayenne pepper on food. It is a vasodilator and improves circulation.
  • Breathe deeply, relax, notice where you hold tension in your body and let it go. Try a restorative yoga class!
  • Take time for yourself!
Generations of young women who grew up with the pill have simply lost touch with their bodies. They only know that their period is coming because it's time for the white sugar pill. While the pill seemingly provided independence, it robbed us of our inherent female knowledge. I think that's heartbreaking. I for one want to revel in being a female goddess!

Countless numbers of women have made appointments with their ob-gyn for what they thought was a yeast infection when in all actuality it was simply their natural discharge that occurs monthly due to ovulation. Sadly, most of our mothers or sex ed classes never taught us that. By only being introduced to chemical contraception options, we never learned about the awesomeness that is the female body. And women never learned that there is another way to track fertility and natural prevent pregnancy that does not include nutrient depletion, hormonal imbalance, and long term side effects.

Natural fertility awareness is empowering for women. In learning how to tell when you are ovulating and if you are ovulating regularly, you will know when you can become pregnant so that you can plan for a pregnancy or avoid it all together! When the ovulation method is used properly as a contraception method, it is 97-99% effective in helping you to avoid pregnancy. This rate is similar to the effectiveness of "the pill" but without the side effects.

The best thing any woman can do is buy the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. The book is easy to read, informative and lighthearted. After taking the time to read it, you will have a clear understanding of your cycle and what it actually means to be female and ovulate! If you still have questions and would like the personal assistance of a holistic health coach, please feel free to contact me! Empowering women to listen to and learn about their bodies is my favorite part of my "job."

And a side note: have you ever wondered about the connection between your body's 28 day cycle and the cycle of the moon? Here's the theory. In the days before electricity, women's bodies were influenced by the amount of moonlight we saw. Just as sunlight and moonlight affect plants and animals, our hormones were triggered by levels of moonlight. And, all women cycled together. Today, with artificial light everywhere, day and night, our cycles no longer correspond to the moon.
Do you want to cycle with the moon? Get outside, bond with your sisters and enjoy some vitamin D!!

Keep it Fresh, Goddesses!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Calling All Bottle Caps, Buttons and Glass Jar Tops!

I am working on some really fun, creative craft projects for 3 Healthy Chick's Etsy page, (coming this Spring) and am collecting materials. I'd like to recycle as much as I can for these crafts, therefore I'm reusing bottle caps, buttons and the tops of all glass jars. The next time you toss any of those materials into the trash, please put them aside for me so that I can reuse them. Pretty please with an organic cherry on top!

Anyone who helps me out will receive a gift from 3 Healthy Chicks!

Thanks so much in advance!

(Photo is a sneak preview of what I'm working on with the bottle caps. I'm creating a unique collage inside each cap and turning them into colorful, inspirting magnets!)

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren