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Now that fall is here, I’m busier than ever and am either seeing clients or presenting talks on most weekday evenings. That means that I’ve been eating on my own a lot for dinner so that I can sneak in a meal around 5p (or in some cases, slightly earlier) before starting my evening rounds. When I dine alone (ie: am not cooking dinner for both myself and my husband), I tend to go the easiest route — as in, whatever I happen to have on hand that won’t take too long to cook. While I absolutely miss having my evening meal with my hubby, there is something kinda liberating about throwing a bunch of stuff together and not having to worry about it’s visual appeal or popularity factor.

Here are three of the quickie meals I’ve been concocting lately. A lovely combo of easy, quick, and healthy. If you try any of these, let me know how you like them!

  1. Veggie burger served warm, crumbled on top of greens & leftover grains (that have been sauteed with some olive oil and garlic beforehand). My fave brand: Sunshine burgers.
  2. Canned mackerel tossed with canned chickpeas and chopped fresh tomatoes, served on top of raw or sauteed greens.
  3. Sliced avocado served atop of sauteed garlicky grains with canned beans. Squeeze a lemon over the top and sprinkle with a little sea salt.  Nice addition: a dash of toasted sesame oil.
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Transition into fall with renewed health, increased vitality, and a swift kick to your metabolism!


Did you miss Hadley & Andrea’s info call last night? Dial (323) 679-0075 and enter Access Code: 202388#
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

REGISTER TODAY for only $40 (price goes up to $50 TOMORROW, OCTOBER 1).
If you’ve found that you’re entering into autumn with a little less pep in your step than you’d like, now is the perfect time to Reboot your system and clean up your routine before we reach the holiday season. Andrea and Hadley are launching a 5-Day Reboot program to help you refocus, re-energize, and renew your commitment to your health and nutrition goals.
REBOOT: OCTOBER 17 – 21

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you can use a Reboot:

  • Less energy than you’d like
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • Skin problems (blemishes or rashes)
  • Constipation
  • Extra weight you’d like to get rid of
  • Allergies
  • Aches and pains
WHAT IS A REBOOT?

Our 5-day Reboot is a chance for you to eat clean, whole, real foods. Unlike other “fad detoxes,” you’ll be EATING! No starvation cleanse here. Benefits of a Reboot include:

  • Reducing inflammation in the body caused by hidden food allergies or sensitivities
  • Taking a break from addictive and toxic foods that are difficult to digest
  • Boosting your energy and taking your metabolism to the next level
YOUR 5-DAY REBOOT (OCTOBER 17 – 21) INCLUDES:
  • 5 days of step-by-step instructions and online group forum support
  • A detailed Reboot packet that includes menus, grocery lists, and delicious recipes
  • Ongoing support from Andrea & Hadley, so you’re never alone through your Reboot experience

WHY PARTICIPATE IN A GROUP REBOOT?

By rebooting in a supportive group setting, you’re never on your own. You’ll have access to your group forum and two certified health coaches for any questions that might come up. Use the forum to share recipes, ask questions, and give and receive support from other forum members.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

Ready to commit? REGISTER TODAY for only $40 (price goes up to $50 TOMORROW, OCTOBER 1).
Click HERE for additional discounts for Spark! clients, health practitioners, and bloggers.

I think it’s finally, finally hit me: Exercise has to be fun.

I’ve spouted that advice to client after client over the years. “If you don’t enjoy doing it,” I’d warn, “then you’re not going to do it! Pick an activity that brings you joy and that you look forward to, and you’ll get fit in no time.”

Blah, blah, blah.

I was talking the talk, but no so much walking the walk. I was still pushing myself to go on dreaded treadmill runs and traumatizing myself in group boot camp classes that had me hobbling out of the gym door in pain. Part of the problem is that I didn’t know what exercise I liked. Hiking in nature is a personal fave, but living in the middle of Brooklyn means that a hike is a special-occasion treat for me — not something I can do regularly to stay in shape.

So I started exploring. Yoga? Check – love it! I went to a few local classes before settling on a studio in my ‘hood that fit my style (Bodhisattva, in case you’re curious). Pilates? Not so much. With every crunch I found myself asking, “why, exactly, am I doing this to myself again? Owwwww.” Personal training? Totally hit the spot. It was in my sessions at Pongo Power that I really started to discover that movement can be a good time. My trainer, Danielle, would have me doing fun, silly things like leaping over sidewalk cracks and jumping rope that not only brought out the kid in me but had me sweating like a mo-fo.

But I still hadn’t found a fun aerobic activity that I would actually look forward to, so I finally decided to check out the whole Zumba craze. I got brave one rainy morning last week and showed up at a local yoga studio – Park Slope Yoga – that also teaches Zumba several times during the week.

I was totally intimidated before the music started. I love to dance to Michael Jackson and Kanye with my husband — shades drawn, pajamas on — but coordinating my feet to move with music in front of a group seemed completely petrifying. I mean, let’s be honest here – I am not exactly the world’s most coordinated person when it comes to, well, coordination.

But the teacher started up the latin music and we started to move and I totally, completely fell in love. I suddenly didn’t care that I was shaking my hips awkwardly or missing every third step. I just…felt….good. I was sweating, but I was having fun. It felt like a living-room-dance-session and I was having a blast. An hour later, I left the studio a sweaty mess with a newly purchased 10-pack session card in my hand. And couldn’t wait to go back!

This week, I am dragging my mom there with me, and plan to bring whatever local friends I can for another dance party round. When exercise is fun, you don’t dread it. When it clicks with your personal style and you feel your body enjoying the movement, you get so much more than “fitness” for your money. Zumba made me feel energized, silly, and sexy. Quite an combo!

Do you have exercise you love to do? What have you found that moves your body and your spirit?

Peaches. Coconut milk. Oats. All blended together and baked to a golden crisp!

Faced with a pile of ripe farm market peaches on my counter and a load of work to do on the computer (not to mention a strangely chilly & rainy August day outside), I felt the baking bug bite.

Procrastination pulled me into the kitchen and as I rifled through the pantry, inspiration hit: Peach bread! I started to pull out what appealed: a mini can of unsweetened coconut milk, rolled oats, vanilla extract, sea salt, whole wheat cake flour. I loosely followed some other bread/cake recipes I had on hand and came up with this beauty. She was DIVINE! The perfect solution for overripe peaches and avoiding afternoon work.

What’s a tea cake? According to google, it is defined as “The name commonly used for whatever bread or cake is traditionally served for afternoon tea within a region, but can be applied loosely to any kind of cake that is sturdy enough to be picked up with the fingers. Teacake is normally not frosted.”

Well, that sounds like this baby. Pick ‘er up with your hands and enjoy!

And let me know what you think if you try this — and if you have other suggestions to spice this up. Toasted walnuts? Unsweetened coconut flakes?


Ripe Peach & Coconut Tea Cake

This cake happens to be vegan, but you can use organic milk or 2 eggs in place of the almond milk, and organic butter in place of the coconut oil.

3 ripe peaches, cut into thin slices
1 1/2 cups whole wheat cake flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil in liquid form
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 mini can (5.46 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with a little coconut oil.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the coconut milk, vanilla, almond milk, coconut oil, and maple syrup until blended.

Slowly fold the coconut milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing lightly but thoroughly.

Pour batter into the lightly greased loaf pan.

Bake in the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, slice, and enjoy!

I’ve totally been on a Bon Appetit recipe kick, in case you haven’t been able to tell from several of my last posts…But I couldn’t resist posting another delectable recipe that has already become an instant summer classic for me. I’ve made this for a couple of barbecue dinner parties now and I’m a huge fan because a) it’s light and healthy, b) it’s an original break from the usual “olives with cheese and crackers” apps, c) it doesn’t take all that much time and effort, d) it takes advantage of in-season, local produce and c) it makes a beautiful presentation on the plate!

I find these pretty filling — 2 halves should be enough for 4 hungry people, especially if you’re serving dinner shortly there after.

Grilled Nectarines with Feta
Bon Appétit

by Dave Kovner and Becky Kelso

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
4 nectarines, halved, pitted
Melted butter (for brushing)
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese (preferably sheep’s-milk feta)

Preparation

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush nectarines with butter. Grill nectarines, cut side down, until grill marks appear, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn nectarines over. Sprinkle with cheese, then pepper. Grill until grill marks appear on bottoms, 4 to 5 minutes.

If you like salty and crunchy, you’ll love this chips. They’re a cinch to make and are an easy way to sneak in your daily serving of greens.

Kale is packed with a ton of vitamins, helps your body detox, can reduce your risk of developing cancer, and contains more calcium per serving than a glass of milk. This chips are a great way to satisfy your salt-tooth while giving your body an awesome nutrition boost. Bon Appétit!

Tuscan Kale Chips
Bon Appétit

by Dan Barber

Yield: Makes 24

Ingredients

12 large Tuscan kale leaves (also known as Lacinato or Dinosaur kale), rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 250°F. Toss kale with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange leaves in single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes for flat leaves and up to 33 minutes for wrinkled leaves. Transfer leaves to rack to cool.

Ok, it may take more than ONE cashew to prevent type-2 diabetes, but new research shows that cashew nuts can help stablize blood sugar levels in diabetics — in addition to cooling inflammation in the body.

Researchers from the University of Montreal and the Universite de Yaounde in Cameroon concluded that cashew tree products (which includes the nuts, seeds, leaves, and bark) act as an anti-inflammatory for the body. Chronic inflammation in our bodies can cause many serious illnesses, from weight gain to heart disease to diabetes to cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers also found that cashews can help prevent insulin resistance in diabetics by improving the body’s response to insulin.

Not only are cashews a delicious source of health, they may also keep you happy! More research also suggests that the nuts (which are high in riboflavin, a mood-boosting B vitamin) may ward off depression.

You can get the health benefits of raw cashews by throwing them into your trail mix, or try cashew butter — it’s delicious, slightly sweet and tastes amazing on everything from english muffins to stir-fries! Artisana makes a scrumptious batch.

Looking for a summer treat that’s both kid-friendly and healthy (and brings on the nostalgia?) Check out the recipe below for these healthier popsicles! They still contain some sugar, but they contain much less than the usual suspects out there (and also don’t contain the chemicals and additives that other commercial pops can). And honey is also used as a sweetener, meaning less white sugar overall.

This recipe comes from the fun folks over at People’s Pops – a delicious, new popsicle stand in New York City that I visited last week.

Some recipe suggestions: swap raw sugar for the white stuff, and use whole-fat organic yogurt in place of non-fat (I’m a big believer in whole foods, even when it comes to the non-fat vs low-fat vs full-fat debate!)

Enjoy, and feel like a kid again!

Blackberry, Honey and Yogurt Pops
Bon Appétit | August 2010

by Nathalie Jordi

To make these at home, look for ice pop molds with narrow openings for inserting the sticks. They can be found in cookware stores and at amazon.com. The author makes these and other pops for New York-based People’s Pops.

Yield: Makes 10 pops
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
3 6-ounce containers fresh blackberries (3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups)
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt (preferably organic)
5 teaspoons honey
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Special equipment:
1 ice pop mold (preferably with cover) for 10 pops (each about 1/3- to 1/2-cup capacity)
10 ice pop sticks or lollipop sticks


Preparation

Bring 2/3 cup water and sugar to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Transfer simple syrup to small bowl and chill until cold, about 1 hour.

Place blackberries in processor; puree until smooth. Pour blackberry puree into strainer set over medium bowl. Using rubber spatula, press on solids to extract as much puree as possible. Discard seeds in strainer. Measure 2 cups blackberry puree and place in another medium bowl for pops (reserve any remaining puree for another use). Add chilled simple syrup, yogurt, honey, and lemon juice to puree; whisk to blend.

Divide mixture among 10 molds (each about 1/3- to 1/2-cup capacity). Top with mold cover, if available, and insert stick into each. (If cover is not available, cover top of mold with plastic wrap, pulling taut; freeze until partially frozen, then insert stick into center of plastic wrap and into pop mixture in each.) Freeze pops until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Dip bottom of mold into hot water 10 to 15 seconds to loosen pops. Remove pops from molds and serve.

Enjoying Today Day on the Highline

A couple of years ago, my husband, Matt and I came up with a brilliant idea: what if, instead of waiting for a holiday to show up on the calendar, you simply picked your own day and celebrated whenever you wanted? Instead of waiting for the calendar to dictate your time off, you could choose a day that worked best for you? Out of that conversation, “Today Day” was born: a holiday day of your choosing where you simply decide to celebrate, well, Today!

Today Day is, essentially, a vacation day. It’s a day where you can take a break from the usual work tasks and responsibilities, from running errands or doing the laundry, and truly focus on enjoying the day laid out before you. It’s a day to be indulgent: have a glass of wine with lunch! Take a gelato break in the afternoon! It’s a day to do those fun things you never seem to have the time to do: check out your local museum exhibit, or take a walk in that neighborhood you keep meaning to check out. Or it can be a day to chill out: sleep til noon, watch old black & white movies all afternoon, order in from a fancy restaurant.

Basically, Today Day is YOUR DAY to celebrate whatever you want to, and to make it as active or slowed down as you’d like. And you decide when you want it to happen!

Since having our epiphany a couple of years ago, Matt and I celebrate Today Day about twice a year. We decided to celebrate our latest Today Day on Friday. We both took the day off from work and spent a delicious day romping around Manhattan, checking out all those fun places we’ve been meaning to see. We had a decadent lunch in the West Village, followed by a potent shot of espresso at a coffee bar we’ve been wanting to check out for months. We spent the afternoon touring the beautiful Highline Park (see photo of me above!) and when the steamy heat was too much to bear, we took refuge at a popsicle bar that uses local fruits to make their frozen treats. After a late-afternoon margarita, we went to dinner at one of our favorite tapas places that we hardly get to visit, and then made a long, hot trek across the city to see a movie we’ve been dying to check out. It was a lovely, indulgent, super-fun day that charged us up for the weekend ahead. It was a way of reconnecting with each other in our own city, doing silly and exciting things that we wouldn’t ordinarily get to on our jam-packed weekends.

Are you feeling spent? Want to take a break, but don’t want to wait for your next vaca or calendar holiday? Choose your own Today Day and celebrate NOW!

I adore this time of year. Things start slowing down, people start heading out of town for their summer getaways, and delicious produce starts to pile up at the local markets. In honor of the barbecues and picnics that we’ve all got planned for the long weekend, here are some of my favorite, healthy summer recipes for you to share with family and friends.

Enjoy, and happy 4th, everyone!

Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa

Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Marinated Feta

Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad

Farro Salad with Peas, Favas, Arugula, and Tomatoes

Zucchini Bread

The Best Guacamole. Ever.

Agave-Sweetened Lemonade (scroll to the bottom of the website)

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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