Choosing Health’s Blog

Anytime, Anywhere Yoga Practice

Despite the many excuses we can make about not exercising, the Five Tibetans is a convenient daily ritual that navigates around the most common excuses.

The Five Tibetans, also known as the Five Tibetan Rites, are a series of five continuous movements done repeatedly and reported to have started 2,500 years ago. Performing these rites on a daily basis was/is believed to restore health and thought to be a fountain of youth.

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Peter Kelder wrote a book about the Five Tibetan Rites in 1939, The Eye of Revelation, after learning of a group of old men who were rumored to become inexplicably healthy and strong resulting from practicing these rites that kept their chakras tuned.  Chakras are the centers of the body that regulate the flow of life force (or prana). The lamas (Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monks) said to teach the rites to the men described the chakras and the inherent benefit of the rites as:

“seven spinning, “psychic vortexes” within the body: two of these are in the brain, one at the base of the throat, one on the right side of the body in the vicinity of the liver, one in the reproductive anatomy, and one in each knee. As we grow older, the spin rate of the vortexes diminishes, resulting in “ill-health”. However, the spin rate of these vortexes can be restored by performing the Five Rites daily, resulting in improved health.”

 I learned of the Tibetan Rites in Nancy Gerstein’s book Guiding Yoga’s Light. She writes,

“The Five Tibetans are a series of exercises that are said to hold the key to lasting youth, health, and vitality because they keep the chakras spinning.”

Gerstein lists some specific benefits of The Tibetans including:

  • Balancing hormones
  • Enhancing bone mass
  • Draining the lymphatic system
  • Increased energy

One can do as many repetitions of each rite as their fitness level allows, up to the full 21 repetitions of each. Beginners are recommended to start with 3-5 reps a day for the first week and increase by 2 reps every week until they reach the full 21 reps. Doing 21 reps of each of the Five Tibetans takes about 20 minutes

Click here to see a demonstration of the Five Tibetans (Rite 1: Spinning, Rite 2: Leg Lift, Rite 3: Camel, Rite 4: Table Lift, and Rite 5: Updog and Downdog).

My favorite part of this series is that it is feels AMAZING and is so easy to do at least 5-6 reps of each anytime, anywhere. They don’t require special equipment or much space, nor do they require an advanced level of fitness so they are inviting to the people most likely to make excuses not to exercise.

Give them a try. Even if they aren’t the literal fountain of youth, you’re sure to feel some benefits.

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry

I love me some good stir fry! It’s a great way to get a variety of seasonal veggies into your diet and load up on medicinal herbs and spices.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken thighs (free-range, organic, bone in and skin on preferred)
  • 1 large head of broccoli (preferably organic: that goes for all the veggies), cut into florets
  • 3 large carrots, sliced about 1/2 inch thigh
  • 1-2 cups shiitake mushrooms (I love mushrooms, so I use 2 cups), cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bunch kale of choice (curly, dino, etc), chopped and spines removed (unless you like them: they are a bit tough for me)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh or minced ginger
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fermented fish sauce (I use Red Boat because it’s totally pure, no sweetener or preservatives added)
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos (start with less and taste test at the end)
  • 1 tsp. chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted sesame oil for cooking (3-4 tablespoons)

How to:

  1. Wash and chop all veggies. Let garlic aerate for 10 minutes before cooking.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat sesame oil on medium heat and add chicken thighs, garlic, onion and ginger.
  3. Cook chicken for about 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add broccoli, carrots, fish sauce, coconut aminos, and spices. Stir and then cover with a lid. Cook for about 10-15 mins until carrots and broccoli are fork tender but not overcooked.
  5. Stir in mushrooms and kale. You should be able to separate the chicken from the bone with a fork and tongs and break it into smaller pieces (remove the bones and freeze them to use for soup later). Re-cover with lid and cook for 5 more minutes.

Taste test and see if you want to add more spices or coconut aminos. Enjoy!

3 Healthy Bars to Travel With AND 1 Day Book Sale!!

I have such exciting news: My eBook is being relaunched and included in a fabulous paleo book bundle sale!  TODAY ONLY, you can get the Kindle Edition for a mere $.99 !!!!

This is a wonderful opportunity to check it out along with the other great titles and add some healthy reading & delicious recipes to your summer reading list. 🙂

 

3 Healthy, Tasty Bars

There is a growing selection of healthy, whole food-based bars which is AWESOME for those of us who want to stay healthy & energized (and stay on track!) while traveling.
If you are traveling this summer, here are 3 bars to consider taking with you.

Epic Bars: Sustainably-raised, 100% organic grass-fed meat combined with minimal, whole ingredients. No sugar, grains, gluten or dairy. I love the Bison Bacon Cranberry flavor!

Gather Bars: Hazelnuts, maca and cocoa? Macademia nut, pumpkin seeds, coconut & dates? Sign me up! I’m all for bars that are grain-free, fruit-sweetened only bars with lots of healthy fats to balance blood sugar.

PaleoKrunch Bar (Original): Sometimes a granola bar hits the spot. This bar by Steve’s Paleo Goods rocks. Coconut oil, almond meal, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut and a smidge of honey=simple, healthy, tasty.

Safe and healthy travels! Don’t forget to bring a great book with you! 🙂

How To Make Bone Broth

Making and consuming bone broth is a sacred tradition I highly encourage. If you’ve never made it and are intimidated, this step by step guide will help you successfully make this nutrient dense elixir.

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Benefits of Bone Broth

Glycine and other amino acids

  • Vital for healthy connective tissue and digestive health (SIgA)
  • Helps regulate synthesis of bile salts and gastric acid
  • Required for production of glutathione (master antioxidant)
  • Enhances muscle repair
  • Converted into the neurotransmitter serine which helps reduce stress, promote alertness & memory

Glycosaminoglycans

Collagen

Glutamine

  • Improves gut health (where 80% of our immune system is!)
  • Increases muscle growth

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of high quality bones per gallon of water (i.e. 2-3 full chicken carcasses for a 5-gallon stock pot)
  • Optional but delicious organic veggies:
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (last 30-60 mins)
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, unpeeled
  • 1 bunch of chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice or other type of vinegar)
  • 1+ Tablespoons sea salt
  • Herbs and spices to taste: 2 bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage

How To:

Beef: 48 hours

Chicken or poultry: 24 hours

Fish broth: 8 hours

  1. Cover 2 lbs of raw bones in large pot with cool, filtered water  (or you can roast them to boost flavor-30 mins at 350 degrees).
  2. Add vinegar and let sit for 30 mins (I like apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar or sometimes I squeeze a fresh lemon in there).
  3. Add rough chopped veggies (except garlic and parsley), herbs, spices, and salt.
  4. Bring water to boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, remove impurities that rise to top in the first few hours and discard.
  6. During last 30-60 mins, add parsley and garlic.
  7. Let cool and then poor through strainer to remove any bones and veggies.
  8. Store in mason jars in fridge for up to 5 days or freeze.

Bone broth can be sipped from a mug, used as a base for sautéing vegetables or meat, added into sauces, or made into soup. It is a wonderful staple to include weekly (daily is even better!).

Protein Waffles

Below is a wonderful recipe for waffles that uses coconut flour and whey protein powder instead of grains. They are fluffy, delicious and much more filling than traditional grain-based waffles. Whether you have a gluten intolerance or are just making a choice to eat more nutrient-dense foods, you’re sure to enjoy this recipe. Seen below is my daughter topping her waffle with fresh, organic blueberries (underneath is Kerrygold butter and a little coconut nectar).

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“HEALTHIFIED” PROTEIN WAFFLES by Maria Emmerich

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup JAY ROBB vanilla egg white or 1 cup whey protein (I use Whey Natural by Synergistics -grass-fed)
  • 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1 TBS aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (I have used both raw cow milk and coconut milk and they both work great)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 TBS butter or coconut oil, melted

Preheat waffle iron to high. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry. Let sit for 5 minutes. Bake according to your waffle iron directions (I spray my waffle iron with THIS Coconut oil spray). Enjoy! Serve with Nature’s Hollow Xylitol syrup. Makes 10 waffles.

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NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per waffle)
Traditional Waffle = 223 calories, 8.5g fat, 5g protein, 27 carbs, 0.7g fiber (26.3 effective)
“Healthified” Waffle = 144 calories, 8g fat, 12.2g protein, 4g carbs, 2.1g fiber (1.9 effective)

Paleo Chocolate-Walnut Fudge

Healthy fudge anyone? I think I actually drooled when my friend emailed me Paleo Mom’s fudge recipe. I made it at the soonest opportunity with only slight modifications. You can view the original recipe here. Below is the fudge recipe I am in love with. Enjoy!

Picture from thepaleomom.com

Picture from thepaleomom.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra virgin coconut oil and 1 cup of salted Kerrygold butter (or other grass-fed butter)
  • 1 cup raw or natural unsweetened cacao powder such as Navitas Naturals or Divine Organics
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 1½ cups raw walnuts, roughly chopped

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How to:

1.    Whip coconut oil  and butter in a bowl with an electric mixer till it is well mixed and a bit fluffy.
2.    Add cocoa powder and honey and blend thoroughly (about 30 seconds).
3.    Add chopped walnuts and mix just to combine.
4.    Spread into a glass dish, 9”x9” is good.  Chill in the refrigerator until set (at least 1 hour).  Cut into squares and enjoy (store in the fridge or freezer). OMG, delicious!!!!

BEST Autoimmune Paleo BBQ Sauce

My dear friend Zanna amazed us at our recent camping adventure when she made pork ribs with this BBQ sauce she developed just days before our trip. If any of you have read about the autoimmune paleo dietary guidelines then you know that nightshades are out (includes tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, paprika and cayenne) and seeds (includes seed-based spices like mustard seed) making BBQ sauce particularly challenging…but she did it with the help of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, NTP. Whether you try this recipe for dining at home or to bring along camping, this sauce is a winner.

Now that's how you enjoy a rib!

Now that’s how you enjoy a rib!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tb solid cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups pitted cherries, fresh or frozen, halved
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tb apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt (I didn’t have smoked sea salt, so I just use sea salt)

Instructions:

1. Heat the solid cooking fat in a saucepan on medium heat. When the oil has melted and the pan is hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another couple minutes, stirring until fragrant. Add the cherries, maple syrup, cider vinegar and smoked sea salt.

2. Cook uncovered over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture thickens considerably. Transfer to a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Storage: keeps in the refrigerator for a week. Also freezes well.

Amazing. Hope you enjoy it as much as our group of campers did. 🙂

Bacon Pancake Sandwiches

Nom Nom Paleo has done it again. When I got their newsletter with this recipe, I wanted to go straight to my kitchen and start cooking (but seeing as it was bedtime, I had to wait. Dangit!).  You’ve got to try this wonderfully delicious, nutrient-dense, grain-free delight (here is the link to NomNomPaleo’s blog and photo documentation of the cooking process).

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Here’s what you need for 4 sandwiches (or 8 mini sandwiches):

  • 16 cooked bacon strips
  • ¼ cup mashed ripe banana (1 medium banana)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons full fat canned coconut milk (or organic cream if you tolerate dairy)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons of Bob’s Red Mill organic coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ghee or coconut oil (for frying)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or coconut syrup)

How to:

  • Bake the bacon at 350 for 25-30 mins and then broil it for another 5 minutes until crispy.
  • While it’s baking, get a medium-sized bowl and mash up the banana well. Then add the vinegar, eggs, coconut milk or cream, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix up the coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix thoroughly so you don’t have any lumps.
  • In a large skillet, melt a heaping tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil on medium heat. When melted and shimmering, pour 3 tablespoons of batter into pan and try to shape it into a rectangular shape (you want it to be about the length of your bacon strips).
  • Cook for about 90 seconds or until pancake top starts to form bubbles, then flip and cook for about 30 more seconds.
  • Once your pancakes are done, place preferred amount of bacon strips on top, drizzle a little syrup and either fold it like a taco and eat it OR top it with another pancake and eat it like a sandwich.

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There is a magical flavor that emerges when combining banana, cinnamon, and vanilla. Amazing taste…and then you add bacon to it and OMG. The texture of these pancakes is very light and fluffy. Try out this great recipe and I look forward to your comments. 🙂

 

Grain-free spinach gnocchi with browned sage-butter

I got this wonderful recipe from my mother-in-law (who got it off of the Cooking Channel). She and my daughter made it during her last visit and the entire family LOVED it!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce container organic ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup organic shredded parmesan cheese (and 1/4 cup or more to sprinkle on top at the end)
  • 1 lb. organic spinach
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 20 or more fresh sage leaves (the more the merrier. They. Are. So. Good.)
  • 2-3 T organic salted butter for making sage-butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  • Boil 3 cups of water and then add spinach for literally 1 minute. You just want to wilt it, not cook it.
  • Strain spinach in strainer and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking. Then squeeze as much water out of it as possible. Don’t be gentle. Like seriously wring it.
  • Separate 2 egg yolks into a large bowl (keep the whites to add to an omelette the next morning) and beat them thoroughly.
  • Chop the spinach finely and add to egg yolks.
  • Add ricotta and parmesan and mix up.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • On a buttered baking sheet, form little smushed teaspoon sized balls of mixture OR just lather the whole concoction onto the baking sheet (about 1/2 inch thick). It’s going to taste the same, so it’s really just a matter of how you want it to look. Put in oven for 20 minutes. After 20 mins, turn broiler on low for 5 minutes until gnocchi starts to brown and crisp.

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  • While baking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet and add sage leaves. Saute the sage until it turns brown and crispy. This really is the most amazing part of the recipe! The gnocchi is really just a carrier for the crispy buttered sage leaves.
  • Serve the gnocchi with the sage and sage-butter sauce and top with Parmesan.

When we made this recipe, the balls didn’t remain intact in the oven and became one big flat piece. We cut it into squares and enjoyed it just fine. This would be an excellent pizza crust, I imagine. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 🙂

 

Bec’s Healthy Hot Cocoa

It is my pleasure to share my favorite cocoa recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do! We don’t wait for special occasions to partake in it’s deliciousness: it’s so healthy, we don’t need any excuses! Between the cocoa powder (packed full of antioxidants, iron, magnesium, calcium and fiber), gelatin (high quality protein that’s easily digestible, collagen, and gut healing constituents), and raw dairy (probiotics, healthy fatty acids including CLA, and immune-boosting immunoglobulins), this cocoa packs an insane nutritional punch.
Be sure to check out the pictures below: I even brought cocoa powder, gelatin and stevia with me when we went to Germany last year so we could enjoy it on vacation 🙂
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw milk (full fat) or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp-1 T of raw butter (you could also use coconut oil, MCT oil or ghee…or leave it out, it’ll still be yummy)
  • 1 tsp.-1 T gelatin (Great Lakes)
  • 1 T raw cocoa powder (I love Navitas Naturals or Divine Organics)
  • 2 tsps. or more of chia seeds (optional)
  • 1-2 tsps. ground cinnamon, dash of cayenne (optional for both taste and immune boosting benefits)
  • Stevia to taste (1-4 drops Sweetleaf)

How to:

On low heat, add all ingredients and stir to blend as beverage warms. Cocoa powder and gelatin can get clumpy so don’t be shy when stirring. Optionally, add cinnamon or nutmeg to the cocoa once it’s  in your mug.
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