Tuesday, August 25, 2015

When Life Gives you Lemons...

...Make lemon water!

I grew up in a Hispanic household drinking café con leche on a regular basis. For those of you unfamiliar with cuban coffee, I'll let Ralphie May explain:

So, back to lemon water.

It's fantastic!

Among the endless benefits of drinking lemon water - one of them is the burst of energy you get, which helps you ween off caffeine dependence. If you watched Ralphie May explain the affect of Cuban coffee, I think you'll understand how powerful lemon water actually is - especially when I say that it works! I've been able to cut back my caffeine intake without the pesky headaches I was getting.

I won't pretend to know all the benefits of lemon water, so I'll just leave this here for your edification:


Sunday, August 23, 2015


Food: the quintessential vehicle for absorbing nutrients into our bodies. So we can read, breathe, run, sleep and keep sustaining life on this bountiful planet.

Since the start of the industrialized society - food has taken a rotten turn. It's been tampered with, re- engineered, over processed, redistributed and wasted. Documentaries like Food Inc. started to peel back the facade of our concept of oversupply of food. The reality is that many of us first worlder's actually suffer from nutrient deficient diets.

I'm lucky that others have paved the way to a food awakening and revolution. My household can now join the collective conscious movement around consuming whole foods, natural foods, as well as supporting local and sustainable. Sharing some of the meals I've made recently (all gluten-free and homemade, and try to keep it all organic/local.)

Pad Thai: Prep before it all came together. I used shrimp. Love these colors

Protein and Green: Homemade Kale chips, Zucchini Parm Fritters, Honey Garlic chicken.

Korean Bibimap Bowl: Rice, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Spinach, Bugolgi Beef, Mushrooms and Egg Here's the recipe I used.

Hispanic Brunch: Rice and Beans, Tostones, Eggs with a side of avocado and grapes. Super simple 
Gluten-free Oatmeal w/ Almond Milk, blueberries and walnuts

Oven-baked Avocado w/ smoked salmon.

Kale Quinoa salad w/ Avocado, Pomegranate seeds  w/ homemade lemon vinaigrette.

Friday, August 14, 2015

HONY in Pakistan

There are many times I get the urge to share something that has moved me - and I quickly pull up this blog before I forget. For the last couple of weeks I've been completely captivated by Brandon's latest Humans of New York posts on Pakistan. To the point, that some stories have nearly brought me to tears. Or I can't control a smile after reading one of the posts. I've re-read my favorites multiple times. The landscape is so breathtaking.  And the comments are so touching. People from across the world expressing how happy they are to see their country portrayed in a non-war setting. People realizing how incredibly beautiful Pakistan actually is. It really is beautiful.

I came across this Business Insider post on their favorite posts from Pakistan thus far, which are EXACTLY the posts that really resonated with me as well, so I thought I'd share.

Since the Business Insider released that article, HONY in Pakistan concluded with, arguably, the most uplifting story yet. Through the page's awareness of the cruelty of the brick kilns in Pakistan, the HONY community helped raise over $2 million to help Fatima's efforts to defend and protect captives of this industry.

Even if you're not a supporter of social media, or haven't been on Facebook recently - if you're human - this is for you.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Consistently Inconsistent: Building New Habits

Being consistent hasn't always been my forte. Which is a shame, because it's the key ingredient in losing weight and getting into shape (and for a blog. Note my last entry was in Feb ;).)

But I digress. After trying a couple of different diets and workout routines for the last couple of years (post moving in with my boyfriend-now-husband and gaining weight) I finally cracked the right mix for me.

Intermittent Fasting

Loosing or gaining weight is 80% diet they say. Not sure who they is, or if they is right, but over the last couple of years, I've been weaning off of processed foods (mainly because of my gluten-free allergy) including all cereals, chips, pastas, breads etc. I've tried an all-Keto diet and my body was like: NO. So I've stuck to the cardinal rule, of eating what mother nature provides.

That aside, I wasn't particularly loosing  or gaining weight. I tried using MyFitness Pal App (on and off) and counting calories just made me hungrier because my brain felt lit was being food deprived... which in turn made me crave all sorts of unhealthy stuff. Definitely not sustainable long-term.

When I turned 26 earlier this year, I was determined to make a fundamental change. Essentially, I needed to build a new habit. I came across the idea of Intermittent fasting. Particularly I found this schedule of working out as soon as you wake up and not eating until noon and having your last meal before 8 p.m. My diet was pretty solid, it was just a matter of eating at the right times. This new eating habit has been pretty easy for me considering I never have time to eat breakfast anyway. The key was to workout in the morning to propel my body into burning it's own fat to avoid being crazy hungry before my first meal.

6 months in - I consider this a success.

Fitness Blender

Praise be to the free full-length workout videos by the amazing Kelly and Daniel. Not only are they high-quality, free and list all calories burned- but they even have workout schedules you can buy for like $6.00. Worth!

They make it insanely easy for you to follow-along, play your own music, customize your workout schedule and there is minimal equipment required (mainly a mat, and some dumbbells and maybe the occasional medicine ball.) Primarily, they focus on body weight workouts and do a great job of providing calorie burn estimates, and easy search function for working out target areas (as seen below.)

Highly recommend. Again, this is the sustainable combination that worked for ME, but I'd say there are numerous free diet and workout guides for your personal preference. I found a couple of other free workout vids available on YouTube as well for your perusal. I'll likely upload some before and after pics in upcoming posts. So far, I'm down 10 lbs! Good luck!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Yes, to Yuca Flour!

My husband and I don't buy into the commercialization of Valentine's Day, but we do love an excuse to treat ourselves to some good eats. This past Friday night, we hit up our favorite Cuban restaurant in Hoboken,NJ -  The Cuban. It's a more sophisticated twist on your traditional rice and beans, and it is sooo good. More importantly they just so happen to be extremely gluten-free friendly and my husband doesn't need to sacrifice taste!

Behold - the magic of yuca flour.

Yuca Bread - They mix Yuca flour with Manchego cheese and bring out these heavenly, soft, chewy rolls to every table. When we first visited this restaurant, I couldn't believe these were gluten-free, so I didn't eat them. My husband says they are pretty much the same consistency as your standard dinner roll.

Yuca Rellena - inside these soft, crispy cones is a similar kind of ground beef or "picadillo" mixture you would find inside an empanada - except better. According to their online menu they are stuffed with "savory beef, capers, raisin, sweet plantain, truffle jalepeno cream, chimichurri"
Note: apologies for the shaky and low quality pictures - I was just so excited to dig in!

Health-wise, we shared a Churrasco for our main meal which was accompanied by a side salad and yuca fries. Overall, I could've done without the carby, yuca overload - but I made it up the following morning with a HIIT (High-intensity interval training) workout!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Journey to Gluten-free

Five years ago, I felt my weight was out of control. I had recently gotten engaged, moved up north, and had just started taking daily thyroid medicine. A couple of months living in upstate New York and I was pushing 147 lbs, and I am only 5'1! I thought I was doing everything right. I had my gym membership, used MyFitness pal and I ate home cooked meals during the week day. I switched to whole grain bread, skim milk, and loaded up on fat-free groceries. To no avail, my fiancee and I started digging around on the net. Seems there was some correlation between gluten intolerance and allergies to the Hashimoto's Disease, the immune system disease which caused my thyroid issue.

While I wasn't necessarily loosing weight from a gluten-free diet (and I'll get into that later) I did feel remarkably better. I wasn't as fatigued, or bloated. Four months into my new regimen, I traveled to Latin America and thought I could "cheat." That was my first and last time. My awful reaction to gluten offset the satisfaction of eating freshly baked bread by a long-shot and I've been gluten-free since.

As it turns out, the percentage of Americans who said they were trying to cut back or avoid gluten is about 29%. Recently, General Mills even announced that it was going to stamp it's staple product, Cheerios, as being gluten-free.

Five years ago I might have jumped in excitement about Cheerios being officially gluten-free, but I have a much different perspective today.

Cheerios is still highly processed, and high in sugar. See, when I went gluten-free, all I did was swap my processed carbs for gluten-free carbs. I was having gluten-free pasta, bread, salad dressings etc. - totally blinded to the nutrition content. And when I did look at the nutrition content I was trying to remember which one was the "bad" fat. Was it saturated, or mono or wha?

While I'm not at my optimum physical state (around 134 lbs) I'm feeling more lucid, healthy and fit.

Moral of the story is, stay away from processed foods especially carbs, and stay away from sugar! Our societies abuse of sugar deserves a whole other post...more to come on that topic.

Support your Senses

Live a healthy lifestyle. Take care of your body not because you feel an obligation to do so. Nourish your body not because your doctor told you to.  Stay fit, but not for another person's satisfaction. Eat right today not because it's a fad, or a temporary lapse in habit. Start a new habit today.

Do it so you can truly live. Fine tune the balance of your physical self, so you may be better positioned to be receptive to life. More receptive to sounds, sights, experiences, energy, and opportunities. Free of fogginess, restlessness, fatigue, discomfort, self-hate, regret. Be agile, alert and attune to life. Remove obstructions from your senses so you can life in the present, the now, to the fullest.

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present"
 - Albert Einstein.

Never mind what your mind may tell you what you can or cannot do. Start today. Live.