21 Day Change of Routine Challenge

We all have our daily routines… some healthy, some not, here at Intelligent Gourmet we strongly believe that small healthy changes can make you feel, look, do and be BETTER!  So we put together this 21 day challenge to help motivate you to make small changes in your life each day that will lead you to a healthy daily routine!  Each day builds on the next, so at day 21 you will be doing all these things every day!

*Tips and Tricks- Post your daily task on social media.  It will make you feel more accountable!  Don’t forgot to tag us in your posts @intelligentgourmet! *

Day 1.  Eat a healthy and colorful breakfast.

Day 2. Drink at least 2 litters of water (That’s only four normal sized water bottles)

Day 3. Eat a BIG Lunch and smaller dinner .

Day 4.  Don’t drink your coffee first thing, instead go for a warm cup of lemon water.

Day 5. Go for a morning walk or do some morning stretches.

Day 6. Drink Golden Milk before bed  (1 cup Coconut Milk, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger,  pinch of pepper, and honey).

Day 7.  Eat at least one vegan meal (Stop by Intelligent Gourmet and check out all our vegan meals, who said vegan has to be boring?)

Day 8. Spend 5 minutes in meditation first thing in the morning.

Day 9. Spend 5 minutes in meditation last thing before bed.

Day 10. Turn off electronics an hour before bed (and put another room besides the bedroom if possible).

Day 11. Tidy up your place before leaving for the day.

Day 12.  Write an affirmation and place it on your mirror (start repeating affirmation every morning while getting ready for the day)

Day 13. Eat 90% whole foods today and 10% or less of processed foods.

Day 14.  Enjoy some “me time” (read a book, take a bath, paint, do yoga, do something that makes you happy).

Day 15.  All snacks should either be veggies, fruits, or nuts.

Day 16. Do a random act of kindness today.

Day 17.  Knock that one thing off your to do list you have been avoiding.

Day 18. Get 8 hours of sleep.

Day 19.  Limit social media (You don’t need to check it every hour, I promise).

Day 20. Write down all your goals for yourself this year.

Day 21. Print this list and do your best to do each of these things every day!

 

The Daily Routine- Drinks

School is starting up and everyone is affected.  Whether you are a parent, student, or commuter (who is bound to notice the increase in traffic) when school starts back up it is important to start a daily ritual to keep yourself on track.  Here are the two drinks I suggest to add to your daily routine that will help your body keep up with the change of schedule.

morningalkaline

Morning Alkaline Drink- This will wake you up and it helps bring your body’s pH level to alkaline which is proven to prevent cancer from forming in the body.  The drink is simple to put together.  Its just warm water, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Try it instead of your cup of coffee first thing and feel the difference.  If you still need your coffee try a cold brew cup of jo instead because it isn’t as acidic.

Recipe: Warm water (you can dilute it as much as you want), 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, Juice of 1 Lemon, 1-2 tbsp honey *optional, and  1/8 tsp cayenne pepper *optional

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Evening Golden Milk-  Golden Milk is a combination of coconut milk, coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, honey, and a pinch of pepper.  This drink burns fat while you sleep, reduces inflammation, and is a great drink for detox. Drinking this an hour before bed will prevent bloating or upset stomachs in the mornings which will make sure you are ready to take on the day ahead.  Plus the warm milk will make you nice and sleepy allowing you to fall asleep easily.

Recipe:  1-2 cups coconut milk, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1-2 tbsp honey for taste. Combine contents and heat until blended.

Keep Your Mind Sharp the Mediterranean Way.

Zucchini pasta
If I told you I had a pill that had no downside whatsoever and it helped reduce age related memory loss, would you take it? Guess what, it’s exercise! Open your door and walk 15 minutes in one direction and 15 minutes back.

You’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet and entertained visions of mounds of pasta drizzled in olive oil. Make that whole-grain pasta, and you’ve got yourself a deal. But the fresh fish, in-season produce, olive oil, wine, and yes, pasta, of the Mediterranean isn’t the whole story. Europeans walk. Everywhere.

It’s this balance of healthy whole foods (no Mediterranean mama would serve you out of a box or can) and exercise that is the real key to a healthy lifestyle – and long memory.

Let’s break down the diet first. Seafood and olive oil are everywhere and are both sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that help your brain function better. In Mediterranean cuisine, fresh green olive oil is often drizzled lightly over vine-ripened tomatoes from the morning market, with basil leaves picked minutes before from the terra cotta pot in the garden. The concentration is on eating whole fresh foods, and walking to and from that morning market!

  • Try grilling white fish lightly brushed with oil and served with a squeeze of lemon on top of fresh asparagus, or serve on top of zucchini “pasta” with cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.
  • Diets rich in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and chard also help memory function. Try Greek Spanikopita (cooked spinach wrapped in phyllo) or Turkish Cacik – a spinach yogurt dip with garlic, lemon juice, dill, parsley, mint and EVOO.
  • And let’s not forget coffee. Greek coffee, Italian espresso, or French café latte – caffeine has been shown to slow memory loss (black tea works just as well). Unfiltered coffee can raise your HDL cholesterol though, so if that is a concern, stay away from espresso and French Press methods. Check with your doctor before adding caffeine to your diet if you have high blood pressure, IBS, or Crohn’s disease.

But most importantly – remember to walk every day. Remember that, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you remember for the rest of your life.

Sweet (Healthy) Treats This Summer…

It’s the middle of summer and the heat is on full blast (and so is your air conditioner). A popsicle is the way to go if you’re looking to cool down. But instead of going out to the grocery store and picking out a frozen form of high fructose corn syrup, try doing it yourself and making healthy popsicles that you won’t regret later.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Freezes

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These sweet-tart popsicles are great for a hot picnic or cooling dessert. Dark chocolate and raspberries are high in antioxidants and are known to fight heart disease. Blend ¼ cup dark chocolate into 1 cup raspberries and 1 cup greek yogurt. Add raw honey to sweeten. Dish into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Dark Chocolate Kiwi Pops

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This one’s easy. All you have to do is slice kiwi fruit into bite-size pieces, put them on a popsicle stick, dip them in molten dark chocolate, and freeze. These pops will knock your ice cream man’s socks off. They’re super healthy and everyone loves them. The dark chocolate and kiwi combination lowers blood sugar and builds beautiful skin.

Watermelon Ice-Cubes

Watermelonicecubes

Who doesn’t love cold lemonade on a hot day. But ice-cubes melting in the glass waters down those sweet n’ sour sips. Try pureeing a small watermelon (without the rinds, of course), mint leaves, and 1 teaspoon agave. Then freeze overnight in an ice-cube tray and add to your lemonade. Watermelon has a surprising amount of antioxidants, vitamin A and C, and can lower blood pressure. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that is healthier than normal sugar. Together, they boost the immune system and fight harmful bacteria in your body.

Vanilla Peach Popsicles

peachpops

Peaches are in this month, so why not use fresh, ripe peaches in your next popsicle? Fiber, vitamin C, and potassium in peaches promotes heart health and healthy skin and hair. Blend together 3 medium, pitted peaches, ⅓ cup organic orange juice, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Add a small amount of stevia if you want it to be more sweet. Chop another peach and add the pieces into your mix. You can also add greek yogurt to the mix for a creamier consistency. Distribute the mix into popsicle molds and freeze overnight

IS YOUR GUT MAKING YOU CRAZY?

We Welcome Guest Blogger and Friend Sarah Bingham founder of Fast Food Healing.

Sarah is a licensed nutrition consultant with a master’s degree and more than thirty-five years experience counseling and lecturing on all aspects of nutrition throughout the country. Her current focus is in family nutrition, helping parents recover their children from conditions like autism, ADD, ADHD, asthma and other learning/behavior issues. She is also a dynamic and passionate speaker who communicates with clarity, humor and inspiration the simplicity of achieving wellness.

Sarah works as the Director of Nutritional Programs for Valle Counseling in Tampa, FL. She is a certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) practitioner (see www.gaps.me). Sarah is the founder of Fast Food Healing LLC, a personalized in-home nutrition counseling business. Sarah always addresses body, mind and spirit as they are all critical to a healthy body.

Following is an article Sarah shared with us.  Did you know that 80-90% of your neurotransmitters (chemicals that effect your mood and brain function) are created in your gut? Also, the seat of your immune system is in your gut. Hence, that old saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling” is quite accurate. Hence, what research is beginning to put together is if your mood, mind or behavior are off, you have a very good chance of having a gut that is off and a poor immune system.

What do I mean by “off”? Your gut is loaded (about 4 pounds) with good guy bacteria. This good guy bacteria keeps in check the potentially bad guy bacteria that is also present. All of these microbes have important functions, like creating B vitamins, neurotransmitters, and anti-cancer substances. When the good guys are winning, your mood and ability to think are in great shape. Your immune system is also in good shape. But, when the bad guys are winning, you could be suffering from any one of these conditions: Irritable bowel, reflux, ADD, ADHD, asthma, autism, bipolar disease, food allergies and intolerance, depression, dyslexia, autoimmune disease and more.

What causes your gut to become out of balance? Antibiotics, stress, the birth control pill, most prescription drugs and a diet high in processed foods. So, take a mother to be who has eaten a processed diet her whole life, has had a few courses of antibiotics and is now pregnant. Her gut “flora” or bacteria are more than likely out of balance. A baby’s gut is sterile until going through the birth canal. At this point, the baby swallows some of the mother’s vaginal fluid, which is reflective of her gut balance or imbalance. Thus, the baby’s gut is inoculated with either good guy bacteria or bad guy bacteria. And the cycle begins again.

Sometimes it’s easy to bring your gut back into balance using probiotics, lactic acid fermented foods and good whole foods and sometimes it takes a major effort to accomplish a rebalancing of the gut. When I look out at our society with lots of depression, rage, anxiety, immune dysfunction and irritable bowel, I think we all need a major revamping of our gut flora. As Hippocrates said back in 400 BC, “All disease begins in the gut.”

love your gut

The Building Blocks of Life

Are you getting enough protein?  As a vegetarian I get asked that question almost every day.  It seems as if protein is this magical food that when you eat it your life is just better, maybe that is why our society seems to be adding protein to every single meal.  However according to the DRI established by the USDA only 10-35% of our calories should come from protein.  Protein is the basic building block for growth, when you consume protein it goes through a digestion process where it is broken down into amino acids.  These amino acids are then reassembled into muscle, nerves, hormones, enzymes, and neurochemicals.  Proteins can also be converted into glucose to use for energy, but it is not as efficient as carbohydrates and fats.

So are you getting enough protein?  It is recommend we eat at least 1-2 gm per Kilogram of body weight (Kilogram = pounds divided by 2.2). For example, a 150 lb person weighs 68 kg. This means they should consume at least 68-136 gm of protein per day.  It is important that you do eat enough protein in your diet because protein is involved in:

  • Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function
  • Making essential hormones and enzymes
  • Energy source
  • Preserving lean muscle mass

Where do you get protein?  Protein comes from meats, poultry, fish, meat substitutes, cheese, milk, nuts, legumes, and can be found in smaller amounts in starchy foods and vegetables. Protein that comes from an animal source however contains all the essential amino acids (essential amino acids are ones that we need to get from our diet), while most plant protein sources needed to be combined properly to get all the essential amino acids.

Overall, protein is a very important part of our diet, but it is not the only part (or even the largest part).  A healthy balanced diet is a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Stop Running Away From Fat

Everyone seems to hate fat.  They try to lose it, they want everything “low-fat” or “fat-free” (even though fat free and low fat just means added sugar, which is the actual thing making you gain weight), but fat is actually essential for you and your body.

Fat is essential for normal growth and development, it is a great source off energy, it allows your body to absorb vitamins, it provides cushioning for your organs, and helps maintain cell membranes! There are three different types of fats including unsaturated fat, saturated fat, and trans fat.

Unsaturated fats fall into two categories: polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated. The polyunsaturated are your Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which are good for your heart!  Monounsaturated fats are oils, avocados, peanuts, tree nuts, etc and they lower your LDL level and increase HDL levels!

Saturated fats have been given a bad reputation, however they are safe to consume. Saturated fats are found in red meats, whole milks, cheeses, coconut oil, and many baked goods.  However, many foods have a combination of unsaturated and saturated fats!

The ONLY type of fat that you need to be running away from is trans fats since trans fats are industry created fats used to give processed foods a longer shelf life. In fact the FDA is banning the use of trans fats in products (obviously it must do some damage if the FDA will actually ban it), it will be a slow process to completely eliminate them in the USA’s food supply, however you can eliminate them in your own home now!

So your diet no longer needs to be “fat-free” or “low-fat” because fat is essential for your body to function properly and is an important macro-nutrient in a balanced diet.  So don’t continue to run away from the fat, embrace it!  Just stay away from trans fats…

 

Carbohydrates- They Aren’t The Bad Guys

Carbohydrates seem to have a rather bad reputation these days, however carbohydrates play a key role in our body! Here is a list of 5 reasons you shouldn’t be hating on Carbohydrates:

  1. Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
  2. All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose, which comes from carbohydrates for energy.
  3. Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  4. Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  5. Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.  Carbohydrates also include fiber which is essential in getting rid of waste in our bodies.  Fiber is any carbohydrate that our body can’t digest.   There are two types of fibers: soluble fiber which is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barely, and psyllium while insoluble fiber can be found in nuts, beans, vegetables, and whole-grains.  Both offer many amazing benefits such as lowering blood cholesterol levels and glucose levels and help those that struggle with constipation.

Overall carbohydrates are very important in a healthy diet, but not all carbohydrates are the same, stay away from highly processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, cookies, soft drinks, etc..  These items are what people tend to think of when we mention  carbs, that is why I think carbohydrates have this negative reputation, however there are many good carbs out there.  Carbohydrates aren’t the bad guys, processed foods are.