Diffusing Essential Oils

People often ask why I love to diffuse essential oils.

Well being a long time scent junkie or should I say candle-holic, I was sad to learn that my addiction to burning a candle in every room just might not be the best thing I could’ve been doing for my health or for the health of those around me.  I simply had to find healthier and more organic way to satisfy my cravings. THE FACTS:

  • A lot of the candles we burn are made from paraffin wax, when you burn paraffin it forms the toxic substances benzene and toluene both of these are know to be carcinogens.
  • Some candles even have a tendency towards lead core in the wicks, nobody wants to release that in their environment.
  • Because we love beautiful things and the marketplace is appealing to our scenes, many of our candles even the soy ones are enhanced with artificial scents and colored with harmful dyes.

 

Enough said, I made the decision to my part by not spreading toxins in the air with my burning candles.

Diffusing pure essential oils gave me all of my fabulous scents with the  added benefit of promoting physical and mental health.  Just one of the many gifts of diffusing oil is that you can choose your oils to suit you and create customized blends of the oils to fit your mood or your current situation.

  • Blend them is your work space to create an atmosphere of clarity, energy and stimulate focus.
  • Use them in your home to promote, relaxation, calmness and a sense of general well being.
  • In your bedroom use one oil in the evening for a restful night sleep and in the morning to strength and toning while doing your morning meditation or exercise.

I chose Neal’s Yard Remedies, because I think of them at the pioneers of essential oils. Their oils are all 100% pure and unadulterated.

They believe that wild-crafted and organically grown plants are better for you, the growers and pickers, their communities and the environment. By severely restricting the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are used you can be sure you are getting the best possible product.

To order call us . 813.287.2253 or shop online @ https://us.nyrorrganic.com/shop/ig2go

04.11.17 Neals Yard ad

New Year Resolutions

This post is NOT about losing weight. In fact, that resolution isn’t even going to be mentioned, because you know why? I’m SICK OF IT! Aren’t you? Of course you can use food to lose weight (studies show it’s more effective to control your diet than increase exercise, if you have to choose), but let’s dig a little deeper this year and go after what we really want.

1. Resolution: Be Happier

It’s a simple one, but it’s what we’re really after with all the other resolutions isn’t it? Even when you have a great family, work you love, and live in a beautiful part of the country that hovers between 60 and 80 degrees in the dead of winter – you can still feel down more often than you’d like. Stop punishing yourself for being ungrateful – that’s not it. Unless you need to make real changes in your life (maybe you do!), these down times are chemical. And that means you can lift yourself back up with food.

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. Which means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Two especially powerful anti-inflammatory foods (or supplements) you can try are:

   1    Turmeric (curcumin)

   2    Omega-3 (fish, or fish oil)

2. Resolution: Be Healthier

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, daily.

  •  Lemons – Anti-inflammatory, inhibits cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, vitamin C.
  • Broccoli – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting rock-star, vitamin K & vitamin C combo builds healthy bones.
  • Dark Chocolate – 1/4th oz daily reduces blood pressure & bad cholesterol, and improves your mood!
  • Salmon/Fish/Flax Seeds/Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce risk for heart disease.
  • Spinach – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, and eye-health-improving. Toss a handful in with your eggs every morning!

3. Resolution: Spend More Time With Loved Ones

Invite some friends over to cook a healthy meal together – and schedule these dinners as often as you’d like. We’re all so busy that if we don’t schedule in time with friends and loved ones, it never happens. So put a few dinner dates on your calendar. Here’s an idea: Make a game of it by inviting a friend to walk through your local farmer’s market with you, choose some “mystery” ingredients, and see what you can do with them when you get back!

Don’t like to cook, but still want the healthy dinner? We’ve got you covered. Just serve everyone Intelligent Gourmet!

SELF CARE RITUALS TO PRACTICE DAILY – THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

 

self-care-header-for-blogLEARN HOW IMPLEMENTING THESE 10 SIMPLE SELF CARE EXERCISES INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER! .

We’ve been taught to show compassion for others, but how often do we afford ourselves with that same level of kindness?  Truthfully we don’t, and I frequently wonder why we don’t treat ourselves as our own best friend.  We’ve done some thinking and our team has created some quick and simple self care rituals that you  should practice on a regular basis.  By implementing these steps daily into your routine you will self soothe and make sure you’re at your optimum,emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Including these steps into your life will increase a little bit of love and attention for your own body, mind, and soul. With attention to your own self care you can begin to feel more connected to your inner self and what naturally follows in greater joy.
10 Self Caring Exercises that will Boost your Power

  1. Stand or sit in front of mirror Look into your own eyes and tell yourself, “I see you. You’re beautiful. I love you.”You can talk to yourself about how proud you are of a certain accomplishment or how you handled a situation at work or home. Speak about what gets you connected to the true reality of who you are an intuitive, strong, courageous being.
  2. Think Positively: Write yourself a list of positive affirmations things you are happy with right now and changes of where you want to be. Read them out loud to yourself daily. The power of affirmations is well documented the truth is that what we manifest becomes our reality!
  3. Do something grounding something that involves connecting your body with the Earth in whatever way makes sense for you. Lying on the ground in the grass and meditating for 10 minutes. Walking barefoot in the sand.
  4. Be grateful and say “thanks” for all the greatness in your life. Do this before bed and when you awake for the new day.
  5. Before you begin to eat, be mindful of your food. Take time to think about where it comes from or how it was grown, who prepared it with you or for you. Appreciate it, delight in the flavor and enjoy the food for what it is, fuel for your body.
  6. Use Laughter As Medicine: Laughter boosts oxygen levels and improves circulation and immunity response. Plus, you get a good belly workout!
  7. Get a massage regularly Getting a massage releases toxins from your body, which promotes relaxation.
  8. Try Acupuncture, acupuncture triggers your nervous system to send serotonin to your brain (instant relaxation!)
  9. Start a Journal: Journaling can help you make sense of your feelings. Simply start writing about how you feel go back and read it latter see if you don’t feel differently.
  10. A healthy diet is a big part of any successful self-care plan. Nutrition has been linked with emotional, physical, and cognitive health. Eating a healthy diet gives your brain and your body the vitamins and minerals needed to stay well.

 

Warming up to Healthy Eating- Lentil Soup

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Was last night the sixth holiday party we just attended? Yes, it surely was. Or perhaps it was the thirteen. I’ve lost count. While I relished every last friend, holiday/new year wish, hors d’oeuvre, cookie & cocktail with gusto, I am now carried away to a more sensible space. Here in Florida it’s a sometimes cold place we call January.

If you are like us and many others, who have spent the last month stuffed with stuffing and tipsy with holiday cheer, January brings with it a promising opportunity for replenishment, balance, and the only way to do that is by giving your body everything it needs to thrive. Lots of healthy foods and vegetables.

But to go right from cookies to carrots in 0 to 60 seconds seems crazy, we believe the body must be eased back into it’s normal patterns gently and reasonably. No fad diets, or pill will have you looking and feeling your best.

At Intelligent Gourmet, we know it’s not about losing weight – it’s about living your best life. That said, for many of us, part of becoming healthier, happier people involves undoing some of the less-great decisions of the last several weeks and, yes, losing weight. Unfortunately, changing your lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight (though one diet claims otherwise)

What matters is keeping your nutrition high, your calories controlled, and your exercise up!

Try working your way back into some better eating habits with a healthy soup packed with protein and vegetables. Here we share with you a recipe for a very versatile lentil soup that you can easily adapt to your families personal preferences and pantry inventory:

Ingredients

  • 1 # package of dried lentils (You can use any kind you like, red, green, brown and black beluga)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, (small diced)
  • 1 large carrots, (small diced)
  • 2 ribs of celery (small diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 1 12 oz package of winter squash cubes (available at most grocers)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • 4-6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 hand full of your favorite greens chopped, (kale, spinach, mustard, or chard)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • flat leaf parsley (for garnish)
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Start my heating some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over moderate heat, (you do not want the olive oil smoking) Add the chopped, carrot, celery and onion and allow these vegetable to sauté slowly about 8 – 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Once the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent add in your chopped garlic, salt and spices, stir and cook another 2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add in your winter squash cubes of choice and toss to combine.
  3. Add 4 cups of your stock ( chicken or vegetable depending on if you are making this vegan or not), and bring to a boil.
  4. Add in your raw lentils ( Lentils do not need to be soaked like other beans but do rinse, Check the cooking time on the package, which can vary from one type to the next. Red lentils cook in as little as 15 minutes while the black ones can take as long as 45 minutes.)
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until lentils are just tender but not mushy, and your squash is soft. (Add additional stock if you want a thinner soup adjust to your liking)
  6. When the lentils are just tender, add the chopped greens. (They’ll only take a minute or two to wilt remove the pot from the burner as soon as the greens are wilted and bright green.)
  7. Finish with freshly squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, and a generous amount of chopped parsley. Adjust salt if necessary.

CHEF NOTE:

Change up your meal in any one of these 4 ways.

  1. You can trade 1/2 the stock with coconut cream for a creamy flavor.
  2. Season with smoked paprika, a touch of liquid smoke, and a ham bone.
  3. Add in a 14 ounce can of diced tomato for another variation.
  4. Serve with a tablespoon of greek yogurt on top.

What’s All the Hype About Jackfruit

Hi I am Linda and I am so blessed to be able wake up each day and come to work doing something I love. Cooking and Creating in the kitchen at Intelligent Gourmet is my  innamorato, Italian for passionate love.

Getting Vegans and Vegetarians more protein is always a challenge, and something I spend a lot of time contemplating, then I heard about Jackfruit. To say that jackfruit is a big thing is a big understatement. It is the largest tree-borne fruit on the planet – it isn’t unusual to come across beasts weighing up to 70 lbs. in South America and South-east Asia.

jackfruit-on-the-tree-005

This all-natural, non processed ingredient has a wonderful fibrous flesh that can take on flavor from most anything. Green jackfruit can replace carnitas in tacos, braised beef in burritos, spiced lamb for gyros and more.

jackfruit-jackfruit-seeds

As we try to come out with new creative ways to provide clients protein without using any actual meat. Jackfruit, is just one of the ingredients we are playing with.  Jackfruit’s natural flavors  give you that meaty texture and taste that so  many crave, even though it’s just a fruit with some amazing health benefits.

Interested in giving this fruit a try?  Check out this recipe:

bbq-pulled-jack-fruit-tostada

2 jalapeños, finely chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp chilli powder

2 tsp cumin

0.5 tsp cayenne

6 ounce of ketchup

4 ounce lime juice (adjust with a bit for a little more tanginess )

1 cup coconut palm sugar

4 tins of jackfruit in brine

2 tbsp of your favor nut oil or avocado oil

1 tbsp dijon mustard

Fry the garlic & jalapeños in oil for a minute. Add all the spices, stir and cook until fragrant (a minute or so). Add ketchup, lime and coconut palm sugar. Stir until all the sugar has melted. Partially cover and keep cooking on a low heat until sauce has thickened to the consistency of ketchup.

Drain and thoroughly rinse the tinned jackfruit. Use your hands to tear the strands of jackfruit from the harder core. The fruit will come apart very easily. Put the pulled jackfruit into a bowl and put the cores into another bowl. Once everything has been pulled apart use a knife to finely chop the harder cores. It doesn’t matter if these are still a bit chunky once chopped as it adds more texture to the dish.

Heat oil in pan and add the pulled jackfruit. Cook until it gets a bit grey and loses some moisture. Add the dijon mustard and stir in. Add a little water if it starts to stick to the pan.

Add about half the BBQ sauce (more if you want a very sticky dish) and stir in to coat. Cook until it’s almost starting to get a little crispy and sticking to the pan a little.

Spoon on top of warm corn tacos and top with chopped lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and a squeeze of fresh lime

 

Halloween Treat Ideas

Animation Domination High-Def trick or treat cute fox halloween

There are plenty of individual portion treats to satisfy even the most discriminating Ballerina , or Pokemon. So why not opt in this year to some healthier choices to hand out?

  • Raisins
  • Pretzels
  • Juice boxes
  • Mini water bottles (they need them to stay hydrated while trick or treating)
  • Fruit snack packs, packaged in their own juices
  • Kettle Baked chips, baked tortilla chips
  • Popcorn
  • Low sugar granola or cereal bars, like enjoy life brand
    ( many of these items can be purchased at Aldi’s Market, or in bulk through amazon.com)

Keep your eye out for small inexpensive gadgets and things that kids love

  • Decorative pencils
  • Small rubber balls
  • Erasers
  • Rubber ghosts, goblins, witches
  • Waxed lips
  • Glow sticks
  • Stickers
  • Key chains
  • Marbles
  • Tic-tac-toe or other small games
  • Bubbles
  • Chalk
  • Coloring books
  • Crayons

Women’s 5 Flavors of Health Problems

From the purely anecdotal perspective of a nutrition expert and chef who talks with women on a daily basis, I’d say women’s most frequent health issues come in 5 Flavors: Lack of sleep, low energy, auto immune disorders, inflammation, and adrenal fatigue.
From my extensive study of nutrition and food, I know that these are problems that food is uniquely able to solve. In fact, just as food is the most likely cause of these issues, food can also be the solution.
Lack of Sleep may be caused by an overly demanding schedule, but it’s probably more due to feeling “wound up” in bed at the end of the day. That feeling comes from a nutritional imbalance, most likely caused by too much caffeine and too little vitamin B6 (used to make melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone), calcium (calcium deficiency is linked to insomnia), and magnesium.

hot summer sleep cant sleep jk my life is amazing right now
Your Food Solution: Try cutting out the coffee and replacing your hot morning drink fix with Yerba Mate (which also has caffeine but doesn’t leave you buzzed at bedtime), and incorporate melatonin- rich tart cherry juice and almonds (high in calcium and magnesium) into your daily diet. Together they make for an energy-boosting afternoon snack – that will help you sleep later on.
Low Energy in women can be caused by many things including low thyroid, heart trouble & clogged arteries, iron deficiency, low blood sugar, and stress.

bored paris hilton yawning
Your Food Solution: Support your thyroid with foods rich in iodine like eggs, cow’s milk, low fat yogurt, and seaweed. Make your diet heart-healthy by eating foods that help lower cholesterol, like oatmeal with cinnamon. Ensure your body gets enough iron by eating more beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, cashews and almonds (don’t take iron supplements without a doctor’s supervision since 1/200 people genetically cannot process iron and can overdose). Keep your blood sugar level by snacking on foods that balance fat and carbs, like nuts, when you need a boost. And, increase your vitamin C – which not only helps reduce feelings of stress, but returns blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels. Also, try drinking coconut water – it’s been linked to increasing energy and the metabolism!
Auto Immune Disorders like Hashimotos, Lupus and Chronic Fatigue can be caused by environmental toxins, oxidative stress, increased free radicals, fatty acid imbalance, bacterial problems, and vitamin D deficiency. While genetics are frequently to blame, they’re not the main determinant – in fact, most research points to environment and diet as the primary causes.

juice detox dance
Your Food Solution: Your digestive tract is your first line of defense against autoimmune illnesses, which means if you boost your digestive health, you’ll improve or prevent your condition. Try juicing to give your digestive system a much-needed break, and go easy on the protein (which can contribute to inflammation). Juicing is an easy way to substantially increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), which when combined with Fish oil and adequate vitamin D (sunlight!) can reduce inflammation and symptoms.
Inflammation is the body’s attempt to protect itself – it’s part of the immune system. However, inflammation can become a chronic condition, like having the switch to your immune system stuck in “On” mode. The key is in your digestive system, which when bombarded with an inflammatory diet, can wreak havoc on your body. Diarrhea, constipation, gas, heartburn and acid reflux are early signs of inflamed digestive tracts.

southparkgifs away tapping clicking red switch

Your Food Solution: An anti-inflammatory diet will do a lot to reduce pain and discomfort, not to mention the health risks associated with constant inflammation. Cut out fast food, processed foods, white flour, sugar, and alcohol for starters. Then, increase Vitamin A (pumpkin, carrots & sweet potatoes), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, wild salmon), Vitamin C (oranges, papaya, mangoes), and selenium (Brazil nuts, salmon, oatmeal). You might even try adding turmeric to your daily diet – it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory that Ayurvedic healers have used for centuries to reduce arthritis pain (and if you hate Indian food, it comes in capsules too).
Adrenal Fatigue – So many women come in saying they have adrenal fatigue, but what does that even mean? Adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands lose their ability to function normally, usually in response to prolonged stress or long-lasting infections. Sleep doesn’t help, caffeine won’t work, and you may feel more energetic after 6 p.m. than you have all day.

work vacation real housewives of orange county rhoc stress
Your Food Solution: To understand adrenal fatigue, you have to understand how cortisol behaves in your body. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and its peak hours are between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. – and from there it declines throughout the day. It’s at its lowest level during the night. Spikes in cortisol can be triggered by stress, and when that happens, your adrenals are too pooped out to give you energy to deal with it – which means that feeling stressed leads to feeling tired. Can’t seem to get up in the morning? That’s the cortisol spiking. Feel better at night? That’s because the cortisol has stopped asking your adrenal glands to work. To help even out your energy, you have to work with this cycle. Keep your blood sugar steady by eating a protein and carb-balanced breakfast as well as healthy snacks throughout the day – but stay away from caffeine, sugar and simple carbs, which can over- stimulate the adrenals.

Re-Vamp Your Breakfast Recipes, try a Quinoa Bowl

Why try a quinoa bowl for breakfast? Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all 10 essential amino acids, and a high fiber content. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 5 grams of satiating fiber, having it for breakfast will help to arm your body with the tools it needs to get through the day and stay fuller longer. As an added bonus, quinoa is packed with health boosters like zinc, calcium, iron, riboflavin, heart healthy fats and antioxidants that have been found to reduce inflammation.quinoa bowl

Recipe: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Prep Time: 5
Cook Time: 15
Yield: 2 bowls

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup canned lite coconut mylk + more for drizzling
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of dried unsweetened dark cherries
1 tablespoon of toasted pecans
1 tablespoon of toasted pumpkin seeds

Preparation:
Combine quinoa, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.
Divide quinoa into two bowls then cover with dried fruits, pecans, + pumpkin seeds and a few extra drizzles of coconut milk.

Chef Notes:  You can use a shelf stable organic Coconut mylk available at Aldi’s Markets. Or you can make your own Almond mylk but that’s for another blog.  Option to add  sweetener of choice,  we find it sweet enough with the coconut milk and fruit.

#Kidfriendly #addtoppingsofyourchoice #mixandmatchfruitsnutsandseeds #yearroundmeal

Nutrition: 302 calories, 10.3 g fat (4.9 g saturated fat), 99 mg sodium, 34.6 g carbs, 5.3 g fiber, 7.9 g sugar, 8.2 g protein

21 Change of Routine Challenge- Checklist

As our 21 day Change of Routine Challenge comes to a close, here are a few questions to ask yourself to see what areas you still need to work on.

Are you eating a colorful and healthy breakfast as well as drinking at least 2 liters of water a day?

Are you eating a big lunch and smaller dinner and starting your day off with a warm cup of lemon water instead of coffee?

Are you doing your morning stretches and spending at least five minutes in meditation in the morning and at night (I found the “Headspace” app to be super helpful)?

Are you drinking your “golden milk” at night and eating vegan for at least one meal?

Are you turning off all electronics before bed and tidying up your place before you head out for the day?

Are you saying a positive affirmation every morning and having some “me time”?

Are you eating at least 90% whole foods and 10% or less processed foods and making sure snacks are whole foods?

Are you knocking off even the hard stuff on your to do list and doing one act of random kindness a day?

Are you limiting your social media and getting 8 hours of sleep?

Did you write down your goals and put them in a place where you can see them everyday?

 

 

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!