Holy Cacao!

Author: Alyssa, Certified Health Coach - April, 15th, 2015 | Category: Blog Posts, Happenings at AME, Health Coaching, promotion, recipes

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“There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.” – Linda Grayson

Cacao has often been referred to as a superfood. It is delicious and has many health benefits. Cacao is beneficial in managing PMS symptoms, metabolizing glucose, keeping the heart healthy, guarding against toxins, easing depression, and it also helps act as a delivery agent for many other superfoods like mushrooms, goji berries, and spirulina not to mention, it is high in minerals. The idea that chocolate is good for us comes from the health benefits of raw cacao. Unfortunately, once we heat the cacao and turn it into your average, traditional chocolate, many of the health benefits referred to have been lost. Consuming raw cacao is a great way to satisfy  your sweet tooth as well as reap some healthy benefits.

What is cacao? Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume. In it’s most natural form cacao is a seed. Everything chocolate comes from this seed known as cocoa beans.  Chocolate does not have sugar or dairy until it is added in.

What is in cacao (and how it’s beneficial to our health)?

Magnesium
heart, brain, muscle cramping, elimination, alkaline, bone strength

Iron
blood

Chromium
balances blood sugar

Copper
blood, immunity

Manganese
blood

Vitamin C
Zinc
immunity, liver, pancreas, skin

Omega-6 Fatty Acids
healthy unless chocolate is cooked and then it is a trans fat

Phenylethlamine
focus, alertness, appetite suppressant

Anandamide
endorphin (same as what is released after exercising)

Tryptophan
mood enhancing

Seratonin
stress defense

Fiber
elimination

Methylxantines
antibacterial, cardiovascular

Oxalic Acid
when cooked is bad for the kidneys

There are many reasons to eat chocolate only when pure and raw.  The oxalic acid and omega 6 fatty acids become problematic (trans fat and oxalates).  There are a lot of delicious ways to use raw cacao.  You can buy nibs, powder, and cacao butter. Blue Mountain Organics carries many great cacao products. One of the special qualities cacao has is that it hides the flavor of foods that might not taste so great to you (or your kids!).  You can eat spirulina with cacao and never even taste it.

One of my favorite recipes with raw cacao is super easy, healthy, and delicious! This protein immunity pudding can be modified according to your tastes and it is really hard to mess it up so feel free to add or subtract ingredients. I’m not a fan of mushrooms so I skip those and I like to add in maca powder.

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Chocolate Protein Immunity Pudding

Ingredients Needed:

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 little chunk of cocoa butter
1 tsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 tsp reishi mushroom
1 tsp chaga mushrooms
1 Tbsp spirulina
1 handful of spinach
1 handful frozen strawberries
1 handful goji berries
a very small pinch of raw vanilla

Preparation:

Soak the chia seeds in the coconut milk for 30 minutes. Then place chia seeds and milk in a mixer along with all other ingredients and blend. Sprinkle with cacao nibs if you like. IT IS YUMMY and healthy.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz.

There are so many raw goodies you can make with cacao that are really healthy. One of my favorite treats is cacao covered raisins.

Brendan Brazier put out a maca bar recipe for Mother’s day. Those are another one of my favorites!  Raw cacao, maca, maple syrup, macadamia nuts, coconut….yummmmm.  They make a delicious and good for you treat!

Another good use for cacao is to make protein bars with raw cacao, hemp protein, coconut oil and a few other wonderful ingredients of your choice.

I also make smoothies with cacao, coconut milk*, banana, and spinach. It is healthy as can be and it tastes delicious!

*It is important to use a non-dairy milk when making recipes with cacao as research has shown that dairy inhibits the antioxidant absorption in raw cacao

How do you cacao? Please share any good recipes!

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SPA WEEK IS HERE!!!

Have you scheduled your spa week appointment? If not, call AME today! Spa week ends this Sunday, April 19th.

For more details on Spa Week services, please visit our website!

Disclaimer: Please note: Spa Week services are only available with select providers. Spa Week services are only available during the promotion period April 13 – April 19, 2015. May not be combined with any other promotions and/or offers. Call AME for details.

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Just a Spoonful of Turmeric

Author: Alyssa, Certified Health Coach - March, 11th, 2015 | Category: Blog Posts, Health Coaching, recipes, Wellness

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Turmeric is best known for being one of the main spices in curry. I am not a huge fan of curry dishes so I incorporate turmeric in my diet in other ways. Fresh pressed juices, teas, and smoothie recipes are my top choices for getting my turmeric in. I also love to add it to my tofu when I make tofu scramble and sprinkle it on my sautéed veggies.

Turmeric is a relative of ginger and they look very similar with the exception of turmeric being orange on the inside. Keep that in mind when shopping for your turmeric – although, you can’t go wrong with ginger but that’s for another day. Fresh turmeric is best but if that’s not available to you, go for a high quality powder form.

WHY eat turmeric?

Turmeric has countless benefits. These are my favorite benefits but my list is certainly not exhaustive:

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HOW should I eat turmeric?

Turmeric is fat soluble meaning you should eat it with a fat in order to absorb it more effectively. When adding turmeric to my sautéed veggies, I make sure to sauté them in coconut oil. When adding to a smoothie, I make sure to add coconut or almond milk. Avocado is another great fat to pair turmeric with and can be incorporated in a variety of ways: smoothies, rice and veggie dishes, sandwiches.

Eating turmeric with black pepper is ideal because the black pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric. Bioavailability essentially refers to the efficiency of which a substance is absorbed and made available for the body to use. When possible, add black pepper to your turmeric – I do not do this with my smoothies!

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Green Turmeric Smoothie

Add all ingredients to the blender. I like to add some ice for the consistency. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

*If using turmeric powder, use 1/2-1 teaspoon **If you prefer a sweeter smoothie, add more fruit.

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As always, if you are taking medications or have certain health conditions, check to make sure turmeric is beneficial and safe for you. Keep in mind, certain quantities of turmeric may lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, thin the blood.

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Give the Gift of Health

Author: Alyssa, Certified Health Coach - December, 17th, 2014 | Category: Blog Posts, Health Coaching, holiday, recipes, Wellness

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Still looking for the perfect gift for someone or maybe even for yourself? Why not give a gift that counts? Your health is the most important thing you have.

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People are always asking me what exactly a Health Coach does. I respond that as a health coach, I help people find balance and learn to live their best life possible. Health coaches help you understand your lifestyle habits and then work with you to address those habits and improve on them. One of the best things about Health Coaching is that it is customized to fit each individual’s needs and goals. Since every one of us is different, there is no one size fits all approach to health coaching. Health coaching sessions can cover everything from stress reduction to weight loss/gain, healthy eating and learning how to grocery shop efficiently to healthy relationships as well as everything in between. The majority of people can benefit from health coaching as long as they are committed and ready for change.

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There are many reasons people seek the help of a Health Coach, accountability being one of the most important. More often than not, it is very hard to make lifestyle changes and stick to them long-term. Checking in with someone on a routine basis holds you accountable and keeps you honest with yourself. Health coaches help you find the motivation and resources needed to keep on going in the direction of your goals as well as give you support every step of the way.

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What are some of the reasons people have a health coach? There are numerous reasons to have a health coach, the following are some of the more common reasons:

  • Feeling constantly stressed out
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Being ready to make lifestyle changes (i.e. working out regularly, healthy cooking) but unsure how to start
  • Tired of being overweight or you recently gained weight and have been unsuccessful in losing it
  • You want to prepare more of your own meals and avoid processed foods
  • Tired of going on and off diets and ready to make healthy living your lifestyle
  • Constant cravings
  • You feel bad more often than good
  • You are confused about all of the food lingo i.e. GMO’s, organic, all natural, erythritol, gluten-free, etc.

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To learn more about the concepts discussed and what is included with your health coaching sessions, click here. AME offers different options depending on your health coaching needs, to find out more, click here and/or send me an email: Alyssa@www.amesalonandspa.com or call AME today to schedule a Words of Wellness session. What are you waiting for? You deserve this. I’m looking forward to talking with you!

Recipe Time!

I found this recipe for Rosemary and Thyme Loaf on Food Matters and it was delicious. I’m not gluten-free but this recipe is! Next time I make it, I plan on adding some pecans.

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Your Best Face Forward

Author: Alyssa, Certified Health Coach - December, 10th, 2014 | Category: Blog Posts, Happenings at AME, Health Coaching, holiday, recipes, Skin Care, Wellness

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One of our fabulous estheticians, Debbie has some great holiday skin care advice for you:

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“It’s all About that Face, no Trouble!

In light of the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, shipping and schlepping, the holidays truly are the most wonderful time of year. Generosity abounds, goodwill towards mankind seems effortless. However as important as finding the perfect gift, so is allowing yourself the much needed time to refresh your skin and to give your face the attention it deserves!

Dehydration, dark circles, and tired stress lines are in part due to the hectic pace we keep. Constant indoor/outdoor temperature fluctuation wreaks havoc on your complexion. For your skin to look its best be sure to schedule the time for a professional facial. As your esthetician, we will assess your immediate needs and provide your FACIAL fix as well as help you with your long-term aging remedies. Be sure to drink more water during the winter months because the body works harder to stay warm and uses up its moisture reservoir. Also, consider a humidifier* in your bedroom as this will make a huge improvement on your skin’s moisture retention. Above all, be sure to use a high quality night cream… it’s the most important time for your skin to replenish and restore lost nutrients preparing for yet another day of holiday havoc! 🙂 “

*I use this humidifier and I love it. I definitely notice a difference since using it. Just make sure to clean your humidifier on a regular basis.

Debbie’s top choices for night time care:

Click HERE to view our many facials and then call us to schedule your facial with Debbie or any of our other talented estheticians. I can tell you from experience, you will not be disappointed! My personal favorite is the Mega Peel Facial but your esthetician will help you decide which facial best fits your needs.

I would also recommend the Clarisonic (we carry a variety of colors). I LOVE it! My mom gave me the Clarisonic for Christmas one year and it is by far one of my most favorite gifts. I use it everyday and I love how much it has improved my skin. Feel free to ask Debbie or any of our other estheticians if you would like to learn more about the clarisonic or any of our other skin care products.

pumkin oat cookies

I made these really yummy cookies for Thanksgiving and more since then just to enjoy at home. I can’t say they were a huge hit with my T-Day crowd (I think the pies and other sweets upstaged them) but I love them. They’re not terribly sweet which I like. You can make them plain or dipped in chocolate. The chocolate adds the perfect amount of sweetness. The ingredients are so great, I’ll enjoy a plain one (or chocolate dipped depending on my mood) with breakfast.

Recipe: Easy Dark Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Cookies by Elizabeth Rider

Notes:

Who’s making cookies? What kinds? Please let me know if you have a recipe I should try.

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PHOTO: http://tribune.com.pk

Speaking of sweets, if you missed the post on our FB page about sneaky sugar, check it out here. Yet another reason showing you how important it is to read your food labels carefully. Helping you navigate these sneaky encounters is one of the many benefits of having a Health Coach. As always, feel free to contact me with any sugar, label reading, or other health and wellness questions you might have. I enjoy hearing from you! Alyssa@www.amesalonandspa.com

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