Flourless Pumpkin Pancakes

When Fall and Winter roll around it seems only natural to want to make as many recipes as possible that use pumpkin or winter squash. This is a quick and easy way to take an inexpensive ingredient (canned pumpkin) and turn it into something delicious. 

Make approx. 8 small pancakes or 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil or Ghee (plus a little for pan frying)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed (optional and will increase yield) 
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flour (optional and will produce a bit more cakey vs. eggy pancake)

Directions:

  1. Whisk the eggs, canned pumpkin, pure vanilla extract, adn pure maple syrup together. Sift the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and baking soda into the wet ingredients. 
  2. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then, mix the butter into the batter. 
  3. If you choose to mix-in coconut flour or mashed banana, do that now. 
  4. Grease the skillet and spoon the batter into the skillet to make pancakes of your desired size. When a few bubbles appear, flip the pancakes once to finish cooing. 
  5. Serve with grass-fed butter or Ghee and cinnamon or your favorite fruit such as sliced bananas, blueberrries or pomegranates! 

Enjoy! 

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

Can the classic peanut butter cup be made sugar-free and still be just as good, if not a bit better knowing it’s sweetened naturally? YOU better believe it! Or don’t believe me, but TRY this recipe and find out how seriously true this is!  

These dark chocolate nut butter cups are ready in no time and you can customize the filling to your preferences. Choosing almond, cashew or peanut butter, or for nut allergies, simply swap in sunflower seed butter. I prefer super dark chocolate. Usually 85-90% but you could also do 75% or milk chocolate too. A sprinkle of sea salt on top is also a yummy addition and even better, I like smoke sea salt if I have some. 

Perfect little gift idea to give during the holidays, add to cookie trays & perfect for Mondays. These cups make any Monday better, I promise!

A special treat for the family with a recipe this easy can really be made anytime! 
Plus, if you make them in the mini cups, then you can feel even better about the portion size! 

Ingredients:
gluten-free, paleo, dairy-free, vegan, nut-free option, egg-free

  • 8 ounces high-quality dark chocolate (I prefer 75-85% dark) 

  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup chilled unsweetened, unsalted almond butter*

  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or raw honey

  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (you can just grind whole chia seeds in a coffee grinder, Magic Bullet, or the "dry" container of your Vita-mix or Blendtech) 

  • pinch fine grain sea salt

  • flaked salt for on top (optional) 

Directions: 

  1. Line a mini muffin tin with mini muffin cups. 
  2. In a small bowl add almond butter, ground chia seeds, the maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt. 
  3. Stir until well combined and place to the side. 
  4. Chop or break the chocolate into pieces and melt it in a double boiler (or place it in a bowl and microwave at 10 second intervals stirring in between each interval until melted.) Remove from the heat and stir the melted coconut oil into the melted chocolate. Mix well. 
  5. Drizzle about a teaspoon or so of melted chocolate into mini muffin cups and then carefully use a spoon to point the chocolate up the sides, you can also carefully and slowly rotate the cups to line the sides with the melted chocolate. 
  6. Once all the mini muffin cups are filled and lined, place the tray into the fridge to let the chocolate set, about 5-10 minutes. 
  7. Roll the almond butter mixture into 12 equal sized balls. Place each int the center of the molds and press down slightly. 
  8. Drizzle the remaining melted dark chocolate over almond butter filled molds, with just enough chocolate to cover completely.
  9. Place in the fridge until hard. (at least 20 minutes). Once set, sprinkle the flaked sea salt over each finished chocolate, if you'd like.  

Notes

You can also use cashew, peanut or sunflower seed butter. 

 

Supercharge Your Libido

We all have a need to give and receive love. Love is food for the soul. Love nourishes body, mind and spirit. And since this is the month of LOVE, I would like to talk about another level of love.  SEX.  

From ancient fertility deities to modern drugs, our history has proven that in every culture, we are always looking for better sex!  

None of us would be here without sex. Sex created me. Sex created you. If we weren't meant to enjoy sex, we would just touch index fingers or lay eggs to make babies. Or, at the very least, we would not be so full of hormones, that from adolescence on, we feel continually drawn toward sexual contact. Within the most deepest primal part of our brain, we are programmed to seek pleasure.  

The idea of sex as a nourishing, pleasurable, and recreational experience, unrelated to childbirth, is relatively new. And it may seem odd that a nutrition and lifestyle coach would be talking about sex. But we can eat an awful lot of green leafy vegetables and not get anywhere near the healing effects that come from having great sex! 

So I want to talk about nutrition AND sex.

When I think of sexual wellness, I am thinking about not only the specific nutrients that support sexual energy, but also the reproductive, sexual wellness products that we use on, and inside our bodies.  When it comes to sex and your sexual wellness #dowhatcomesnatural.

Read more HERE to learn what and why your sexual products are so important to your health!  


Just like a car stops without gas, our libido needs to fuel to function. If your love life has taken a dip, the spark in your step has waned, or your drive and energy for sex and pleasure has burnt out, I have good news for you! 

There are certain foods and nutrients that you can choose to enjoy thriving health, pleasure, and a supercharged sex life. Just as our body requires adequate amounts of nutrients to function properly, there are specific nutrients needed to fire all the hormones involved in a vibrant libido. 

Your body simply can't enjoy great sex if the proper nutrients aren't available to make it function. And this is true for everyone. Single or coupled.

For example, B vitamins are crucial for reaction and response between lovers and for adequate blood flow to sex organs. Vitamin B3 is needed for the flush of blood to skin and organs that increase orgasm, and B1 is needed for proper nerve signaling and the production of energy. 

Vitamin C, apart from increasing your immune system, is used by the body to support hormone synthesis that will help improve mood and sexual desire. 
Minerals like selenium, zinc, and magnesium are also crucial for sperm production in males, the production of testosterone and other sexual hormones in both men and women, and in supporting the neurotransmitters that allow you to be 'turned on'.  

When you are looking for loved up foods to boost libido and pleasure, I am looking for things that will provide the specific nutrients that support sexual energy. I am especially looking for nutrient dense foods that increase activity in what is called the mesolimbic dopamine pathway which is the governing center for libido; supporting neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, bonding and feel good hormone oxytocin, mood boosting serotonin, norepinephrine and acetylcholine. We want to keep this pathway open and flowing! 

Read on to learn 5 foods to boost your life between the sheets and bring back your sexual sparkle! 

1. Maca: 

This root vegetable, found in health food stores in powder form is native to Peru's Andes region, has been used for centuries for fertility, arousal, and hot flashes.  
Researchers found a few promising studies that indicate it might help healthy menopausal women with sexual dysfunction, as well as men with erectile dysfunction. Maca is also an adaptogenic food; regulating and balancing hormones for fertility, libido and energy. 

2. Cacao:

Chocolate increases both serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, giving us feelings of pleasure, happiness, and lowering our stress levels. -- Chocolate can be a great <<mood>> booster if you know what I mean! Cacao also increases blood flow through the arteries and releases blood vessels--sending blood to all the right areas. 

3. Pine Nuts: 

Zinc is the key mineral necessary to maintain sexual potency and pine nuts are super rich in zinc with around 58% of your daily requirement in a small serving. Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as Medieval times. Serve them sprinkled on salads or in a classic pesto to spark up some lovin'. 

4. Pumpkin Seeds: 

If mood is the obstacle to an adventurous sex life, pumpkin seeds could be your new best friend-with benefits!  These guys are like crunchy little Prozac pills. They are one of the best food sources of an amino acid known as tryptophan, which helps the production of serotonin in your brain. Pumpkin seeds help the brain to circulate serotonin--crucial to a sexy mood!

5. Oily Fish:

It's no secret that oily fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here's what you mightn't know: Omega 3's raise dopamine levels in the brain. The is good news for lovers, as a spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal. Dopamine will help you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes intimacy more fun! 


 You don't have to have sex to express sexuality. Express your sensuality by dressing in a way that makes you feel hot, by dancing, flirting, or wearing a pink lipstick.
Do what makes you feel beautiful and sexy!  

Sexuality aside, safe touch is an open expression of love, care & appreciation.
Find ways to connect with people. Human touch helps us realize we are all in this crazy, modern world together.  Think of it in the same way as a supplement. Be sure to get your recommended daily allowance of positive human interaction and touch!
It is not as difficult as you may think. Make eye contact. Smile. Say hello.
Talk with a partner, parent, child, or friend. Give or receive a hug. Get a massage. Whatever works for you......A little touch goes a long way. 

 

Detox The Box

More and more people are into personal wellness. I love this!  

I am all about eating well & including organic food grown without the use of harmful chemicals.
I love people who get their sweat on—on a yoga mat, in a spin class, running, in bed.
Whatever floats your boat and gets you healthy and strong!

I love that there is a growing awareness that what we put on our skin can and does get into our bodies. And I am super pumped that the current wellness dialogue has as much room for studies that prove teenage girls who switched to non-toxic cosmetics show a big drop in the levels of hormone disrupting chemicals in their urine as the increased level of antioxidants in organically grown produce vs. conventionally grown food.  

I am over the moon that more people are talking about periods, and why organic cotton tampons are a must because they’re the healthiest option for your vagina.
And I am all for healthy vaginas!! 

If your health fails, it can overshadow everything else that’s going on in your life. Health can really affect happiness and stress levels.
Making a commitment to taking on healthier habits this year can have a far-reaching payoff: you’ll feel better in everything you do!!

Often people who commit to living a healthier life start by buying natural and organic products that they eat and drink - food and beverages.  After all, these are the most readily available and what we normally think of as the most important products to use in their natural state.

However, the body care products we put on our skin, the cleaning products that we smell and touch, and the sexual wellness products we use on and in our bodies are equally important in our overall health and well-being! 

Today I am going to dive into a sexual wellness products that are imperative to our sexual health and wellness. 


Body Care Products That We Put On Our Skin

The skin is a living, breathing tissue that covers and protects our body, but also absorbs things that come into contact with it. Just as prescription drugs can be delivered through our skin via a patch, lotions, soaps, shampoos, and other body care products are absorbed by our skin.  If we use shampoo made of petrochemicals and other chemical preservatives, we absorb it into our body. If we use natural shampoo made of natural oils and herbs, we absorb those botanical ingredients instead. Which would you rather have in your body?

The more we reduce the amount of toxins we introduce to our body, whether it comes via the food we eat, the water we drink, or the body care products we put on our skin, the more we give our bodies the opportunity to be healthier, and the easier it will be for our body to get rid of the toxins we do come into contact with. 

Sexual Wellness Products That We Put In & On Our Bodies

1. Condoms

Here’s a bit of pillow talk I wish we could skip: Some condoms sold in the U.S. contain carcinogens called nitrosamines.

I know—it’s hardly the kind of news that puts you in the mood. But in 2010, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund recommended that manufacturers minimize the presence of nitrosamines, a class of carcinogenic chemicals often found in latex condoms.

Unfortunately,  I am not sure the condom industry has gotten message!  In September 2014, the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP) released independent test results of latex condoms sold in the United States. The tests found that only two major brands were free of detectable nitrosamines across their entire product line.

My favorite brand and what I happen to use these days is: SUSTAIN.
A company producing all natural condoms, lubricants and wipes for a happy, healthy vagina + sex life! 
Sustain has taken the concerns about nitrosamines in condoms to heart and has produced condoms without them. They have even lowered the protein levels in the latex to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction.
BONUS: Sustain is a father-daughter run company that is all about responsibility—not just personal, but corporate. They want the world to be a better place which is why 10% of their profits support women’s reproductive health care. All that and recycled packaging, too!
** I am not sponsored by this company, I just love the product. I am passionate about total well-being. Inside and out. 

The RHTP study noted that “concern about exposure to nitrosamines is not limited to users of condoms. Condom factory workers may also be exposed, and at much higher levels.”

Nitrosamines aren’t the only toxins to beware of.  When it comes to condoms, a variety of other chemicals can slip between us and our partners. Some are formed during manufacturing. Others are found in the fragrances, odor masking agents, flavors, and spermicides many condoms contain.  Talking about nitrosamines should be part of that conversation but it should never stop anyone from using a condom.

Why all the fuss about the chemicals in a product we may only use for a few minutes a day a few times a week? Because in a modern world filled with hazardous toxins and pollutants, every exposure counts. And staying healthy means reducing or preventing every possible contact with every potential toxin every chance we can get! 

2. Lubrication

When it comes to lubricants, there’s a lot to know.

Heard of petrochemicals? You might not have, but if you’ve ever used most lotions, face lotions. or personal lubricants, chances are they have affected you. According to the World Health Organization, and a handful of other leading health organizations, these petrochemicals damage genital and rectal cell tissue when they enter your body.

Another thing you need to know about when it comes to lubricants is Bacterial Vagnosis (BV). If you’ve never heard of BV before, you’re not alone; most women haven’t!
Here’s what you need to know:

  • BV occurs when the normal balance of good bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced with an overgrowth of certain types of harmful bacteria
  • 2 in 5 women have it, but 84% don’t know they have it
  • Women who have BV are 60% more likely to contract an STI
  • They are also 3x more likely to infect their partners

So when you put things like petrochemicals in your vagina, your vaginal ‘ecosystem’ gets disrupted. The bacterial balance changes and you become more likely to contract BV.

Find a lubricant you love that doesn't have a single petrochemical!
Again, I love & use SUSTAIN. There is not a petrochemical in site and it is 95% organic, natural biocompatible, 100% vegan and gluten-free, not tested on animals.

Now onto the stuff that might sound a little more familiar: Parabens and Glycerin. Two things that – like petrochemicals — you definitely don’t want going inside your body.
Parabens, known mostly as toxins in personal care and cosmetics, cause many of the same health effects when found in personal lubricants.
And when high concentrations of glycerin enter the vagina, cellular damage can occur.
Once cells are damaged, they are less able to protect the body from contracting an STD or STI.

3. Tampons & Pads

Feminine care. Feminine hygiene. Personal cleansing products. Intimate care.
No matter what you call them, these consumer products are manufactured for and marketed exclusively to women. This is a $3 billion dollar industry advertising to women to help them “feel fresh,” “increase confidence,” and even enhance sex appeal.

This Chem Fatale report finds toxic chemicals commonly used in feminine care products like pads and tampons — and there’s nothing sexy or fresh about toxic chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm, hormone disruption, and allergic reactions in products that come into close contact with sensitive lady parts!!
Feminine wipes, for example, can contain preservatives that release toxic formaldehyde. And test results show dioxins, furans and pesticide residues in tampons, which have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and hormone disruption! 

I firmly believe that toxic chemicals have no place in products that come into contact with some of the most sensitive and absorptive skin on women’s bodies! 
The real kicker? Many of these chemicals are not required to be listed on the label, so women have no idea what they are being exposed to. Women deserve better.

#detoxthebox and avoid all  Hall of Shame ingredients in your tampons.
Toxic chemicals don't belong in feminine OR sexual wellness products. Period.  

Empower yourself & your loved ones by knowing what you are putting on and in your body. You derserve it!  

I would love to know if you have a favorite female or sexual wellness product and what you are doing to keep it clean between the sheets!! Share with us in the comments below! 

 

"The Works" Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato

Baby, it's cold outside!! When the temperatures plummets, and it's a little grey outside, it's easy to hide under a blanket and bing-watch your favorite show. But you still have to eat right?? That is where this quick recipe comes in handy. Start with these chili-smothered sweet potatoes: they are ready in just 30 minutes so you can get back to your cozy bed fast. And they can score you some extra points for being yummy enough for your Super Bowl party!! 

"The Works"-- Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato

Serves 4: 1 cup chili + 1 sweet potato each
To make ahead: Refrigerate chili (after you make it of course) for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (you can substitute black beans if you are a vegetarian)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • l/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 140ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, I like a nice sharp cheddar or pepper jack

Directions:

  1. Cook beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumbling the beef with a spatula, until the meat is browned. 8-10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano and coriander; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes (with their juice)and water and simmer for 5 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way through, 12 to 15 minutes. OR you can bake in the oven 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 
  3. Serve the sweet potatoes topped with the chili and cheese. 

Top It: add sliced scallions, chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado and sliced jalapeños are all tasty choices. 

Make it meatless: omit the beef from the chili. Cook onion, bell pepper and garlic with 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan until tender. Stir in two 15-ounce cans rinsed black beans along with the spices and tomatoes. Serve sprinkled with cheese. 

Nutrition:
Cal 418/ fat 18g/ Carbs 35g/ Sugars 12g (0 added)/Protein 31g

REINVENT IT: THE CHILI MIX AND MATCH

Nacho Night:

Top 8 ounces tortilla chips with the chili and 2 cups shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until melted. 

Pasta Night:

Serve the chili with 8 ounces cooked pasta of your choice. Use a whole-wheat or gluten-free spaghetti. 

Let us know if you try this recipe and what your favorite toppings are in the comments below!