Calm down with Ashwagandha

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. I apologize for not sharing one of my FAVE supplements with you!

Ashwagandha: say it 10 times fast! (Seriously, I think I call it something different every time I say it)

Ashwagandha is my go-to herb for stress relief. What I adore about this herb (also known as “Winter Cherry”) is its amazing powers to just relax me. I’m not talking about popping-a-valium relaxed, but just a natural, soothing ahhhhhhh.

What’s even more amazing is that you can take a capsule both in the morning AND at night, and it has the ability (at least for me) to give me energy in the a.m. and help me wind down after a long day. I swear my sleep is much deeper and restorative when I take ashwagandha.

You can buy ashwagandha in capsule form as I do, or it is found in special Ayurvedic tinctures mixed with other herbs.

Please consult your doctor before taking herbs if you have a pre-existing medical condition.


**Have you signed up for the FREE virtual Love Your Body Day Telesummit? No? Sign up here and get my free report, “10 Ways We Love Our Body Best.” By signing up you’ll get access to over 15 experts in the health and wellness fields, helping you to live your best, juiciest life possible. Can’t attend? No problem! Sign up anyway and you’ll get recordings of all the calls so you can listen on your own time.**

September 30, 2010 at 1:46 pm 1 comment

Celebrate Your Amazing Body with Me!

My darlings,

I cannot tell you how absolutely THRILLED I am to share a very special event that my mother and I are hosting on Sunday October 24th, 2010 at 11am EST. The best part is that you can be anywhere to join us! (You just need a computer or a phone)

We have developed the  Celebrate Love Your Body Day telesummit for women of all ages with the intention that after the day is over, you’ll love your body just a little (Ok, a hell of a lot!) more.

My mother and I have put our noggins together and contacted the best of the best women experts in these fields:

*Nutrition

*Health

*Fashion

*Hair

*Makeup

*Sleep

*Hormones

*Bone health

*Allergy

*Exercise

*Skin

*”Mojo” recovery

*Women’s empowerment

You’ll learn from these experts on how to live an even more amazing, juicy life.

Oh, and these ladies have gifts especially for YOU so you definitely want to tune in.

Oh, and did I mention that this entire day is FREE? Yeah, totally FREE.

Go to our website, check out the Save the Date, watch our cute video,  and SIGN UP!

Plus, you’ll get a free report from yours truly on “10 Ways We Love Our Body Best.” And it involves eating chocolate!

Soon we’ll be sending information about our special guests and an “official” invitation, but go ahead and sign up now and get a head start.

Now, if you’re saying: “Well, I’m not available on Sunday, October 24th,” don’t fret. If you sign up, you’ll get the recording of each call sent to your inbox so you can listen on your own time.

So, now visit our website and sign up! Drop me a note when you’ve registered…I would love to hear from you.

September 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm 3 comments

My most favorite cookbook (plus a recipe!)

I went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday…a perfect Fall day.

Unfortunately, friends, it’s the end of Mother Earth’s summer bounty: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, nectarines, peaches…ooooh, I’m drooling. I can almost taste them…

Yeah, well, sorry to disappoint but they’re out of season.

Now we’ve got apples, pears, squashes (hello pumpkin!) and lots of greens. LOTS of them.

Me? I love vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, and collards (my fave). But for someone who isn’t used to working with them, those bushy monsters can be downright scary. What the heck do you do with them when you get home? How do you actually cook a kale?

So glad you asked! I too was once like you. But then I got this amazeballs book, Greens Glorious Greens! More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens by Johnna Albi & Catherine Walthers.

Man, this book delivers. Let’s take kale, for example. The authors tell you how to shop for it, cook it, and store it. The kale chapter had 13 different recipes (all VERY easy) from basic kale, lemon-basil kale to potato kale soup. Seriously, all so easy to make.

This is a MUST-HAVE for any healthy kitchen. Sorry to say, now you no longer have an excuse not to buy your leafy greens. Which, buy the way, are super nutritious. Calorie for calorie, they pack in the most nutrition of any other vegetable. They are a goldmine of minerals (ha ha ha, get it, gold mine….oh, forget it!) like iron, potassium and magnesium. Don’t forget vitamins like K, C, E, and the B vitamins. One cup of cooked greens provides 9 times the recommended intake of vitamin K (which is super important for blood clotting, bone health, diabetes, and inflammation). So basically, eat your greens.

To get you started, here’s one of my favorite recipes from the book which I made last night.  All of my ingredients came straight from the farmer’s market…delish.

Collard Greens and Caramelized Onions (servies 2-3)

3/4 pound collard greens (6 or 7 cups, chopped)

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (although this would taste great with coconut oil, too!)

3 onions, sliced into thin crescents

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt to taste

1. Wash collards, remove stalks, and stack 4-5 leaves. Slice into strips, approx 1/4″ wide

2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 15-20 minutes, until golden and sweet.  Take care not to burn (LOL, i always do!). Add garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes until golden.

3. While the onions are cooking, bring 2-3 cups of water to boil in a 10-12″ skillet with a lid. Add collards, cover, and cook over high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The greens are cooked when they are tender but still bright green. Drain in a colander and set aside. (As an aside, you can save this water and when it cools, water your plants with it. They’ll get all the water-soluble vitamins from the collards that leached out into the water!)

4. Add greens to onion and garlic. Season with salt to taste and cook for another 1-2 minutes to heat through. Serve hot, drizzled with additional olive oil if you dare.

**Add 2 tablespoons raisins for the last 3 minutes of cooking if you wish!**

September 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm 6 comments

Press the Reset Button: Fall Health Bootcamp

It’s officially Fall! Hooray, my favorite time of year. Pumpkins, a crispness to the air, and the chance to wear that fabulous leather jacket you have.

Here’s the thing though: If you’re like me, you’re playing catch-up with your health from the summer. I know I’ve had one too many ice creams (see the past 2 day’s posts, and damn you artisan ice cream truck parked up the street from my apartment!), margaritas, and late nights out. I could definitely use a well-being overhaul!

You too? What a coincidence!

So what you have to do now is join this awesome Fall Health Bootcamp my mother and I are doing together in her midtown NYC health center.  For 6 weeks beginning October 12th, we’ll tell you all we know on how to jump start your health so you’re feeling amazeballs. So many people push off their health until the New Year, where they swear they’ll be healthy and go to the gym 6x/day, which of course they never do. I’ve learned that health must be a priority, and it certainly is not something you push off for a time “down the road.”

So here’s what you’ll learn in the 6-week bootcamp starting October 12th:

October 12th Easy Detox: How to lose the extra summer weight!

October 19th Eat to Refuel: Learn how to feed your body exactly what it needs to feel your best

October 26th Sleep to Renew: One of my mom’s specialties. What good is eating healthy food if you’re so dang tired all of the time?

November 2nd Move to Recharge: Learn the best ways to move your body.

November 9th Think to Empower: This is all about mindset, baby. Your frame of mind has is the KEY to lasting wellness.

November 16 Build your Team: How to create support around you after you set your health goals.

Don’t wait to sign up because space is very limited. Check out the information here and reserve your spot pronto.

Can’t wait to see you!

September 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm 2 comments

My MD and Me

Well, folks,  yesterday’s post generated the most comments in C&C history!

Thank you SO much to all who took the time to say a few words. I am truly grateful…reading your comments is why I do this. It truly fills my soul

I was touched (and very surprised!) at the outpouring of people who told me to ditch my MD. In all honesty, I like him. He’s a good doctor, but I think this brings up an alltogether bigger point:

How is your MD talking to you about weight? It’s no secret that most doctors get NO nutrition education in school, and often their bedside manner can be…less than stellar.

Here’s how my conversation went:

MD: “Hmmm, you’ve gained 11 pounds in the past year”

Me: “Yeah, I know.”

MD: “Tsk Tsk (yes, he did that!) Not good. You just need to eat less. Stop snacking. De-stress.”

Me: “Um, OK. I know what I need to do.”

Seriously, it was as basic as that. He didn’t really probe any deeper. Had he done that, he would learn that I have a history of emotional/compulsive eating, and “eating less” is not as simple as he makes it out to be. I mean, when you eat your emotions, as I did for so long, “stopping snacking” seems almost impossible.

For the record, my MD was not telling me that I was fat. He was, in his own, special (wink wink) way, telling me that a weight gain of 11 pounds in a year is concerning to him. I mean, it’s not a real concern since I’m perfectly healthy, but whatever, I appreciate the feedback.

But this brings up a good point: Find someone you can talk to about your health and nutrition. There are so many health counselors and RDs out there who want to HELP YOU. They will really, truly, listen to you and will create  a plan to help you achieve your goals.

I can only imagine how desperate someone else in my position would feel after talking to my MD. Seek support! If you need any recommendations, you can always contact me at amanda@cakeandcarrots.com

What’s your relationship with your MD like?

September 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm 4 comments

What happens when an MD tells an RD (to be) to lose weight

Yes, that happened. To ME.  Just yesterday.

Listen folks, I’m gonna be totally transparent here. I’m no fool. I know my weight has crept up over the past year. I’m not going to make excuses (change in schedule, school, not working out as much, poor food choices under stress) because I was the one that put my health on the back burner.

But when a doctor tells me, a student of  NUTRITION, for crying out loud, that I’ve gained too much weight and I need to lose 10 pounds, well…that kinda sucks. I ain’t gonna lie.

I’ll be honest: For a brief second, I felt like a failure, a phony. How could someone who is deemed “overweight” able to dish out health and wellness advice to the world?

That lasted for approximately 3 seconds.

What kicked in instead was a feeling of peace. Yes, peace! That I’m really OK with the fact that I’ve gained weight over the past year. And just as I made poor decisions one too many times, I can make the right ones just as easily. I’m even excited to lose a few pounds through small changes (and NO, I am NOT going on a “ohmygodIhavetolose10poundsin2weeks” diet)

But what’s even better is that I still LOVE my body. I love every inch of it. OK, maybe not every inch, but close to it. I’ve never felt better naked, and the last time I weighed this much was after my Freshman 15 in college. And I sure as hell ain’t going to let some guy (read: my MD) dictate how I should feel about myself.

So, my lovelies, repeat after me: I LOVE MY BODY, no matter WHAT the scale says.

Now say: I will NEVER let ANYONE tell me how I should feel about myself.  This is MY body, MY life!

PS. Another reason why I wanted to be completely authentic with you is to show you that being healthy, even for someone who is immersed in the health/wellness world, takes work. If you don’t make your wellbeing a priority, all of a sudden you’ll be sitting in your doctor’s office with him telling you you’ve gained 11 pounds in 1 year. So, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

September 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm 17 comments

A bad case of the Mondays

If you’re a fan of the movie “Office Space” like I am, you’ll know the phrase: “Does someone have a bad case of the Mondays?” pretty well.  In fact, as it’s Monday today, people around the world are uttering those words right now.

Do you have a bad case of the Mondays? Are you tired from the weekend or not wanting to be in your job? Yeah, I understand. Me too, sometimes.

But for me, Mondays take on a different hue: I’m “back on” my “good” eating.

Does this sound like you? You eat “well” all week, go to the gym, feel good about your diet. Then then weekend comes along (I like to call it the WEAK-end) and you’re more relaxed, eating and drinking more, perhaps skipping a workout. And then before you know it again it’s Monday!  “Oh crap!” you say to yourself, “I totally blew the weekend with my diet! I’ve gotta get back into healthy eating again.”  And around and around it goes, until you’re trapped in the Mondays hamster wheel.

I thought you might know a thing or two about this.

So, what to do? Unfortunately the answer is deceptively simple: Don’t engage in WEAK-ends.

Meaning:

1. Continue listening to what your body wants. Don’t use the excuse “Well, heck, it’s Friday so I should have 7 drinks and pizza” because that’s what your conditioned to do. Listen to your body. Do you really WANT that?

2. Schedule in your workouts. And I mean in your calendar. With pen. Perhaps try hitting the gym first thing when you wake up to get it out of the way. Or, instead of your usual routine try something else: a new exercise class, a hike, or a long walk exploring your neighborhood (that’s my fave weekend workout)

3. Stock up the fridge on Thursday night. This is one I need to remind myself of, too. If you’re like me, you buy lots of groceries on Sunday night for the upcoming week, and by Friday, most of your food is gone, leaving you to rely on take-out, restaurants, and foods you wouldn’t normally consume (read=not as healthy). Why not make a trip to the supermarket on Thursday night so your fridge is stocked with all your favorite, healthy foods for the weekend?

4. Indulge more during the week. What the heck, Amanda? Yes, it’s true! If you’re trying to be too “good” and “perfect” with your eating during the week, not allowing yourself any treats, it’s no wonder you’re splurging during the weekend. Friends, my blog is called CAKE and carrots for a reason: there is room for both in your diet. If this scares you, start by adding one small treat during the week and see if that feels good to you, and if it makes any difference in the way you eat during the weekend. Perhaps a little dark chocolate is all you really need.

Do you have a case of the “Mondays” today?

September 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm 6 comments

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