Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Green 'Superfoods'

It seems a lot of us get confused when it comes to green superfoods, as we hear more and more about them and their importance in our diet. I decided to make a list and provide some detail in my own words. Lets break it down!

In a general sense, superfoods are those found in nature and are nutrient dense; meaning they hold tons more vitamins and minerals (better for you) than the average veggie. They are a great source of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients that the body cannot make on its own, but need in order to reach optimal health.

Green superfoods are the easiest to digest, they contain fat burning compounds and protect and heal the body against disease and illness. They also include proteins and good bacteria for the muscles and tissue while acting as an aid to the digestion system (meaning anything else you eat will be digested much easier, thanks to its natural enzymes!). Green superfoods contain large amounts of chlorophyll (remember sixth grade science?); chlorophyll makes plants green. The structure of chlorophyll is much like the human blood, so when we take it in the making of hemoglobin (protein molecule in our blood cells, carries oxygen from the lungs to our tissue then carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs) increases, meaning much more oxygen in the blood!

Here is a list of green superfoods and a bit more about them individually:  

Wheat grass: Wheat grass is very mainstream nowadays, but it is important you get the right kind (I'll be posting brand recommendations soon!) Wheat grass is sprouted grass of wheat seed that does not contain gluten or allergic proxies because it has been sprouted (much like why I suggest soaking grains, like those in 'Pretty Porridge'). Wheat grass is alkalizing (balances pH levels), helps improve blood, aids the thyroid gland (metabolism function assists digestion and weight loss) because of its enzyme content and ability to cleanse the body.

Barley grassBarley grass can help counterbalance heavy metals (like mercury) in the blood stream; mercury is a common concern now a days, tuna carries a lot of it (try to buy 'low mercury tuna,' especially in the can--a lot of companies will note if they are low mercury on the label). Amazingly enough, barley grass has way more calcium than cow’s milk (about 11 times the amount), five times more iron than spinach and seven times more vitamin C than orange juice. It also contains a large amount of vitamin B12 (vegetarians, you need lots of this!), which has the ability to increase energy. 

Wild blue-green algaeWild blue-green algae is a phyto-plankton and contains tons and tons and tons of nutrients. It has a much more comprehensive amino acid profile than beef or soy beans and is 60% protein! Amino acids help promote brain function so needless to say, wild blue-green algae can up the brain function and memory while improving the immune system with its mass amounts of vitamin B and beta carotene (not just found in carrots)!

Spirulina: Much like wheat grass, spirulina is becoming much more mainstream and people are starting to hear about it and ask questions (its been consumed for thousands of years by the indigenous people in Mex. and Africa). So, what is it exactly? Well, obviously a superfood, but aside from that it is a protein! It contains 70% complete protein (steak only consists of 25% once its been cooked). I’m sure you’ve heard that protein helps cut cravings--welp, guess what? Spirulina does just that, as it helps to control blood sugar levels. It’s a great tool for those with diabetes and anyone looking to tone up and shed a few pounds.

Chlorella: I hate the sound of this! Sounds mean. Chlorella is a fresh water algae that too is very high in protein, contains all the B, C and E vitamins and lots of minerals (talk about beauty!). It also helps to reduce cholesterol, preventing heart attacks, stokes and the hardening of arteries (this doesn’t just happen to "old" people anymore, so don't be fooled).

What about green leafy vegetables? They are not necessarily considered 'superfoods,' however much better for you than the average veggie. Green leafy vegetables are everywhere and easy to grab but lots of people don’t eat them. I agree, they are a bit intimidating but I will continue to share some recipes that will hopefully make them much more tempting to try! It is super important we incorporate green leafy veggies for tons of reasons, beauty, health, energy and especially so we can eat and drink however we want from time to time without it taking such a toll on our bodies! A few of my favorites are spinach, kale, swiss chard, arugula, watercress, collard greens, brussel sprouts (eh, sort of considered a 'leafy' veggie!) and dandelion greens. 

I'll let all that sink in before I go on--ha! Check back soon for brand recommendations and how to get your daily dose of 'superfoods!' xo

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soirée Thursday

It's Thursday and in my Hudson nestled apartment, it means soirée night. Thursdays after work, my roommates and I make our trek home with one thing on our minds: well, cocktails, of course. We turn up our 80s hits playlist, loop in additional soirée-goers, snatch up festive napkins and treat ourselves to a week well-done.

Here's what we're sipping this evening: (ingredient list serves 1)

1 1/2 oz. mandarin vodka
1/2 oz. POM juice
1/2 oz. Pellegrino
Orange twist for garnish

Add all ingredients into a cocktail glass, stir and garnish with an orange twist (use a veggie peeler to make the twist--that's the easiest way, in my opinion).
*Switch up who buys cocktail napkins each week, from silly to classically elegant, it's fun to take turns.

To YOU! xo

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Art Of Display

Living in the city I have been exposed to an exceptional amount of culture and have found an even greater passion for art. No matter size or cost (even if it's homemade!) knowing how to display your beloved artwork can be the one of the most difficult challenges when it comes to home décor.

This photo (above) demonstrates one way to embrace an abstract piece, the pristine trim, floor and walls allow it to stand without distraction. Use a simplistic, razor-thin frame to keep the complexity of abstract neat and sleek against white walls. Build off art--add pillows, flowers, coffee table books, etc. throughout the room to tie in favored colors found within the piece. xo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ditch The Take-Out Thai Wraps

This recipe is long overdue! I had mentioned these wraps a couple of months ago and realized I had yet to write up the recipe, so here it is. 

Great for entertaining, these raw and vegan wraps (alternative to traditional 'Thai Lettuce Wrap' recipes) are a healthy option that will help you to incorporate those hard to eat veggies (ie: collard greens). The inspiration came from one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Pure Food and Wine--I created an easier recipe with accessible ingredients for a wrap we all could try! 

Ditch the Take-Out Thai Wraps: (serves 4-6) 

1/2 lemon (juiced)
1 1/2 tbs. ginger (chopped)
1 tbs. red chili (chopped, seeds included; make sure to wash your hands well after--chili can burn!) 
1/2 head savoy cabbage (shredded)
2 cups bean sprouts
6 large collard green leaves
1 handful/bunch cilantro leaves
1 handful/bunch mint leaves
1 large green apple (cut into matchsticks)

1 cup raw almond butter (regular works too--it's a lot less expensive, just isn't "raw")
1/4 cup agave 
1 1/2 tbs. nama shoyu (tastes like your average soy sauce, just better for you)
Sea salt

Rinse all ingredients well. Chop cabbage, place in a large bowl with bean sprouts. Set aside.

In a blender puree ginger, red chili, lemon juice, agave and nama shoyu. Add almond butter, a pinch of sea salt and continue to blend until smooth. Pour into the cabbage-bean sprout mixture (the mixture you set aside) and toss well. 

With a knife, remove vein (middle) of the collard greens. You'll be using the leaves to wrap the ingredients. 

Set up your wrapping station. What you'll need on hand: collard greens, mint, cilantro, apple and cabbage-bean sprout mixture. Wrap away (rally friends to help)!

Once you've made all the wraps, it's time to make the sauce to dip them in (majority of the ingredients are listed above--all you'll need other than the above is olive oil and limes).

3-4 limes (juiced)

1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil 
3 tbs. agave
1 tbs. nama shoyu 
Sea salt

In a blender combined all ingredients. Blend until smooth. 

Serve wraps and dipping sauce cold on/in your favorite serving platter and bowl. Here are two of my recent orders from Pottery Barn (Target always has great finds!):

Handled Ceramic Serving Platter ($59)
Montana Gravy Boat & Ladle ($29)

Now, throw a 'wrap up summer' party and celebrate the start of a new season. Enjoy! xo

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marc By Marc Jacobs Spring 2012

The spring Marc by Marc Jacobs collection is a seamless representation of youth. Start to finish, from the music to hair and make up, the show was all things young and fresh. 

Bold colors (orange, red, yellow, pink) paired with white and darker hues (black, navy, green) in the form of color blocking and stripes--a combination of preppy and retro. The collection also included a pinkish-purple tropical bird made into a pattern, one we will most definitely recognize come spring!

Jumpers, belted dresses, lightweight coats and sweaters, short shorts paired with simplistic tops, energetic bags and swimsuits to boot; Jacobs supplied the audience with all things vacation worthy (even when it came to menswear). 

I love this collection because of the simplicity of each piece, though ultimately complex with the use of colors/patterns and of course, all the eye-catching accessories (ie: wedges!).

I think I'll start planning that spring getaway--now. xo

My attempt to capture the show via phone.

Photo Credit: Getty Images. Harper's Bazaar. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Night With Marc

Fashion's Night Out to Fashion Week--a peek at the 'chic-chaos' on the city streets and into the Marc Jacobs after party at the Mondrian SoHo. 

Spring 2012 is looking incredible. Check back soon for updates and favored trends!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

High Lunge/Crescent Pose

Why Yoga?

I'm sure you've seen pictures of people practicing yoga, gorgeous, insanely flexible, with rippling core muscles of steel. These yogis throw themselves upside down, backwards, sideways, then right side up with a smooth grace that is eminently enviable. This isn't the yoga that most of us will ever do...and honestly why would we really want to?

What about yoga for real women? Women with jobs, lives, partners, friends, and other types of exercise; all competing, trying to fit into the schedule. Essentially, what about yoga for you? Yoga can be a part of your life allowing you to gain a greater awareness of your body, an increased flexibility in the muscles, ligaments, and joints, better balance (not just good for high heels), and strength with muscle development and lengthening (legs, arms, core, etc...!). Yoga also lets you connect to your breath and meditative self allowing for a greater development of awareness and peace and calm (excellent for hectic schedules).

One of the best things about yoga is you don't need anything to do it. I recommend comfy clothes that allow for movement and that you don’t mind sweating in (you will very likely sweat during yoga!). Eventually you may want to invest in a yoga mat, but when beginning you can go without. You can always grab a cheap mat at Target or TJ Maxx ($12-15) to get you started.

Some yoga tips:

1. Do yoga barefoot.
2. Breathe in and out through the nose.
3. Yoga links the breath and movement – try paying attention to your breath, it can be really difficult at first.
4. Let go of your ego! Yoga is an individual practice: your body may need to build to more difficult options, do what you can and you’ll progress naturally! This will not only help you avoid injury (although that is massively important too) but also to build mindfulness and respect for your body.
5. Your flexibility and balance will differ on each side of the body and each day, yoga strives to bring symmetry to the sides but there will always be differences – don’t dwell on these (again, see ‘ego’).
6. Yoga will probably not feel natural at first.
7. Don't get discouraged, yoga is a practice; everyone topples out of poses (including and especially teachers!), everyone has wobbly days - perhaps you can do a pose one day and not the next, that is fine, challenge yourself to accept it.

Pose to try: High Lunge/Crescent Pose (great for lengthening and toning pretty much everything)

Step one: From standing at the top of your mat facing forward, place your hands on your hips and step your left foot back about 3/4 of the way back. Keep your right foot pointing forward and stay on your left toes. Bend into your right knee until it is at a 90 degree angle, you may need to move your right foot further forward or back so that your knee stays directly above your ankle.

Step two: As you inhale, circle your arms out to the sides and overhead reaching your fingertips toward the ceiling. Keep your arms actively reaching upward (while your shoulders move down away from your ears), let your torso come straight up out of your pelvis, keep your ribs and core pulling in, sink further into your right knee, press back through your left heel and lift through your left quad to straighten the leg. Activating as many muscles in the body as possible will give you the most benefit from the pose.

Make it harder: Begin to lift your gaze and your chest toward the ceiling arching your back. Pull the core in tightly here to take strain out of the low back. Sink lower into the front knee. You can even bring your left arm down behind your back reaching for your left thigh – this adds the element of a detoxifying twist to the pose and feels awesome!

Keep breathing slowly in and out through the nose; see if you can hold the pose for 6-10 slow breaths

When you are ready to exit the pose, exhale and bring your hands back to your hips, as you inhale begin to shift your torso/weight forward, as you exhale step your left foot forward to meet the right. Repeat on the other side. There may seem like a million things to remember, but do your best and it will get easier!


I fell out of the pose twice-oops!;) xo Molly

Friday, September 2, 2011

Skinny Girl Danish

This is one of my favorite mid-morning snacks! It's super easy to make and a great combo of protein and carbs, plus the perfect bit of sweet. 

1 unsalted brown rice cake
2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce (mixed berry-apple in the photo)
1 heaping tablespoon low-fat cottage cheese
Cinnamon to taste 

Not much to it-add the applesauce and cottage cheese to the rice cake then sprinkle cinnamon on top! One of my friends swore off sweets and after trying this, called me raving about her "skinny girl danish"-hence how it got its name. 

Dairy (ie: cottage cheese) and meat products: In my opinion, added hormones and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) should not be consumed so I always try to buy "free-range" or organic. You want to make sure what you're putting into your body is the best thing for your body and in its purest form, but of course within reason for your lifestyle. A lot of my friends cannot afford to buy all organic (nor can I all the time-though I tend to put food quality before buying clothes, shoes or anything extra, we all splurge on different things!); I always tell friends to start with limiting conventional meat and dairy first (including eggs). 

Conventional (nonorganic) meat and poultry are fed conventional food, most often grains and GMO soy to fatten animals up (bigger animals equals more of them to sell). Just like humans, animals store fat and in this case, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers found in the grains are stored as toxins in that fat. In confined areas without much room to roam (and a greater chance for sickness to spread), conventionally raised animals and poultry do not get much exercise and we all know how important exercise is for optimal health! In attempt to keep animals healthy, antibiotics and other drugs are used and in the United States, one know as "Posilac" (banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the EU and in Japan) is used to increase milk production. These drugs often cause udder infection and with that occurs pus (hate that word), the pus then gets into the milk (ewy!). Growth promoting hormones are also injected into meat cattle (natural and synthetic), many of the synthetic hormones used in the U.S. have been banned from Europe. 

Most Americans are not spending the extra money on natural/organic meats and poultry and cost can surely be a huge reason for that. Though, I try to think of shopping as voting-everytime I buy a product that lacks quality I am voting for it and telling farmers and government that I am okay with them producing foods which lack quality. Nope-I don't think so! 

Certified organic meat, poultry, dairy and eggs have been fed certified organic food, also they have not been medicated which limits a consumers toxic intake. Though, just because something is "certified organic," it doesn't mean those animals have exercised nor does it tell you exactly what they have eaten (even organic is not perfect, confusing I know!). We all learned in elementary school that cows eat grass, not grain (their digestive systems are not meant to handle it); don't stress or get confused, organic is still very important but if you see "grass-fed" that is obviously the ideal option-just take it back to what you learned in elementary school and you may surprise yourself with just how much you really know! 

Grab some tea and indulge in our 'skinny girl' no-oven needed 'danish!' xo