Healthy, Happy Holidays Ahead

When you think about the word healthy. what comes up for you? Do you believe it is attainable for you? If you could change anything about the way you live, work, play and eat what would it be?

ImageIs this in the cards for you?

Simple questions that may not be so simple to articulate but they are certainly worth exploring particularly with the holidays quickly approaching. The addition of the expectations that go along with the holidays can sometimes upset the very careful balance we create to be more fully present in our lives. Some of us become overwhelmed by the prospect of adding holiday planning into our already hectic lives. I hope to offer a few strategies and at least one easy recipe to reduce stress and allow you to enjoy your holidays however you choose to spend them.

First, remember what it is you love so much about the holidays. Focus on that and make it the priority of what you plan. Next, make a task list of what needs to be accomplished and set up a time to share with others so you don’t feel alone in making things happen. If you share the tasks not only do you feel less pressure but those you love feel needed as you are all in it together….it can be really fun! And finally, keep it simple. Some of the finest memories come from the most delightfully simple things.

The recipe I offer up today is just that sort of dish…simple but truly memorable.

pomegranate tart 2

White Bean, Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate Tart


  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 15oz can white beans drained or 1 cup prepared cannellini beans (see directions below)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry/gluten free
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds

1) Preheat oven to 425, coat 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray/oil

2) Toss the Brussels sprouts with 1 Tbsp. olive oil season with salt and pepper if desired and appropriate. Roast Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes turning once, or until browned set aside and reduce heat to 400.

3) Puree beans with remaining olive oil in a food processor until smooth.

4) Roll puff pastry into 12inch square and press into pie plate allowing edges to hang over the pie plate ½ inch or so. Prick bottom with fork and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

5) Spread the bean mixture onto hot crust, top with beans Brussels sprouts and sprinkle pomegranate seeds over top.

And only about 300 calories per serving for those of us counting calories.

I recommend using organic bulk, whole grains and beans whenever possible as it is healthier and in fact more cost effective to do so. If you chose to prepare dried cannellini beans first rinse them and then soak overnight of for at least 6 hours. This removes the enzyme inhibitors that are on all dried unprocessed whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds which can upset our digestion. Soaking beans helps break down the oligosaccharides, the indigestible sugars that cause gas in beans, as well as removing tannins, phytic acid and tryspin inhibitors.

Add about a 1 inch piece of Kombu to the beans (you will need to rehydrate the Kombu soaking it for about 5 minutes before you add it to the pot) as well to further help in making them easier to digest and to add in minerals from this sea vegetable. First place the rehydrated Kombu in the pot along with the soaking water, place soaked beans on top and cover with about 1 inch of water. They will cook from between 50 to 90 minutes depending on the bean and the texture you are seeking. Skim off the foam that gathers on top of the beans when they first start to cook as that contains the tannins and phytic acid that create digestive issues.

see photo of Kombu below: I recommend buying Maine Coast or Atlantic Sea Vegetables.

 You can find kombu in Asian markets, at Whole Foods and in many health food markets.

Be Well

Rest and Renew

Is it hard for you to recognize when you are pushing yourself too much? Do you ever wonder why after running around all day you can’t seem to settle down and relax…do you often resort to having a drink to numb your mind and relax your body? Does this effect how well you sleep? If you answered yes to even one of these questions you need a time out….read on.

Resting : time-out

Most of us are hardwired to work until we drop. This mindset doesn’t seem to have boundaries and is found in most cultures and sadly at most ages. We believe that if we are not busy, working hard, playing hard, being social, taking care of business that we are not living up to our potential. Just exactly what is that potential?

Take just a minute here and consider a day recently when your whole body was screaming at you to just sit down or take a nap. Your mind was overwhelmed, your body tired and joints or muscles ached. But you had just a couple more things to get done before you could rest….Resting : Exhausted teen girl studying lying on a sofa Stock Photo   you were trying to stay alert and focused

Resting : tired woman sleeping at the PC but you couldn’t. How did that work out for you?

There is wisdom in this quote by Ovid “What is without periods of rest will not endure” If you are not getting the rest your body needs it almost doesn’t matter how well you eat. Your body in an exhausted state will not be able to think clearly and it will not be able to fight off illness.

In this Chinese Organ Clock you can see the corresponding organ and the time of day related to each organ. I love this visual and find I refer to this clock when I recognize that I’m out of balance in my life, when I’m way too busy for my own good. It reminds me to consider that all the parts of my body are trying to function at their best. If I’m not helping by eating right and resting when needed they are not able to do their job. It helps me consider how to work together with my body while attempting to fulfill the demands of my daily life. This blogger has a wonderful explanation about how to interpret the Chinese organ clock if you’d like to learn more.

Resting : Photo of a great lion resting in the park

So I guess the message of this weeks blog is be like the big cool cats and rest when you need it. Pay attention to your body… you will be more alert and even more productive in the end. AND your body will thank you!

Be Well