Posts Tagged ‘beverly hills’

Indulge and Go Dark: A Heart Healthy Halloween by Carina Sohaili

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Halloween and the numerous holidays coming up are a time for friends, family and memories to be made. Depriving yourself of certain foods tend to lead you to overeat the foods you forbid in the first place and then deprive yourself of them again; an unhealthy cycle. How do you enjoy yourself while being healthy? Become a fan of dark chocolate! I also have included two of my favorite “no brainer” Eat Yourself Gorgeous healthy dark chocolate recipes: my warm dark chocolate pumpkin puree and my divine dark chocolate apple crisp sandwich.

Select wisely. Many labels advertise “healthy dark chocolate” but really are loaded with processed sugars, excessive ingredients and preservatives (defeating the purpose of going dark). Make sure the chocolate is made with a minimum of 70% pure cacao and read the back of the label. Try to get as real as possible with little added ingredients. I always carry a small square in my purse whenever I need a 3PM pick me up or post dinner treat. I also love munching on a small handful of dark chocolate chips (Lily’s brand is a great choice) instead of that afternoon cup of coffee. If you are looking for an easy but healthy Halloween treat – this is it. Trader Joe’s has great pre-portioned snack bars. Just because dark chocolate has incredible health benefits does not mean you can go to town! Balance is key. Around 1-2 squares (1/2 ounce) is a good snack size.

BEAUTIFUL benefits of going dark:

  1. Beat cavities. Dark chocolate contains Theobromine, a compound that hardens your tooth enamel, lowering the risk of cavities.
  2. Feel good. Dark Chocolate triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your brain. The same “feel good” hormones that get released after you do physical activity or when you are falling in love.
  3. Control Cravings. This delicious delight does not spike your blood sugar levels. What does that mean? You will have more stable energy levels throughout the day, and not have that sudden crash you normally get with other candy. Most candies contain tons of sugars and hidden preservatives that make it very hard to tell when you are actually full. So you just keep munching and suddenly the bag is empty!
  4. Fight the flu. Dark chocolate contains zinc (which most people lack in their diet). Zinc is a mineral superstar when it comes to boosting your immune system and also great for smooth clear skin.
  5. Focus. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the heart and brain improving your thought processing abilities. Brain food!

Eat Yourself Gorgeous Divine Dark Recipes (all take twenty minutes or less to make):

Divine Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Sandwich: Slice up an apple and bake in the oven for around fifteen minutes until the top is a golden brown. Spice up your life and add spices of your choice (nutmeg is a great one). Apples are nature’s candy but if you like things extra sweet sprinkle on some stevia (an all natural sweetener). Then melt ½ ounce of dark chocolate, spread and smack together to make your baked apple dark chocolate sandwich.

Quick tip: practice planning! Take an hour on Sunday and make a batch of dark chocolate apple sandwiches for the week ahead so you can have a delicious, divine treat whenever that craving hits. I have a client bring these babies to work and she shares them with the entire office instead of her normal weekly crispy cream run.

Warm Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Puree: Use 1/2 cup of organic canned pumpkin, which you can find at any local market, and is the same price as normal canned pumpkin. (For another easy pumpkin recipe check out my pumpkin spice pancake video tutorial here.) Blend the pumpkin with ½ ounce of melted dark chocolate and heat up in saucepan for around two minutes. If the combination of pumpkin and dark chocolate is too bitter for you simply sweeten with one tablespoon of stevia an all-natural sweetener from the stevia leaf.

Check out my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Meal Makeover Fall Video Series HERE!

Watch for more pumpkin recipes (pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin parfaits AND my pumpkin pancake taco) as well as my favorite healthy comfort foods (cauliflower garlic mashed potatoes and skin clearing spaghetti squash)

Connect with me and let me know how your divine dark recipes turn out!

I am here to answer any questions you may have. Remember, everyone is different, has different tastes, preferences and goals. Find a way to make these recipes work for you, in your life.

As always, focus on progress not perfection. Every small change counts.

Join the community for inspiration and more health tools:

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Love always,

Carina

Eat Yourself Gorgeous Meal Makeover: Healthy Comfort Food: Skin Clearing Spaghetti Squash by Carina Sohaili

On this episode of Eat Yourself Gorgeous Meal Makeover learn how to make one of my favorite healthy comfort food recipes: skin clearing spaghetti squash! I even explain how to make a healthy dessert pasta at the very end of the video! Check out my healthy pumpkin spice pancake and Pancake Taco episode below if you missed it. For more videos swing by the Meal Makeover section of my site here.

Connect with me and join the Vibrant Healthy Life community for daily inspiration, tips and tools:

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Love always,

Carina

Fuel up with Foods to Focus by Carina Sohaili

We all have those days where it seems impossible to focus. Here are some simple foods to add to your daily diet to improve your focus, mood and get you ready to conquer.

  1. Brilliant Blueberries. Blueberries contain specific antioxidants that have been shown to increase oxygen to the brain. Blueberries are also packed with Vitamin-C, Vitamin-E and have incredible cancer fighting benefits. Have a cup of blueberries for a mid-morning snack or throw them in your oatmeal.
  2. Sassy Salmon. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been directly shown to improve your mood, increase your memory and concentration levels. These healthy fats also will reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Not to mention great for your heart health. Have a couple of cut salmon rolls with brown rice for lunch, or go for a delicious steamed salmon entrée.
  3. Wonderful Walnuts. Walnuts have protein, essential fats and B6 – a vitamin that has been shown to increase energy levels. Walnuts also have been shown to increase Serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain which helps you react to stress better. Don’t go too crazy with these nuts; ¼ of a cup is a perfect snack size. They can be a great addition to a salad, or sprinkle some on Greek yogurt for a crunchy munch.
  4. Delicious Dark Chocolate. Indulge in Dark Chocolate for a 3pm pick me up. A great snack size is ¼ of a bar (2-3 small squares.) Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, and stimulates the release of ‘feel good’ hormones in your brain. The caffeine in dark chocolate will keep you alert without the crash later on.
  5. Cha-Cha Chia it up. Chia seeds are tiny, powerful and nutrient dense. Add a scoop to your AM shake or make a delicious chia seed drink in the afternoon with some almond milk and stevia.

Be selfish and make yourself a priority. Nourish your brain. Once you start fueling your body with the proper nutrition, your focus, concentration and overall productivity will change. Pick one food, incorporate it continuously for a few weeks and see how you feel.

Start Spring with Simple Steps to Change by Carina Sohaili

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Most people know how to make the right choices, but have trouble implementing that change. What is holding you back from being the best version of yourself? Habits are a comfort. It is very easy to get stuck in a routine and pattern – especially if you have been doing it over and over again for years. If you are ready to change here are some steps to help:

  1. Write down your bad habits, how they make you feel, why you want to change and then put it on your mirror or fridge.
  2. If you give into your habit, write down how it makes you feel afterwards. The next time you are tempted to give into your unproductive pattern force yourself to read the note first.
  3. Be realistic and do not try to do everything all at once. Change is very hard, especially when patterns are deeply engrained. Choose one small goal to focus on that seems manageable.
  4. Be consistent and slowly you will see that everything will get easier the more you stick to your goal. Whether it’s having a goal to go to the market on Sunday so you have healthy food for the week, or having three cups of coffee instead of four. All change is positive – be proud of your work! Everything counts.
  5. It’s okay to stumble and frankly you should at first. No one is perfect, and perfection is not realistic. It is important to not give up every time you make a mistake or give into an old habit. At least you are being proactive and trying to make a change. That should be your focus. You are human, not a robot who can automatically change with the hit of a switch.

We all have bad habits. We all have an urge to give into quick fix solutions to satisfy immediate needs. This is human nature. Recognize your bad habits, why they are holding you back and replace them with positive ones. From over doing it on coffee, to ordering takeout every day at lunch and hitting snooze instead of waking up thirty minutes early to get a sweat session in. Taking care of your health is the best tool for success. The more you practice healthy habits, the easier they will get. Soon planning a healthy lunch will be like brushing your teeth, exercise will be something you look forward to, and ignoring the donut for a healthier snack will be something that you love

You can find more of my simple tips in the Huffington Post hereEverything boils down to daily patterns, habits and small, consistent changes over time.

Remember to have compassion for yourself, always.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here.

Love,

Carina

Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day By Carina Sohaili

The day of love is fast approaching – here are some tools for your mind and body to celebrate in a heart healthy way.

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Go Dark. Chocolate and the day of love go hand in hand. Do not deprive yourself but instead of name brand milk chocolate opt for some pure dark chocolate. Dark chocolate triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your brain; the same “feel good” hormones that get released after you do physical activity or when you are falling in love. Dark chocolate also controls your blood sugar levels and is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body against certain types of cancer, infection and slow down the signs of aging.

Go for Heart Healthy Salmon. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids; a healthy fat that our bodies do not produce on it’s own. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels. These healthy fats also increase your ability to focus and improve your mood.

Instead of going out to a fancy dinner with your significant other or group of friends plan to cook a meal at home. Home cooked meals are much healthier than eating out and getting comfortable in the kitchen is a great bonding activity. Cooking may seem draining or daunting at first – but just like using a muscle that you have not used, it will get stronger and easier with time. If you are eating out the best way to order salmon is steamed or poached.

Mind. Valentine’s day is a day of love; show yourself and your loved ones how much you truly care by taking a step to make health a priority. Even if it’s a small change, everything counts. If you are feeling alone on Valentine’s Day treat yourself to a delicious healthy home cooked meal, massage or activity that YOU enjoy. Indulge and invest in yourself. Once you start focusing on your own hhealth– mentally and physically, the right people will fill your life. Everything happens for a reason. Trust the process.

Stay tuned for my latest nutrition video on cravings coming out this weekend. Try and make a small positive change in your life this week, everything counts.

Super Bowl Sunday Solutions! By Carina Sohaili

Game Day is here! Don’t go crazy and fall off the wagon. Here are some tips so you can actually enjoy Super Bowl Sunday while being healthy. Yes – it is possible!

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Mental Preparation: Do not starve yourself until the Super Bowl party and plan on pigging out. When you are hungry your brain is instantly looking for a quick fix to give you energy and you automatically will be attracted to the worst possible food choices.

Food Choices: Get your protein before you start munching. Usually there is always a platter of sliced meats or shrimp cocktail. Having protein before you start snacking will actually reduce your craving for junk food.

Chips: Healthier options are whole-wheat pita chips, pop chips or air-popped popcorn. Baked chips are better than classic potato chips. Here are some healthy brands without compromising taste: Pop Chips, Beanitos and Corazonas. You can find these at any local grocery store – they are much more nutritious and delicious than your classic potato chips. When selecting baked chip brands look for chips with the least amount of processed ingredients.

Dips: Salsa and hummus are great, delicious, healthy options! Go for these instead of the artichoke dip, ranch or crazy cheese dips. Load up on veggies! Some people just feel like munching; let yourself munch on unlimited amounts of veggies before you go for the chips and dip. Carrot sticks with salsa is one of my favorite combinations.

Beer: Men’s Health did a study on the best tasting light beers, here are the top five picks: Adams Light, Heineken Premium Light, Amstel Light, Kirin Ichiban Light and Bud Light.

Be mindful of your portions. It’s easy to get lost in the game and mindlessly munch on what is directly in front of you. Take a plate and put a reasonable amount on your plate. Remember what you are doing – watching the game and hanging with family or friends, not just consuming crazy amounts of food. Live your life while being healthy!

* Stay tuned for my next nutrition video coming out in a few weeks on how to be a planner, eat more frequently and reduce late cravings!

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