Posts Tagged ‘dark chocolate’

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

indulge-and-go-dark-a-heart-healthy-halloween-by-carina-sohaili

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 client 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). To get the most health benefits 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 couple of squares 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. Balance is key. 1/2 ounce (around 2-3 squares) is a good snack size.

BEAUTIFUL benefits of going dark:

  • Beat cavities. Dark chocolate contains Theobromine, a compound that hardens your tooth enamel, lowering the risk of cavities.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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. (More Filling Flu Fighting Foods can be found here and Skin Clearing Smart Snacks can be found here.)
  • 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 fifteen minutes or less to make with under four ingredients):

Divine Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Sandwich: Slice up an apple and bake in the oven for around five-ten minutes until the top is a golden brown. Spice up your life and add spices of your choice (cinnamon 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. If you like this recipe, you can find my Cinnamon Almond Butter Apple Sandwich recipe here.

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 that 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 a saucepan for around one minute. Mix in one tablespoon of stevia an all-natural sweetener from the stevia leaf and as always, spice it up with cinnamon or nutmeg. For more dark chocolate recipes check out my Dark Chocolate Avocado Shake Recipemy Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Video Tutorial and my Dark Chocolate Muffin recipe featured in Entrepreneur magazine here.

For more pumpkin recipes and healthy comfort food options check out my Fall Video Series

 Learn more about my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Custom Programs and for more health tools check out my Simple Steps to Change Habits

Remember, everyone is different, has different tastes, preferences and goals. As always, focus on progress not perfection. Every small change counts. 

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

Love always,

Carina

Drink up! The Feel Good Shamrock Shake by Carina Sohaili

the-feel-good-shamrock-shake

Drink yourself beautiful…

Life is too short for deprivation. You should be able to have your cake and eat it to. In this case, have your SHAKE and drink it too. It is quite simple really. When you start eating better, you start feeling better. I put together the perfect energizing breakfast blend or 3PM pick me up to prevent hanger (hunger-anger) and overeating later on. I have used my favorite ingredients in the shake specifically to keep you more full for a longer amount of time, give you lasting energy without the crash and curb unhealthy cravings. Not to mention, reduce stress, increase feel good hormones AND get your skin glowing (you can check out my most recent television appearance for more smart snacking options in the video section of my site). Yes, it all sounds too good to be true. Try it and then let me know how you feel.

Carina’s Dark Chocolate Mint Shamrock Shake:

  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cacoa powder (Trader Joe’s brand is great) or 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate chips (I love Lily’s).
  • 1 cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I love Chobani) OR a frozen banana (if you are dairy free)
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¼ tablespoon of mint extract
  • 4 tablespoons of stevia
  • ¼ cup of sliced avocado
  • 1 cup of ice

Blend together and enjoy. Everyone is different. If you like a sweeter flavor then go for the frozen banana instead of the Greek yogurt. If the cacoa powder is too strong for you then try dark chocolate chips. Make sure the cacoa powder is non-processed to get the best health benefits. (More information and dark chocolate health tools can be found in my piece here.) Get creative and find a healthy formula that tastes good and works for you.

Quick tip: if you are on the run or at work (because that is life) simply do a little planning in advance. Blend together the night before and put your sassy shamrock shake in a container for the next morning. It will take ten minutes tops. Just like any muscle, the more you practice planning the easier it gets.

My tips on how to be healthy at your desk were recently featured in the Huffington Post, you can find them here.

A bit of nutrition while you drink because I just cannot resist:

  1. INDULGE & GO DARK! 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. For more health benefits of dark chocolate and two of my easy “no brainer” recipes check out my piece here or my Creamy Dark Chocolate Ice Cream video tutorial here. If you are a fan of mud muffins you can check out my healthy dark chocolate mud muffin recipe featured in Entrepreneur Magazine.
  2. Greek Yogurt has double the amount of protein than normal yogurt, healthy bacteria for digestion as well as immunity and calcium for bone health. Check out my energizing ranch dip video here using Greek Yogurt or my Stress Reducing Avocado Pasta video here.
  3. AMAZING AVOCADO (I am a huge fan of healthy fats)! Avocados are packed with heart healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats have been proven to reduce stress as well as increase post-meal satisfaction levels. Moreover, avocados contain plant protein to keep you more full for a longer amount of time, give you lasting energy and curb unhealthy cravings. Avocados also contain Vitamin-E. Vitamin-E fights off damaging free radicals that contribute to aging. Vitamin-E also gives your skin an overall smoother tone, which will help reduce fine lines and those pesky crows feet around your eyes. Need some skin clearing snacks? Check out my Satisfying Beauty Bites here, or Skin Clearing French Fry Video Tutorial here.

More information on my Custom Eat Yourself Gorgeous programs can be found here

If you need simple steps to change old habits, check out my piece here

As always, focus on progress, not perfection and DO YOU. Focus on your goals, instead of comparing yourself to others because that is all that matters.

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can sign up and learn more about my team here.

Love always,

Carina

A Heart Healthy Month of Love by Carina Sohaili

Vday 2016

Here are some tools for your mind and body to celebrate the month of love in a heart healthy way. From divine dark treats (my warm dark chocolate cinnamon banana bites) to eating out made easy, and the heart healthy benefits of sassy salmon – I have you covered in my step-by-step guide.

Go Dark. Chocolate and the day of love go hand in hand. Deprivation is no fun and leads to the deadly combination of hanger. Not to mention, it is no way to live life. You also will end up overeating then repeating an unhealthy cycle. Instead, I always advise my clients to GO dark and indulge in dark chocolate.

Select Wisely. Many labels advertise “healthy dark chocolate” but really are loaded with processed sugars (defeating the purpose of going dark). Make sure the chocolate is made with a minimum of 70% pure cocoa and read the back of the label. Try to get as real as possible with little added ingredients. I always carry a square or two in my purse whenever I need a 3PM pick me up or post dinner treat (Lily’s Brand is a great choice). Just because dark chocolate has incredible health benefits does not mean you can go to town! Around two to three squares (1/2-1 ounce) is a good snack size. Below are some of the beautiful benefits of going dark and my Simple Warm Cinnamon Chocolate Banana Bites.

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.

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!

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. For more Flu Fighting Foods check out my piece here. (You can also check out my featured piece in Beauty High Magazine on why I love dark chocolate for clear skin.)

Focus. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the heart and brain improving your thought processing abilities. Brain food!

Carina’s Simple Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Bites: melt ½ ounce of dark chocolate in a saucepan for around thirty seconds to a liquid texture of your liking. Place half of a small sliced banana in another pan with all natural cooking spray and heat on the stove for around ten-fifteen seconds until the top of the banana slices are a light golden brown. Always spice up your life! Add cinnamon or nutmeg (for more health benefits of spices read my piece here) and if you like things sweet add a dash (1/2 tablespoon) of stevia (an all natural sweetener from the stevia leaf). Drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the warm banana slices and enjoy!

Craving more dark chocolate? Check out two more of my “no brainer” dark chocolate recipes here (that take less than ten minutes to make) and my dark chocolate mud muffin recipe featured in Entrepreneur Magazine. If you are a fan of ice cream you can watch my Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Video Tutorial here.

Sass it up with salmon: salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that the body does not produce on its 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. For a healthy side dish to go with the salmon check out my Avocado Zucchini Pasta Video Tutorial here. If you are eating out, the best way to order salmon (wild caught) is steamed or poached to retain all the nutrients.

Be brave and branch out…by staying in. Instead of going out to an extravagant 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. Check out my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Meal Makeover Videos here for a library of simple recipes.

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 is a small change, everything counts. If you are feeling alone on Valentine’s Day treat yourself to a delicious healthy meal, massage or activity that YOU enjoy.

Indulge and invest in yourself. Once you start focusing on your own health (mentally and physically) the right people will fill your life. Everything happens for a reason. Trust the process.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here

Remember to have compassion for yourself, always.

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. I invite everyone in the greater Los Angeles area to join me April 17th for the 2016 MS Walk. It is free to join. You can sign up and learn more about my team here.

Love, Carina