Posts Tagged ‘healthy habits’

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). 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.

Love, 

Carina

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.

Filling Flu Fighting Fall Foods by Carina Sohaili

filling-flu-fighting-foods-by-carina-sohaili

Food is the best medicine around and nobody likes being sick…

Here are two of my favorite fall foods to help protect you against the flu, curb unhealthy cravings, boost energy levels, and get that skin glowing. Not to mention a way to make your favorite comfort foods a bit healthier.

Pasta please! Instead of your traditional pasta, go for skin clearing spaghetti squash. This squash is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Need some energy? Hello magnesium! This mineral is responsible for energy production within the body. It also helps slow down the aging process which will minimize those pesky crows feet and fine lines.

Feeling a bit bloated? Potassium helps flush the body of excessive toxins and waste that is fantastic for de-bloating. Vitamin C and vitamin A protect your skin from dry, flaky, rough patches and is key in strengthening your immune system (two of the best vitamins for fighting the flu around.) Squash is a healthy carbohydrate high in dietary fiber, which will keep you more full for a longer amount of time. This will help prevent you from reaching for that office donut. The rich warm flavor of squash is a flu fighting favorite of mine; it will warm you up without filling you out. Not to mention, tastes divine! Check out my simple video tutorial on how to make it here.

Precious pumpkin! Pumpkin is one of my favorite skin super foods loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Not to mention, beta-carotene, a cancer fighting antioxidant. Vitamin A is fantastic for the bags and dark circles under your eyes, while vitamin C will give your skin a young, dewy glow. These two vitamins are also great immune system boosters. Here is my pumpkin pancake taco recipe that is a client favorite and takes less than 10 minutes to make. 

More information about my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Custom Programs can be found here

Need more health tools?

Check out my divine dark treats 

Remember to focus on progress, not perfection & DO YOU.

 *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,

Carina

The Change Challenge: Sweet Swaps by Carina Sohaili

The time has come to take my change challenge! See if you can transform your taste buds with my SWEET and SIMPLE swaps…

Craving French Fries? Instead of classic French fries make Jicama French fries. Jicama is a root vegetable from the bean family in Mexico and a fantastic skin clearing healthy carbohydrate. Jicama is a great source of magnesium. Magnesium has a calming effect on the body, helps increase energy levels and is great for your skin. The mineral magnesium slows down the aging process, which will give your skin an overall smoother tone. Jicama also has plant protein, which will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings; you will find that you are full for a longer amount of time and have lasting energy. Classic French fries are loaded with simple sugars, which will make you hungrier twenty minutes later as well as make you crave more processed junk foods. That is why it is so hard to only have a couple of French fries. Peel the jicama, slice up and bake in the oven with a dash of cooking spray and spices of your choice for twenty minutes! That is it. Check out my simple video tutorial on how to make them here.

Craving Pasta? Make a squash pasta instead! Simply use a vegetable grater or spiralizer to create noodles from zucchini or yellow squash. Check out my simple video tutorial here. Why am I a huge fan of zucchini? Zucchini is loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A two of my favorite skin clearing vitamins. Vitamin A is great for removing dark circles and bags under your eyes. Vitamin C is fantastic for fine lines and wrinkles. Not to mention a great source of potassium. This energizing healthy carbohydrate will help curb unhealthy cravings and just make you glow. Top off the dish with my simple stress reducing avocado sauce. Take three tablespoons of avocado and mix with freshly squeezed lemon. Lemon is a great detox food due to the balancing effect it has on the body. Avocado is a great source of potassium (it has more potassium than a banana) and vitamin E. Vitamin E does wonders for fine lines and those pesky crows feet around your eyes. As you may already know, I am a huge fan of healthy fats, especially amazing avocado. For more of my simple Eat Yourself Gorgeous recipes with healthy fat try my zesty lemon mash or my avocado chocolate mint shake.

Craving Ice Cream? Go for a blended frozen banana with Stevia (an all natural sweetener that does not spike your blood sugar levels). Do not judge this swap before you try it. Bananas are one of my favorite de-bloating foods due to the potassium content. Potassium flushes the body of excessive toxins and waste. Bananas also are loaded with fiber, which will keep you more full for a longer amount of time and contain a variety of B-vitamins. B-vitamins are great for stress relief and energy levels. Not to mention, bananas help stimulate the production of serotonin (the feel good hormone in the brain). They also improve the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is great for bone health. Check out my video tutorial on how to make this healthy soft serve ice cream alternative here. I have included techniques on how to create different flavors based on your mood.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here

Need more tools? Check out my Simple Steps to Change

*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.

Remember to focus on progress, not perfection…

& do YOU.

Love always,

Carina

Holiday Party Tools by Carina Sohaili

The holidays are about memories, moments and fun. There is no time for feeling deprived or guilty about food choices (that also is not the answer to a happy life). Below are my simple tools so you can enjoy the holiday season without the guilt. 

Remember, nobody is perfect and everyone is different. Set realistic goals to stay on track so you can truly enjoy this holiday season and start the new year with confidence.

  1. Never go to a party starving. Often times when we are stressed out, tired or cranky it is because we are eating sugary packed junk foods and unhealthy sweets with preservatives. These foods make us crave more unhealthy foods and mess with the hormones that regulate the stress response within the body. By nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods and always having a healthy snack, you will have increased energy, a calmer demeanor and be less likely to lose control at the holiday buffet. One of my favorite snacks that I always suggest to clients this time of year is organic canned pumpkin mixed with plain all natural Greek yogurt, stevia and cinnamon. This is a great combination of a healthy carbohydrate (from the pumpkin) and protein from the Greek yogurt. I call it my special “bliss in a cup” energizing snack. It is quick, easy to make and leaves me feeling like I just ate a slice of pumpkin pie. Moreover, the fiber in the pumpkin is great for your digestive system especially during the Holidays. Watch my video tutorial on how to make it here.
  2. Eat real food before you reach for the sugary sweets. Fill up on protein before you head to the dessert table. Protein will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you more full and satisfied for a longer amount of time. By eating protein you will reduce your cravings for junk food. One of my favorite protein appetizer options is shrimp, which you can find at most holiday parties (if not, be a great guest and bring a healthy appetizer). If you are vegetarian, hummus is normally a party platter favorite and a good source of protein as well as healthy fat.
  3. Indulge in a balanced way. If you are craving a serving of pie have a reasonable portion but do not eat three servings. Do you notice how the first serving of an amazing food tastes the best? The food is not as good the second or third time around. This will prevent you from feeling deprived and then overeating later on.
  4. Volunteer to bring a healthy side to your next holiday party. Not only are you a great guest because you are contributing to the party (the host will love you) but you can ensure that there is something delicious AND healthy for you to eat. Bringing a healthy side does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. Check out my library of Eat Yourself Gorgeous video tutorials from Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes to Skin Clearing Spaghetti Squash here. All take less than ten minutes to make. If you are a dark chocolate fan, you can find two of my “no-brainer” dark chocolate recipes here and my dark chocolate mud muffin recipe recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine here.
  5. Be mindful of your environment. It is very easy to overeat when everyone around you is overeating as well.
  6. Always have a plan. If you know you are going to be around a group of people that overindulge all the time, have a plan going into the situation. Make it clear what you are going to indulge in, what you are going to pass on and other activities you are going to focus on (schedule a family game of cards or talk to that uncle who you have not seen in a while). Focus on friends, family and conversation; not simply stuffing your face with food at the holiday buffet. Remember why you are at the gathering in the first place.
  7. Learn to take a deep breath and slow down. It is okay to say no to certain events if you are feeling drained and overworked. Finding balance, especially during the holiday season is important. Recognize when you are doing too much and be okay with cutting back. You do not have to be superman (or woman). Make choices that are energy inducing as opposed to energy draining. Be smart about your time and how you invest it.
  8. Ditch the all or nothing diet mentality. I always tell my clients to focus on progress instead of perfection as well as never compare themselves to others. So many people have “cheat” days then are excessively strict and deprive themselves. This causes them to overeat way too much when they “let themselves go.” I always hear “I am starting my diet tomorrow.” You should erase the term diet from your vocabulary.

Just like any muscle, the more you practice consistent healthy habits the easier they will get. By implementing these tools you will be less stressed and have more energy to invest in activities you truly enjoy. 

*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.

XX,

Carina

For more easy winter recipes and health tips connect with me and the VHL community:

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ YouTube ~ Quick Tip Newsletter ~ Blog

 Happy Holidays!

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