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Mike and I want you to cozy up with us at our new home! (www.namastenutritionist.com)

I’m so thankful that you’ve subscribed to my blog. THANK YOU! Have you had a chance to join me on at my new homesite yet? You may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in a while. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that all of my posts are officially on my website. Will you please sign up over there to stay connected?

I totally dig you and want you to stay in my life. Our relationship is stronger than a little move, isn’t it? I don’t want to have a single moment of blogging goodness without you being there! So please jump on over to http://www.namastenutritionist.com so that we can keep our relationship alive.

Here is my question to you: how am I doing? How can I better meet your yoga and nutrition needs? Your feedback is super helpful to me because it tells me what you need. Otherwise, I’m just guessing! You can reply to this post or email me your response to frances@namastenutritionist.com.

Here are a couple of my recent posts:

Breakfast nachos

Inflammation: Angel or Devil? (podcast)

See you over at the new site!

Thank you so much!!

Much love,

Frances

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As fall ripens and cooler temperatures sweep in, pumpkins begin dotting front porches and fences as we prepare for Halloween.  Decorating and scary-evil pumpkin faces aside, these ancient fruits are a super power against chronic and killer disease.  Pumpkin has proven itself worthy of cancer-fighting powers, specifically in decreasing the risk of prostate, breast, lung, colorectal and gastric cancers.  Despite being a high-carbohydrate fruit, research shows that blood glucose control is improved when participants eat plenty of pumpkin. In studies with rats, the oils found in pumpkin seeds reduce hypertension from advancing. And, the seeds are also wonderful because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which means they are a fantastic means of increasing your daily omega-3 intake. (Read about how to fall in love with omega-3’s here.)

Pumpkins come in all varieties, including white, red, gray, green, blue, striped, and heirlooms, as well as large and small. Their flavors are as dynamic as their appearances. They can take a humble background note in casseroles and soups, or they can proudly hold the center stage with vibrant flavors in main dishes and stand-alone side dishes. By giving yourself the opportunity to explore with these ancient and veritable fruits, you’ll not only excite your eyes and pallette, you’ll also support your immune system, your skin and eye health.

Personally, I enjoy sprinkling a handful of pumpkin seeds over warm cereal (such as cooked millet or oats). I also regularly add them to yogurt parfaits, salads, and rice-bean-veggie dishes, such as kitchari.

Pumpkin is great in soup. Try this adventurous recipe for Pumpkin-Curry-Coconut-Apple Soup from Crescent Dragonwagon in her famed book, “Passionate Vegetarian”. If you are short on time, buy the stock and use a little apple juice in place of water. Just read the ingredients list to avoid using anything with hydrogenated oil, trans-fat, or MSG, please. Buy something with ingredients that you can understand and pronounce, like carrot, potato, celery, etc. You get the idea. Pacific Naturals is a great company that produces organic soups and stocks. (Perhaps one of my upcoming posts should be on ways to easily make your own stock. It’s always cheaper and healthier, and it is faster than you might think!)

Find great pumpkins at farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and pumpkin patches or pumpkin orchards. Remember, save some of your pumpkin seeds for next year. Pumpkins are simply delightful to grow, especially for kids, growing with giant enthusiasm, as if showing you how grateful they are for the opportunity, and require relatively little tending. Start them in the late spring or early summer. Plant raw seeds (not roasted or salted) in healthy soil and in a very sunny location. You can  train the vines to grow up alongside your home and onto your rooftop. Imagine what how cool your rooftop would look if dotted with pumpkins! If you decide to do this, you MUST send me photos, okay? Another important note is that they are up to 90% water, so pumpkins are thirsty fruits  and require a lot of water, and prefer to drink before the hot sun rises (before 11 AM). You can mulch around the pumpkin patch to reduce moisture losses, but you’ll still need to water them every day. Don’t skimp! Here is a charming and thoughtful article on how to grow your own pumpkins next year.  For the more adventurous gardener, try growing an heirloom variety. Follow this link for a free growers guide from a NON-GMO, heirloom seed company. Your prolific pumpkins will provide you with enough product to trade with someone who is growing another crop you didn’t grow this year. Growing will save you money, will nurture positive relationships through sharing and trading, and will sponsor a joyful communion with nature and traditions.

Do you have another pumpkin recipe or growing tip? Please tell us about it in the comments! Help readers to discover the tantalizing ways we can enjoy the exciting world of PUMPKIN!

Love you Pumpkin-Heads,

Frances

P.S. If you like this, please share this post with others you love via Facebook, Twitter, and Email!

Other Resources:

Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Pumpkin Waffles Blog

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With all the conflicting advice about whether to wear sunscreen to reduce risks of skin cancer, or whether to scrap it because it might promote skin cancer, it’s no wonder we are confused! If you asked my mom for advice, she would proudly declare that she never wears sunscreen. If you were to ask my sister, she would quickly share her diligence in applying it on her baby whenever they spend the afternoon outside. My practice is somewhere in between. I wear sunscreen when I am outside, uncovered, for longer than 20 minutes during the brightest rays of the day, which is typically between 10 AM – 2 PM. When the sun’s rays are weaker, such as before 9 AM and after 4 PM, I’m less concerned about it. I want to have sunshine hitting my skin so that I can make vitamin D, and I like to avoid the chemicals often found in sunscreens.

You can eat “sunscreen foods” every day to maximize your body’s self-protection against damaging rays. Protecting your skin by eating food tastes delicious, too! This approach can help decrease your exposure to toxins found in sunscreens and allow you to soak up enough rays for your body to make its endogenous vitamin D. What a deal! Below are foods that are rich in Vitamins C  and E,  which are potent antioxidants that can both prevent and repair cellular damage caused by ultraviolet rays.

  • Foods rich in Vitamin C include: All citrus fruits, melons, dark leafy greens vegetables, peppers, carrots, cherries, apples, kiwi,  broccoli, berries, peaches, apricots, plums, pineapples, pomegranates, tomatoes, and many other fruits and vegetables. Since humans can’t produce their own vitamin C, we have to consume it in foods.
  • Foods rich in Vitamin E include: Almonds, peanuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, pistachios, corn oil, avocado, whole grains and oats. Small amounts can be found in broccoli, corn oil, spinach, kiwi, and tomatoes.
  • Rainbow Swiss ChardChard: Luckily for us, these lovely, leafy greens contain both vitamins C and E! Flavonoids and other components in chard demonstrated an ability to inhibit proliferation of human cancer cells. These, and other dark leafy greens, can help protect your cells from free radical damage, caused in part by sun exposure. Tip: Toss a little extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar with steamed chard. Add walnuts, feta cheese, and sliced persimmon. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Tea: Green, black, oolong, and white: Residents of the same bush, each of these tea leaf varie-teas provide important catechins and polyphenols, important antioxidant that can scavenge free radical damage created from sun exposure (and other consequences of free-living).
  • Cacao: Thanks to its flavonols, it is popularly recognized as food that can help shield the skin against sun damage.  In fact, raw cacao contains more phytochemicals and antioxidant capacity than almost any other food, including green tea or red wine! Dark chocolate, processedwithout alkali, is more likely to boast higher levels of flavonols and antioxidants, as well as around 5-10 mg of caffeine. We chocolate lovers can continue to worship it (while we worship the sun), thanks to its vitamin E and C content.
  • Tomatoes: Cooked tomatoes offer more sun protection than uncooked tomatoes. While tomatoes are great in almost any form for their lycopene content, research continues to point us toward the benefits of cooking them.
  • Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and lime. Limonin & limonene are powerful antioxidants found in the rind of citrus fruits that have been shown to reduce cancerous compounds.
  • Roasted Peanuts: When roasted, their antioxidant content elevates by up to 22%! Peanuts are packed with beta-sitosterol, an anti-cancer compound, and resveratrol, an antioxidant that has earned red wine its respect.

Here are a few delicious ideas to pack into your picnic lunch:

  • Waldorf salad (substitute walnuts for sunflower seeds or almonds) packed into a cooler
  • Watermelon-tomato salad for an explosion of cancer-protecting lycopene (recipe here)
  • Yogurt parfait with rolled oats or granola, sunflower seeds and berries.
  • Enjoy a pasta salad tossed with peppers, broccoli, chopped spinach, walnuts, and spaghetti sauce.
  • Grapefruit and avocado salad (recipe here) w/ toasted almonds on the side
  • Apple slices with peanut or almond butter
  • Peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches on whole-grain bread
Resources:
J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Feb;124(2):304-7. Ultraviolet B-induced DNA damage in human epidermis is modified by the antioxidants ascorbic acid and D-alpha-tocopherol.  http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v124/n2/full/5602688a.html

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What was I thinking when I decided that if I could handle one blog, I could handle two? I think that it was because I felt I should keep yoga and wisdom separate from nutrition and food advice. First of all, nothing could be further from the truth. A healthy body stem from nutrition, exercise, as well as a peaceful and happy mind. Of course yoga and nutrition are connected, but I just wanted to give readers the opportunity to choose, not for me to assume what was wanted.

It’s been over year since I’ve started this blog. Just a few months later, I started Nature’s Nutritionist, my second blog. In the next few weeks, you will see much of the content from my nutrition blog merging with this blog. Please be patient as I shuffle posts and dates around. It might take several weeks because I am also studying hard for my exam to become a Registered Dietitian, pursuing an extra credential in testing for food sensitivities, and job hunting. Plus, Mercury is in retrograde, and if my astrologers are correct, it means that progress might be slow. That’s fine. Slow is just fine by me.

Now, let me tell you about some of my burning desires which only you can help satiate. I desire to know what is it that you want to know about, and how often do you want to hear from me? When it comes to yoga, meditation, wisdom, ancient traditions, food, gardening, cooking, nutrition, weight management, and food sensitivities, I really care about addressing your specific needs.  Please send me messages anytime with requests.

And thanks for your readership. It means a lot to offer something that enhances your life.

In Loving Service,

Frances

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In my world, every morning starts with a colorful burst. On average, I two – three servings of veggies or fruit at breakfast. If you consciously make an effort to start your day out with plant-based foods, you are well on your way to achieving – or possibly exceeding – the USDA’s recommendations of five servings per day. Personally, I think that five servings is meager and most people should be aiming for five – nine servings. This will help you manage your weight and arm you with defenses against chronic disease. However, if you are barely managing to swallow one or two servings, working your way up to five fruits and veggies is a great goal. You can start with my easy-breezy rainbow frittata with potatoes & avocado. I prepared the entire breakfast for two in less than 20 minutes.

Tips: 

  1. You can make it faster by using pre-cut, organic veggies. For this fritatta, I used pre-cut broccoli from Trader Joes and potato wedges from Costco.
  2. Rather than making a special purchase of specific items, use what you have. If you don’t have broccoli, use spinach. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use canned or sun-dried. See where I’m headed here?
  3. This recipe is versatile. You can opt to scramble the ingredients or turn it into an omelet by flipping it halfway through. Or, you can opt to bake it at 350 degrees for 20-25 min, or until complete (test by inserting a knife or fork into eggs. It is complete when it comes out clean.)
  4. You may also notice my lack of salt in this recipe. The cheese contains a lot of salt, and the veggies carry their own flavors that can be lost with the domination of salt. You can opt to use spices and herbs, such as garlic, cilantro, chives, dill, or parsley to add a flavorful and nutritious punch to this meal.
I use smaller portions than most Americans are used to enjoying. Small portions are healthy, but you may need to adjust your recipe size if you think. 
Ingredients: 
4 large eggs
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup purple onion, chopped or sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, sliced
2-3 cups frozen potato wedges (free of trans-fats/hydrogenated oils, please)
ketchup, mustard for potatoes
canola oil for cooking     
1. Heat 2 tbsp canola oil in large skillet over med-low heat. You will need a fitting lid for a frittata. If you do not have this, prepare to either flip the eggs halfway through cooking (like an omelet) or scramble the eggs.
2. Combine eggs and milk and stir with a fork until blended. Avoid over-stirring.
3. Rinse broccoli, onion and tomatoes. Slice, dice, or chop them.
4. Lovingly pour egg batter into skillet. Sprinkle cheese and veggies evenly around egg mixture. Cover with lid (for frittata version).
5. While fritatta is cooking, prepare potatoes according to directions. 
6. Your frittata is finished when the eggs have cooked from top to bottom (by using the lid, you are trapping steam that is poaching the eggs and steaming the veggies) and the veggies are brightly cooked but not overdone.
7. Assemble avocado slices w/ potatoes and frittata just before eating.
Before eating, consider for the multiple systems that work in order to bring you this wonderful, colorful food. Give thanks for your blessings. Enjoy.
Thanks for reading!
Stay happy and healthy,
Frances
Tell me what you think. Please post your comments below!

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Meet Myself


“Wherever I go, I meet myself. “

—Tozan

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Dear Beautiful Ones,


I’m taking a blog break! As many of you know, I am closing out several business projects  in Reno and relocating to Seattle; am starting my new internship; and am recovering from the drab symptoms of gluten intolerance (which felt a bit like swimming across the San Francisco bay with a tugboat tied to my waist).

For the next month, I will be settling in to my new home in Edmonds and adjusting to a new life.  Carlo, my new housemate/landlord is known as an environmental and sustainability pioneer in his community, which I am super excited about! I’ll be able to enjoy a large garden, composting, laundry lines, and dual flush toilets. If you want to read about Carlo, here is a recent article written about his efforts in sustainability. Please check back in mid-September and take the journey with me through the innovative and exciting, though sometimes complicated and frustrating, world of food, nutrition, and sustainability.

And for anyone heading off to Burning Man, have a great Burn baby!

Stay Happy and Healthy,

Francie

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