Monthly Archives: July 2015

5 Tips for Storing Fresh Produce

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One of the farm stands at the 125th street market where I did cooking demos last season.

It’s that time of year again! Amazing summer produce is abundant and farmers’ markets are popping up every where. With the abundance of produce around, I thought I would share some of my top does and don’t with you on storing fresh produce.

Tip #1: Wash your Fresh Produce Right Before you are Going to Prepare Them.

A lot of people like to wash their produce as soon as they bring it home from market (or the grocery store). Cleanliness is awesome, but moisture and produce are not great friends. Hold off on washing your produce until it’s ready to be used.

Tip #2: Store your Fresh Produce in the Appropriate Spot.

This is a tricky one, and there are lots of different opinions on this, but there are a few basics that most people agree on. For example, tomatoes do not get stored in the fridge (until they’ve been cut). Tomatoes do much better out on the counter. When you end up in the fridge they get soft and mealy, and the flavor isn’t as strong. Don’t believe me? Do a little experiment. Buy two tomatoes (of equal ripeness). Store one in the fridge and one on the counter and do a taste test after a couple of days. And let me know the results, please 🙂 If you aren’t sure where to store something, feel free to send me an email or do a quick online search.

Tip #3: For Produce with Greens Attached, Separate the Root from the Tops before Storing.

One of the great things about shopping at farmers markets is that you get the whole food item. Ok, that was kinda cryptic. What I mean by that is when you buy the beets, you get the beets and the beet greens. Same goes for carrots and radishes. And it’s all edible! Beet greens are basically swiss chard. Carrot tops are great in soup and radish greens can be used to bulk up a salad. It’s like a two for one special! After you get your two for one special home, you want to separate the tops from the root because the tops will draw away moisture from the root and your fresh produce won’t be fresh for very long.

Tip #4: Store Salad Greens in a Bag with A DRY Paper Towel.

Everyone hates soggy salad greens. To keep them fresher longer, store lettuces in a bag with a dry paper towel. The paper towel absorb any moisture keeping your greens happy longer! Yay!

Tip #5: Don’t Be Afraid of the Freezer.

Yes, I said it. We all love fresh produce. But sometimes life happens, and I end up with more produce than I can prepare or eat before it will go bad. In enters our hero for this scene, the freezer! Fruits can be stored in the freezer just as they are, and corn can also be stored in the freezer without cooking it first, just cut the the kernels off the cob. Greens and most veggies will are best to blanch or cook first, but blanching only takes a few minutes (just boil some water, throw in the produce for a couple of minutes, drain it and run it under cool water). And there is an added bonus, too! The water you used to blanch your produce is now an awesome stock ready to go! Or if you’re kinda crunchy like me, you can drink it like a tea 🙂 Just make sure you wash the produce before you blanch it, otherwise you’ll end up with some dirty water instead of stock or tea.

What about you? What are your tricks to keeping your fresh produce happy?

Thanks for tuning in!

With love,

Samantha

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Understanding Cravings

Hey there, thanks for stopping by!

Over the past 2 weeks I had the privilege of leading over 150 people in an online 10 day sugar cleanse. It was awesome to hear from people about how they were exploring their cravings and making changes in all areas of their lives.

Some people tend to look at cravings as a bad thing, it’s how we’ve been programmed. We shame and guilt ourselves for giving into our cravings, and then wonder why we keep doing the same thing over and over again. I like to look at my cravings a little differently. I see understanding cravings as a way to know myself better and deepen my relationship with myself.

Sounds a little deep, right? lol. But it’s true.

For example, over the past week I have definitely been eating differently than usual. The way I see it, I have a few choices of how I want to proceed.

1. Eat whatever I’m craving and be done with it.

2. Notice when I’m craving something, pause, and bring my attention inward instead of focusing on the external thing (cookies, chocolate, chips, whatever). Once I’ve paused, I ask myself what’s going on and what I’m really looking for/what I need.

3. Acknowledge there is a deeper need, and enjoy whatever I’m craving anyway.

So, what do I do? Depends on the day! Some days I want to be self-reflective and give myself as much love and healing as possible. Other days, I just want chocolate, even if that means I’m self-sabotaging. And neither choice is inherently better or worse than the other. It’s just about what’s important to you. What’s most important to me right now is the ability to love myself and others unconditionally. When I give into my cravings, I’m most often blocking off and numbing a part of myself that needs love and attention, which is not aligned with who I want to be. There are many reasons for cravings, for me they often come from feeling out of control, looking for comfort, avoiding making hard decisions or dealing with difficult emotions.

Small disclaimer: In this post I’m talking about cravings that stem from hidden emotions, but there are lots of other kinds of cravings. For example, a lot of my clients report craving sweet foods at night. Does that sound like you? One reason that often happens is because we stay up past when our bodies want to sleep, so we reach for sugary foods to give us energy to stay awake. Same thing happens around 1pm at work when a lot of people tend to crash. Our bodies also crave certain foods when we are low on certain key nutrients. These aren’t the cravings I’m talking about in this post, but stay tuned!

When I reflect on my eating habits over the past week, I can see that a part of me is looking for control. Last week I found out I have a new cyst growing outside of my uterus (you can read more in my post about endometriosis). Initially, what comes up for me is anger and a feeling of being out of control. Eating foods I normally don’t eat is a way for me to lash out against my body, it’s my way of saying, “see, f*** you, I can do whatever I want, you can’t tell me what to do”. Or some version of that.

But, truthfully, it’s just like a little child acting out when (s)he is sad or upset. The child just wants attention and the same is true for me. When I act out with the food I eat, what I’m usually looking for is some self-love, some self-compassion, and permission (from myself) to express what I’m feeling. What’s underneath the anger is actually fear and sadness.

Expressing what’s really going on takes courage and vulnerability. It also takes strength to know that sitting with whatever emotion that is there is not going to break me. In fact, letting the feelings pass through me is what gives me the ability to move forward and act with clarity (instead of letting my cravings run the show).

When I look at cravings this way, they are actually a gift that point me to areas in my life that need attention and action. When I attempt to understand my cravings by moving them to my conscious mind, I’m no longer run by them and they actually teach me a lot abut myself.

What about you? How do you view your cravings? What’s one thing you can do to understand your cravings a little more?

With so much love,

Samantha

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Endometriosis and How I Relate to My Pain

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Hello dear reader.

This is a bit of a personal post, but I wanted to share a little bit about what’s been going on with me. As you may or may not know, I have endometriosis (don’t worry if you’ve never hear of it, I hadn’t until it came out of my doctor’s mouth). I haven’t shared much about it because it’s very new to me. I was diagnosed about 15 months ago and had to have surgery within a few weeks of finding out in order to save my right ovary. To keep it short, I’ll just say it sucked.

The conventional way people keep endometriosis in check is with birth control pills. But there are a lot of us who are trying to heal our endometriosis naturally. I haven’t had the best luck with Western medicine over the years, and I’m very sensitive to any type of medication (or food) I put in my system. So, I jumped on the natural bandwagon. I started exercising regularly, reduced stress, dechemicalized (yes, I made that word up) my beauty and cleaning products and modified by diet by cutting out soy and continuing to avoid sugar. Yesterday I had a sonogram and found out that I have a new cyst, but it’s only 1.5 inches (compared to 6 inches last year). I’m happy I don’t need surgery, but I also wish that I didn’t have another cyst.

So, why am I sharing this with you?

Last month I had a wonderful realization around my endometriosis and how I relate to pain. One of the symptoms of endometriosis is significant pain during your period. I’m very lucky that my pain is not so bad. But sometimes, it literally knocks me off my feet. One area where I usually experience pain is my lower back. This is also an area that is very tight for me and that I haven’t had a ton of awareness around. For those of you into chakras, this chakra is also closed for me.

Last month, I was able to use the pain as a way to focus in on this area and deepen my connection with it. What a shift! I was able to see my endometriosis as another “gift”, so to speak, to bring my awareness further into my body and into areas that I otherwise would neglect.

This area (gut, pelvic floor etc), which a friend recently called “organ town” (love it!) has historically been an area of pain and frustration for me as all of my health issues have been in this region. I’ve constantly tried to fix and control this area. What I’ve come to realize is that what this area needs is my love. What this area needs is compassion.

Our bodies are smart, and just like a child, when they want attention they will make a fuss. Now, when I experience pain, I try to see it as a sign from my body that something is out of whack. Instead of taking pain killers and moving on, I ask my body, “what are you trying to tell me?” or “what do you need”?

Is it always easy? Absolutely not. But is it a wonderful shift? Yes, absolutely.

What do you think? How do you relate to pain and disease in your body?

Thanks for reading.

With love,

Samantha

If you have endometriosis, there are tons of resources out there on healing naturally. One of my favorites is Aubree, from Peace with Endo. She wrote a wonderful book and is a wealth of information. She also runs a facebook support group. You’re not alone!

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