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Stir fried kale and white beans with caper lemon sauce

A super simple, very versatile recipe is here to end the month of February. It's still very cold and uncomfortable, which makes me crave a lot of warm, cooked foods. And while we know that leafy greens are the foundation of vibrant health, eating them in a raw salad is just not my kind of things right now. That is why I like to quickly stir fry them or add them to soups in the last few minutes of cooking. In this recipe I stir fry kale with onion and white beans. That's it! The big flavor comes from the sauce with lemon and caper. It's zesty and salty, and balances the bitterness of kale very nicely. Give it a try! And in case you don't have kale, you can use any other kind of leafy green. T

Hydrating skin mist for airplane trips

The time is here! By the end of this week I will be embarking on a trip - all by myself! No baby attached. I am excited and super worried of course. I keep repeating the mantra "Baby Zand will be fine!". And then I think of all the wonderful things that I can do when I travel alone: read a book on the plane, actually get some sleep, pee whenever I need to, and not lug around an entire roomful of toys for her entertainment. After Arman presented me with a list of foods I need to pre-cook for him and Baby Zand so they survive the weekend (yes, that really happened), I am now in super preparation mode to get everything done, and packed, and ready to go. Today I wanted to share a super quick and

5 minute morning stretches in bed to start the day energized

Do you hit the snooze button a few times every morning, before you drag yourself out of bed and to your coffee machine? Stay in bed today, and join me for 5 minutes of stretches to wake up the body in a gentle way. You will feel refreshed and energized to take on the day. Movement first thing in the morning is so important, because your body has been resting in the same position for many hours. This lets energy stagnate in your joints, and makes it hard to get going first thing in the morning. If you only have 5 minutes in the morning, join me for these stretches. If you have more time, why not try one of the other exercise videos over on YouTube. And after you've moved your body, kick off y

Green energy balls

This month's energy balls are green - not to scare you but to add a nutrient boost with the help of spirulina. Spirulina is a blue green algae, that grows in freshwater lakes and rivers. It can be found in a powdered form in health food stores or online (see below). Spirulina is a superfood in the truest sense. This powder contains over 100 nutrients that help build our immune system, grow muscle, nourish the brain, boost our energy, detox heavy metals out of the body, and so much more. Did you know that this powder is 60% plant based protein. Animal protein is never more than 25% protein, so this powder is for all you protein lovers out there. Spirulina is a source for all amino acids - the

Q&A Wednesday

Activated charcoal is definitely the newest health trend. You may have seen black detox lemonades pop up, that are supposed to cleanse your digestive tract. And in a way they do... let's look at what activated charcoal does for you. First of all, activated charcoal is not just your regular charcoal you use to fire up the BBQ. The BBQ charcoal is toxic and should never be ingested. Regular charcoal gets activated either through steam or chemicals. During this process, the pores get enlarged, creating a bigger porous surface. So when you look at a spoonful of powder, you won't see these pores, but they are there, and they can trap toxins in them. This trapping of toxins happens because the cha

Understanding your pregnancy cravings... and what to do about them!

So you just found out you are pregnant. Congratulations! This is the exciting beginning of a whole new adventure for you... especially getting to know your body's inner workings in very new, intimate ways. Say hello to pregnancy cravings, and the weirdest food combinations you never thought to dive into in the middle of the night! I have yet to meet a pregnant woman, who doesn't crave something out of the ordinary. And who can we blame?! Yes, of course our hormones. Pregnancy is a hormonal roller coaster: you are probably crying more often than usual, you swing from lovely feelings to panic attacks within seconds, and you may also feel your body's thermostat turned up high. These all result

Fire up your core exercise video

It's YouTube Friday, and I've got a burner for your core today. Come and join me for 20 minutes to learn how to engage all of your core muscles properly - your abs, your pelvic floor, and your lower back. I will give you cues that you can use with any exercise you do in the future, since your core is and should always be engaged with all movement. When you core strong, you suffer from less back pain, better posture, and more strength in every movement you do. Don't be fooled. You may think this video starts really easy, but the exercises build on top of each other. Even simple crunches can become intense when your core fires up correctly. We finish with advanced leg twists and plank twists,

My favorite Chinese steamed bok choy

While Chinese New Year may not be important to you, it is very deeply part of who we are as a family: I was raised in a Chinese environment, Arman and I met in China, Baby Zand was born in China, and even though we left Shanghai two years ago, China is still a big part of our lives. I want Baby Zand to grow up with as many cultural experiences as possible, so she can easily make friends in all cultures and be a citizen of the world. I believe that is the first step to more world peace. So we celebrate as many cultural holidays as possible, making arts and crafts, eating special food, and acknowledging traditions. My favorite Chinese New Year tradition is the spring clean: tidying up the hous

Q&A Wednesday

This question comes up on most of my raw chocolate posts, so I thought today - the day of chocolate - would be the perfect day to answer this question. I have touched upon this subject before, and the difference between raw chocolate and regular chocolate, but I am happy to elaborate again. Chocolate is made from cacao beans. They grow in big pods and look a bit like a papaya. The beans then get broken into what you can buy as cacao nibs - really bitter chocolate bits. Cacao nibs get ground into raw cacao powder. That is what I use in all of my recipes, and you should, too. It’s rich in minerals and anti-oxidants. Did you know there is more calcium in cacao than in cow’s milk? Gimme all

Green strawberry smoothie bowl

I know, I know. Last Thursday I said I was posting the last Valentine's Day recipe with the love bombs. I lied. There is one more. This is a super simple recipe that does not require any special superfood powders that may be hard to get for you. This is a super simple smoothie bowl made from strawberries, banana, spinach, and kale that you can serve tomorrow for breakfast, and everyone will love it! It's basically a green smoothie disguised as a full breakfast bowl. It's super versatile, because you can use whatever leafy greens you have in the fridge. If you don't have strawberries, use raspberries. I use my homemade coconut almond granola to top it, but again, use any granola or muesli you

A recipe for the little ones ... or stress relief: homemade play dough

I never thought I would be THAT parent: the one who makes everything from scratch, including play dough! When it comes to food, you know how I do make a lot of things from scratch in order to avoid harmful additives, like making my own coconut milk, vegetable broth, or hummus. I am picky about how much plastic we have in the house around Baby Zand, and have opted for a wooden children's table, she eats from real plates and bowls, and has a stainless steel water bottle. But I have never thought about the art materials we use, and I feel totally fine with that. I mean who has time to cook up a batch of play dough or watch crayons melt into new shapes in the oven? Seriously, there are only 24 h

New mom and baby stretches for the first 6 weeks after birth

Today's video is for all your new moms out there. Those first 6 weeks are a whirlwind of nursing, diaper changes, spit up, and surviving on the tiniest chunks of sleep. Add to that the constant nagging feeling that our bodies should have already bounced back to their original shape, and this is a storm of an emotional rollercoaster! The saddest part is that we lose sight of what this time could really be about: bonding with this tiny human being, that relies on you for EVERYTHING. Kind of a stranger - kind of someone you've grown and already know. This is the time to celebrate the epic superpowers you just used: you grew a human being! You then birthed it out of your body, and if you are cur

Love bombs for Valentine's Day

I have been spamming you with Valentine's Day recipes, I promise this is the last one! How cute are these little hearts? You can make them any shape you want, and you only need 5 ingredients to get this deliciousness in your home. I have written about a double broiler to melt chocolate a few times. It's messy, yes, but always worth it! Heating cacao butter over 43°C/ 110°F is deadly. It will make the chocolate lump together, and you will need to throw it away. What a waste! So make sure you are patient when melting the chocolate. And don't do it in the microwave either, that just kills all the good stuff in there. Preparation time: 20 minutes Makes: 15 little hearts (or choose any other moul

Q&A Wednesday

Do I have tips? Of course! This is a great question, because I think all of us have at some point suffered from a sugar low in the afternoon. And in that moment when you are ready to fall asleep at your desk or over your child's artwork, the only thing to keep you alive is a big coffee with a muffin, and a cookie, and a chocolate bar. Before you know it, you are soaring on a sugar high being the most productive you've been all day, only to crash back down just before dinner, and start the viscous cycle all over again. Our body is very strict when it comes to regulating our blood sugar levels. Too low, and there is no energy to maintain basic functions, and our body could fall into a coma. To

Chocolate mousse cake bites for Valentine's Day ... or any other day of the year!

I know that some of my raw chocolate recipes can be overwhelming and difficult. Using a double broiler to melt cacao butter is not everyone's favorite pastime (definitely is one of my top 10 ;-)). So this recipe is for those of you, who still want healthier chocolate alternatives, but also don't have time or patience to watch the cacao butter melt. This recipe is super simple, so easy to make, and a huge hit with your loved ones for Valentine's Day ... or really any other day of the year. The secret is using canned coconut milk. Yup, you've read that right. You can absolutely use your homemade coconut milk as well, but in order to keep this super simple, canned coconut milk will work like a

Book of the month: February

“I am happy - but I’m not as happy as I should be. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more - and live up to it better. […] I complain too much , I get annoyed more than I should. I should be more grateful. I think if I felt happier, I’d behave better.” Does this resonate with anyone? I often feel this way. I have so many privileges, that most people in this world just dream of. More than just the basics of a roof over my head and food on the table, I have a wonderful family, supportive friends, and I do what I love for a living. Yet, I often fall into a hole of self pity, being annoyed at the little things, and just feel like life and happiness have been sucked out of me. ​ “Pe

Get your sweat on exercise video

A new exercise video is up on YouTube, and it's a tough one! Today's session is an advanced, fast paced, and sweaty one, where we will take elements from yoga, Pilates, and ballet to put them together into a strengthening, lengthening session. This video is for everyone who has been with me for a while, and feels comfortable moving into difficult exercises without a lot of guidance. In case this is the first time you are exercising with me, then perhaps you want to look at some previous videos (here, here, or here) first for more tips on alignment and structure. Let's jump right into this sweaty one, and get ready to be sore tomorrow. All you need for this session is a mat and a chair. Take

Pink lattes

Let's kick of February with pink, fluffy lattes, perfect for Valentine's Day. Now before you click away because you hate the commercialism of Valentine's Day - I get you! I don't enjoy paying triple the price for a mediocre meal or buying roses as much as our mortgage (just kidding, we live in the Bay Area :-)). Please don't tell me the story of how Valentine's Day was invented by the chocolate and greeting card industry. I don't care. I still love Valentine's Day, and the feeling of love and joy in the air. And this doesn't even mean with a significant other, but just taking a moment to appreciate and care for one self. Which actually means I am just bringing #selflovejanuary into February.

Q&A Wednesday

I have had 8 (!) people ask me about arthritis in the last month, so of course I had to make it a Q&A Wednesday topic. Before I dive into some foods and supplements that can be useful, let me write a little about what arthritis is, and what it does to our body. Arthritis is actually a term that encompasses hundreds of different diseases that all lead to the same symptoms: painful joints that can be swollen or stiff. Right now in the medical community, there are four commonly accepted reasons for arthritis: Degenerative arthritis is a wearing down of our joints. In a joint like the elbow, bones meet - your lower arm (ulna and radius) and your upper arm (humerus) bones. In order for them to no

© 2020 Martina Zand

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