To describe the agony of a marathon…

To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind. -Jerome Drayton

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Hungry for Change

Another terrific informative offering by the creators of Food Matters. This film focuses on the diet, weight loss and food industries and how they keep people locked in a vicious cycle trying one diet after another. Includes discussion about the addictive nature of processed products and the guaranteed failure of the products offered by the diet industry. Featuring Joe Cross (Fat Sick and Nearly Dead), Alejandro Junger (author of “Clean”), Jamie Oliver (Food Revolution), and many other well known authors, experts, and wellness advocates.

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Chunky Chicken Stew

Now I’ve never been much of a cook – I get anxious when I have to follow a recipe – so I’ve had to push myself outside my comfort zone of the oh-so-fancy meat with a salad. When I decided to try this stew the first time I was motivated by 2 things – the desire to add more veggies into my diet, and the desire to not throw away the veggies in my fridge. 🙂 Every time I make this it consists of a slightly different combo of veggies – whatever sounds good, or needs to be used up. This combination was especially tasty!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pkg of boneless skinless chick thighs
1 tbsp dried basil
fresh ground pepper
1/2 lg white onion roughly diced
3 lg carrots cut in half and then 1/4″ slices
2 celery stalks cut in 1/4″ slices
1 pkg oyster mushrooms diced (about 2 cups)
(or 1 lg portabella mushroom cap diced is also delicious!)
1 lg zucchini sliced 1/4″ thick and quartered
2 Roma tomatoes diced
5-6 baby red and yellow bell pepper cut in half and then 1/4″ slices
5-6 chives cut in 1/4″ slices
1 can tomato sauce (I used Glen Muir organic sauce)
1 can diced tomatoes (I used Full Circle organic)
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
more fresh ground pepper
a pinch of sea salt

– Add the olive oil and garlic in the bottom of the crockpot
– Lay chicken thighs out in the bottom of the crockpot (using thighs to spread the olive oil)
– Sprinkle dried basil and fresh ground pepper over chicken
– Turn crock pot on high
– Add layers of veggies
– Pour tomato sauce and diced tomatoes on top
– Season with fresh oregano, more fresh ground pepper, and sea salt
– Gently stir seasoning and sauce down into the veggies
– Cook for 3 hours (I stirred it about each hour)
– Dig chicken thighs off the bottom and break them up with a couple of forks (I pulled them out onto a plate to do this)
– Stir chicken chunks back into the stew and turn on low for an hour

All of the beautiful produce that went into this stew!
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And the delicious result!
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Food Rules

Michael Pollan’s compact guide is full of common sense reminders such as “Eat only foods that will eventually rot” and “Eat your colors”. With the constant barrage of diet books causing so much confusion over what’s good and what’s bad, this quick read brings it back to the basics. Great resource for anyone lost in the next-best-thing diet cycle, or anyone looking for simple guidance to improve their health through nutrition.

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Chemericle

The Goode family takes on a challenge to replace all chemical cleaners and personal care products with cheaper safer homemade alternatives. A few of the recipes for the natural cleaners they use are provided as they show the family making them. VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels in the air are measured in several areas of the home before and after. The before readings show levels far above what would be considered “safe”, and the after readings show great improvements proving that the household chemicals we use on a daily basis are polluting our air with toxins that we then breathe in day after day. The family looks noticeably healthier at the end of the film – less fatigued, clearer skin, brighter eyes!

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Juicing vs. Blending

Many people ask, “Should I be juicing or blending?” The answer depends on the benefits you desire.

If you are trying to get more produce in your diet, blending is a good option that provides an easy-to-consume way to get the whole fruit and veggie into your body, giving you all the nutrients AND the fiber. The fiber slows the impact of the sugars into your bloodstream and is essential for healthy digestion.

If you already consume a lot of produce and you would like a quick easy way to get a nutrient boost, juicing will provide a compact form of nutrients that your body can quickly absorb and use. To reduce the impact on your blood sugar limit quantities of higher sugar produce such as fruits and carrots and focus on greens, grasses, celery, cucumber and lower sugar veggies.

There are many juicers and blenders available and choosing one can be difficult. When it comes to juicers, invest in a good masticating juicer. Centrifugal juicers can build up heat which will destroy some nutrients and they oxygenate the juice more than masticating juicers which will cause the juice to break down more quickly (shelf life is much shorter). Also my experience has been that the masticating juicer gets more juice out of the produce resulting in much drier pulp.

For recommendations on juicers check this page: http://gerson.org/gerpress/gerson-guide-to-juicers/

The main concern with blenders, on the other hand, is how well it can break the produce down into a smooth drinkable form. The Vitamix is the ultimate blender of choice, but is a bit pricey. My peers have told me you can accomplish a lot of what the Vitamix can do with the NutriBullet, just in smaller quantities. The Ninja is another that I’ve heard good things about. The number one thing I look for in a blender is a good blade assembly with blades set at a higher angle (not flat). A deeper angled blade will create better movement, and better blending.

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Simply Smashed Guacamole

This guacamole recipe is simple, delicious, and FUN!

2 Avocados
approx. 2 tbsp onion, minced (I usually cut a slice off a med. onion and mince it)
approx. 2 tbsp tomato, minced (I usually save the 2 ends of a sliced up tomato to use for this)
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
fresh squeezed juice from 1 lime
pinch of sea salt

Add all ingredients into a large zipper bag, squeeze out all the air and seal, then smash the ingredients together with your hands! Get your kids to do the smashing – they’ll love it! 🙂 Smash until the avocados are broken into pea-size chunks (or larger or smaller if desired). To serve cut a small corner off the bag – squeeze onto burgers or sandwiches or into a bowl.

Enjoy!

**Special Thanks to my friend Miguel for the zipper bag idea!

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Spirit of the Marathon

This inspiring documentary follows 6 runners from first-timer to elite as they train for the Chicago Marathon. We hear their stories of why they run and what drove them to want to run the marathon. We watch as they prepare for race day and run the race that has been the center of their focus for the last 4 months and the emotions it evokes as they reach their goals. A must see for anyone who has ever run a marathon, is currently training for one, or dreams of someday running one.

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Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It

Jeff O’Connell shares his personal journey as he discovers that despite his fit, healthy appearance, he has been unknowingly following in his father’s footsteps on the path to type 2 diabetes. He discusses the risk to all, fit or sedentary, fat or thin, young or old, and provides easy to understand explanations of how different foods impact our blood sugar levels and how the standard tests may not tell the whole story. He reveals the truth about how dangerous processed carbs are to our health and discusses the misinformation perpetuated by health care, pharmaceutical, and food industries around the definition of a “healthy” diet. Great read!

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Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip “Ice Cream”

I’ve tried a few of the dairy-free ice cream alternatives out there, some good, some not so good… Then I figured out this simple little recipe! This one satisfies my sweet tooth every time! 🙂 I use my NutriBullet – I haven’t tried it with a regular blender – you may need more water to get it to blend.

3 small frozen bananas*
5 or 6 frozen strawberries*
4-6 oz. water
approx. 2 oz. dark chocolate chips (I use Sunspire organic 65% cacao chips)
*Use organic fruit if possible – it’s more flavorful!

Blend fruit and water until smooth. You may need to shake container a few times to get all the fruit to the blades to blend. It should be thick and creamy once it’s blended. Next add the chocolate chips (more or less as desired) and blend or pulse for a few seconds to break the chips up.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Enjoy!

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