Just a quick update for y’all! Our podcast “Hot Better Pop Radio” (formerly known as The Secret Sauce Podcast, is now live! We release a new episode every Tuesday morning and we (me and the super amazeballs Pua Pakele&Cabot) are having a freakin’ blast!!!!!!! Seriously, words can’t begin to describe what it feels like for us to go from just an idea to a real life podcast! We are learning so much as we go/grow and keep pinching ourselves everyday – can it really be this fun, joyous, and magical?! The answer is YES!
You’ll be hearing from me again soon, either here or on HotBetterPop.com or both, but until then, follow your intuition, follow your heart, and follow your joy…it will never lead you astray. Your dreams are never too big. Get out there and make shit happen (Hot Better Pop is here to help – reach out!). You are supported, you are loved, and you are limitless.
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Fun photo by KelliBullockPhotography.com
Here in Hawaii, the shift from season to season is certainly less noticeable than in other places in the world. However, around this time each year, something changes in the air and it simply begins to feel like the holidays. While we don’t have the obvious cues of leaves changing color or significant drops in temperature, we have other signals that trigger those warm fuzzy feelings of the season. Suddenly we realize we haven’t been complaining as much about the heat, the grocery stores start smelling like cinnamon pine cones, and the crisp darker mornings get us thinking about whatever excites us about this special time of year. This year, I’m excited about busting out boots (finally!), visiting family over the Thanksgiving weekend, spending quality time with loved ones, checking out the Honolulu Christmas lights, getting a big Christmas tree (that our cats will surely destroy), teaching some killer holiday workouts at Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp, baking seasonal (healthy) treats, and laying a solid foundation for a kickass 2015!
As soon as November hit and I felt a tiny bit of crispness in the air, I picked up some organic canned pumpkin from Whole Foods and created my new favorite healthy seasonal treat – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies! They tested well with my kids, which is always a plus. They are vegan, gluten-free, high in protein, and low in sugar. You can eat ‘um as is or they are healthy enough to eat as kind of a portable cereal/oatmeal. Simply pour any kind of unsweetened milk (cold or hot) over them and enjoy! Cookies for breakfast? Oh yeah! Happy holidays!
Makes about 24 small cookies
1-1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
3 tsp organic cinnamon
2 Tbsp organic ground flax
1 serving or scoop stevia-sweetened vanilla protein powder (I used a sample of Skinny Gut vanilla that I had, pretty tasty!)
3 Tbsp organic pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup (I just used a handful) organic dried sour cherries or cranberries
1/3 cup (or more) Lily’s stevia sweetened dark chocolate baking chips or other chocolate chips
1/2 can organic canned pumpkin
3 tbsp organic salted cashew butter or other nut butter
Mix everything together, except the pumpkin and the cashew butter, in a big mixing bowl. Once the dry ingredients are mixed, add in the pumpkin and nut butter to moisten the dough. Form into little balls (about a tsp of dough per cookie) and place on a cookie sheet greased with coconut oil. Cook 8-10 minutes at 350 F.
I find it absolutely thrilling that there is so much information out there about nutrition and fitness. I am so inspired by the access of information that we have and the amazing wealth of knowledge that is being shared so freely by wellness organizations, fitness professionals, nutrition experts, and bloggers, with a passion for helping others live healthier, happier lives! That being said, contradictory advice, misrepresented or unverified data, sneaky marketing, and general information overload can make navigating the web for nutrition and fitness information overwhelming, confusing, and exhausting.
Some of our Bootcampers
asked me recently what my go-to resources are for solid information, so here are my current top 5 favorite nutrition and fitness sites that I visit pretty much everyday. There are so many other bloggers/people/sites that I follow, but many of those leads have come from one of these resources. Of course, my top 5 changes as I discover new things, but I find these 5 sites to be a nice balance of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of wellness and they give me a good foundation of information and inspiration.
- Mind Body Green
- Precision Nutrition
- Ben Greenfield Fitness
- Food Babe
Sometimes we come across resources by chance, but often the best leads come from friends since they are pre-filtered! What are your top 5 go-to websites for nutrition and health info? Please share in the comments below!
My number one favorite health, life, and productivity hack is Weekly Planning. Of all the things I do, the act of sitting down and reviewing my life each week has had the biggest impact on my quality of life. For me, my biggest window of quiet time is early Sunday morning, but anytime you can find an hour in your week will do. I make myself the Best Ever Almond Milk Latte (see recipe below), sit down with my laptop, and ask myself the following questions:
- How do I feel right now? How is my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health?
- What is my body asking for this week? What is my spirit asking for?
- What went well last week? What were my successes?
- What were my challenges last week? How could I have navigated them better? How did these challenges actually benefit me and what did I learn from them?
- What are three specific things that I am grateful for?
- What are my goals for the week ahead? How do I want to feel this week? What are the top three things I would like to achieve this week?
- What events do I have on my calendar? What do I need to do to prepare for them?
- What are my anticipated challenges for the week? What can I do to manage these challenges ahead of time?
- What is my workout schedule for the week (I put these in my calendar as appointments)
- What meals am I going to make this week? What new recipes am I going to try? (I create a grocery list based on my weekly meal ideas)
- What is one thing that I am going to do to nourish myself this week?
- What is one thing that I am going to do to move forward on my biggest goal or dream this week?
- What subjects or resources do I want to look into this week?
- What is my affirmation or theme for the week?
I create a new “note” in Evernote
to write everything down and keep all of my weekly planning docs in one “notebook” so that the content is easily searchable. This way, when I’m feeling “off”, I can go back and review the weeks that I was feeling empowered and energized and see what it was that I was doing. By keeping track from week-to-week, I also have a better perspective on the progress that I am making in my life. If we are too forward-focused, we start feeling drained and burnt out. But when we can reflect and see that the energy and effort that we put into our life is creating change and furthering our personal evolution, we feel inspired and motivated to continue to grow and expand. Reflecting on our progress brings us deeper satisfaction and enjoyment of the journey so that we don’t simply go from one goal to the next without appreciating the triumphs that we were striving so hard to achieve.
When I first began doing this weekly planning, I would schedule it on my calendar to be sure that I took this time for myself. The process is so beneficial and grounding for me that it quickly turned into a weekly ritual that I rarely miss. Living life by design minimizes our tendency to live moment-to-moment, or worse, crisis-to-crisis. On busy weekends, I may push my planning to Monday or do an abbreviated version of the process, but taking time each week to reflect is my gift to myself and my way of making sure that I am making the most out of my life.
Best Ever Almond Milk Latte
- 6-8 oz. French press organic coffee (I usually use Bulletproof Brand)
- 1 cup (or more to taste) homemade unsweetened almond milk (I make the almond milk fresh as my coffee brews…it’s easier than you think! Here’s a great step-by-step from OhSheGlows.com , you just have to soak the almonds the night before)
- 1/2 to 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil or MCT oil (healthy fats for your brain and body, I use Purium brand coconut oil or Upgraded MCT oil)
- 5-8 drops English Toffee Sweet Leaf Stevia
Heat up the almond milk on the stove on low-heat (be careful not to let it boil or overheat), then add to high-speed blender like a Vitamix with the other ingredients and whip up until frothy.
What weekly rituals do you have that keep you healthy and sane? Share with us in the comments below!
Some of us at our Bootcamp are signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) bag that gets delivered each week. It’s a collection of veggies from Wally’s Farm in Hawaii Kai, and it’s full of fresh, local goodness for a fraction of what you’d pay for organic produce from the grocery store. Each week is a little different, but usually consists of some combination of kale, Okinawan spinach, Japanese eggplant, wing beans (crazy caterpillar-looking things!), garlic greens, lemongrass, daikon, turnip greens, guava, green papaya, apple bananas, and more.
Being a part of this CSA definitely helps me to eat more fresh veggies, feel good about supporting our local farmers, and challenges my creativity in the kitchen since I wouldn’t normally purchase many of these exotic veggies in the supermarket on my routine shopping trips.
Our CSA group chatted recently about what creations we have come up with using our bags. Here are 12 creative meal ideas and veggie combos to inspire you to get out of a food rut:
- Japanese Curry – Saute kale, eggplant, daikon, wing beans, and ground turkey in a Japanese Curry sauce.
- Quinoa Veggie Stir Fry – Finely chop wing beans, kale, Okinawan spinach, and other greens then saute them in garlic greens and chives. Stir-fry together with cooked quinoa.
- Easy Minestrone Soup – Combine kale, eggplant, wing beans, garlic greens, and other greens in a pot with veggie broth and water. Stir in one jar of organic spaghetti sauce. You can also add in cooked quinoa or other beans. Top with organic cheese or cheese substitute.
- Guava with Shoyu and Pepper – I’d never heard of this! Our Bootcampers from Hilo on the Big Island all grew up eating this! Can’t wait to try it! They said you can do this with green mango too. You can also substitute tamari, coconut aminos, or Bragg’s aminos for the shoyu.
- Apple Bananas Sauteed in Shoyu and Butter served with Vanilla Ice Cream – This idea came up in a discussion about a dessert they serve at Nobu’s. At the restaurant they top it with a macadamia nut crumble.
- Daikon with Poached Quail Egg and Tobiko – This is my dad’s creative creation! Saute big round slices of daikon in mirin and shoyu sauce (like Japanese Oden). Carefully poach one quail egg per daikon slice in the same sauce. Using a melon baller, scoop out a hole from the center of the daikon slice to place the poached egg. Top with tobiko (flying fish egg) for a beautiful presentation.
- Homemade Pizza with Sauteed Kale and Garlic Greens Topped with Fried Egg – Make a thin crust pizza or buy a store bought pre-made crust (I like the gluten-free pre-made crust from Whole Foods). Top with organic white cheese (red or white sauce optional) and heaps of kale and garlic greens. Fry a couple of eggs on the side (leave the yolks runny!) and place on top just before serving. Egg on pizza is the bomb! Top with sea salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
- Eggplant Fries – Dip eggplant in egg, pan-fry lightly and serve. Try dipping in homemade Garlic Aioli or a storebought version like Wildwood Garlic Aioli.
- Eggplant Bacon – Great for sandwiches and salads. Post Punk Kitchen has a recipe to try.
- Miso Eggplant – Cut up eggplant in small pieces and fry up eggplant in bit of oil until soft. On the side, make a sauce out of miso, shoyu, sugar (or sugar alternative such as honey, agave, coconut sugar, or stevia). Mix together and enjoy.
- Lemongrass Tea – Cut up lemongrass and steep in hot water. Strain out the lemon grass. You can also add in ginger and honey.
- Tom Yum Soup – This is a great use for lemongrass. Here’s a simple recipe for a 15-minute version from RasaMalaysia.com.
Mmmmmm hungry? Inspired? You can find out more about Community Support Agriculture on the Local Harvest website, or visit a Farmers’ Market near you. What creative creations have you come up with using fresh, local produce? Share with us in the comments!