FOOD & DRINK

HOW I MATCHA: MY MORNING TEA LATTE

06/28/2017

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I quit drinking coffee two months ago. As hard as it was to give up my morning java addiction, it is one of the best decisions I have made for myself in a really long time. Since I quit, I have had zero anxiety, except for one nasty spell of jitters I had a couple of days ago, after I took Midol, which has caffeine listed as one of its main ingredients. Into the trash went the bottle. One of the hardest hurdles for me quitting coffee was the familiar and comforting routine of my husband bringing me my morning cup. I take it black, and then sip from bed for the next hour, while I wake up, answering emails, and getting my day started. The sound of the coffee grinder each morning, the smell lingering through the house—I do miss those things—but, I don’t miss them enough to go back to anxiety-filled days and sleepless nights. RIP coffee.

I did, however, find a replacement and I have grown to love (and depend on). Enter the matcha latte. Matcha is everywhere these days, and I am so thankful that it is because I’m completely hooked. But, doesn’t matcha has caffeine? Yes, it does, but Matcha creates a sort of calming alertness that has none of the “rush and crash” side effects that coffee has. Matcha is also loaded with antioxidants and has been linked to numerous health benefits. After much experimentation and trying different concoctions, I found my perfect blend. I look forward to this ritual each morning and sometimes in the afternoon, too.

This is how I matcha:

8 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
1-1.5 teaspoons high-quality drinking matcha (My favorite is Ipoddo Tea recommended by this rad chick Lee or Matcha Ninja)
1-2 tablespoons tocos
1 teaspoon cordyceps
.5 teaspoon mucuna pruiens
.5 teaspoon ashwaganda
a pinch of raw vanilla
1-2 tablespoons coconut butter (or 1 Tbsp coconut butter + 1 Tbsp sesame butter)
a good sprinkle of organic cinnamon
4 oz. boiling water

For those of you wanting to try the Moonjuice cordyceps and raw vanilla I use (or any other Moonjuice products), I have a code for 20% your first order. Just use this affiliate link.

First, add coconut milk to your blender (I have this one from Vitamix). Next, sift the matcha using a small mesh strainer and matcha spoon. Add all other ingredients into blender and blend for 1-2 minutes.

That’s it. Pour, sip, and enjoy!

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SUMMER BAKED SALMON BOWL

06/15/2017

BakedSalmonBowl_BleubirdOne of my favorite things to prepare as of late is salmon. It’s simple, quick, delicious, and healthy. For the longest time, I was intimidated by the thought of cooking fish, but once I tried it and realized just how easy it was, I started making it a few times a week. This bowl is filled with bright and fresh veggies, and is full of nutrients. Of course, you can adapt the recipe to include whatever you have on hand, and many things can be prepped ahead of time, so you can easily assemble your bowls on the fly without the heavy knife-work. Enjoy! xxJ

Summer Baked Salmon Bowl

Ingredients: yields one portion

3 oz. wild caught salmon
sweet paprika
dill
zucchini
cucumber
purple cabbage
lemon
fresh mint
olive oil
apple cider vinegar

Start by washing your veggies. Next, peel carrots and cucumber and then chop, or with a spiralizer (I have this one), spiral your carrots, cucumber, and zucchini. Chop or slice the purple cabbage and mint. You can prep your vegetables any way you prefer. Mix in a bowl and set aside. Preheat over to 400 degrees. While the over in preheating, place you salmon skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can put a little olive or avocado oil under your salmon if you’d like to, but I don’t because I like that the skin sticks to the parchment after cooking, so I don’t have salmon skin in my bowl. Squeeze lemon over the salmon and then season with sweet paprika, dill, salt and pepper. Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes. Depending on how hungry you are, place a desired amount of your prepped veggies into a dinner bowl. I like to chop a lot extra to use the veggies for quick meals over the next few days and they keep nicely in the fridge. Dress your salad with dressing of choice or use a drizzle of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Once salmon is done baking, slide a fish spatula (I have this one) between the fish and the skin. It comes right off. Place salmon on top veggies and enjoy!

I added sliced radishes, pickled onions, and sesame, ginger carrots to my bowl (you can really add anything to your dish: sliced avocado, roasted veggies, brown rice, etc.). I’ll share the quick and easy recipes for pickled onions and sesame, ginger carrots soon!

AN UPDATE: POST-CLEANSE

06/14/2017

C96A9074I have officially been off of my cleanse for just about two weeks. I’ve stayed pretty true to the eating guidelines of the Clean Program, but have reintroduced some things here and there. During the first week that you complete the cleanse, you are encouraged to reintroduce gluten and dairy. I tried gluten first and ended up with terrible stomach cramping and bloating. I’ve decided not to continue gluten (at least for awhile) because I was miserable; read: doubled over in pain, crazy amounts of bloat, upset stomach, restlessness, etc. Dairy also upset my stomach and caused bloating, so I have been trying to avoid it as much as I can.

I have yet to reintroduce eggs, except for a small amount of aioli I had, while out to dinner one night. I miss eggs very much (crave them daily!), and do plan on incorporating eggs back into my diet one day soon. I have successfully eaten corn, peanuts, and soy again with little to no side effects. I have also indulged in the occasional glass of rosé and tequila soda and have felt fine, although I am trying to limit drinking to special occasions only. I have not had coffee and although the cravings for it are present, I have no plans on starting to drink it again. I can’t help but think that my anxiety is a side effect from it. I have been drinking tea, decaf or green, and have been enjoying a daily coconut matcha latte (self-made at home) and have not experienced any anxiety as a result.

I’m still drinking one smoothie per day—usually for breakfast, and then having a large protein and veggie packed lunch and a small healthy dinner. I’ve also been sticking to the 12-hour-rule (if I have my last meal at 7pm, then I do not have breakfast until 7am) that the cleanse recommends. Late-night snacking has always been a major comfort for me, but I am keeping it to a minimum. Although, there are times when I just want something and try to stick to fruit, nuts, or a smoothie. I’ve also continued taking the probiotics each morning to aid in digestion.

One thing that has really kept me motivated to keep up with the clean eating is staying organized—in the kitchen that is. I keep a very clean and orderly refrigerator and have two cupboards that I call my “wellness cabinets” full of all of my healthy foods, adaptogens, supplements, and protein powders. This way, I don’t need to search inside the family pantry and be tempted to grab a bag of chips or a cookie. Maybe it’s silly, but temptation is real and it works for me. It also helps me remember to use all of the things I have on a daily basis.

I’ve been sharing a look into my wellness practices on my Instagram Stories (I’m kind of addicted!), and have had so many questions and requests to share more and to go into more detail here.

Coming soon: A look into my wellness cabinet, my cliff notes to the 21-day cleanse I recently completed, favorite supplements and adaptogens, recent recipes and new eating habits, meal prep suggestions, an updated skincare and beauty routine, a peek into my newly renovated closet, and more. If you have any requests, let me know and I will do my best to accommodate.

xxJ

P.S. Clean Program saw my cleanse recap and is offering $40 off of the 21-day cleanse. If you’re interested in trying it out (and I highly recommend it), use this link.

MY SUMMER OF WELLNESS

06/05/2017

A few months ago, I was in L.A. and some friends of mine raved about this incredibly difficult, but incredibly rewarding cleanse that they had successfully done several times over the past few years. The cleanse cut out alcohol, caffeine, and specific foods and food groups. I immediately thought “Yeah right!”, but as they kept talking, the more intrigued I became. “I’ve never felt better!” “I dropped 15 pounds.” “I had the energy of a nine-year-old!” Once home, I looked it up, did plenty of research, and decided to give it a go. I pressured my husband and my assistant/life-saver Tiana into joining me. We all decided to start on the same day and work through it together and be a support system for one another. I highly recommend having a partner during a strict regimen like this. It’s a great way to stick with it and to help hold each other accountable.

The gist: It’s a 21-day cleanse that completely removes any and all foods that could potentially contain allergens, so no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no soy, no eggs, no peanuts, no white rice, no nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, goji berries, peppers), no oranges, strawberries, or bananas—there are literally so many noes! But, there are also so many yeses. You are replacing two meals a day with a smoothie. You have a smoothie for breakfast, a cleanse-compliant lunch, and a smoothie for dinner.

My experience: The first week was rough. Day 1, I felt motivated and ready to conquer! Truth is, I eat pretty clean most of the time, so I figured eating a little extra-clean for 21 days would be a challenge, but I could do it. By day 2 the migraines set in. I think mine were much less than my cleansing buddies because I stopped drinking coffee a week before we started, to help make the detox stage easier, but I still had headaches. Headaches for days. I was so tired. I had literally no energy, I was hungry and cranky. I craved all of the things. Scrolling through Instagram was rough because you realize just how many food posts there are when you are limiting yourself. Having kids in the house while you cleanse is also not easy. They still eat all of the things you can’t have. You still have to buy those things, while at the grocery store. You still have to cook those things and touch them and serve them to your offspring. It’s a mild form of torture.

Fast-forward to the one week mark. I felt better. Normal. I was getting the hang of this. I was in a rhythm. I was so sick of smoothies. But, I felt more energized. I was sleeping sound. And, I had zero anxiety. ZERO! I also had no bloating, no upset stomach, very regular bowels, and felt clean. During week two it was much of the same; feeling good, feeling confident, and minimal cravings. My oldest daughter baked cupcakes and cookies that week, which was rude, but I survived.

Week three: My husband Aubrey had lost ten pounds! That’s HUGE! I refuse to weigh myself because I tend to be one of those people who becomes fixated on a number, so I refrained from measuring my success based on weight and instead went off of how I felt and how my clothes fit. Some of my tight-fitting jeans were fitting quite nicely. I was hooked! We decided to add in some workouts during the third week. (The cleanse recommends refraining from strenuous workouts in the beginning.) We worked out every other day to build our stamina. We felt so good. We were almost done.

Then day 21 came. The day we had all been waiting for. It was finally here and I was feeling a mix of emotions. I was proud that I had made it, but I was not excited to be finished like I expected. Instead I was feeling a little sad and emotional. I didn’t want the cleanse to end. With my support system gone, how would I refrain from all of the temptations? How would I hold myself accountable? I do not want to go back to my old habits (I’m a late-night snacker), but I also really want a margarita. I realize that I needed to find a healthy balance between that cleanse life and real life. I needed to make some longterm changes in my diet and set some boundaries for myself. I’m still figuring that part out.

Something to note: My period started a week early. It came with no warning, no cramps, no fatigue, no nothing. The next couple of days, my cramps were bad and my period lasted for TWELVE DAYS! Yikes! Tiana started a week early, as well, but she mentioned that hers was much lighter than usual an lasted the normal length of time. Interesting!

Post cleanse: I have decided that this summer is my summer of wellness. I plan to continue to cut out many of the things eliminated on the cleanse, adding some back in moderation, having the occasional drink, staying active, and challenging myself all summer long. I love food. I love to eat at fancy restaurants and order everything. All the cheese, all the bread, all the pasta—I love it all. It’s going to be hard to turn those things down, but I think I can live without them most of the time and allow myself some slack in moderation. Today we start the reintroduction phase of the program, which is a very important step. I am supposed to eat gluten to see how my body reacts. I am hesitant to do so, but I also just received the most thoughtful package in the mail from Teri Turner over at No Crumbs Left (she’s my favorite on Instagram. Her Stories are the best!!!) filled with fresh baked English muffins from Napa. I think I’ll give one a try. Will keep you posted on the how the reintroduction goes.

I have had a ton of questions about my experience, what I ate, how I did it, and more over the past 21 days. I plan to address some more of those here, soon. Feel free to ask any questions below and I will do my best to shed some light.

I also plan on posting my cliff notes to the process soon, as I know not everyone can afford the steep price tag, so stay tuned! This is not sponsored! But, if you are able, I think it’s 100% worth it to do the real deal. You get the support of their highly-trained team every step of the way. They email you daily, they answer any and all questions you may have, and that is really nice to have because this ain’t easy.

 

QUICK CURRY CHICKEN SALAD

03/06/2017

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My ex-mother-in-law taught me how to make this incredibly easy curry chicken salad over 15 years ago. It’s really good and also a hit with the kids! Since I made bone broth last week, I decided to whip up this dish with the chicken I had left over. I hope you like it!

You will need:

One roasted chicken, you can roast your own or buy one pre-roasted, which I usually do for convenience
Two green granny smith apples
Two celery stalks
Cashews halves
2 heaping spoonfuls of mayo, I use Nayonaise or Just Mayo (my favorite!)
1-2 Tbsp. curry powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to tase

Roast chicken if not pre-roasted. Remove breasts from whole chicken and cut into bite-size cubes. Chop all remaining ingredients and combine in a large mixing bowl. Stir in mayo and spices, to taste. Tip: Wait to add cashews until immediately before serving to avoid them softening.

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