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the sugar detox challenge – my graduation

Hello my sweet friends!
Do you still know, you’re sweet enough!

Today marks the last day of my CUT THE SUGAR, SUGAR –  Sugar Detox Challenge! Yay!!!!

My sugar detox wasn’t about removing sugar in all forms 100%, but really reducing the amount to about less than 4 tsp per day. So, now you’re thinking I’ve been taken off my leash and will have a sugar-stuffing party! Well, it’s not like that at all.

Would you believe if I told you that I – the former sugar addict (YES, that was me, looked up Sugar-Addicts-Annonymous, but surprisingly there is no such thing – weird as Sugar is the #1 addiction in North America!) – has NO sugar cravings! The chocolates, cookies in our house right now do nothing for me. They don’t tell me what to do – I tell them what to do! And it’s to just sit back down in the cupboards and wait for a friend to come over or some real special occasion to have a cookie!

That is not to say I now don’t like desserts – I still LOVE desserts – but they just don’t hold any power over me. I enjoy and savour a little piece of a healthy raw or vegan and gluten free dessert, not too much, 1/2 a cupcake is too much! I don’t sweeten my teas, I drink mostly water. All foods just taste better, my taste buds are in full excitement mode and I really savour my food and enjoy it — even those organic baby carrots!

So was it sugar that tried to kill me……???? when I could hardly breathe, my voice was barely audible, could not hold a soap in my hands, could not hold a mug of tea and had to use plastic cups or else the heaviness of the porcelain mug would just drop from my weak hands, and I was not able to carry my 1 year old daughter (at the time), and I was not even able to smile. Yes, physically my facial muscles were so weak – I just could not smile!

So was it sugar, contributing to the overgrowth of Candida that tried to kill me…..?

You know if I had to put together all the pieces of this rough puzzle of my health history. And I honestly always though I ate very healthy meals. I ate my vegetables, ate home cooked European meals, had no allergies, or food sensitivities…. but one thing I did like to pig-out on – was Sugar! I actually felt ‘lucky’ that I’m skinny enough that sugar/cookies/cheesecake/those crazy little Portuguese tarts that comprise of one ingredient : sugar, and I was completely addicted to – and could eat 3 in one sitting – - I felt ‘lucky’ I could eat all that and not gain any extra weight or rolls on my stomach. I also stayed fit and that fooled me that I could get away with my silly charade of living with my cocaine fix – and could live healthy forever!

So if I could put all the pieces of my puzzle together…. you’re darn right, that a large picture of sugar would have been on that puzzle!

…………………….

If you have a battle with sugar cravings yourself, I invite you and just everyone who wants to win with sugar cravings to take on a Sugar Detox Challenge. Although it is addicting – sugar is not Cocaine and you can remove it from your diet. And you don’t need a rehab to do this, just focus, read my post with my tips on how to do it with success. Day by day, train your brain that it’s ok to not succumb to those cravings. Soon, you will live better, food will taste better, your health will get better, you will be happier and find yourself high on life – not sugar!



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5 ways to get motivated to work out

The lifestyle we choose shapes us completely
in mind, body and spirit. And only you can choose
this lifestyle for yourself!

We all know that being active is good for you. The doctors say it, your mother has said it when you were young, and you really do know it in fact, there’s probably some type of exercising tool buried in the closet as proof. You know you want to do it! But finding the right mind set is often the real hard work!

Once you take some steps, and I mean real baby steps, you will find that it’s not really all that hard. It doesn’t have to cost you anything. And your body, inside and out, will really thank you for it. You’ll see it yourself ~ first with a bigger smile on your face and an air of happiness all around you – no one will know what’s making you glow so much!

Exercise is the key for a healthier happier YOU! Along with healthy foods, it is the building block of a healthy strong woman.

But I realize that adding exercise or some fitness routine into our busy days, just isn’t easy for some. We all need motivation and inspiration to help push us to a better life. A life with incredible rewards ~ with reduced stress, increased energy, better sleep, healthier and leaner body, a better self-image, better sex-life, and  so much more.

So, are you with me? Are you joining me in working out more? Let’s get motivated first:

5 Ways to Get Motivated to Work Out!

Five real-life tips for all women!
You will sparkle with positive energy and happiness!
Putting you in charge and giving you lots of energy, drive, and courage!

1. Visualize & Get Inspired

Visualize the person you want to be! Close your eyes or stand in front of the mirror and picture yourself the person you want to be ~ all the way up to a bigger smile on your face. Now freeze that image in your head and tell yourself your goal. In my case: “I want a tighter butt and a firmer stomach”! (was my magic mirror wish). Now keep that visual in your mind and refer to it as often as you can. Telling yourself “I will be this person”.

Find a physical reminder of your new goal to work out more that are clear to see and will inspire you! For me it’s from Charlize Theron hiding in my own bathroom cubby to wow me every time I glance at her. (I’ll try to add a photo of that!) Posting a photo of a woman you aspire to is a wonderful thing. If she radiates in a positive way and appeals to you as someone you’d be inspired by – pin her up! (your partner will probably appreciate it too ;)  Also, dusting off the treadmill (if you have one), or a set of dumb bells and your yoga mat and placing them in a convenient spot that makes you notice them (but doesn’t create cutter) will drive up the excitement to reach for them and start your workout.

Don’t have any idea where to start? Just play music loud and dance – dancing and jumping and waving your arms and twisting your body ~ will be equivalent to a workout! Be creative and have fun!

For inspirational workouts, check out YouTube for some amazing videos that are easy to follow right at home. My own inspirational gal is Zuzana Light – watch her channel here for her ZWOW workouts! (I’m not on her level – at all. LOL). but I find she still inspires me to push myself further and carry out a great workout with much smaller weights.

2. Keep it a Secret

This is very controversial – some say announcing your goal to everyone is the way to go – I say, keeping it a secret is better! After all, you’re not doing this to anyone but yourself. You’re not out there to impress anyone – only You! Sure your significant other can be in on the secret (I’ll bet that will inspire him to join you) but other than don’t go announcing it too much. (you don’t even need to blog about it). Because, your own pace will decide on the progress you will take – it’s not the same for everyone. You may struggle more, you may give up for a few days. Keep focused that you are doing this for yourself and you won’t need any explanations for anyone. Besides, it will be the best compliment, when a friend you haven’t seen in a while notices something different about you and says “You Look Great”!

3. Setting the Mood

Ok, most of us don’t have a fancy gym in our house. We barely have any room at all that would feel motivating to do a workout. So what do you do? Did you know that you don’t really need a lot of room to have a workout right at home. Find a room that is clutter (and toy) free, bright and energizing (preferably not a room that’s painted a dark colour). Create some space around you – if it means you need to move an arm chair out of you way – do it. Schedule something in when the house is empty or at least you get some uninterrupted time.

Music really sets the mood for a workout! Play something upbeat, happy and loud! And most importantly you love and feel good listening to it. “I like how it feels” by Enrique Iglesias is my song currently that just gets me in the mood!

Is it nice outside? Then dress in your sporty clothes and put your shoes on – and go for a speed walk, a hike, a bike ride – if you’re a beginner, than jogging would be further down the list – but definitely introduce it for even 5 minutes if your strength and energy is good.

4. Start Small

Do you have 10 minutes right now? An intense 10 minute workout with a few sets of dumbbells, some cardio, ab crunches, lunges – Yes, all in 10 minutes will tone you in the right places and boost your energy! Devote only 10 minutes per day as a start – if it feels good – continue for even an hour. Work at your own comfortable level and pace. Rest when you need it but for the 10 minutes aim for a high-intensity workout! That’s the best kind to burn those calories and trim those inches off your body.

Every day is a new beginning! Even after a few workouts you could have a meltdown of energy – keep in mind that every day is a new beginning! You can always start again – and again if you have a rough day and can’t commit right away. Just know that anything is better than nothing ~ and a 3-5 short but vigorous exercises are more beneficial than two hours of mild exercise. So go, push yourself!

5. Healthy Body needs Healthy Food

If you’ve set your mind to working hard on your new goal to exercise more – than you better reward your body with good things. Your body will not want any junk food ~ your body will want fresh veggies, lean protein (preferably plant-based). You need to feed your body balanced meals and vitamin and mineral rich foods. Don’t forget to drink lots of water between your meals and while you work out to stay hydrated.

MYASTHENIA GRAVIS & WORKING OUT

From personal experience, I have seen how a lifestyle and diet change can really transform your life. I actually can’t believe that once upon a time I could not hold a spoon to my mouth and could only walk with support. Now I’m craving a good workout and I can speed walk so fast my butt burns! It makes me feel amazing and gives me this fabulous energy I’ve never had before!

Myasthenia Gravis friends, you also need to work on your muscles even if you feel very weak. Start on small exercises on a mat or make sure you hold onto something sturdy when you do exercises standing up, like a sofa or table. I started doing many of my workouts near a bed, in case I fell. Time your medication so that you’re working out at its peak. Usually 1 hour after you take them. Include a variety of exercises with 3-5 lbs dumbbells. Don’t over do it and remember to rest a lot.

These 5 ways to get motivated to work out, certainly help me and I do hope they will help you too continue on finding a fitness routine that you’re comfortable with.

So what works for you? What motivates you to get a good workout and to stick to it?


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kickass kale : super smoothies

Yup, that’s right! Kickass Kale SuperSmoothies will jump start your day the right way ~ with a kick – you know where! Oh, come on, I know we all need one once in a while ;P And today’s your lucky day! LOL! This is one of my favourite Green Smoothie recipes with a base of the super-food Kale that’s kicked up a notch with the powerful nutrition of Spirulina Powder - and zinged up with Grapefruit! Now let’s not leave out the Banana – another brain food that adds a nice smoothness to our smoothie!

I wrote about the health benefits of Kale and the nutritional benefits of Spirulina already on this blog. Do visit these pages for more valuable info : Health Benefits of Kale and Spirulina is taking over the Multivitamin

Here’s how to get your own superhero SuperSmoothie!

KICKASS KALE : SUPER-SMOOTHIE

{vegan, gluten-free, nut free, rich in vitamins and minerals}

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups of organic kale
  • 1-2 grapefruits
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp Spirulina Powder (Simply Spirulina from New Roots Herbal)
  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 glasses of filtered water
.

Children’s version : drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of organic fruit syrup or agave nectar (or raw honey if not vegan).

You’ll need a juicer and a blender for this recipe. I use a small immersion blender to finish it off.

Directions : In a juicer, juice the kale and peeled grapefruit. In a tall cup, add in a teaspoon of Spirulina Powder and banana and mix with a standard blender/ vitamix or small immersion blender.

Smoothie making tips :

  • For the Spirulina use up to 1 tablespoon depending on how you like it. (I’m certainly used to the taste and love it – but I use less in a big batch when making it for the rest of the family also.
  • When juicing the kale, juice it first, run the pulp one more time through the juicer to get all the goodies out for your juice. Now move all that kale pulp into a dish or storage container – that is still worth gold in a pasta dish for supper! Now go back and juice your grapefruit, twice again to get as much juice out of there as possible.
.

You would not know this but KALE is my magic word for this blog. It is the number one search engine word that gets people to come right here into my big open arms. Don’t really know how that happened (it must be the ‘health benefits of kale‘ post) and how it continues to happen daily, but to live up to my blog’s expectations I now make sure to have regular stock-up of Kale in my fridge at all times! After all, Kale is King – as my earlier post states!

Now you know who wears the superhero cape in our hose. And no it’s not me, it’s the Kale!

This is definitely a recipe that kicks up your energy level way up! I loved it! My husband swallowed it! And my daughter sipped on it enjoyably with her version with a raspberry lemon fruit syrup!

Here’s the scoop of the health benefits in one glass of this amazing Kickass Kale Super-Smoothie!

Kale : chlorophyll, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B6, K, alpha-linolenic acid, beta-carotene (twice as much as spinach), carotenoids, silicon and sulfur.

Spirulina : a source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Eating five grams of spirulina provides about 230 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamin A and beta carotene, 150 percent of the RDAs of vitamin D and vitamin B12, and 125 percent of the RDA of vitamin K. It’s also a rich source of carotenoids, copper, vitamin E, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc

Grapefruit : contains citric acid, natural sugars, essential oils like limonene, pinene and citral.  It has high amounts of vitamin C, and smaller amounts of vitamin A, B complex, E and K. In the mineral department, larger amounts of calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, and potassium are found.  The nutritive phytonutrients of this voluptuous fruit are liminoids, flavonoids, lycopene and glucarates – help fight cancer and various diseases.

Bananas : contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B2 as well as fibre and protein.

I have a love/hate relationship with juicing (blended smoothies I love) but it’s the juicing am usually avoiding. I think it’s the clean up that’s no fun! ;) I am on a mission to do them more often!  Working hard on that ‘love’ part more lately!

How are you doing in the juicing/ smoothie making department?

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lentil casserole

I am often asked by my friends – so what do you eat? Well, this is one of the recipe examples that gets made at our house lately… I’ve made this so many times actually and mentioned it already here, that it’s about time I shared the recipe with you. It’s my go to dish for something easy, soulful, warm, filling, quick and vegan. If you’re thinking of having a vegetarian night still filled with protein – well give this a try ;)

The star of this dish is – - (well the photo gave it away ;) – - lentils!

Lentils are rich in protein with over 25% of lentils nutritional value being protein. This makes lentils the most popular and inexpensive source for protein, especially for those, who want to enjoy a nice dinner on a smaller budget and of course for vegetarians and vegans. Apart from proteins, lentils have essential amino acids, dietary fiber, folate, other vitamins and minerals and fibre. (read more on their nutritional value chart here).

Lentil Casserole Recipe

1 cup of dry red lentils (sliced are best)
1 medium onion
3 medium carrots
1/4 of celery root
1 pack of frozen spinach (or 1 cup of frozen sweet peas)
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for cooking
fresh cilantro

Directions: Cook the lentils as per instructions (make sure there’s not a lot of liquid in them near the end). In a large sauce pan, dice and sautee the onion and set aside. Defrost and cook the spinach or sweet peas separately and drain. Shred the carrots and celery root in a food slicer (or grater will work fine). Add the shredded carrots and the celery root to the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked lentils to this and mix to combine all the ingredients well. (add a little bit of water if the mixture starts sticking to the pan too much). Season to taste with salt & pepper and turmeric. In an oven safe dish, layer the lentils mix with well drained spinach (or sweet peas). Bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with a light salad and rice. Enjoy!

The timing of this post couldn’t be more perfect. Just yesterday I was on the phone with a friend of mine who declared that she and her husband along with their daughter are going vegetarian for the whole week. So this Lentil Casserole immediately popped into my mind (good thing I have a stash of food shots just waiting to be enjoyed by anyone with devouring tastebuds)! So this one’s for you Eva!

As a side note to the recipe, this goes well with the turmeric spice but if you don’t like that flavour (you could add just a bit, and you can’t tell it’s even there) Or you could go a different route and use spices like dried oregano or basil and that will work just as well.

What are you eating lately?

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delicious kale

I recently discovered how GREAT kale is. Maybe for some, it’s been on their table since childhood but for me I came across it by Googling and decided to give it a try.  I have used it in several recipes, and most recently in this: Hardy Kale Barley Soup.

IMG_5101 Kale soup

Kale Barley Soup

1 large onion
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup barley
2 yams (sweet potatoes)
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1 zucchini
1 celery stalk

Option: add 1 cup of chick peas to add protein.

Directions: In a large pot saute the chopped onion until brown. Add kale and stir on medium heat about 5-10 min. Add water and cover, bring to a boil,and lower heat to low. Cook for about 15 min. Add barley, cook for another 15 min. You can add some salt at this point. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 20 min. Season to taste with salt and pepper, oregano, cayanne pepper. —It takes close to an hour to make but it’s worth it as you won’t need a second course with a soup like that. Enjoy.



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