Breakfast Smoothie 101

Tropical-green-smoothie-2

Being that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I decided to make my first recipe post about one of my favorite breakfasts to make: smoothies!!! While I love fresh pressed juice as well, smoothies seem to be more filling and can carry you longer throughout the day without getting hungry. Smoothies can be a little intimidating because there are endless combinations and you want to make sure the flavors go well together. There are some basic rules that I follow:

1. Start with a leafy green. Spinach is my favorite because it doesn’t have flavor and it’s not as fibrous as kale so it blends up nicely. It’s always great just to have on hand because it’s a super quick dinner option too, if you don’t have enough time to make a gourmet meal.

2. Add a liquid. This can be your choice! I like to use almond milk or coconut milk because it gives the smoothie a nice creamy texture. If you need to hydrate coconut water is also a good option. If water or plain milk is your thing than do that. No rules, just add a liquid. I generally don’t measure but a cup or so should do it.

3. Get fruity. Add whatever fruit you have! Again no rules. Apples, bananas, berries, pineapple, kiwi. Just beware that strawberries and spinach make a brownish colored smoothie. So If color is important to you either go for spinach and neutral colored fruits to make a green smoothie, or skip the greens and make something red or purple with lots of berries. Is an avocado a fruit? Because that is one of my favorites to throw in too!

4. Accessorize! After you put on an outfit it’s fun to dress it up a bit with jewelry, shoes, a hat or purse. Well this is the same thing! Raid your pantry and see what else you can throw in there to pack a nutritional punch. My favorite accessories are great pantry staples and always on hand. Chia seeds, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, almond butter, greek yogurt (plain is preferred as to not throw off the taste), vanilla extract, and cacao nibs (especially good for a mint chocolate chip smoothie) are some of my staples.

Another tip: Keep your bender on the counter where you can use it. Most people have toasters on their counter. I have a juicer and a blender on my counter. Accessibility is key! You won’t use it if it’s buried in the cabinet.

The take away: Use what you have. Don’t go crazy looking at recipes and buying ingredients you’ll use once. Chances are if you have the staples (fruit, liquid, greens) and keep some accessories in your pantry, you can have a healthy start to your day. And for all those commuters out there, it’s easily portable, yay!

 

Follow me on bloglovin

Essential Oils Introduction

I have recently been introduced to using essential oils for a number of physical and mental benefits. My first thought was: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

First let me begin by saying I do not work for an essential oils company and I don’t make any money for promoting them. I’m just a person who uses them, and LOVES them! I have found that on my wellness crusade, these little guys have boosted my energy, enhanced my mood, calmed my racing mind, eased physical pain and inspired further educating myself on plant based medicine.

While my boyfriend is a doctor of western medicine, I happen to be more on the side of eastern traditions and natural medicine when I can. If I can address a problem first in the most natural way, then I will. That is why I love these oils so much. I believe that for the most part nature provides us with what we need. What is important to keep in mind with essential oils is the quality. Unfortunately the kinds you buy in the health food store are not the highest grade and may contain other chemicals. They should not be used directly on the skin or ingested. The essential oils that I use (Young Living) are therapuric grade and organically grown and produced. They can be used aromatically, topically and internally. My two favorites are lavender and peppermint.

peppermint-essential-oil 2

Peppermint and lavender oils seem to be the bread and butter (or should I say Kale and Quinoa) of your essential oil repertoire. They can pretty much be used for any malady or complaint. Peppermint can be used on the skin diluted in a carrier oil or neat, as well as ingested. Topically I use peppermint on my temples, forehead and neck for headaches or tension pain after a long day, as well as soothing sunburn and reducing fever. It’s also used to help aid digestive pain and nausea when rubbed on the stomach or ingested in water. Inhale for congestion, mental clarity, waking up, and to boost energy. The list goes on.

Young-Living-Lavender-essential-oil

While lavender is typically used for it’s calming and soothing effect, it is also great on cuts, bruises, and burns to reduce swelling and infection. I use it on my skin every night to reduce redness, scarring and to help me sleep. It can also be used in a bath to relax and detox, promote lash growth when combined with mascara, soothe itchy bug bites and to control dandruff. Again, there are many more I am not naming here. Pinterest has endless idea for use of these oils. Contact me directly if you would like to know more. Otherwise check back for more posts about these wonderful oils in the future.

Food Philosophy

It’s hard to filter out the noise of what to eat and what not to eat. Everyone has an opinion on which diet works for them. We can drive ourselves crazy and become obsessed if we monitor everything we eat. There’s actually an eating disorder “orthorexia” which is an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy. Sounds great right!? Sign me up! Just kidding. What I realized after trying to be so strict and making these grand statements about what I will eliminate, I was causing more stress to my system. While I may have been eating well, I was still feeling bad because my negative thoughts were acting like poison in my body, just like junk food would. We all have those thoughts when we want to eat well and we act like the food police “don’t eat that… you will regret it… it will make you feel bad… you’re a failure if you have that cookie/bagel/simple sugar of any kind!” Everyone has thought this at some point. While eating healthy is the goal, if it means deprivation and punishing thoughts, it’s not going to make us feel good.

The approach is what matters. Instead of “I really want that piece of cake, but it’s so full of processed foods and sugar, it’s going to be like poison in my body, wreaking havok in every cell, I will feel so sick and hate myself” we can shift our approach to one of love and positivity “I deserve so much better than what that cake will do for me. The next special occasion that comes around I will treat myself to a small slice, but right now I will honor my body and give it what it actually needs to run.” If it’s a special occasion, have a small bit, but in the grand scheme of every day life,  lovingly feed yourself what it needs to function optimally, not stuff that’s gonna gunk up all the amazing processes that’s happening inside to keep us alive. If you significantly limit the bad stuff, you will find that over time your body just won’t want it anymore. Bye-bye diets!

Welcome!

Welcome to Bloom & Spark. This blog is intended to be a place to share information and inspiration on all healthy and happy living content. There’s nothing better than knowing we have the ability to take the best care of ourselves and live to our fullest potential. Here I will share recipes, tips, and information on food, nutrition and fitness, as well as guidance toward personal development of the mind and spirit. And maybe some fun travel and restaurant posts too.

The inspiration for the name came from my love for healthy natural foods that come from the earth, especially when I grow them myself (Bloom), as well as my passion for seeking out inspiration, positive energy and joy in the world (Spark). The main focus will be on a healthy living lifestyle for the mind body and spirit, but will also touch a bit on travel and leisure as it pertains to finding health and happiness.

A bit of personal background: My name is Caroline and I live in The Hamptons. A wonderful place for finding inspiration and beauty. I began a personal journey of overall wellness after dealing with anxiety disorders for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen psychologists and hypnotherapists, tried prescription medication and finally got fed up with all the effort it took to battle this issue. I decided to look toward other avenues of healing, in a more wholistic and peaceful way. I knew a complete lifestyle change was needed, for my mind, body and spirit. I became passionate about educating myself on nutrition, meditation, yoga, spiritual development and living happily and peacefully. I have found success with this way of living, as long as I am consistent and continue to learn more and maintain healthy habits. So this blog is a place to do just that. Thanks for joining me!