Infused Olive Oils & Vinegars

I recently was introduced to Michelle Spangler, who not long ago purchased the store EVOO & Vin, soon to be renamed Infused Oils & Vinegars, located in Dallas at 5225 Beltline Road. Michelle, like I, previously worked in the Corporate World. Several years ago she went back to Culinary School to become a chef, so we had a lot in common, as we both made career shifts and both have a love of food. Michelle is rebranding her store and I recently attended one of her classes to learn more about her products and how they can enhance your cooking. 

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What I didn't expect, but was excited to find out, was all the heath benefits of the store's amazing oils and vinegars. Research done at the Miriam Hospital at Brown University show that people raised on diets that daily include about 2 tablespoons of a good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) have lower rates of most chronic diseases, such as less heart disease, cancers, arthritis and Type 2 diabetes. 

The oils sold at Infused Oils & Vinegars are rich in monosaturated fats, which do not oxidize.  Excessive oxidation, which tends to occur with other polyunsaturated fats, like those in vegetable oils, increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and general aging. The oils in Michelle's store contain phenols, which are antioxidants that lower oxidation. In fact in the store, Michelle carries a new category of oils known as Ultra Premium Olive Oil. These oils meet even higher standards than those needed to be labeled as Extra Virgin. All of these Ultra Premium Oils have a very high smoke point, lots of polyphenols (antioxidants), and low levels of free fatty acids which indicate a high quality olive, well handled with minimum time between harvesting and storage. Oxidation of DNA can initiate some cancers and EVOO with a high phenolic content such as that in the Ultra Premium Oils will decrease DNA oxidation, therefore lowering some cancer risks.

Some other health benefits of these oils include:

pain relief -  due to a substance called oleocanthal which has anti-inflammatory agents. 

mental agility - due to monounsaturated fat which can prevent or slow cognitive decline.     

strengthened immune system - due to the wide range of antioxidants in these olive oils which may help you become more resistant to infection . 

longer lasting weight loss - a diet rich in healthy oils may deliver greater and longer lasting weight loss results than a fat free diet. 

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As far as the Vinegars, they are aged in barrels that have been in continuous use for long periods of time. Therefore, they contain very old strains of pro-biotics which have not been heat pasteurized and are are very beneficial for gut health. Supermarket vinegars are heat pasteurized to extend their shelf life. Additionally, because the skins and flesh of the grapes are all crushed to make these balsamics, unique phenols, minerals and vitamins are present along with the pro-biotic colony and since it is unpasteurized, it has so many more healthy benefits. 

Other benefits of these balsamic vinegars include:

heart health - balsamic vinegars are low in cholesterol and saturated fat, so substituting dressings that are high in cholesterol levels with a homemade balsamic vinegar dressing will improve heart health since unwanted fats won't be deposited in your blood vessels. 

cancer fighter - the grapes used in the formation of balsamic vinegar contain quercetin, which is a bioflavonoid with antioxidant properties. This strengthens your immune system and makes it easy to fight infections, inflammations and even cancer.

better digestion - Balsamic vinegar contains polyphenols which stimulate the pepsin enzyme activity in your body. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins into amino acidds and help your intestines absorb amino acids, which makes it easy for your body to utilize, repair and build cells. 

From November 16-19 the store is having their grand reBranding launch with tastings, cocktails and cooking demos. Visit the website for times and to register for cooking demos. With over 50 varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, they not only offer great tasting products but they show customers how to use them in everyday cooking. Perfect for the person who is Hungry For Health and Starved For Time.

Also, SAVE THE DATE: January 13th at 10 am, and January 14th at 3pm, at Infused Oils and Vinegars when I will be giving a book talk all about how to stay healthy even when you are busy. There will healthy treats to taste and you will learn ways to use the oils and vinegars in simple recipes and can sample all the flavors.

When you visit the store, tell Michelle that Suzy sent you. Not in Dallas, not a problem, check out their online products

My Favorite Goodies & Tips For a Good Night's Sleep

I often teach clients and groups about the importance of sleep because it is one of the cornerstones of good health. While we all suffer from sleep problems periodically, continual lack of sleep may lead to health problems, such as lowered vitality, lack of focus and concentration, impaired physical performance, low mood, premature aging and even weight gain. Ideally adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep. 

Here are some of my favorite tools & tips to help you if you are currently struggling to get a good nights sleep.

This Organic Night Time Tea will help soothe troubles from your mind and still unwanted thoughts.  A result of this wonderful blend of hawthorn flowers, lime flower, valerian root, passion flower and chamomille. Just $4.99 for 18 satchels.    

CLICK HERE FOR NIGHT TIME TEA:  

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This Organic Calming Tea contains a synergistic blend of relaxing herbs to help calm and soothe an overactive mind to aid a peaceful night's sleep. A blend of lime flower, chamomille, rose, lemon balm, passion flower & skull cap.   $4.99 for 18 Satchels  

  CLICK HERE FOR CALMING TEA:                                               

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The Beauty Sleep Collection intensely nourishes the skin with an aromatherapeutic blend of Cypress, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang, & Orange essential oils that calm the mind and enhance a restful sleep, while leaving skin smelling dreamy and beautifully pampered. The collection contains the Body Butter and the Beauty Sleep Concentrate.

Body Butter: wake up to deeply nourished and silky smooth skin with Beauty Sleep Body Butter, combining organic butters and oils. With an aroma-therapeutic blend of essential oils to calm the mind and enhance a restful sleep, skin is left smelling dreamy and beautifully pampered.                                                                                                            

CLICK HERE FOR BODY BUTTER:                                               

 


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Beauty Sleep Concentrate: is luxurious, lightweight, and easily absorbed and scientifically formulated to support your skins natural night time regeneration, while helping reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The aroma of the essential oils lulls you into a calm state that helps you relax and fall asleep.

CLICK HERE FOR BEAUTY SLEEP CONCENTRATE                                            


The 4-7-8 technique

Pioneered by holistic health doctor Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 technique is a simple trick to help your body fall asleep.

Lightly touch the ridge of tissue behind your top front teeth with your tongue, exhale completely, and then adopt the following breathing pattern:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4

  2. Hold your breath for a count of seven

  3. Blow air out through your mouth for a count of 8,

    making a 'whoosh' sound.

  4. Repeat the process three more times


Sleep tips........ zzzzzz

Day-time tips

  • Practice relaxation techniques through the day.

  • Exercise or walk outside for 20 minutes a day.

Bedroom tips

  • Establish a routine and set time to go to bed.

  • Avoid TV, computers, electronic games and e-books for at least an hour before bed, they emit brain stimulating light.

  • Try deep breathing exercises, practice meditation or relaxation techniques before sleep.

  • Keep your bedroom as dark as possible

  • Keep your bedroom cool - below 70 degrees

  • Listen to music to calm the mind.

  • What about a warm bath with candles before bed.

  • Go to the bathroom before you go to bed.

  • If you can’t switch your mind off - write it down!                     

Diet Tips

  • Avoid chocolate, cigarettes & alcohol, they ‘stimulate’ & disrupt sleep.

  • Avoid late night heavy meals, it taxes the digestion & affects sleep, if  you need to eat late make it light!


Another favorite is this Good Night Pillow Mist. With a therapeutic blend of organic essential oils, this mist promotes a sense of calm for a more restful night. Before bedtime, spritz 1-3 pumps around the room and over the pillow.

CLICK HERE FOR PILLOW MIST:


My final favorite is this ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER which I keep on my nightstand while diffusing a few drops of AROMATHERAPY BLEND CALMING OIL. The scent of the grounding vertiver oil and the relaxing lavender oil will help stop your mind from whirring and bring welcome relief when you are having difficulty relaxing and switching your mind off.                                                                                                          

          CLICK FOR NIGHTIME OIL                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                 

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The ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER creates a calm haven, has color changing mood lighting, or a no light option, and also acts as a mini-humidifier creating a cool, scented relaxing mist that spreads fragrances quickly and effectively.

CLICK HERE FOR ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER


Wishing you sweet dreams and a restful sleep!

Harmoniously yours,                                                                                                                                                                        Suzy

Learning to Fit Out Not In

Listen, I love a good BBQ, just like the next person. The crispy edge of the barbecued chicken, the juicy inside of the burger, and even sometimes the combination of the sauerkraut, the hot dog and the mustard! But this past weekend, during the July 4th holiday, me and the hubs were empty nesting it, and were trying to eat really clean and healthy. Don't get me wrong, if you love a good BBQ now and then, especially on the July 4th weekend, its awesome, but often times I find in working with clients, and even with my self, we sometimes resort to our old staples, the things we can cook off the top of our head, because we are too overwhelmed to come up with something else to make for dinner. We try sometimes to "fit in" with the norm. 

This weekend we were hot, and feeling heavy, and wanted a light main dish that would satisfy, without a lot of hassle. Enter, Spaghetti Squash with Summer Veggies for a great summertime main dish. Now I will post the recipe below, which is adapted from my new favorite cookbook by Pamela Salzman, titled "Kitchen Matters", but don't get hung up on the ingredients and the amounts, make it simple. 

When we become secure in our food choices, when we pay attention to the type of food our body is asking for, when we start to make healthier food choices and focus on nurturing ourselves, we may start to feel like we don't "FIT IN" with others around us. This is a concept I studied in my Nutrition School the idea of "FITTING OUT" rather than "FITTING IN". If you really want to get healthy, and make changes in your diet, you need to be comfortable "FITTING OUT". If you are deciding to make healthy diet changes, don't hide it. Educate others, tell them what you are dong and why. Don't worry about interrupting normal routines, whether that's not going to fast food for lunches with co-workers, or bringing healthier dishes to a family or friend get together. The more you start to be authentic with your food choices, and decisions, the easier "FITTING OUT" will become and you will start to feel happier and healthier. And if you want to indulge in a good BBQ once in a while, do it, mindfully and guilt free becuase that is what you feel your body needs at that moment. But give this spaghetti squash recipe a try and experiment with other veggies and toppings you might enjoy in the squash!

 Poke holes in squash with a fork, put whole squash in microwave and cook about 10 minutes. Then cool, cut and remove the seeds and make strands with your fork!

Poke holes in squash with a fork, put whole squash in microwave and cook about 10 minutes. Then cool, cut and remove the seeds and make strands with your fork!

 

Next heat olive oil and mushrooms in a skillet about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, then add salt, pepper and tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes. Add in some spinach and cook another 3 minutes. Then add in basil leaves and stir until wilted. 

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Combine the squash in the skillet with the tomatoes and saute until it is all warmed through. Then add some Parmesan cheese if you like and additional salt and pepper to taste. 

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Here are the actual ingredients if you are not yet ready to experiment on your own:

1 Spaghetti Squash 

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 Pound Mushrooms

Garlic Cloves sliced (I used a lot like 5)

1 Pound of Cut Cherry Tomatoes

Couple of Handfuls of Spinach

1/2 cup of Basil

Parmesan Cheese

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

Harmoniously Yours, 

Suzy

www.suzyharmonioushealth.com

 

 

Why Do We Resist Change?

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Whether its the inauguration of our new president, a Corporate restructuring, or just sticking to a new diet plan, we humans HATE change!  As a health & wellness coach who works to help people tweak their diet and lifestyle habits, I see this all the time. 

Change is scary and people do not like to feel a loss of control, a feeling that they are losing power. For a new health and wellness plan to work it MUST leave room to give you choices. A diet plan that is extremely strict and rigid, will eventually lead you to break into the chip bag, if it doesn't give you some flexibility to have power over what you eat. Thats why I always offer my clients healthy alternative options to their deepest cravings: frozen banana "nice" cream to replace sugar filled brands, spiralized veggies with meat sauce to satisfy those heavy pasta cravings, and morning smoothie bowls filled with veggies, berries and topped with nut butter to resemble the taste of their childhood PB&J. 

We also hate uncertainty, and as they say, "Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't know", so, for example, my client who drinks 3 diet Cokes a day would rather stick with that, than deal with the uncertainty of substituting in some green tea. Only when the doctor diagnoses a problem related to drinking too much soda, will the fear and uncertainty of the illness push them to change this habit.

Routines are very comforting, we are on auto-pilot. Change makes us stop and consider what is going on. Too much change all at once causes too much chaos and confusion in one's mind. Thats why I don't have a client give up gluten, sugar, and dairy all at one time. If your nutrition plan requires too many changes to your routine, you wont stick with it. Make one change, stick with it until it becomes automatic and a habit,before you introduce a new one. Stop grabbing a bagel to go for breakfast, and instead bring a yogurt and granola to eat at your desk. Start there, once that becomes natural them you can add more changes to your lunch and dinner meals. 

Find support during times of change, a friend, a colleague, your spouse, your religious community. Accepting support will strengthen your resilience and commitment to any changes your are going through, and having people to share our successes, struggles and fears with, makes it easier and less intimidating. 

Harmoniously yours, 

Suzy