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Surprising Substitutions to Make that Unhealthy Dish More Healthy

Chef Tesia Cannella 

Tip #1 Using cottage cheese instead of mayonnaise in cold salads is a great way to reduce fat, especially when using the low fat cottage cheese. This works well in tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad, etc. If you add a little salt and pepper and a bit of citrus zest, you will boost flavor in any if these salads.

Tip #2 Use ground oats instead of flour if you’re trying to cut carbs or avoid gluten. Place Old Fashion oats in a food processor or “Magic Bullet” and blitz until it is the consistency of flour. You can use this to coat proteins for sautéing or in batters such as pancakes, etc.

Tip #3 If you’re trying to reduce sodium in your diet, you can do so by using lots of fresh herbs, citrus juice and citrus zest. Try mixing fresh parsley, mint or basil in with your salad greens to boost the fresh flavor of those greens, and lightly toss in self-made Vinaigrettes of lemons, limes, oranges, and pink grapefruit. You can even add a little honey or coconut sugar for sweetness if you desire.

Chef Rossi


Tip #1 I am famous for my gluten free options. The sneakiest source of gluten is often soy sauce. Soy sauce is wheat-based and shows up everywhere. I abolished soy sauce in favor of gluten-free tamari. As a side benefit, tamari has less sodium than soy sauce, and most brands do not contain preservatives or MSG. Tamari has more protein than soy sauce, too. Tamari keeps its flavor when it’s cooked and does not get nuclear-salty in the way soy sauce can. Once I made the soy-to-tamari switch, a hundred gluten recipes I’d been making were suddenly gluten-free! Korean barbecue beef, vegetable stir-fry, chicken satay, beef teriyaki, all gluten-free! 

Tip #2 Pasta with punch! Why have the empty calories of a simple pasta when the option for high-protein pasta was out there waiting to be loved? Chickpea or red lentil pasta is gluten-free and a fabulous source of protein. It’s loaded with nutrients, and it’s delicious. It’s not like all the healthy switches I make are based on gluten. I do actually care about other edible things. 

Tip #3 My mother had a sugar addiction. It basically was what killed her. She was hundreds of pounds overweight and diabetic when she died of heart failure. Maybe because of that, I love to find delicious ways to make healthier choices than refined sugar. My favorite substitute is maple syrup. I will use it instead of sugar in cookie doughs. Add it instead of sugar to sweeten up barbecue sauces. Unlike sugar, which may be  hurting you just a tad, maple syrup is actually good for you. It’s loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and super high in anti-oxidants. I am not a martyr for the healthy cause. I still eat sugar especially in dark chocolate, but mixing in some healthier options that make you feel better too? Why not?

About the Experts: 


Private Chef Tesia has multiple degrees in business, finance, and entrepreneurship and a never-ending passion for making great food. After culinary school, Chef Tesia Cannella landed a prestigious role working at Ritz Carlton Palm Beach and then at the Boca Raton Resort & Spa, a Waldorf Astoria property. She currently enjoys being a full-time private chef in the South Florida area. 

The Raging Skillet has been widely known as NYC’s best kept secret, but they have actually been catering non-traditional weddings, international soirees and fabulous holiday bashes for over 26 years! The Zagat’s Guide has called Chef Rossi “the wildest thing this side of the Mason Dixon Line.” The New York Times has called Rossi, “a new breed of rebel anti-caterer.” And Go Magazine has voted Rossi “one of the 100 women we love!” 

Positive Affirmations, Do They Work? Spiritual Leaders Answer

Positive affirmations are essentially statements we say to ourselves with the intentions of love and kindness. Some examples are: “I am loved,” “I am powerful, “I am abundant,” “I have everything I need,” and “Everything is exactly as it should be.” You can think of them as mantras that you may repeat to yourself at any time to help you feel more supported and confident in yourself and in life. You may be thinking, how is talking to myself this way going to help me? Well, I invite you to consider the concept that life happens entirely in our heads. We all have our own perspectives and we might all experience the same circumstances in completely different ways. With this idea in mind, it becomes clear that we have the power to change our lives if we change our perspectives. If you tell yourself over and over that you’re bad at something, then you’ll never become good at it. If you tell yourself positive affirmations, you will surely wire your brain to believe them, even if it doesn’t feel like that instantly in the moment. What we focus on literally becomes our reality. And the greatest weapon against stress is the ability to choose one thought over another. What thoughts are you choosing? 
Shelby Gorstein, Shelby Yoga

Using affirmations is a great way to help you move forward in life by reminding yourself or confirming that something good is true about yourself. They can be positive encouraging statements about your true nature and abilities and can also be an effective way to manifest new and wonderful things into your life! So do they work? Yes but they are not magic spells! I have found a few things that make them more effective. Clarity is one. Don’t try and fix everything all at once, focus on one thing at a time. I think most people want more love, health and abundance. Of course, each of those things can help increase the others with the right balance. Be clear about what you want and know that you deserve it! Take love, for instance. An affirmation I like is “I am equally lovable and loving!” Say it often, write it down and practice giving and receiving love. Another is believability. You must know that it is true and/or possible. If it’s too grandiose or out there, you won’t actually believe it. Make it believable in incremental steps. For instance, for more abundance, if you are very far from being a millionaire you probably won’t believe a statement like “I’m going to be a millionaire this year.” (I avoid putting time limits or any limits on affirmations.) But something like “I can attract more business” or “I’m capable of earning more money” is more probable. These statements may be much more believable to you this way. Find or create affirmations that resonate with you. Give up attachment to specific outcomes. Instead, be lighthearted and playful in using affirmations. Be open to the many ways good things can show up in your life! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be specific in knowing what you want (clarity), just not attached, by having a must-have mindset. These are the things that have helped me. Affirmations along with other positive, healthy, spiritual practices have been greatly beneficial to me personally! Namaste.
Tamara Martin, Pink Sands Yoga

Affirmations, when fully integrated, repeated, and also combined with some creative, right-brained things such as music or movement, can alter your belief systems about yourself and the world. With repeated affirmations, we aim to re-pattern our self-talk, actions, routines and then, bang! Our confidence grows. Affirmations can help heal and open doors to relationships and opportunities and move us into readiness and willingness to accept great and new benefits into our lives. As a yoga and wellness teacher and also a life coach for creative and spiritual women, I created a coaching system called “Transition and Transformation”. I love this work! Affirmations, combined with clarifying your vision for happiness, is a step in my coaching process and programs. My clients have had some life-changing results. My coaching program is based on my own process, steps out of difficult times in my life.
Didi McKay, Evolutions

The Basic 411 on Chakras

Chakras

The Basic 411 on Chakras

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning spinning wheel and part of our subtle body anatomy” explains Tamara Martin, a Florida-based licensed massage therapist, yoga teacher, energy healer, and the founder/owner of Pink Sands Yoga “I like to think of them as energetic gears as they work together. The 7 primary chakras run along the spine beginning at the base of the spine (root) and ending at the top of the head (crown).” Shelby Gorstein of Shelby Yoga adds “Chakras are energy centers in the body. Each chakra corresponds to different organs in the body and elements of life.” Shelby holds a 200-hour RYT and an additional certification in Yin Yoga. “When one is blocked, certain mental/emotional and physical ailments may arise. When one is balanced, there is a sense of harmony and peace. These chakras can also be operating excessively, leading to other lifestyle impacts. For example, someone with an overactive heart chakra might end up emotionally drained in relationships.” Vicki Howie, creator of Chakra Love, the Chakra Life Cycle System, and Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos describes chakras as “revolving doors between the human body and the outside world.” She continues to say “these chakras are created by continually moving currents of energy in the three dimensions of physical reality. As they move they are interacting with the areas on the body that are most concentrated with nerve ganglia. There is one “positive” and one “negative” for each of the three dimensions of physical reality, six in all.

These polar opposite currents create the swirling movement of the chakras in the body.
 
What does it feel like when your chakras are blocked? Martin explains, “Any health issue or disease can be linked to the chakras being blocked (but not to say that working with the chakras can diagnosis, cure, or treat them). People describe the feeling of a blocked chakra or chakras with these words: “tired, lack of energy, unmotivated, foggy, unclear, lack of peace, feeling blah, fearful, sad, depressed or anxious.” What does it feel like when your chakras are open? “People describe it like feeling more at ease, more energized, calm or peaceful, balanced, in the flow, clear-headed, focused or relaxed, just feeling good!” says Martin. Gorstein gives specific examples of the feelings one experiences when each chakra is blocked or open.
  1. The Root Chakra: When blocked there is a feeling of being ungrounded and insecure, or feeling unsafe or stuck in life. When open, there you feel accomplishment, trust, connected, and safe.
  2. The Sacral Chakra: With a blocked Sacral Chakra you will feel stiff hips, feel out of touch emotionally, overwhelmed, or in a place of addiction. When open you will have a feeling of abundance, creativity, fulfillment, and feel connected to pleasure. 
  3. The Solar Plexus Chakra: When blocked you will experience digestive issues, low self-esteem, lack of commitment and feeling dismissed. Feelings of confidence and power return when opened.
  4. The Heart Chakra: Tight shoulders, no compassion for self or feelings of isolation come with being blocked. Once open, you will experience feelings of self-love and feel a naturally radiant love for others with compassion and kindness.
  5. The Throat Chakra: When blocked you will experience a stiff neck, an inability to speak up for oneself and feelings invalidated. But once open you will be able to speak your mind, express yourself and connect with others.
  6. The Third Eye Chakra: A blocked Third Eye Chakra will lead to brain fog, lack of intuition and inspiration. When open you will feel connected to your spiritual development and experience feelings of unity and harmony. 
  7. The Crown Chakra: If this Chara is blocked you will have trouble concentrating and experience an inability to see other perspectives. Self-awareness and feelings of union and enlightenment return once open.
 
How does one heal their chakras? Martin explains “I think it’s more about keeping them open and flowing, and like any health and wellness concern, it involves a life-long practice of healthy living and awareness. That being said, to keep your chakras open, it’s important to have them tested and learn more about them. A personalized plan can be developed by a wellness practitioner like myself. You can learn to test them and open them for yourself as well.” Martin continues to explain. “All aspects of healthy balanced living can activate the chakras and help keep them flowing freely. This includes eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in all of the colors of the rainbow as each chakras has a corresponding color. Movements is important, especially yoga asanas which directly help open and energize the chakras. Spending time in nature for example walking barefoot on the earth is great for activating the root chakra. Chakra stones and essential oils can be used to open specific chakras, and of course meditation, prayer and other spiritual practices are important as they open us up to the greatest energy source of all divine love.”
 
How long does it take to open up your chakras? Martin says “It can take just a few minutes to open one up, but keeping them open is a little trickier, especially if there is a long-standing issue behind the blocked chakras and if there are multiple chakras blocked.”
 
What can you do on your own to help? “Any form of meditation can be helpful for opening the chakras, but if you wish to focus on a chakra meditation I recommend starting with a guided meditation either in person with an electronic device. You can find both live and recorded ones, these days. A printed version may be helpful as well.” Martin concludes “Any of these options will help, as long you can begin to do it on your own!”