It’s International Chocolate Day!

It’s International Chocolate Day today! Are you ready?  I can’t eat cacao, so I will have to live vicariously through you.  DO. NOT. LET. ME. DOWN!

If you’ve totally flaked on this day that is special to so many … here are a few recipes!  Enjoy 🙂

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

So this mousse. Chocolatey. Creamy. Rich. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and your mouth will be none the wiser, while your stomach will be all the happier. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make. Put it in one large tureen for a grand display or into individual little ramekins for a pot d’creme flourish.

Ingredients:
2 bars (or 6 oz.) dairy-free fine chocolate
Tip: Scharffen Berger in an excellent chocolate
2 large ripe avocados
2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 vanilla bean pod
6 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ – ½ cup sugar
1 (5.4 oz.) can of coconut cream
Note: This is not the same as coconut milk and will not turn out the same.
Directions:
  1. Cut one bar in half, reserving half of one bar for shavings.
  2. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water.
  3. Break the remaining chocolate into the bowl and stir, allowing it to melt. While you break it, appreciate the fine snap! sound that high quality chocolate makes when it breaks.
  4. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, halve and stone the avocados, then scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender, discarding the skins.
  6. Split the vanilla bean pod down the middle, scoop out the beans, and add them to the food processor.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, then pulse again to combine.
  8. Pour in the cooled chocolate, then pulse a final time until creamy and smooth.
  9. Put into desired serve ware, then pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve with an extra grating of chocolate.
Note: For a different flavor, try using Lavender essential oil instead of Peppermint! Just be sure to add fewer drops of Lavender

 

Dark Chocolate Ginger Waffles with Cream

Topped with  Ginger Almond Greek Yogurt Cream, one waffle will keep you full for hours. The Ginger essential oil gives the waffle a gentle spice that intertwines perfectly with the sweetness of the almond and vanilla and brings out the chocolate flavor. A perfect balance of healthy and traditional ingredients, these waffles also freeze well.

yield: 10 waffles

 

Ingredients

1 cups cake flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (We used Scharffen Berger’s)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse salt

3 large eggs, separated

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup coconut oil, liquid form

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 medium zucchini, shredded (smallest shredder size possible)

2 drops Ginger essential oil real maple syrup, for topping

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F and place a wire rack over a baking sheet, set aside.
  2.  In a large bowl, combine the flours, cocoa, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3.  Whisk until evenly combined.
  4. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the egg yolks, buttermilk, coconut oil, almond extract, vanilla extract, and Ginger essential oil. Mix until just combined and lump-free.
  5.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Make sure the bowl and beaters are super clean so that the egg whites fluff up properly. Add the beaten egg whites to the batter, a little at a time, and fold them in gently until evenly combined.
  6. Shred zucchini and fold into batter.
  7. Heat waffle iron and lightly grease with cooking spray. Add about ¼ cup of batter to the center of the hot waffle iron. Close lid and cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions.
  8.  Transfer to prepared wire rack baking sheet. Keep waffles warm in the preheated oven while you continue to cook the rest and make the cream. Serve with the Greek Yogurt Ginger-Almond Whipped Cream and real maple syrup. Enjoy!

 

Greek Yogurt Almond-Ginger Whipped Cream

Makes about 3 cups of whipped cream

 

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1/2 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat or otherwise, chilled

Powdered sugar, to taste

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 toothpick’s worth of Ginger essential oil

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, beat heavy cream, yogurt, sugar, almond extract, and Ginger essential oil on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Taste and add more yogurt or cream to taste and whisk again to soft peaks.

Heath Benefits:

Dark cocoa powder: Raw cocoa powder contains a high level of antioxidants that can help protect against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and age degeneration.
Zucchini: This is an ideal vegetable to aid in weight loss. It is a low calorie food that is a great source of dietary fiber which can help maintain bowel regularity. It’s high water content can help keep the body hydrated and can leave you feeling full. It is also a good source of vitamin C.


Greek yogurt:
This type of yogurt contains strong doses of protein. Its high protein content can aid the body in maintaining healthy skin and fighting off illness.


Ginger essential oil:
Can also help support a healthy digestion and reduces bloating and gas while delivering anti-oxidant protection.


Chocolate Mint Maca Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup kale
  • ¼ avocado
  • 3 dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1-2 drops Peppermint essential oil

Directions:

Combine ingredients, except essential oil, in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add essential oil to taste

 

 


Peppermint Chocolates
Ingredients:
1½ cup organic coconut oil
¼ cup raw honey
1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 candy cane, crushed
Directions:
  1. Whip solid coconut oil, raw honey, and Peppermint essential oil together with hand mixer. The whipped filling should be white and fluffy when complete.
  2. Refrigerate whipped filling for about five minutes.
  3. Use a small scoop or measuring spoon to make small mounds of mint filling. Press down with spoon or finger to make a flat shape.
  4. Place each piece on sheet of parchment paper on top of cookie sheet. Return mints to freezer until ready to coat with chocolate.
  5. In small saucepan or double boiler, gently melt chocolate chips over low heat.
  6. Take mints out of freezer. Use fork to dip each piece in melted chocolate. Place on top of cooling rack.
  7. For holiday fun, sprinkle with crushed candy cane immediately after coating.
  8. Put chocolates back in freezer to cool until hardened. Serve chocolates immediately or store in refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.

 

TrimShake Fudgesicle

 

TrimShake Fudgesicles are a delicious and healthy way to cool off in the warm weather. Loved by adults and kids alike, these fudgesicles are full of protein and add a nutritious punch to your chocolatey sweets. Don’t worry though–nobody will ever know they are actually healthy!

 

Ingredients:
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
3 scoops Chocolate doTERRA TrimShake

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Beat until smooth.
  3. Pour in popsicle molds and insert popsicle sticks in middle.
  4. Place in freezer overnight.


Health Highlights:

It turns out, a few ingredients in these yummy fudgesicles hold some health benefits that you might not know about. Here’s a look at just a few health highlights.


Coconut milk: 
Coconut contains the fatty acid, lauric acid. The body converts lauric acid into a compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial. For this reason, many believe that the consumption of coconut milk can protect the body from infections and viruses.


Vanilla: 
A 2013 study found that vanillin (found in vanilla extract) may have cholesterol-lowering benefits.


Honey:
 Antioxidants called flavonoids are found in honey and can help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

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Conquering my Fears in Luxembourg

You may not know this about me, but I am afraid of heights — well, I suppose I am more afraid of plummeting to my death.

But, and this is a big but, I have an amazing sense of adventure!!  Sometimes it works out great, sometimes it doesn’t.

For instance, going into pyramids and tombs in Egypt gave me a mild case of claustrophobia.  At least that’s what I’m going with — not my other theory that the souls of the mummies were trying to enter my body to get me out of their resting place.

I’ve never been one to let the fear of the unknown stop me, but sometimes I don’t think.

I climbed to the top of a Mayan ruin in Belize to see the amazing views, then I realized I needed to get down those shallow, narrow steps (without a railing) without tumbling down.  I crab crawled and made it.  I was still in control, though scared.

Recently, I was in Luxembourg and visited the town of Vianden to see a medieval castle.  There was a chair lift — and I just HAD to get on it.  One problem … it goes up 440 meters, which is over 1,440 feet!

What if it stops?  It DID! What if it gets stuck? What if it breaks?  Despite those thoughts, I got on and I was well rewarded.  We choose to be afraid!

Take a look at the video and let me know what you think about the challenge at the end!

 

 

I want to heal the world

I just returned to Paris from the doTERRA Europe convention and I was truly blown away by everything I experienced.

I met so many amazing people and listened to their stories about how doTERRA saved their family from debt, kept their child from getting sicker and so much more.  I am not an overly emotional person, but I was moved to tears more than once while hearing how this company I’ve partnered with, is making a difference around the world.

It was one thing to read about doTERRA’s co-impact sourcing and Healing Hands Foundation — but it was something else entirely to talk with people whose lives have been forever altered by these programs, and hearing from the incredible men and women who have dedicated themselves to giving war refugees their dignity and helping little girls in developing nations know they aren’t dirty or evil because they menstruate.  I cried — more than once — I cried.

I met with the founder of the charity group, Because We Carry.  She and her group take donations to Lesbos, Greece to aid refugees coming ashore on their overcrowded, feeble, rubber boats.  I’ve signed up to become a volunteer on the island for a week.

Another man, Nikos, who lives on Lesbos, has fed thousands of refugees in a restaurant he has renamed “Home.”  If you have a few minutes, please watch his interview at the convention. His passion will move you.

In my classes, I tell the story of doTERRA helping to save a Sicilian citrus orchard from extinction — and it was so magnificent to see that family on stage.

This world is so much bigger than us and we tend to make light with things like #firstworldproblems when we have to reboot our iPads or Starbucks runs out of coconut milk.  That’s not to say your problems aren’t problems –but it was humbling to be reminded of global issues and how we can make a difference through companies like doTERRA.

 

I want to change and heal the world!

I miss the “burn”

Not my abs — YET

 

I always say your six-pack abs start in the kitchen — and it’s true! Positive eating habits rule, but, you still need to exercise.

I used to workout hard 7-10 hours a week until a surgical complication sidelined me.  I’m so glad I have the good food habits, or else all the pounds I’ve shed over the years would be back. I did regain a few — it was impossible not to — but nearly as much as I could have!

Since moving to Paris, I have been moving more and it feels great! No car means lots of walking!

 

My knees won’t allow me to run and I am hopeful I will be able to still do roller derby without too much pain.  The Paris Rollergirls are going to let me practice with them (YAY!)

I miss vigorous exercising … and when I make my body feel good, I make better food choices.  We all generally do.  Your body won’t want crap when it feels great.

Not too distant past!

In Paris, there is a bike sharing program called Velib’ and it’s stupid cheap! 39 euros a year and you can ride 45 minutes for “free” at a time.  There are stands every 300 meters or so (about 985 feet or three city blocks for us Americans!) where you can pick up a bike or return one.

 

 

You can ride as many times as you want. I tried it out the other day — and I SURVIVED!  I had to ride in a bus lane on Boulevard Saint-Germain, a fairly busy street which scared me like crazy. I have only ridden a bike in the street twice before and nearly pooped my pants both times!  The Velib’ bike was harder for me to handle than my racing bike, which didn’t help me stay in control very well, but I will conquer this.  I am determined to ride more … I need to kick things up several notches.

 

I am also “auditioning” boxing gyms — at least two are in biking distance.

If you remember my goal from the other day, I will be a solid size 10 or an occasional size 8 by my 42nd birthday on August 11.  I have work to do!

 

The beauty is a beast

Before you jump on me — I don’t think I’m an actual beast, I just don’t have the great skin I had when I was eating better.

Blemish-free, youthful looking, vibrant, and healthy are some of the words others have used to describe my skin. Today, I describe it as dry, pimpled and dull.

Whatever is going on IN your body, usually shows up OUTSIDE as well.  Living in temporary housing meant eating out a lot and I’ll be honest, if french fries came with my meal, I ate and enjoyed every single one.  Fried foods don’t work well with my skin.  Plus,  I spent so many hours exploring and apartment hunting, I wasn’t drinking as much water as I usually do.  When I worked in a TV newsroom every night, I drank around 90 ounces of water a day. I prided myself on my visually and palate-pleasing water concoctions.

 

 

My challenge now is to boost my water intake to normal levels and still be able to live my life outside in Paris — I love working on the banks of the Seine, but potty options are limited! LOL

Another challenge to my once glowing skin was living out of suitcases.

I moved to Paris with 4 suitcases, a large, rolling duffle bag, a backpack and a dog in a bag … that’s a lot of luggage to keep up with!

I tried to be as organized as possible, but cross town moves are hard enough — try adding thousands of miles, an ocean, airliners and customs to that. Yuck! All that was a recipe for disaster for my skincare regimen.

I love my lotions and potions … both store bought (all organic and natural … naturally!) and homemade … but it was hard to keep up with them over all these bags.  Despite my best efforts, things didn’t go back in the same places each time I moved housing. I started relying a lot on organic face wipes.  No wipe is ever going to get your skin as clean as you want.

My general skincare routine —

Morning: Face: cleanse with doTERRA Verage, moisturize with Farsali Rose Gold Elixir, foundation, eye shadow, blush, mascara and lipstick, spritz of rosewater

Body: homemade after-bath elixir with sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, argan oil and doTERRA lavender, rose and Jasmine essential oils (sooooo moisture rich!!)

Night: Face: Remove all makeup with coconut oil or jojoba oil, cleanse with doTERRA Verage, moisturize with tamanu oil, spritz rosewater

A few times a week, I exfoliate my body with homemade scrubs and detox my face with homemade masks (no glue!!! Never use masks with glue!!!)

Now, that everything has a place, I am getting back into my routine and my skin is starting to improve — I just need to guzzle more water!!

 

 

 

Releasing my market fears!

 

My dog, Gucci, won’t be sitting at any restaurant tables for a while LOL. Now that I have a plan — eating out will be limited.

One of the many super cool things about Paris is the abundance of outdoor farmers markets.

Practically every neighborhood has markets teeming with vendors selling fresh produce, meats, fish, cheese, clothes and appliances. There is literally a market every single day somewhere in Paris. I live near a lovely indoor market, but decided to head to a large outdoor venue on Saturday.  It was about 20 minutes away by bus.  I’ve been through some of the markets in other neighborhoods I stayed in  … but I’ve been too afraid to shop. I don’t know my numbers in French and that makes getting prices a little hard.

I persevered!

I went from stall after stall after stall — and walked away with two bunches of white asparagus, purple spinach (!), salad greens, bananas, fresh orange juice, bell pepper, cilantro– I could go on and on! My backpack was FULL and heavy!

I’m getting one of these nifty pull bags for my next excursion!

I spent about 20 euros there.  I went to 4 other grocery stores over the course of the day and spent in all about 50 euros.  I have enough food for the week and probably a few days into next week too!  Not too shabby — especially as I was spending a minimum of 20 euros A DAY on restaurant meals…

Did you notice the purple leaves in the salad?  That’s SPINACH!! There is a French spinach that’s purple — which means it is FULL of antioxidants.  Oh yeahhhhhh.

I’m so excited about getting all my vitamins and nutrients without breaking the bank or my belt loops!!

Failing to plan means you plan to FAIL!

As I mentioned in my last post, I thrive on structure to help manage my weight.

I am normally not a scheduler or a planner, but one thing I always tell my clients — have a plan for success.

Part of that strategy is menu planning. It’s like a game of chess… you need to see several moves ahead if you want to defeat your opponent (extra pounds and inches.)

If you look at the holes you have in your week, and plot out what you’re going to eat, then you are less likely to deviate. Plus, it saves you money at the grocery store because you can shop just from from your menu.

 

 

 

I was a little ambitious with this menu — I’ve been eating breakfast late, which usually means no lunch. But that’s okay, since I didn’t find Tofurkey.  I normally don’t eat meat substitutes, but my protein intake has been almost non existent. To help, I subbed the Picard vegetarian meal (which I didn’t get around to buying) with madras curry lentils.  Yay PROTEIN!  Also — damn you, France … coffee is back in my diet. But I think I will give it up again soon. Or not.  Like most of my clients, I may have a coffee addiction.  I don’t use it to stay awake, I just love the taste of good coffee!

This menu is not perfect, there are more simple carbs than I would like, but I had some potatoes and I don’t like to waste food. But when they are finished — they will not be repurchased.

The refrigerator in my apartment is dorm sized, which means there is no room for extras.  That makes planning even more crucial.  The tiny fridge is why Parisians go to the market so often.

 

To make my menu, I wrote down everything I already had in the apartment, and then found recipes that sounded appealing. I took things a step further and wrote down all the fat, carbohydrate, protein and iron each meal provided.  You don’t have to be that detailed, but my iron is dangerously low and I want to boost it without supplements if I can.

My very first purchase for this furnished apartment was a blender.  It isn’t my Vitamix lol, but it is a lifesaver. I am so excited to be able to have my smoothies.  Plus — the spinach and spirulina are increasing my iron intake. Pro tip: adding vitamin C helps your body to better absorb the iron.

I also get to add my doTERRA Trim Shake and Wild Orange essential oil for extra metabolic boosts.  I am a health coach and doTERRA essential oils wellness advocate, I am going to use all the tools in my health coach toolbox to fight the added fat and win!

 

Paris has made me CRAZY!! {Video Post}

 

I’ve been living in Paris for nearly two months now (WOW!) and I absolutely love it.

What’s not to love?  It’s PARIS!

You have amazing architecture … music on the streets … beautiful clothes and delicious pastries.  OMG, the pastries!

I made a plan before arriving to deal with the pastries — I was only going to have one a week! I’ve stuck to that — sometimes going two weeks without a pastry, but there was a little wrinkle in my overall food plans.  I didn’t have a kitchen for weeks!!!

Initially, I was only planning to eat out on the days I was too busy to cook — but, between wellness consults with clients in the US, shooting videos, exploring and apartment hunting, my days were pretty packed.  Plus — the kitchen in my first Airbnb was GROSS!!

The toaster at my first Airbnb. EWW!

Back in the US, I cooked 95% of my meals. I like my food and I like to be in control of it.  Instead of having the odd meal at a restaurant — almost all my meals were from restaurants or a market’s grab and go section.  I did have the occasional frozen meal from Picard, which is a grocery store dedicated to frozen, gourmet foods.  They are actually pretty good and fairly healthy.  But I wasn’t always able to stay in a place where I could store or heat them. Vegetarian restaurants never seemed to be where I was exploring — or they were way too expensive.  21 euros for a salad? No thanks!  So many bistros only offer cheese sandwiches as their vegetarian-friendly option (the French seem to be in love with ham!)

Pig and pig products art display

 

Sometimes my sandwiches would have tomato or “salad” (aka lettuce) on them, but most of the time, they were baguettes with brie.

Tasty, but not great for my waistline!


What was worse still — my tastebuds were changing. When you eat nutrient dense foods, your body gets what it needs and will start to crave only the foods that serve it.  My body was getting a lot of empty carbohydrates and fats with some sugar (the deadly sugar!) along for the ride.  These were foods that have been only eaten sparingly over the past several years. Before moving into my apartment, I ate vegetables, fruits and complex carbs where I could, but it wasn’t nearly enough or as much as I’m used to.  My body has suffered for it, and the lack of proper nutrients has taken a toll on my skin and hair 🙁

Today is a new day — Wellness Jasmin is back in the saddle and is rededicated to getting back to normal!!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

3 Salads That Are Easy to Grab and Go

Salads are an excellent source of nutrition and proteins as well as being the key to a balanced diet. You don’t have to be on a diet to eat one! They can be a part of your meal or you can even replace your meal with a salad.
In fact, there are many studies which support that even the healthiest of people should skip one meal a day and eat a salad instead. They help you look and feel younger as they are great for skin, hair and figure. It is very important to keep an
eye on what you eat, especially if exercising regularly.
Now that you’re motivated to eat some salad, here are three easy to make salads that won’t take much of your time and taste delicious.
1. Cobb Salad
Ingredients:
Chicken (boiled and cubed/shredded) 1 cup
Lettuce ½ head
Cherry tomatoes 2-3
Cucumber (optional) ½ (large) or 1 (small)
Egg (hard boiled) 1-2
Lemon (juiced) 1
Black pepper to taste
Sea Salt to taste
Method:
Mix everything together, except for the lemon, in a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice on top and you’re ready to go.
Feel free to experiment and add or minus whatever you like as long as it’s healthy.
2. Garden Salad
Ingredients:
White Radish (peeled and cubed) 1/2
Carrot (peeled and cubed) 2 (small)
Cucumber (peeled and cubed) 1(medium)
Black olives (chopped) 5-6
Olive oil ½ teaspoon
Lemon (juiced) 1
Method:
Mix everything together, except for the lemon, in a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice on top and that’s it!
For some it may not sound tasty, but once you try it you will love it.
It will fill you up and keep you feeling fresh and energetic. Also, the combination of colors and freshness of the vegetables is quite visually appealing.
3. Fruit Salad
Ingredients:
Apple (cubed) 2
Kiwi (cubed) 1-2
Orange (peeled and cubed) 2
Strawberries to taste
Blueberries to taste
Pineapple 1 cup
Lemon (juiced) 1
Orange zest 2-3 pinches
Method:
Mix everything, except for the orange zest and lemon, together in a mason jar.
Add the zest and squeeze the lemon juice on top. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
You can add or minus the fruits you like or dislike. You can also add dry fruits as
seasoning to make it a little more exciting.
This is an easy, colorful, and tasty salad.
Bon Appétit