Mushrooms with Rapini and Chicken Sausage

Before switching to paleo, one of my favourite dishes was Orechiette (pasta that looks like little ears) with Rapini and Chicken Sausage. Also loved it on pizza! Here is a quick recipe share. Enjoy!

Mushrooms with Rapini and Chicken Sausage

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or oil of choice), separated
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb chicken sausage
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1  bunch of rapini, stems removed and cut into thirds
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tsp fresh or dried parsley
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more, if you like the heat)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil and steam rapini for approx. 4 minutes, then place in colander to drank. (Alternatively, you could blanch and drain)
  2. In a shallow pan, heat 1 tbsp of avocado oil and cook mushrooms for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In the same shallow pan, place chicken sausage, parsley, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook well – break apart sausage while cooking. Once cooked, set aside.
  4. Again, in the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of avocado oil and sauté chopped garlic until fragrant.
  5. Place rapini back in the pan and mix with garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Return chicken sausage and mushrooms to the pan and mix well.
  7. Enjoy 🙂
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Just Show Up

It has been exactly 63 days of bikram yoga for me. The days have come and gone and I have learned a lot from this challenge.

Back in August, I set a goal of completing a 30-day challenge (with my 30th class landing on my 30th birthday), but my good friend Kelly inspired me to do a 60-day challenge. I had already done a 30-day, so… why not? Without hesitations, I made a decision and I committed.

60 days. 60 classes. 90 hours. 1560 postures. 105 degrees AT LEAST. Pounds of sweat and loads of laundry later, I completed my 60th class. Didn’t think I’d see the day! I have learned more about myself during this challenge than I have in my lifetime. This may sound like an exaggeration, but l will explain. For 60 days, I stayed committed not only to yoga, but to myself. Each day, I became more and more aware of my body, my breath, my feelings and my mind. Everyday, for 60 days, all I did was show up.

The Experience

I remember Day 10 being so rough that I sat out most of the postures. The room was incredibly hot, even experienced practitioners and instructors were sitting out. However, from days 11 to days 36 things were great; my practice shifted, physically. My injuries had improved significantly (both hips and right rotator cuff). I couldn’t believe how flexible I had become! Classes became tolerable and I was doing all 26 postures (and 2 breathing exercises). I was thriving from the energy this yoga had brought me. I was on a yoga high!

Then came Week 6. Days 37 to 39 to be exact. I started to feel nauseaus during class. My throat felt gross, like I was sick, and sometimes it felt like I had a partial blockage. I found it difficult to breathe and the heat become too much. I sat out of postures and felt stuck! Suddenly that yoga high I was experiencing, became a big wall… it felt like the Great Wall of China, to be exact. Yup, I hit a wall. I was frustrated and could not understand why this was happening.

After talking to some instructors, they all agreed on one thing: the middle of a 60-day challenge is always the hardest. I could tell that my body was transforming, but at the same time, I was suffering mentally and emotionally.

On Day 40, the nausea was gone and I (finally) had a strong class again. After class, I had described my nausea and difficulty to the instructor, and she asked me, “Are you having trouble communicating something or to someone?” I left class thinking nothing of it.

For a few days, my classes flourished again. Then came days 43 and 44. These two days brought so much emotion and on top of all that my injuries that improved so much, began to resurface — not good! Classes were rough, I felt like crap, I wanted to give up and I cried after both classes. I did not know why I was crying but I knew I felt overwhelmed with emotion. I just let it happen and kept pushing through.

The night of day 44, I was asked a simple, yet effective question, “Are you ok? What’s really going on?” During that conversation, I broke down and just spilled everything going on in my life. Now, I won’t go into the details of that conversation, but reflecting back on that moment, I knew I felt a release — remember the communicating question? I became vulnerable, and I was okay with that because that “breakdown” became my breakthrough.

This moment made me realize why I do this crazy thing called hot yoga.

It wasn’t until after day 51 that my classes started to become strong again. On day 56, I was able to do toe stand/padangustasana for the first time and the pain to my injuries had once again disappeared; it was an amazing feeling! On days 57 to 60 I did not even notice the heat, even though I was sweating buckets. Classes just flew by and I felt wonderful.

During my challenge I did many doubles. I did a couple back-to-back doubles and I had a lot of difficult classes. Today, however, I feel strong — mentally, emotionally and physically. Yoga brings up a lot of stuff. A lot of unreconciled stuff and it is very, very liberating.

A few things I learned along the way…

1. Set your intention – It might have been something as small as to stay in the room for the entire 90 minutes, or to complete a double or to minimize water intake in class. Sometimes my intention was to try each posture to the full expression, sometimes it was remembering to just breathe. Whatever it was, I made sure I had set intentions before every class.

2. Let go of expectations – Each class will be different. Some days will be strong, others will knock the wind out of you. It’s okay. It’s okay to fall out of postures. Just remember to get back up and try again. Live in the moment.

3. Trust the process – Changes don’t happen overnight. It’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect. The class will be whatever it will be, just trust it.

4. The postures you hate to do, is the one you need the most – I almost always sat out of toe stand, triangle, camel and rabbit poses. One day, I set my intention to at least try these postures. When I began doing these postures, I felt so much better and the pain to my injured areas started to improve significantly and my practice itself, shifted.

5. Doubles (two classes in one day) is not THAT bad – I experienced a lot of anxiety before completing my first double, but found out that it was actually a lot easier to do the second time around. It gave me energy and the opportunity to work on postures I had difficulty with.

I cannot imagine my life without yoga. Everything I have learned during my yoga journey, I can apply to life. Set your intentions every day. Be present. Be aware. Falling out of a posture (or making mistakes) is not a bad thing, it’s a learning tool. Everyday is different. Everyday brings new challenges and new opportunities for growth. Some days will be better than others, all you have to do is trust the process and… just show up.

Namaste.

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The 30 Day Reset

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Are you ready for a challenge? Looking to get your health back on track? Feeling blah and need a little pick-me-up? Binged a little too much over the summer or Thanksgiving? Here is your chance to reset before the Holidays, so sign up!

What:
30 Day Reset following Paleo principles

When:
Saturday, November 1, 2014 to Sunday, November 30, 2014

Details:
30 days of real food.
30 days of following the Paleo Protocol.
No grains, dairy, legumes or refined sugar. No processed food.
EAT REAL FOOD: Fruits, Veggies, Meat/Seafood, Nuts, Seeds… and LOTS OF IT!
Self monitored accountability
Essentially, 30 days to a healthier you!

Time to get creative and healthy at the same time!
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HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

1. Send an email to lifebymich@gmail.com with the subject 30 Day Reset and let me know you would like to participate

2. Once I get your e-mail, you will be added to to a private Facebook group where I will post tips, tricks, motivation, inspiration, support, recipes, etc. This will also give you an opportunity to reach out to a others during the reset challenge

3. Follow @lifebymich on Instagram and/or Twitter for inspiration and food ideas.

4. “Like” the Life by Mich Facebook page.

5. Use the hashtag #lifebymich on your social media accounts during your reset challenge to help with accountability. Photos will be featured regularly on my Instagram account and Facebook Page. *Note: If your account is private and I am not following you, I will not see your submissions!

Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Here’s to a healthier YOU!

Journey to 30

Guys, I apologize for the lack of posts, but life just got a little busier. A lot of big changes currently happening and I wanted to share some updates with my little army of followers. Rest assured, a recipe will be posted at the end! 🙂

I will be turning 30 in a few days and normally I would be sulking at the thought of getting one year older, but this year feels different. This year I am embracing the changes and am feeling very thankful and blessed for everything I have and the people in my life. I am ready to say good bye to my twenties and start this new decade. A lot of things to look forward to this year and beyond. So let’s begin with some updates, shall we?

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1. Logo Launch — You may or may not have noticed my new logo. I won’t mention too, too much about my logo or website right now, but stay tuned (30 day paleo challenge coming up)! Thanks to the wonderful Jill for helping me with my logo and branding.

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2. Yoga Every Damn Day/60 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge — Last year I completed a 30 day challenge and because 30 days isn’t challenging enough (who am I?), I decided to double up and do 60 days with my 30th class landing on my 30th birthday (hence… #journeyto30). Bikram Yoga has always been so mentally, physically and emotionally challenging for me, but also very rewarding and this is why I am so hooked. I have already completed 21 days and I feel amazing! The only thing different is that I am doing classes with friends — Hi Kelly, Melanie and Linda! Stay tuned for my post-60 day Bikram Yoga Wrap Up!

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3. Back to School — This is one of the biggest updates from me. Never thought this day would come, but yes, you heard right, I am going back to school. Not nursing related at all, but who said nursing had to be my end-all be-all? This year, I’ve learned to listen to the whispers of the universe and follow my dreams and passions. Say hello to your future Nutritional Therapy Consultant. Very excited to begin this journey and share my knowledge.

And… last but not least, a recipe share (of course!).

NFL Season has begun so my goal is to share some healthier snacking options. This week I will be sharing an easy recipe for classic hot chicken wings!

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Butta Hot Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. of chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp of grass-fed butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 cup of grass-fed butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cover a large baking tray with foil and place a cooling rack on top
  3. Clean chicken wings and pat dry thoroughly
  4. Place chicken wings on rack, at least one inch apart; do not let them touch
  5. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and brush the chicken wings lightly
  6. Bake wings for 30 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes
  7. While wings are baking, melt butter (1/4 cup) over medium heat in a small sauce pan, then add your hot sauce. Simmer sauce over low heat until chicken wings are ready
  8. When wings are cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Toss with wing sauce and enjoy! 🙂

One Pot Wonder

My meals are not always elaborate and technical. Most of the time, I usually throw things together that takes less than 30 minutes of my time. However,  I wouldn’t mind spending most of the day in the kitchen anyway. But who has time for that? Life happens. I have a few go-to “one pot wonders,” but this one is a favourite.

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One Pot Wonder: Zoodles & Shrimp

Yields: 2 Servings
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
– 2 medium zucchini
– 1 1/2 cups of paleo-friendly marinara sauce (I use the White Lace Collection brand from Costco)
– shrimp (as many as you like)
– chopped parsely

Tools:
– Spiralizer or Julienne Peeler

Instructions:
1. Combine spiralized or julienned zucchini, marinara sauce and shrimp in a medium sized pot
2. Simmer for 20 minutes
3.  Top with parsley
4. Enjoy! 🙂

Easy, peasy!

#lifebymich

🙂

Ditching the Pill

I’m starting another personal Whole 30 Challenge today and although my diet is mostly “paleo” anyway, I find that the introduction of natural forms of sweeteners into my diet (ie. maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar) makes a huge difference in the way my body functions and how I feel.

My most recent challenge (May 2014) lasted 37 days. I broke it while on vacation in the Bahamas and like I mentioned in my last post, I developed a rash on my face and became extremely bloated. The rash and the bloating went away 4 days after coming back from vacation and eating real food again.

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Today is yet another Day 1 for me and for the next 30 days, I will be focusing on incorporating foods that will help detoxify my liver and promote hormonal health. But why? Long story short: I’ve recently decided to Ditch the Pill (birth control). Yep. I am finally saying goodbye to that jagged little pill.

In my attempts to live a “cleaner life,” it only made sense to stop taking the pill after being on it for more than a decade. NOW… before the rumour mill gets started, the answer is NO. I am not planning on popping babies in the near future! 😉

It has officially been 3 weeks since I have been off the pill and boy has it been a ride! I feel like I am living in somone else’s body. My hormones are completely out of whack and I have experienced some less-than-desirable symptoms which include (but are not limited to): headaches/migraines during the first week, bloating, erratic emotions/endless crying, changes in body odour (I know, gross), cramping, breast tenderness & back pain. Short term pain, long term gain? Here’s to hoping so! I am so very thankful that my significant other has been very supportive and patient with me during this process — Hi Andrew!

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Through research, I found that one of the best ways to nurse myself back to hormonal health after coming off the Pill is to detoxify the liver through diet & nutrition. So, in addition to following a Whole 30 regimen and  in order to acheive hormonal and liver health, my 30-day plan will include the following (oh by the way, Day 1 breakfast is above — Fried Eggs & Greens!):

– No grains/dairy/legumes/sweeteners/alcohol (Whole 30 principle)
– Daily dry brushing and oil pulling (I do this first thing in the morning before my shower)
– Eliminating all fruits except for lemons + an occasional green apple (oh boy…)
– Eliminating all night shade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc)
– Eliminating coffee/caffeine (substituting with Roasted Dandelion Tea which is surprisingly delicious!)

It’s going to be a challenge alright! If I knew all of the negative effects the Pill had on my body, I would have never considered it as an option. But it’s too late.

So with coming off the Pill I have decided to follow the Fertility Awareness Method as my choice of non-hormonal birth control. I am in the middle of learning about it, so I don’t have too, too much to say right now.

However,  if you are considering coming off the Pill and are looking for a non-hormonal and eco-friendly form of contraception, these are the following resources I recommend:

– Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler

– Justisse Method: Fertility Awareness and Body Literacy A User’s Guide by Geraldine Matus

Wish me luck!

🙂

 

 

Spring Cleaning

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My friend Kim is practicing her paleo with these delicious apple and pork lettuce wraps! 🙂 One more week to sign up for my 30 Day Spring Clean Up Paleo Challenge, giving you a chance to reset before the summer arrives (but wait, where is spring?). If you have already signed up, thank you for participating in this movement with me.

If you would like to participate, please send an e-mail to lifebymich@gmail.com before next Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 11:59 pm EST.

With your e-mail, please answer the following questions:

– Why do you want to participate? 
– What do you hope to achieve after the challenge is done? 

Before and during the challenge, I will be sending weekly support e-mails which will include recipe shares and tips & tricks on how to be successful at completing a 30 day challenge.

Non-Ton Soup for the Soul

 

Hello to my little community! I want to introduce you to my mom:

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My mom is my culinary idol. She is a genius in the kitchen. She doesn’t have any formal training, but like me, cooking is her passion. Like mother, like daughter, I suppose?

My mom doesn’t use measuring cups or spoons. Instead, she’s the type of homecook who uses her hands, tastes and experience to measure out a recipe and her food is always bang on delicious!

Whenever I have a craving for Filipino Food or a recipe I know she has already mastered, I will randomly call her (Hi Mom <3) and ask, “How do you make _________ ?”

She just came back from the Philippines and I called her up today and asked, “Mom, how do you make Wonton Soup? Without the wrappers?”

She listed the ingredients off the top of her head. Love it! She now knows which Paleo ingredients I use to substitute in her recipes! Here is a recipe for a Gluten-Free & Paleo-Friendly Wonton Soup that I’ve adapted from my mom. Yum!

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Non-Ton Soup (adapted from my mom)

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb of ground pork (or any ground meat of choice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 knob (1 inch) of ginger root, finely diced
  • 1 can of water chestnuts, finely diced
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos

For the soup base:

  • 2 cups of chicken bone broth (preferably homemade)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 heads of bok choy

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs (meat, egg, celery, carrots, ginger, chestnuts, green onion, sesame oil, coconut aminos) in to a bowl and mix until combined
  3. Make meatballs (about 1 tbsp in size or less) and place on a foil-lined baking tray
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until browned and cooked through
  5. In a large pot, bring the chicken broth, water and salt to a boil
  6. Turn down the heat and let the soup base simmer for 5 minutes
  7. Add the meatballs & bokchoy to the broth and simmer for a few minutes, until bok choy is cooked
  8. Top with some green onion, season to taste with salt and/or coconut aminos
  9. EAT!

🙂

#lifebymich

Bulletproof Coffee: My Daily Saving Grace

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I was never an avid coffee drinker. In fact, even through my sleepless nights, all-nighters and early morning rises during University/Nursing School, I never indulged. I never understood the hype.

Enter: Real life, 12 hour, day- and night- shift Nursing.

I started drinking coffee prior to night shifts, in hopes that the caffeine would help me get through those ungodly hours. I seldomly work nights these days – Hello Transplant Family! ♥

I drank coffee to help me stay up, but I didn’t necessarily like the taste.

Enter: Paleo/Real Food Living.

When I started dabbling with the Paleo Diet, I researched drink options, since a lot of my sugar-laden beverages were immediately off limits.

Ah ha! I can drink coffee! But black coffee? Gross.

Needless to say, I started drinking my coffee black and began appreciating the tastes and aromas much more. I attribute this to the fact that Paleo has cleansed my palate, completely.

I started adding almond milk and coconut milk to my coffee to enhance the taste. I often ordered a “Tall Pike in a Grande cup” from Starbucks, always bringing my own containers of dairy-free, paleo-friendly milk options.

I recently posted a picture on Instagram of my Starbucks coffee cup with the caption “Mich’s Lifeline.” That cup of coffee would help me get through my shift.

A friend of mine commented, “But did you ask them to Bulletproof that coffee?” (Hi Free!)

Bulletproof coffee? What the heck is that?

I inquired and the rest is history. I started buying this Buttered Coffee at a local CrossFit Gym and I bought often. It started to become an expensive indulgent, so I decided to start making my own.

I bought my own coffee press, coffee beans, MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil and grass fed butter.

I know you are probably thinking, “Why would you put fat in your coffee?” Fat does not make you fat! If anything it helps feed the brain. Our bodies need fat!

After introducing Bulletproof Coffee to my (almost) everyday life, I’ve noticed an increase in energy and clarity throughout my day. It’s really delicious, you should really try it!
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How to Make Bulletproof Coffee

Ingredients:
– 8 to 12 oz brewed coffee
– 1 to 2 tbsp grass fed butter or ghee
– 1 tbsp of MCT oil or coconut oil

Instructions:
1. Place all ingredients in a blender (I use a NutriBullet)
2. Blend for 30 seconds – You should get a creamy and frothy consistency!
3. Pour up, DRANK!

🙂

Oven-Baked Crispy Sweet Potato Frites

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If you are looking for a low glycemic carb, try making sweet potato fries. These are my all time favourite anytime snack. This is how I make my Sweet Potato Fries everytime & I happily dip them in Homemade Olive Oil Mayo!

Oven-Baked Crispy Sweet Potato Frites

Ingredients (2 person serving)
– 1 large sweet potato
– 1 tbsp of oil (I use either melted coconut oil or olive oil)
– cumin
– salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut sweet potato into matchsticks or “fry-like” (With or without the skin – I prefer with skin off, but when I’m lazy I’ll keep them on)
3. Toss oil, cumin, salt & pepper with the fries
4. Place seasoned fries on a baking tray lined with parchment paper – the parchment paper is KEY, it makes them crispy!
5. Bake for 30-32 minutes, flipping the fries half way (they are ready when the edges are brown)
6. EAT! Dip in Mayo! Nom nom nom!

#lifebymich