Gingerbread Cookies (gluten & grain free)

December 23, 2017
Gingerbread Cookies

If you like holiday spice – you will love these cookies – they are full of spice and flavor.  They are free of grains, gluten, and much lower in sugar than traditional gingerbread cookies – the only sugar used in this recipe is the organic powdered sugar in the frosting – the cookies are sweetened with an organic stevia blend called Pyure.  If they come out too spiced for you – you could cut the spices down a bit – I like a lot of spice in mine!

Gingerbread Cookies:

  • 1 cup almond flour (blanched)
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon (I always use Ceylon cinnamon, considered “real” cinnamon)
  • 1 t. ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Real salt
  • 3 teaspoons Pyure (organic stevia blend)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut milk (or another dairy free milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Frosting (optional):

  • 1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
  • drizzle of water (enough to turn into a thick paste)
  • splash of vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Mix together cookie ingredients.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic or put into a glass container, and refrigerate it for about 20 mins (to overnight)
  4. Roll out dough between parchment paper – should be quite thin.
  5. Cut into shapes and put on parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Cook for 20 mins in preheated 250 degree oven.
  7. Make the frosting.
  8. Take cookies out of oven and allow to cool for 10 mins before frosting.
  9. Keep in sealed container up to 4 days, or refrigerate.

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Skinny Summer Cocktails

June 27, 2017
"Skinny" Summer Cocktails

Note: these recipes contain alcohol and are for ages 21 and up.  You can also make these “virgin” cocktails by omitting the alcohol.

Hot steamy Summer nights just seem to call for a summery cocktail.   But did you know that a typical 8 oz. margarita has about 8 teaspoons (or more) of added sugars???  That’s more than a woman should have all day! Plus, a lot of drink mixes have preservatives, colorings, and other stuff that we (or our livers) don’t need.

That’s why I am sharing my 3 favorite Summer cocktails – these are all very simple, and “upgraded” versions of Margaritas, Mojitos, & Moscow Mules!

hey, why do all the best Summer drinks seem to start with “M”?

Mexican Mule

The Mexican Mule

My version of a Moscow Mule is actually technically a “Mexican Mule” – because instead of the traditional vodka, I like to use tequila.  In fact, I am using tequila for all of these drinks, because tequila has some unusal benefits that other alcohols don’t have.

Read: 10 Surprising Benefits of Tequila You Never Knew to learn more about the unique health benefits of tequila (note: make sure you choose a good quality tequila, and moderation is also key!)

  • 1. 5 oz. tequila (good quality, blanco – such as Casamigos)
  • 7 – 8 oz. of Zevia ginger beer mixer (1 can) – which is a zero calorie stevia-sweetened soda mixer
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice (about the the juice of 1 lime)
  • A slice of lime for the rim
  • Ice

This drink is traditionally served in a copper mug – if you like, you can chill it in the freezer for 5-10 mins before making this to keep your drink nice and cold. Pour all into the cup, stir to combine, add ice.  Serve! How easy is that?

The Classic Margarita

  • 1.5 oz. tequila (good quality, blanco)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. orange juiceAgave Five
  • 1 oz. Agave Five Syrup from Madhava.  (organic, and less than 5 calories per serving)
  • 1 oz. cold water (sometimes I like to use sparkling – I know it’s not traditional)
  • Ice
  • Lime and Real Salt or Tahin for rim of glass

If salting, prepare your glasses first. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then pour some salt or Tahin on a plate, and roll or dip the glass into the salt or Tahin.

Mix all your ingredients, shake or stir, pour over ice into glasses. Serve!

The Coco-Mojito

Usually a mojito is made by muddling the mint and sugar, and then mixed together with rum and sparkling water.  Again – I am swapping the traditional rum for tequila in this drink – because I just prefer tequila.  You can use the traditional rum if you prefer.  And I am hitting the “Easy Button” – by skipping over the muddling and using KeVita Mojito – a probiotic beverage that is dairy free, naturally sparkling, and delicious.  Each bottle of KeVita has 4 billion CFUs, and 4 strains of probiotics- good for the gut, mood, and immunity. Many of their flavors make delicious and probiotic mixers – their Lemon Ginger is delish, and so is the Mango Coconut!KeVita Mojito

Mix into a glass, add the mint sprig and ice – and voila!

The Essential Sparkling Citrus Cocktail

Out of citrus fruit? No problem – as long as you have citrus essential oils!Essential Citrus Cocktail

I love my doTERRA essential oils in the summer.  I add a drop to sparkling water all the time – it is a refreshing treat.  You can also make a really clean cocktail this way too.

  • 1.5 oz.  tequila (good quality, blanco)
  • 7 oz. sparkling water
  • 1-2 drops* of your favorite essential oil – I like lime, grapefruit, wild organge, lemon – or a combo of two.  Make sure to only use the highest quality food grade essential oils, such as doTERRA*.
  • Optional – stir in 1 teaspoon of Madhava Agave Five Syrup to slightly sweeten. You could also add a mint sprig to decorate if you have it!

Shake and pour over ice; or stir together ingredients into a glass, add ice & serve!

*essential oils are very powerful – all you need is a drop of two!

*Please remember if you do choose to drink alcoholic beverages, to do so in moderation & responsibly. The word “intoxification” means – we have literally ‘made ourselves toxic.’ Ethanol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is a toxin that is eventually broken down into acetic acid to be excreted from the body. If we consume more alcohol than can be broken down to acetic acid, the body will be experiencing the negative effects of the acetaldehyde in our blood and tissues. Excessive drinking overtime can raise our risk for developing cancer, nutrient deficiencies, digestion issues, and heart attack.

Learn more by reading these Natural Hangover Prevent Tips

Also- 20 Signs Your Liver Might Need Some TLC

Interested in learning more about doTERRA essentail oils?  Let me know!

 

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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“Skinny Starch” Raspberry Cream Tart (dairy, gluten & grain free)

February 15, 2017
Skinny Starch Raspberry Cream Tart

Have you heard of “skinny starch”?  It is also called “resistant starch” – because it resists digestion.  What that means is that it moves slowly through the digestive tract – so it helps to keep your blood sugar more stable, it is a prebiotic – meaning that it serves as “food” for the good bacteria in our colon. It is called the “skinny starch” because it can improve digestion, blood sugar, energy, and gut bacteria – all of which could potentially mean flatter bellies and weight loss.  But before you run out and eat a lot of skinny starch – realize that like any fiber – especially a prebiotic one – you want to begin to incorporate it slowly, or it could potentially cause digestive upset.

One of the best sources of resistant starch in my opinion comes from a small tuber called a tiger nut.  You can eat the nuts whole, or I like to add tiger nut flour to my daily smoothie.  Resistant starch can also help you sleep – so this Tiger Nut & Cashew Horchata drink is a nice thing to have before bedtime.  I also like to add tiger nut flour to desserts – like this raspberry tart!

"skinny starch" raspberry cream tart

 

“Sugar Cookie” Crust:

  • 1 cup of blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of tiger nut flour (I like this one from Organic Gemini)
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut sugar cookie crust
  • 2 Tablespoons of virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 dates (pits removed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of organic stevia (I like this product called Pyure)
  • 3 Tablespoons of cashew butter (you could sub for almond butter)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Real salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

CrustPut all the ingredients into a food processor, process until still crumbly, but starting to come together.

lightly grease a tart pan, and press the crust into it (I like to use my fingers to spread it around, then a flat bottom measuring cup to get it even. Press it so it comes up about halfway up the sides of the tart pan.

Put into freezer for about 20-30 mins.

 

Raspberry filling:

  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups frozen organic raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons of organic steviaraspberry filling
  • 1/4 cup tiger nut flour
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I like Warrior Blend)
  • pinch of Real salt

Put all of the above into the Vitamix, and blend until combined.

Take crust out of freezer, and pour filling onto the crust – spread with a spatula or spoon.  Return to freezer to set – at least 2 hours, up to a day ahead.  Remove from freezer before you want to serve, add the raspberries, and whipped cream if you like (see below).

Toppings:

  • Fresh raspberries

Coconut Whipped Cream (optional)

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk (just cream) – store in refrigerator for at least 12 hours beforehand)raspberry tart with coconut cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Put the coconut milk in refrigerator the day before you want to make the cream.  Open the bottom of the can, and pour off the coconut water (reserve for smoothies, or another recipe).

Scoop out the coconut cream and put it into a bowl with the other ingredients, using a electric mixer – whip it up.  Taste and adjust.  Spoon onto slices before serving.

 

Want to learn more about Resistant Starch and get more delicious recipes – including “skinny starch” chocolate nut butter cups and cookie dough balls?  Take my Resistant Starch eCourse!

Enter code Fox5 to save 20% – expires February 28th!!

All About Resistant Starch

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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5 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety & Stress

December 24, 2016
Holiday Stress?

If you struggle with anxiety and stress, you are not alone.  One of the most common complaints that I hear from clients – kids and adults alike – is feelings of anxiety.

We are all under so much pressure day in and day out, and running from one thing to the next – it is easy to feel like a hamster running on those hamster wheels all day long!!  And with to do lists a mile long, presents to buy, travel and parties, bills piling up…the stress & anxiety levels can definitely go up during the holidays.

Excess stress can lead to elevated blood pressure, and overtime it can also cause elevated cholesterol levels, weight gain, hormone imbalances, digestion issues, mood imbalances, blood sugar issues, and can even be a trigger for diseases. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed a 4.2 % increase in heart-related deaths between December 25th and January 7th, some of which could be attributed to elevated stress levels – read more.

But fortunately, there are several natural and healthy ways to deal with and reduce anxiety and stress all year long.

5 tips to reduce stress & anxiety:

 

1. Swap your morning cup of coffee for a cup of matcha tea (or take an L-Theanine supplement)

I love a good cup of Joe, but if you are trying to reduce your stress levels – that might not be the best way to start your day because it can amp you up too much and make you jittery and anxious.   You might be thinking – “But, Sara! I need my caffeine to get going in200 mg of zen the morning!”  The perfect solution is the switch your morning cup of coffee for a cup of matcha tea.  Matcha tea has just enough caffeine to give you a nice energy boost, without making you jittery. And the bonus – matcha tea also has a compound called L-Theanine – which is an amino acid that helps to promote a calm focused feeling. L-Theanine is such a powerful way to reduce anxiety and promote calm feelings, that it is sometimes called “Nature’s Xanax“.  It does this by enhancing the brain’s alpha waves – which creates a deep feeling of relaxation without any sedation or drowsiness.  L-theanine may also help to clear excess free glutamates from the brain, which may contribute to anxiety (free glutamates are found in processed foods, especially those which contain monosodium glutamate – so I always tell clients with anxious kids to skip the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos – and any other foods which contain MSG)! If you want the benefit of the L-theanine without the caffeine – you can take an L-theanine supplement too – which is nice to do in the evening to calm down before bedtime.  L-Theanine does not contain caffeine, so you can take it any time of day.  Although it won’t make you feel sleepy, the calm feeling L-theanine provides, can enhance sleep at night.  A 2004 Australian study found L-Theanine to be more effective at inducing relaxation than Xanax!

I find that L-Theanine can even be an effective replacement a glass of wine for taking the ‘edge off’, it can also help to lower blood sugar, and ward off sugar cravings too.

 

2. Get some magnesium (the “calming mineral”).

Magnesium is a mineral, a very important mineral at that – it is responsible for over 350 biochemical processes in the body – from glucose regulation to ATP production, bone & heart health, hormones, and much more. Most people are already deficient in magnesium – and  stress only makes us more depleted. Magnesium is often called “the calming mineral, or the “chill pill” – so if we are deficient, it is no wonder we could be feeling anxious.  To increase your magnesium, you could eat more magnesium rich foods like nuts, seeds, Magnesium malateleafy greens, and….chocolate!!  But go for the dark chocolate, because it is raw cacao where the magnesium is found, and dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate.  You can also take a magnesium supplement – just know that not all types of magnesium are created equal – some are poorly absorbed, and some can have stool softening effects. So it is important to choose the right form of magnesium – I avoid the oxide form, which is poorly absorbed, and has a laxative effect.  I prefer these forms of magnesium: malate, glycinate, orotate, and citrate (citrate is highly bioavailable, but it can also cause loose stools, so start with a low dose like 150 mg).  Magensium can also be absorbed through the skin, so soaking in a bath with magnesium-rich epsom salts can boost your magnesium levels.  Or you can spray a magnesium oil on your skin too.   When I am under stress, I find that increasing my magnesium supplements can help me feel a lot calmer. This is the magnesium supplement that we take at our house: Designs for Health Magnesium Malate.

 

3. Try essential oils.

Believe it or not, essential oils can have a very powerful effect on our mood. I like to diffuse them, use them topically, and I even will put a couple drops of lavendar into my foot soak and onto my pillow for a calming effect at night. Interested in learning more about essential oils? Contact sara@rebalancelife.com

 

4. Balance your gut bacteria.

Whenever someone tells me they have anxiety – I ask how their digestion is, because believe it or not – many cases of anxiety begin in the gut. Our gut has actually been called our second brain! So addressing gut issues is a great tool for dealing with anxiety. One thingDigestive Defense I like to recommend is trying to add a high quality probiotic. I usually recommend a specific strain – called Bacilius coagulans – because it is it is a soil based probiotic – which means it helps to “seed” your gut with good bacteria and crowd out the bad. It is also generally very well tolerated and doesn’t tend to cause bloating. So that is my favorite strain, and it is not the most common one either. You can also eat fermented foods and drinks too – that will help to tip the balance of good bacteria back in your favor too. I have heard that just doing this has helped people reduce their anxiety levels.  This is the probiotic I take and recommend:  Pure Prescriptions’ Digestive Defense.

 

5. Stimulate your Vagus Nerve.

NervanaOur gut is connected to our brain via something called the Vagus Nerve. The vagus nerve plays a critical role in our parasympathetic nervous system – the side of our nervous system that is responsible for relaxation, rest, and recovery.  When the sympathetic nervous system is turned on all the time – we are stuck in a stress response – this can lead to anxiety, poorly controlled stress, and can cause our digestion and hormones to get out of balance.  When there are problems with the vagus nerve, it can lead to all kinds of issues – ranging from anxiety to focus, and even digestion issues like slow motility. When we have out of control stress levels for long periods of time, our vagus nerve can get weak.  In order to get it working again and doing its’ job to calm us down, we need to stimuate it. One way to stimulate the vagus nerve is by gargling – very vigorously several times a day.  Singing loudly can also stimulate the vagus nerve, and so can the gag reflex- although some people may not wish to gag repeatedly every day.  If those things don’t sound appealing to you – you might want to consider the Nervana device.  I recently found and started using this amazing device called Nervana – it looks like a music player – but really what it is doing is stimulating the vagus nerve. Kind of like a workout for the vagus nerve!! I have been using it twice a day, and I have found that my digestion and mood have definitely benefitted.

Signature

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Double Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

December 17, 2016
Duble Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

 

My hubby and I are invited to a holiday party tonight and my friend asked me to bring a “healthy but yummy Sara” dessert.  So I decided to come up with a new recipe!  I used my ‘formula’ for flax muffins – and took it the chocolate peppermint route.  They turned out delish!!

Double Chocolate Peppermint Muffins (free of wheat, gluten & grains)

Double Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (to reduce the sugar content, replace 2 Tablespoons of the sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of powered stevia, or 20 drops of stevia liquid)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut milk or coconut water
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup of ground flax meal
  • 3-4 drops of peppermint essential oil*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon high quality salt (like Himalayan)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like 60% or higher cacao)
  • Optional – crushed candy canes (I use the kind without artificial colorings)
    *Always make sure to use high quality certified therapeutic grade essentail oils if ingesting them. Essential oils are strong 3-4 drops is plenty.  You could substitute 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract if you do not have essential oil.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Double chocolate peppermint muffins
  2. Melt the coconut oil.
  3. Line your mini-muffin pan with muffin papers
  4. Mix together the eggs and sugar till well combined, then add in and mix together the rest of the ingredients – adding the chocolate chips last.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin papers in the tin, coming up about 3/4 of the way up (they will expand and rise).
  6. Put into the preheated oven (I sometimes press a few extra chocolate chips on the top).
  7. Bake for about 15 mins – until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and right away sprinkle on some of the crushed candy canes if using – I kind of put them in the center.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Serve & enjoy!  Keep in an airtight container.

 

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils contact sara@rebalancelife.com

Signature

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Cranberry Orange Flax Muffins

December 9, 2016
Orange Cranberry Muffins

I was walking by the bakery section of the grocery store and got a whiff of fresh baked muffins. I knew I had to bake some muffins when I got home (those store muffins have about 8 teaspoons of added sugar – more than a woman should have all day long!).

I have a fool proof recipe for Flax Raisin muffins that I have made many times, but I decided to take that recipe and spruce it up with orange and dried cranberries!  And since I have been really getting into essential oils lately – I thought – instead of grating orange peel, why not just use a few drops of orange essential oil instead?  They turned out amazing!! I hope you enjoy them!

Orange Cranberry Flax Muffins (free of wheat, gluten & grains)

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (could use a combination of coconut sugar and stevia if you like)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of ground flax meal
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 drops of orange essential oil* (or you could add 1-2 teaspoons of zest)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon high quality salt (like Himalayan)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (you could add 2/3 cup if you like more)

Optional – sprinkle a little cinnamon coconut sugar on the tops before baking them.
*Always make sure to use high quality certified therapeutic grade essentail oils if ingesting them.

Cranberry Orange Flax Muffins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the coconut oil.
  3. Lightly grease mini-muffin pan with some coconut oil (or line with muffin papers – I tend to like this best – less mess to clean up)
  4. Mix together the eggs and coconut sugar till well combined, then add in and mix together the rest of the ingredients – folding in the dried cranberries last.
  5. Put into prepared muffin tin and put into the preheated oven (I sometimes press some dried cranberries in top because they are pretty).
  6. Bake for about 15 mins.
  7. Remove and allow to cool.
  8. Serve & enjoy! These are extra yummy with a little grass fed butter on them.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils contact sara@rebalancelife.com

 

Signature

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2016

December 8, 2016
Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

It’s baaaack!! My annual Healthy Holiday Gift Guide is here!

Looking for a special gift for your friends and loved ones this year – why not give them a gift of health?  

These gift ideas include items that can de-stress, keep your groceries cold, or beautify – I am sure there is something that will delight your friends and loved ones!

 

Annmarie Skin Care: for beautiful skin

Now 25% off using code GlowOnceMore (end Dec. 13th)!! 

 

annmarie skincare 2016

 

Do you have someone special on your list who wants to have beautiful glowing skin, and also wants to avoid common chemicals included in many skincare lines?  Then Annmarie Skin Care is the solution – you’ll be amazed to find that you don’t need all those nasty chemicals to make really good, spa quality skin care products.  And with sample kits starting at just $10, there is something for everyone and for every price list from Annmarie Skin Care.

  • Skin Care Sample Kit – Try 3 products for just $10/each.  Sample kits come in beautiful boxes and make great stocking stuffers or gift for a cousin or a teacher. Choose the Restore sample for mature skin types, Balance for normal or combo skin types, or Purify for oily skin types.
  • Other Sample Kits – $20/each.  The Getaway kit is like a spa on the go – it lets you try 8 products. The Make up Kit lets you try 8 shades of make up so you can find your perfect shade. The Essential Oil Sample Kit gives you 5 essential oils to try.
  • Travel Kits – Prices range from $24.95 – $49.95.  These kits are larger than the sample kits, but still small enough to throw in your luggage for travel.
  • Gift Sets – Prices range from $142.95 – $272.95. The Balance Gift Set is great for all skin types and includes an Aloe Herb Cleanser, Ayurvedic Facial Scrub, Neroli Toning Mist, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal & Combination Skin, and Purifying Mud Mask which all work together to leave your skin fresh, moisturized, and glowing.  Comes with a Limited Edition Holiday Let it Glow Tote Bag! (A $19.95 value)

 

Matcha Source – for focus and energy

 

Matcha Source Holiday

If you know someone that likes to start their day with a little boost of focus and energy, but doesn’t want to feel jittery? Then look no further than Matcha tea!! Matcha tea is the highest quality green tea and contains an amino acid that promotes a calm, focused feeling – called L-Theanine. You can brew it hot, or you can blend it into a matcha latte smoothie.  Matcha boasts a lot of other health benefits, read: Why Everyone is Drinking Matcha Tea to learn more about this amazing superfood.  Matcha Source is a great place to get your matcha tea gifts – with gift sets ranging in price from $45 to $138.00, Matcha Source has something for many different budgets.  Unlike other green teas which are steeped, matcha tea is ground into a fine powder – so it is added to water, and then whisked in to blend it in – so it is good to get someone started with a gift that contains everything they need to make matcha tea:

  • “The Froth It” kit – on sale for $45.90. A good gift set for somone new to matcha tea, and wants to whip it up quickly – this comes with matcha tea and an electronic frother.  The frother can also be used to froth your almond or coconut milk for your matcha latte!!
  • The Matcha Source “Whisk It” Kit – starts at $59.00. This is good for someone that wants to go the more traditional route with the whisk –  includes a whisk, a celadon whisk holder, and your choice of matcha tea.
  • The Focus Tea Gift Set – starts at $99. The ultimate matcha gift set, which includes one matcha tea bowl, a bamboo whisk and celadon whisk holder, a tea sifter, a bamboo tea scoop, and your choice of a 30g tin of matcha.


 

Pack It Bags: stylish bags that keep items chilled!

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Here in California, plastic bags have been given the heave ho – so if we don’t want to have to pay 10 cents each time we need a brown bag at the grocery – we’d better bring our own.  If you are looking to invest in or gift some reuseable grocery bags – let me recommend Pack It cooler bags – they are not only reusable, they are like mini portable refrigerators!   They are really strong, stylish, and they fold down flat so you can store them in your freezer.  Take them to the store – and they will keep your items cold for hours!!  These are great for soccer moms that like to do errands, but can’t get right back home.  Also great for taking to the beach, pool, or parties too! They also make wine bottle cooler bags (perfect hostess gift), lunch bags (kids love them!), and many other items.  I have used Pack It cooler bags for years, and I get compliments on my bags every time I use them!  Pack It’s prices are great too – learn more or order at www.packit.com.

  • Freezable grocery bag – $24.99 – grab one for yourself and a few for your friends.
  • Freezable Wine Bag – $15.99 – fabulous hostess gift!!
  • Freezable Lunch Bags – prices range from $14.99 for the salad bag to $24.99 for the Uptown or Deluxe Lunch bag. Great teacher gift! 

 

Nervana – stimulate serenity (and digestion)!

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Have you heard of the Vagus Nerve? It connects our brain and our gut – and when it is not optimized, it can lead to a myriad of symptoms including anxiety, poor focus, slow gut motility (constipation) and more. This exciting new product called “Nervana” stimulates the vagus nerve while you listen to music – it can help to balance neurotransmitters, the nervous system, mood, boost gut motility, and much more!! This is a really unique and helpful gift for someone suffering from high stress levels, anxiety, sluggish digestion, focus issues, or just wanting to optimize or ‘biohack’ their overall health. I vew the Nervana device as kind of like a “workout” for my vagus nerve.  Why would I want to work out my vagus nerve you might ask?  According to Vagus Nerve Stimulation, a New Tool for Brain Research and Therapy, “clinical and animal studies indicate that VNS likely results in changes in serotonin (Ben-Menachem et al 1995), norepinephrine (Krahl et al 1998), GABA, and glutamate (Walker et al 1999)—neurotransmitters implicated in the pathogenesis of major depression.”  So stimulating the vagus nerve could be a factor in resolving mood imbalances.  And according to this study, while exercise is important for proper gut motility, “vagal nerve regulation is essential for the increase in gastric motility in response to mild exercise.”  Learn more about Nervana here.  See more articles and research on the vagus nerve at the bottom of this article. 

Note: I have been testing out a Nervana device personally for a few days – and even though it has been less than a week – so far I have been impressed!!  Stay tuned for a blog about my experiences with Nervana soon.

Nervana units start at $319.00 (they are on special now for $289.00).  See below for some links to research on the vagus nerve.


 

Cultures for Health – gut happy fermented foods!

cultures-for-health

Fermented foods boost healthy digestion, have been linked to improved mood, and also may support a healthy metabolism and weight.  Do you know someone that loves to buy kombucha, kefir, saurkraut, and kimchi?  They might want to make their own!  Making your own fermented foods is kind of like having a science experiment in your house that tastes great, and makes you feel great when you eat it.  I have made my own kombucha, kefir water, kimchi, and saurkraut – and I find the easiest one is kefir water.  But I have always wanted to make my own sourdough bread. There is a lot of evidence that fermenting the wheat makes it easier to digest and even some people who have senstivities to regular wheat bread can tolerate sourdough fine (if you have celiac disease or a severe gluten intolerance, please go with the gluten free version).   I would love to find a sourdough culture under the tree this year…hint, hint honey. Cultures for Health offers gifts in all price ranges – single cultures start at just under $10 – you can get a sourdough culture for $13.95.  Or you can get a full Kit like the Ginger Water Kefir making kit for $39.95, or the Homemade Kimchi kit for $49.95.  Learn more/order here: www.culturesforhealth.com.


My Intent – Wearable Mantras!

my-intent

 

I love these wearable mantra bracelets from My Intent.  My Intent is not just a jewelry company – they are an “intentions project.”  My Intent wants their jewelry to be a catalyst for “meaningful conversations and positive energy.”  They believe there is “purpose inside each of us and we want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.”     Prices start at just $12 for a keychain, and $18 for a bracelet.  You can even buy the stamper to make your own mantra jewelry!   These bracelets are big with the Hollywood set – with Jay Z, Beyonce, and Kayne seen wearing them (even seen on the cover of Time magazine). Check out this story about My Intent bracelets on The Today Show.   In my Break up with Sugar program, I encourage participants to pick a mantra to help guide them and stay focused on their purpose and truth – I love that we can wear our mantra and keep in the forefront of our mind.  What would your word be?

 


Essential Oilsharness the power of nature for your health!

essential oils

Essential oils are a powerful natural way to support health – they have been shown to support mood, immunity, energy, focus, and much more.  Essential oils can be diffused, used topically, they make wonderful cleaning products, candles, and soaps; and some can also be used internally – but it is important to make sure to use only the highest quality therapeutic-grade essential oils.   Prices start at $10 for some single oils and go up from there!  I like to add a drop of lemon essential oil to my water, diffuse oils for calm, focus, and energy – and also to clear stinky kitchen smells!  You can add lavendar to your bath for calm, and even put some on your pillow for sleep.  One of the most important thing that essential oils do – they can replace chemicals in your life – see articles and references below about chemicals to avoid.

Interested in learning about essential oils?  Contact Sara Vance at sara@rebalancelife.com or visit https://www.mydoterra.com/saravance


Meditation Studio – Guided meditation and courses

mediation studio app

Someone on your list interested in meditation, but don’t really know where to start?  This Meditation Studio app offers a diverse selection of over 200 guided meditations featuring different teachers and styles. Focus on your intention or dive deep into a meditation topic with exclusive collections and courses. Meditation Studio is a great gift idea, and it is just $3.99.  Featured by Apple as “10 Best Apps of the Year” 2016, one of TIME’s “50 Best Apps of the Year” 2016, and recommended by: Forbes, Inc., Refinery 29, Huffington Post, Well and Good, Greatist, Celebuzz, Yahoo! Beauty, and many more!   Find out even more and try a meditation at www.meditationstudioapp.com


Coming soon…my Healthy Cookbooks and Books recommendations!!

Do you have a loved one that likes to read, and is interested in improving their health?  Books are a great gift – because they are budget friendly and provide hours of entertainment.  Or maybe you have someone that loves to cook – cookbooks are also a great gift.  Selecting a healthy book or cookbook could have a huge impact on someone’s life and health – and their families’ too.  Stay tuned, my next blog will include my top recommendations this year – several of these will be featured in my FREE Book Club – learn more/sign up here.

Related articles/research:

Vagus Nerve Articles and Studies:

Essential oils articles:

 

Affiliate Disclosure: Sara hand selects the products that she recommends, and only recommends products that she has used (or would use) herself, and with her family.  Sara does her best to research each company and product to ensure that it uses the best in ingredients, quality, and safety.  But she also suggests that the buyer also do their own research to make sure each product and company is right for them before buying.  Sara is not connected to any of these companies, and any customer service issues or concerns should be directed at the companies/manufacturers.  Some of the companies that Sara recommends offer affiliate programs – which means that she is paid a small commission for any sales that she refers, this does not affect the consumer’s price of the product in any way. 

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Healthier Holiday Lattes – Pumpkin Spice & Peppermint Mocha

November 6, 2016
Healthy Holiday Lattes

Do you look forward to the holiday lattes at Starbucks all year long?

People take their holiday lattes seriously – even the holiday cups are highly anticipated each year – last year when Starbucks released a plain red cup – people went crazy!  Now, in 2016 – they went with a green cup, which was meant to symbolize unity – but people are freaking out because there is no red cup (Starbucks says the red is coming).

So many people enjoy indulging during the holidays with the special holiday latte drinks. But just one grande (16 oz.) latte has more than double the added sugar than a woman should get all day (approx. 50 grams of sugar, or 12 teaspoons)! So indulging too often, can mean we are consuming way too much extra sugar…and likely getting a head start on the holiday weight gain.

So I have made over your favorite holiday drink with less sugar & less guilt, and more healthy ingredients. And for the many people who can’t tolerate or are choosing to avoid dairy – the good news is that these holiday creamers are dairy free too!!

The Pumpkin Spice Creamer:

serves approximately 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk (look for a brand with no carregeenan – like So Delicious)
  • 1/4 cup of full fat organic coconut milk (from a can) – adds creaminess and richness
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of maple syrup or coconut sugar (or you could cut the sugar content in half by swapping out 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup for 3 teaspoons of an alternative natural sweetener like Pyure – an organic, non-GMO stevia blend. Or replace all the maple syrup with 6-8 teaspoons of Pyure)
  • 1/3 of a cup of unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I prefer the kind without alcohol for this)
  • Either 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice  <or>  1 drop each of clove, cinnamon and ginger essential oil* (use only certified therapeutic grade)
  • Dash of Real Salt brand salt (brings out flavors and sweetness)
  • Optional – a dash of cinnamon sugar (made with ceylon cinnamon and organic sugar) to sprinkle on top.

Directions:

Put into a blender or a jar and use a hand blender – combine well. Taste & adjust as needed. Add approximately 1/4 cup to your coffee, optionally sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top.  Pour any extra into a glass jar and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

The Peppermint Mocha Creamer

serves approximately 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk (look for a brand with no carregeenan – like So Delicious)
  • 1/4 cup of full fat organic coconut milk (from a can) – adds creaminess and richness
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of maple syrup or coconut sugar (or you could cut the sugar content in half by swapping out 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup for 3 teaspoons of an alternative natural sweetener like Pyure – an organic, non-GMO stevia blend. Or replace all the maple syrup with 6-8 teaspoons of Pyure)
  • 1 Tablespoon of raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I prefer the kind without alcohol for this)
  • 1 drop of peppermint essential oil* (use only certified therapeutic grade), you could replace this with a few drops of peppermint extract if you can’t find essential oil.
  • Dash of Real Salt brand salt – brings out the sweetness and flavors

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender (or a jar and use a hand blender) – blend to combine well. Taste & adjust as needed. Add approximately 1/4 cup to your coffee.  Optionally, grate a little dark chocolate on top (using a microplaner like this). Pour any extra into a glass jar and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

If you do decide to pop into Starbucks for a holiday latte, here some some tips to make it healthier:

  • Ask for fewer “pumps” of the syrup – go with 1 pump, or even 1/2 pump – which will lower the sugar content significantly.
  • Skip the sugar free syrups – they have artificial sweeteners – which stimulate your sweet tooth and are linked to diabetes and weight gain.  Add a little stevia if you want instead.
  • Skip the whipped cream, or if you must – ask for just a touch (it has added sugar)
  • Go for whole milk over skim – it will fill you up more, skipe your bloodsugar less, and add more creaminess – so you need less sugar.  Studies show that people who consume whole milk are less likely to develop diabetes, or become overweight than those who consume reduced fat dairy. Don’t believe me? Then read this TIME Magazine article

 

*Interested in learning more about the benefits and uses of Essential Oils?  Contact sara@rebalancelife.com.

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Minty Fruit Salad

May 3, 2016
Minty Fruit Salad

Want to make a fruit salad that will stand out from the crowd?  This is it!  

The fresh mint and lime dressing really takes it to a whole other level.  Kind of out of this world.

Great for Mother’s Day Brunch or any other celebration – or maybe “just because!”

Get the kids involved – kids love making and eating this fruit salad too!

If you want to make the melon balls and kiwi shapes – you will need the following equipment:

Ingredients:

  • Minty fruit salad1 mini watermelon
  • 1 honeydew or cantaloupe
  • 1 pint of strawberries
  • 1 pint of raspberries or blueberries
  • 3-4 kiwi fruit
  • 3 limes
  • Mint – finely chopped (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons of raw honey (or your favorite natural alternative sweetener – like stevia or monk fruit)
  • Pinch of salt – to taste

You could add any other fruit you like to this – grapes, pineapple, etc.

Directions:

  1. Rinse the outside of the melons well (this helps to remove any potential bacteria)
  2. Slice the melons in half – and scoop out the flesh using the melon ball tool (or you can cut it into cube shapes if you don’t have a melon ball tool)
  3. Wash & dry all the berries.
  4. Slice the strawberries into bite sized pieces
  5. Cut the kiwi fruit into slices (about 4 centimeters thick).  Press the mini cookie cutter into the center – to create a kiwi shape!
  6. Put all the fruit into a bowl.
  7. Put into a glass measuring cup the juice from 2-3 limes, the honey, mint, and a pinch of salt.  Pour over fruit and stir to combine
  8. Serve & enjoy!

Or if you want to make this into a beautiful fruit skewer centerpiece – watch this video  (you don’t need the lime and mint syrup for this)

 

Signature

 

 

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Chive & Zucchini Mini Baked Omelettes

May 3, 2016
Muffin Tin Omelettes

I love making these mini omelettes in  muffin tins – because they are easy and you always have leftovers.  These are easy enough to get the kids involved – so why not make a batch for Mom for Mother’s Day?  Bonus – because this makes quite a bit, there should be leftovers so mom won’t have to make breakfast on Monday either!! 

Ingredients:

  • 9 large organic free range eggs
  • 1 medium sized organic* zucchini, grated (diced asparagus or broccoli would work great too)  – approx. 3/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup of chopped baby spinach (about 3 handfuls before chopping)
  • chopped fresh chives – about 1 Tablespoon (add more if you like more!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of high quality salt
  • 1/4 cup of water

Optional:

  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese
  • 1-2 slices of bacon or ham, chopped

Optional for serving:

  • Salsa (I like green salsa with this) or hot sauce
  • Avocado slices
  • Roasted new potatoes

Other good veggies to include in these:  onions (I sauté these first), chopped tomatoes, red peppers, or your favorite.

Eggs in muffin tinsDirections:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

  1. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with butter or avocado oil
  2. Grate the zucchini.
  3. Finely chop the chives and chop the spinach
  4. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the water, and lightly whip.
  5. Add in the salt, zucchini, spinach, chives, and any other ingredients you choose.
  6. Spoon evenly into muffin tins (should come up about 3/4 of the way – leave some room, as these will poof up).
  7. Bake for about 17 mins.
  8. Take out of the oven and serve!

 

  • I recommend using organic zucchini because zucchini can be GMO.

 

Signature

 

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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