new york

Spring is here - what should I eat now?

There may still be some patches on snow hunkering down here in New York, but the calendar has moved on.  Spring has SPRUNG!  Along with all of the extra cleaning, organizing, outside walks, and Summer vacation planning that people seem to always squeeze into the first week of Spring, we're usually ready to change up our food.  WIth lots of green and sprouts starting to come up this time of the year, Spring makes for the perfect time to introduce new greens into your diet.  When we are more conscious of eating in-season, we derive health-benefits from fresher and less pesticide-ridden foods, can enjoy locally grown plants, and save money (!) in the process (Remember that whole supply and demand thing from High School Economics class?).

The following is a list of vegetables that are in-season for this time of year here in the U.S.  Some of these grow year-round or are harvested during multiple seasons, so if you thought of any as Winter or Summer crops, you may not be wrong.  However, these are all great choices for *at least* March, April, and May.  

Pick up your favorites and maybe challenge yourself to try a new veggie every week or 2.  Let the Spring meal planning and cooking begin!

 

Artichokes

Arugula

Asparagus

Beets

Bok Choy

Broccoli Rabe

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Carrots

Celery

Chard

Chicory

Collard Greens

Cress

Dandelion Greens

Endive

Fava Beans

Fava Greens

Fennel

Garlic

Kale

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Mustard Greens

Nettles

Onions

Parsnips

Pea Shoots

Peas

Purslane

Radishes

Rutabagas

Scallions

Spinach

Sprouts

Turnips

 

In good health,

Tara

Guest Kimberly Chacon - Breast Cancer Thriver & Super-Mom

Today's blog post kicks off my GREAT & GRATEFUL SERIES that seems more than appropriate to share during Thanksgiving week here in the United States.  Kimberly Chacon is an amazing woman, breast cancer survivor, mom to 3 under 2(!), teacher, and now pours her heart and soul into spreading awareness about breast cancer diagnosed in young women.  Check out her blog,  www.partyoffiveblog.com.  Kimberly is not just a survivor, but a mighty magnetic individual that I had the pleasure to meet with in-person.  A quick example...she knew I'd be showing up to our meeting with my two kiddos and thought to bring a few seasonal crafts for my toddler to have fun with as we chatted about business and motherhood.  There should be more people like Kimberly in this world!

Read Kimberly's incredible story:

I was 28 when I heard the words that changed my world forever. "You have breast cancer." At the time I was working full time, finishing my graduate degree, and living a healthy life. My diagnosis completely knocked my life into a new reality that was dark and frightening. I did not look or feel sick, but I had a tiny lump that I mentioned to my doctor, and that was where it began.

Going through breast cancer brings with it a palette of mixed emotions. Sadness at those we've lost, pain for those engaged in the battle and hope that we are going to find a cure for this vicious disease. Over the years I have participated in different ways with various organizations, and recently I have made it a point to write about my own experience. This is what I'd like you to know about being a young breast cancer survivor:

1. There is no cure for breast cancer and women continue to die everyday. There is a misconception that this disease is easy to treat. Again, it is still a fact that breast cancer does NOT have a cure and while some prognosis are better than others, breast cancer can come back, even years after you have shown to have NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE.

 

2. Eight years after my diagnosis I still take a daily medication and while you may never hear me complain about it, there are side effects. It is recommended that I take this medication for ten years following my initial treatment. When you are in your 20's and you imagine ten years of medical treatment it seems impossible. It is life saving and a blessing to have it, but it is also a daily reminder of my past with cancer.

2. Medical research saves lives and quite possibly saved mine. Based on the kind of cancer that I had, I was able to take a "new" drug called Herceptin. It only exists because of extensive research which involves lots of $$$$ and brave end-stage patients that agree to try new drugs. This drug became available two years before I was diagnosed and without it my odds of survival would have been much lower. There was even a Lifetime movie made about the breakthrough starring Mr. Harry Connick Jr.
 

3. A mastectomy does not mean you get a free, new pair of boobs. Yes, several people made that comment to me while I was in treatment. (Why?? Why would you say that to anyone? Please don't ever say that to anyone.) Quite the contrary. Having a double mastectomy means that you lose a part of yourself and gain significant scars. It means a painful surgery and a long healing process. It means fighting to gain acceptance of a new version of the most intimate parts of your body. It steals a part of your sexuality and it robs you of the basic human choice of breastfeeding your children. It is often all of these things right before beginning six months of chemotherapy. It leaves scars, both physical and emotional. While the procedure and outcomes have improved over the years, do not believe that a mastectomy is an easy solution.

4. Just because your hair has grown back does not mean that you are "finished". After going through the hell that is cancer treatment you are a different person and it takes time to find your new normal. We have gone down a tumultuous road and it takes time to heal. That can mean that relationships change, you make lifestyle changes, or you look at the world in a new way. Be gentle with someone who has gone through treatment, even if it's two years later. Just because we look fine again does not always mean that it's done.

5. As survivors, we are glad there are many awareness campaigns, but we are always concerned about who benefits from all the pink. First, read the fine print on anything you purchase and see what they are actually doing with your dollars. Second, keep in mind that Avon and Komen get tons of money and they have major corporate sponsors, so don't worry about them. What's better than buying pink socks and glitter boas? Donating to organizations that directly benefit research and women like www.metavivor.com or www.pinkdaisyproject.com. If you want to give, make a smart donation.

Becoming a cancer survivor changed my life forever. Chances are that you know someone who has been touched by the disease.  How can you take meaningful action? Make a donation to a research program or an organization that directly helps women in treatment. If you personally know a survivor, reach out. Finally, if you're putting off having yourself checked, please make sure you make that appointment. It could be the most important thing you do.

 

Tara here, again.  Thanks, Kimberly, for sharing your incredible story with us!  

We're celebrating the GREAT and GRATEFUL for Thanksgiving week!  Tell me what is moving you these days.  What is great in your life?  Who are you grateful for?  Please share here or come join the conversation on Facebook at Facebook.com/TaraAllenHealth.com. 

In health,

Tara

Holistic Cough Medicine

Magnolia has a cough.  Magnolia requests honey about 2,406 times a day.  How are these things related?

We mix up a quick "cough medicine" for her when she's sick or something else is going on that may be compromising her immune system (like when she skips too many naps or happens to have a few dairy-heavy days in a row).  The best part?  Make a bunch and leave it, covered, on the counter.  Honey is the ONLY food that doesn't spoil.

**Please note: honey is not recommended for babies under the age of 1 due to their lessened ability to fight off a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum - which can cause botulism in young babies.**

Here's the "recipe": mix together raw honey, turmeric, and cinnamon.  Feel free to add some powdered probiotics if you'd like for an added immune boost.

  • The honey contains antioxidants, is antibacterial and anti-fungal, soothes a cough and sore throat, and aids in fighting allergies if using a local, raw honey.
  • What does the turmeric do?  This is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant!  Therefore, it helps relieve pain and promote healing.
  • Cinnamon not only helps to mask the strong taste of the turmeric, but it helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin responses (which an important player in our health and immunity.  It is also anti-microbial and contains antioxidants (see a pattern here?).  Oh, and it aids blood circulation so your little one's own defenses can get to work!
  • Probiotics boost the health of our "gut".  Think of these as soldier reinforcements…more good guys to help fight the bad guys.  :-)

This is a safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive staple to keep in your household this Fall / Winter to give to any child or adult over the age of 1 as prevention or as an extra boost when a cold or cough appears.  1-3 teaspoons spread out throughout the day works well!  I hope your kiddos request this "medicine" as much as mine does.  

In health,

Tara

Snack Attack - Pumpkin Pudding

Raise your hand if you're on the pumpkin-everything-until-January bandwagon.

I'm right there with ya!  ;-)  If you answered no, first of all, what's wrong with you?  Kidding!  Or am I?  Regardless, you may know someone (like a child, a spouse, a friend) who DOES love pumpkin everything.  Here's a super-quick, easy, and healthy recipe that works well as a snack, a dessert, a dip for fruit, mixed into oatmeal, under granola, or on top of yogurt.  The kitchen is for creativity!  How do you plan to eat this Pumpkin Pudding?

In an earlier social media post, I promised you guys some nutrition facts.  I think there's a time and place for counting calories, protein, etc.  I don't believe it's for everyone or forever, no matter what your situation is.  I'm a strong believer in listening to your body, balancing hormones, reducing stress and cravings, and eventually being able to be so in tune with your own needs, that there's no food journaling or strict tracking needed.  That being said, it IS helpful sometime.  Example: If you want to start your health journey and have NO IDEA how many calories you take in on a typical day, you may want to track for a few days to get a baseline.  Or, as in this case, I created this recipe custom for a client of mine that has Gestational Diabetes.  She needed something high in protein, high in fiber, low in carbs/sugar, and wanted it very "pumpkin-y".  Haha!  So, here you have it...

  • 150 Calories
  • 8g fiber
  • 12g net carbs
  • 11g protein
  • 1 full serving of veggies
Pumpkin Pudding

Pumpkin Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 T peanut flour (a.k.a. powdered peanut butter)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

1. This is the easy part - mix all ingredients together in a bowl / mug / cute cup.  That's it!  Enjoy immediately, store in fridge up to 3 days, or freeze and serve at a later date for your holiday party.

Enjoy.  In joy.  In health!

Tara

Abstainers vs. Moderators

You know you WANT to change something.  You can practically feel / taste / smell the results and you've made 25 vision boards with your dreams plastered all over them.  Then why, oh why, do you end up feeling as though you've self-sabotaged?!

In this video, I get into one of the most basic and foundational questions you should be asking yourself before beginning any type of behavioral change.  I use chocolate in my example, because, well who can't relate to chocolate?!

Are YOU and abstainer or a moderator?  How will this help you moving forward in wherever you're at in your health journey?  Drop a comment or shoot me an email.  I'd love to hear more and send you some encouraging words!

Pumpkin Workout

It's November 3rd.  You have pumpkins still out on the stoop in a Halloween-hangover of sorts.  You could throw them out (why?!?!), cook with them, donate them...

…But first, you should get a KILLER workout in (or 2 or 3) before you and your Orange Balls of Autumn-ness part ways.

In this 2.5 minute video (come on now, guys - you do have 2.5 minutes, right?), I show you 3 simple exercises you can do RIGHT NOW to get that blood pumping and endorphins bathing your brain and body.  Don't confuse simple with easy.  Do three sets of these 3 exercises for a QUICK and POWERFUL jolt of energy (and health and toned muscles…blah, blah).  ;-)

Ready?  3….2….1….press play!

Hello, November…and ALL the apples

Is it just me, or does the start of a new month make you giddy too?  It's a clean slate for personal and professional goals and brings new seasonal activities and holidays to be excited about!  November is synonymous with celebration in my household - from my husband's birthday, to Thanksgiving, a season of gratitude and reflection, the start of Christmas music and decorations, and delicious, yummy-smelling, warming comfort foods!

Did you get to go apple picking this year?  Or maybe you'll be heading to a farm or farmer's market next weekend?  There's always a joy in picking the perfect apples and then a bit of confusion that sets in when you try to decide what to do with your robust harvest, right?

I have a solution...

Spiced Crockpot Apple Cider - Tara Allen Health

Spiced Crockpot Apple Cider - Tara Allen Health

Spiced Crockpot Apple Cider

Ingredients:

  • 18 cups water
  • 12 medium apples
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • pinch black pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice apples and oranges.
  2. Place all ingredients in crockpot.
  3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Warning: You house will smell so amazing at this point that you're likely to cancel all plans and stay home. :-)
  4. Strain all contents through colander into a large bowl.
  5. Strain once again through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth into a large bowl.
  6. Your cider is waiting for you!

"But Tara, I don't want to waste all the fruit and spices!"

Yup…I hear ya.  Throw it into a pitcher with red wine (or seltzer for an alcohol-free option) for a festive Sangria.

You're welcome.

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Enjoy in health,

Tara