Heal Your Gut With Easy Turnip-Leek Soup

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Your gut is the base of your health. When your digestion works well, the rest of your health will be well too.

In fact, we now know that when your gut and digestion are well, you are less likely to feel depressed as your gastrointestinal system is where most of your dopamine and serotonin are produced.

Happy gut = happy mood.

This simple soup recipe combines sweet turnips, potatoes, leafy greens and garlic for a powerful digestive aid.

It’s the kind of recipe we’ll be enjoying in my 8-week Cravings Cleanse! Click here to sign up – we start 2/12!

 

Turnip Leek Soup Vegan Soup Recipe

And it’s a perfect dinner on a chilly spring or winter evening.

 

Turnips aid the digestion, dissolve mucus, and are good for general detoxification. They’re also high in anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates.

Potatoes (be sure to get organic!) nurture stomach functions and help cool inflammation, except arthritic conditions.

Leeks support the movement of energy, or chi, throughout the body and are an excellent source of lutein, which protects your eye and cardiovascular health.

Chard treats the large intestines, stomach and cools overheated conditions. It’s also used to ease constipation in the elderly, and has anti-carcinogenic properties.

This soup is powerful!

Turnip-Leek Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, or 1 large leek, tender green and white parts only, cleaned & sliced thinly

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

3 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon taragon

1 teaspoon dill

1 pound white turnips, cut into 3/4 inch chunks

1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks

4 cups chard leaves, trimmed and chopped

Directions

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the leeks, season with a the salt, and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, bay leaf, tarragon, and dill and sauté for 1 minute more.

3. Add 6 cups of water, the turnips, potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

4. Add the chard and simmer until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and fresh black pepper and serve hot.

For more great recipes, a live, supportive community, and coaching from me, join the Cravings Cleanse -

click here to start 2/12! 

happy belly foods + how to trust your body again (they’re related)

happy belly foods + how to trust your body again (they’re related)

happy belly foods + how to trust your body again (they’re related) Cravings Cleanse

 

I couldn’t budge my muffin top…
My belly would bloat up all the time…
I was addicted to sugar and caffeine…
I was too tired to fight for what I wanted in life…

…and what I wanted was hidden by clouds, kind of indistinct and hard to define.

(new career – but what? new relationship – but who with, and was I worthy? creative time for me – what medium?)

When I heal my body, (again + again)
I still find that my belly’s health is a big part of the process.

I talk a lot about the four root causes of cravings, and that the first place to look at any craving,
at any health issue, is in our guts.

Your gut is the seat of your health + your intuition:

* it’s where your immune system is either built healthfully, or falling apart

* how well you digest your food impacts your energy, mood, nutritional cravings, and “elimination” (aka pooping)
* 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is in your gut – that’s one of your feel good, relaxed hormone

* neurons in the gut generate as much dopamine as those in the head (for help with sleep, mood, pleasure + attention)

* we store emotional trauma, sexual fears + hurts, and injuries to our childhood safety in our gut

Your gut is your second brain.
It’s also your intuitive, feeling brain.

It’s where we make a lot of our life decisions from,
because we need to feel good + strong in this part of our body to go after the things we desire.

(ever make a gut decision, feel nervous knots or have butterflies in your stomach before a big event?)

But when it’s bloated, covered in layers of extra stress-induced fat,
in pain, or just uncomfortable all the time…

you just can’t connect to your intuition, or feel strong about your decisions.
You will be tired, want to hide, or cover the pain with emotionally craved foods.

That’s why one of the first areas we heal in the Cravings Cleanse is the gut.

To feel and see a real shift in your body, energy, and mindset (and life!)
we need to heal our guts and take out the foods (I call them the Toxic 6)
that hurt our digestion and cause a real disconnect between the brain in your head
and the brain in your belly.

Foods that help the belly heal are:

1. easy to digest – Toxic 6-free, fiber rich, but not hard on an impaired digestive system
2. nutrient + enzyme rich – contain healing ingredients like L-glutamine, Omega-3s, probiotics, and enzymes
3. tasty – if they don’t taste good, we won’t eat them, will we?
4. and non-inflammatory – foods that won’t cause damage, leaky holes in your gut, or poor digestion

happy belly foods - raw fermented pickles, kimchee, and sauerkraut

happy belly foods – raw fermented pickles, kimchee, and sauerkraut

They are also free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, and caffeine…AKA the Toxic 6,
which cause leaky gut, bloating, fatigue, bacterial overgrowth, and brain fog.

And as I have seen over the years in person experience and working with thousands of clients,
when your gut is sick, your brain, intuition, confidence, and energy all take a hit.

That’s why I include so much information on gut health in
my programs like the Cravings Cleanse & Mindset Makeover.

Past members have totally changed their gut health with the Cravings Cleanse:

“This is the easiest Cleanse I’ve ever done! I’ve tried to get off sugar, caffeine and alcohol before, but this time I’ve been successful! I’m feeling energized, less joint pain, and my gut is happy and thinner – finally. The weight is dropping off, and I’m feeling a lot better. My husband isn’t officially doing the cleanse, and he’s feeling really good! He wants to do this every 6 months.”  Aliza from NYC

“I have more energy! My digestion is way better, and I’m not constipated anymore. I’m noticing smoother skin. I have my family eating with me! that is huge…” Serena, Grapevine, CA

Watch Jacquie’s video testimonial about her gut healing + energy makeover from last year’s Cravings Cleanse: 

Jacquie's personal story + review of the Cravings Cleanse

Jacquie’s personal story + review of the Cravings Cleanse

Your experience of yourself and the world will be strained and
based on old fears when your gut is in knots, constipated, impaired, or uncomfortable all the time.

It’s time to heal your gut, and feel the energy, strength, and intuitive knowing that your body is capable of:

* remove the Toxic 6, one of the cornerstones of my upcoming Cravings Cleanse 8-week program
* add the foods and supplements that will begin to heal the matrix of your intestines + improve your digestion
* get clear on how past events + traumas have been stuck in your body and how processing them, seeing them, and loving yourself are an important part of your healing journey

We can’t just look at food or emotion as we create the body and life we crave.
Foods and emotions can be either toxic or healing.

Are you ready to find out which foods and emotions have been keeping your belly stuck?

xo,
Alex

Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover — What if you could spend 8 weeks supported by a beautiful circle of health seekers who are creating their best health + best lives with Alex? What would your life, body, and days feel like if you had the health, confidence, and energy you truly crave? Enrollment is now open, spots are limited. Learn more here.

 

1 of 12 books that’ll make your divorce easier…

I’m on the verge of tears…

Women, Food, And Desire was just named 1 of 12 books to read that’ll help your divorce be a little easier.

bustle header divorce

Women, Food, And Desire named 1 of 12 books that'll help you get through your divorce a little easier - Bustle.com

Women, Food, And Desire named 1 of 12 books that’ll help you get through your divorce a little easier – Bustle.com

I had to write this book.

When I was divorcing my ex, I became totally disconnected from my body. I allowed the shame and hurt of the infidelity to separate me from my own self-worth, even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.

I had to write this book – because this culture, our shame, and the Diet Industrial Complex, are keeping us from having the love, worth, and health that we deserve.

If you have a friend going through a divorce or break up right now, and you think Women, Food, And Desire would help, please send them a copy.

And give them hugs. Lots of hugs:

Here’s a link to the original article:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/61076-12-books-to-read-thatll-make-your-divorce-a-little-bit-easier

P.S. It is an incredible honor to be featured alongside one of my favorite books of all time, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Jaw. Dropped.

The Power Of Touch: Mindset Makeover Day 7

It’s the final day of the #MindsetMakeover + I’m sharing my favorite tool from Positive Psychology.

The power of touch.

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Touch is our 1st sense, and a HUGE ally in creating a healthy, flourishing life + strong relationships.

In our modern culture we are TOUCH STARVED and often get very little physical interaction or affection. But we need it to feel well, whole, and connected.

Baby animals that are removed from their mama or siblings don’t thrive + develop emotional trouble later. It’s the same for people. “Kangaroo care” is now used for preemie babies – skin to skin contact on an adult chest for hours a day helps tiny babies thrive + put on weight.

We give lots of love and hugs, pats, and hand holding affection to our kids, because we know they need it to feel loved. But for adults it’s harder to ask for touch, massage, hugs, or physical intimacy.

But we think as adults we don’t need as much love + touch. WE DO!

When we get enough touch, hugs + physical intimacy in our day, we are healthier, happy, and less likely to emotionally binge. Hug someone today! CLICK TO TWEET THIS!

Today I’m going to challenge you to get 8 hugs of at least 5 seconds each. A hug has the power to calm your nervous system, reduce blood pressure, and reduce emotional food cravings!

Thank you for taking part in this peek into 7-days of #positivepsychology with me. I’ll be using MORE tools from this science based approach in my next 8-Week Cravings Cleanse, which opens for registration Friday!

#healthyeah #mindset #positivepsychology #fun #friends #hugs #health #inspiration #instagram #instagood #healing #touch #love #cravings #cravecast #crave #desire

Show us your strengths! Mindset Makeover Day 6

Day 6 of the #MindsetMakeover – Share Your Strengths!

Show us your strengths! A great tool from positive psychology to get us out of negativity bias? Build + broaden your strengths...A wonderful remedy for emotional eating.

Show us your strengths! A great tool from positive psychology to get us out of negativity bias? Build + broaden your strengths…A wonderful remedy for emotional eating.

The human brain is wired for “negativity bias” – we look for things that have gone wrong, or COULD go wrong, so that we don’t do them and maybe die.

And when our brains are stuck in a negative thought loop, emotional eating for comfort and relaxation come one like wildfire.

Research from Positive Psychology suggests that the most successful (and happy) people start with a strong talent + then add skills, knowledge + practice into the mix.

We’ll be healthier + happier if we build on our authentic selves–who we already are–starting with our strengths. CLICK TO TWEET THIS! 

BUT a lot of people are usually unaware of their own strengths. I have seen this truth confirmed time + again in my work with clients at various stages of their healing journey.

So here is a simple way to discover one of your top strengths:

FILL IN THE BLANK — “I LOVE ME WHEN…”

One of my strengths is humor.

Other strengths that might resonate with you include leadership, gratitude, love, love of learning, spirituality, curiosity, creativity…make up your own!

Share your strengths below, take a picture of yourself with a sign like mine and post on Instagram or Facebook!

Tomorrow is the last day of this #mindsetmakeover – then I’ve got a BIG announcement to share with you!!

Play like a kid! Play is good for your mindset, mood, and your metabolism. #MindsetMakeover #CravingsCleanse

Play like a kid! How to get more fun than just food in your life.

Day 5 of the #MindsetMakeover = PLAY LIKE A KID!

The 8-week Cravings Cleanse opens in a few days – and I want to share the mindset tools that make diet + food + healing easy.

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When you have more #fun in your day, play more, + seek out more pleasure, your body feels great, and food isn’t the ONLY fun you give yourself! CLICK TO TWEET THIS! 

Seriously – you can’t just change your food, right?

You gotta upgrade your thoughts about food, your body, and life – if you want a fun, happy life, its time to start playing more.

That’s why I’m giving you tested daily mindset tools from Positive Psychology to show you the power of your thoughts when it comes to getting the body & life you desire.

Today I want you to play like a kid!

PLAY is proven to boost positive emotions, motivation, curiosity, and the neurotransmitters that help us love ourselves.

Play is a great and free way to feel a sense of joy + delight in what you do – and it’s not just for kids!

My FAVORITE way to play? Wearing my hot pink roller skates and skating with a friend.

Play releases dopamine, endorphins, and helps you get into a state of mental flow where you focus, stay engaged, and learn to manage distraction.

How can you play like a kid again?

1. MAKE TIME: schedule 1 hour today JUST for play time
2. DECLUTTER A PLAY SPACE OR GO OUTSIDE: try not to rely on specific toys, unless you’re going to play an instrument or get into an art project – but make it playful! Let your creative energies flow rather than finish something or trying to master a new piece.
3. FOCUS ON PLAY, NOT OUTCOME: don’t look for results. Play can have a flow/dream-like quality which is good for your brain + body.

Enjoy your play day!
Tag a friend + ask them to come play with you!
#fun #friends #instagram #instagood #play #positivepsychology #love #inspiration #kids #funny #healthyeah #WomenFoodAndDesire

Write it, Don’t Eat it: Gratitude Adjustment

Day 4 of the Mindset Makeover!

I’m sharing some of the best Positive Psychology tools for 7-days to help you experience your greatness, and to feel that  you are worthy of the self-care, life, and vitality that you dream about – because, honey, you are!

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Write a gratitude letter, and enjoy a cozy moment for yourself to thank a great person in your life. I like to write with tea, green juice, lots of pens, and of course my cat, The Boy Named Sue, AKA Kitty Sue.

Write a “gratitude letter,” a kind of belated thank-you note to someone who has had a big impact on your life.

Detail the kindnesses, lessons, or support that person offered you and what it enabled in your life.

They can be alive or dead, and you can send it to them, read it to them in person or over the phone after it’s done, or just write it and experience the good vibes of gratitude as they flow.

Studies show that writing these letters give long-lasting mood boosts to the writer.

Traumatic experiences and negative memories tend to fade into the background for people who try these positive psychology techniques.

And when we feel better about our lives, strengths, and our relationships, emotionally charged binge eating tends to diminish, and we treat ourselves better with self-care and food choices. CLICK TO TWEET!

ONE THOUGHT: don’t do it if you don’t really feel it.

Forcing yourself to feel gratitude, when it’s not there, doesn’t make you feel any better. In fact, it can make you feel worse. If the gratitude juice isn’t flowing in you today, try writing about an experience that meant a lot to you, or about a time when you used your strengths and felt really strong in yourself. This will reconnect you with your innate gifts and feel just as good.

#healthyeah #WomenFoodAndDesire #gratitude #love #instagood #inspiration #writing #inspirational #fun #friends #PositivePsychology

I want to know how this was for you! Share your experience in the comments below. xo, Alex

Do your friends help your health + body goals? 8 traits to look for

My marriage didn’t support me in being healthy or feeling safe. The people in my “dietary community” weren’t thrilled when my diet changed – and I lost a few good friends when I was honest with them that I was no longer vegan. 

When you’re trying to transform your lifestyle or diet, or doing your best to avoid certain foods that you have a complicated relationship with, there is one thing that can help you get through to your goal of health and well-being.

Relationships.

Me & Mom. Mom taught me everything I know about organic food. How are your relationships helping you in your health and body goals?

Me & Mom. Mom taught me everything I know about organic food. How are your relationships helping you in your health and body goals?

Not just any old acquaintance will do:
we need FLOURISHING relationships where we can share our wins + celebrations as well as our troubles.

There’s a popular theory that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.

If we’re the average of the 5 people we hang with most, how are your relationships supporting your health goals? CLICK TO TWEET!

Positive Psychology backs this up by explaining our “mirror neurons,” or neurons that fire when we witness behavior in other animals, as though the observer itself was acting.

We are programed to act like the people around us, which helps us stay connected to them.

This idea is a bit scary when you think about the family you grew up with who you may not feel good around…

Or the partner who has sabotaged your health and wellness goals in the past, either knowingly, or subconsciously…

Or the co-workers who are obsessed with birthday cake, after-work drinks, and gossip parties.

What makes a relationship really healthy?

FLOURISHING RELATIONSHIPS HAVE/ARE:
* EMPATHY – you feel each other
* BELONGING – you feel like family
* ATTUNEMENT – to be on the same wavelength
* VULNERABILITY – you can be yourself
* TRUST – you’re each reliable + honest
* APPRECIATION – you enjoy good qualities of each other
* AUTHENTICITY – faithful + genuine
* LOVE – a deep love is shared

In the past I had people in my life who didn’t help me flourish, weren’t honest with me, or I didn’t feel like I could really be myself around them. Today, my close circle of friends feels much different. And I’m more honest with my family about what I need and who I am.

So even if you feel like you don’t have these flourishing traits in the 5 people closest to you, don’t give up – there are loads of awesome folks around who are looking for someone like you:

curious about real connection…

looking for fun, true, authentic friends…

empathic, thrill-seeking, life-loving pals.

I want to hear from you in the comments below:

What relationships in your life are “flourishing” or help you with your goals? What else do you see about your relationships in this context?

Get more AWE some: 3 ways to add more AWE

AWE is a powerful state

I used to use food as an escape from boredom, stress + life.

Who hasn’t? Instead of falling into those thinking traps, I now look for ways to step into “AWE” more often.

From Positive Psychology, I’ve learned that we crave meaning, connection, and purpose as much as food. AWE brings us into those powerful, inspirational moments.

AWE is a feeling of reverential respect + wonder, and is similar to transcendence.
Here are 3 ways to bring more AWE into your life, which bring up your energy, mood + make food not so important - #MindsetMakeover:

1. Take the scenic route: nature, new cities, let the scenery take your breath away
2. Immerse yourself in a crowd: concerts, political rally, running a marathon, outdoor movies
3. Go outside: being in nature helps us stop trying to control things, we are more accepting in that moment.

Share this with a friend who could use some more AWE-someness in their life!

3 ways to bring more AWE into your life – bring up your energy, mood + make food cravings loosen their hold on you! Click To Tweet!

xo, Alex

Does how you think matter as much as what you eat?

Short answer: Yes.

Our thoughts, experiences, and emotions make as much of an impact on our health and weight as what we eat.

I know a lot of you have made New Year’s resolutions,
and they might be getting away from you right now, the 3rd week into 2015.

So I wanted to share some of the best tools I’ve learned through my studies in
Positive Psychology to help you shift your mindset about food, health, weight, and your body

from frustration to ease…

from stuck to moving…

from unmotivated to joyful belief…

from floundering to flourishing.

So every day for the next 7 days, I’d like to share one tool a day with you to help you master your mindset…

A mindset makeover, if you will.

See, positive psychology “is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive” - 
and that’s what I love sharing. Recipes and inspiration for a body and life you love. 

You don’t have to do anything special, just read along, and take the action I describe, if you’re inspired.

If you want to join in the fun in a more meaningful way, you can come follow me on Instagram or Facebook and share, post, or like the pictures I’ll be posting every day to share these ideas.

I’ll also be sharing simple food tips every day to help you make your resolutions for a lighter, stronger 2015 come true!

Now, here’s your Day 1 of the #MindsetMakeover:

Share Your Strengths, AKA “What’s RIGHT with you?”

According to Positive Psychology research, when you focus on your strengths it helps you focus on what’s right, rather than getting stuck in a negative self-image.

In my experience, most sugar cravings, when not caused by bacterial overgrowth, are related to feeling emotionally depleted, frustrated, or lonely.

When we can tap into our own strengths and acknowledge what’s right with us, sabotaging food cravings will get weaker.

When we acknowledge how strong we really are, sugar’s hold on us gets weaker! Click To Tweet This :) 

Humor
Gratitude
Love
Love of Learning
Leadership
Bravery
Creativity
Curiosity
Vitality
Kindness
Forgiveness
Appreciation of Beauty
Hope
Spirituality

alex learn

One of my strengths is “love of learning.” I used to think I was “easily distracted” but now I see my curiosity and desire for knowledge as a way that I stay engaged, hopeful, and contribute to my family and community’s well-being.

According to Positive Psychology research, sharing + acknowledging our strengths helps us to focus on what’s right with us, rather than getting stuck in a negative self-image.

When we feel more positive + better about ourselves, we tend to make healthier food choices, and our health is better all around.

In the comments below, share your strengths with us!
I’d love to hear what’s RIGHT with you, and how you use those strengths to live a healthier, happier life.

xo, Alex