Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Cinnamon

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Cinnamon

This article first appeared on Bless this Mess Please.

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are a healthy naturally sweetened way to enjoy those little gems that you just dug out of your jack-o-lantern.

If you plan on cooking a few pumpkins using the perfect method I showed you yesterday, you’ll have the seeds to enjoy too. Between scooping out the seeds for roasting and the flesh for cooking, I used practically the whole pumpkin. What little skin and pulp was left made for a tasty chicken treat. I think it’s fun when everything has a purpose and very little waste is created!

I love roasted pumpkin seeds because I think they taste a bit like popcorn, and you all know how much I love popcorn. I normally just roast them in a little olive oil and garlic salt, but this time around I wanted to try something sweet. I figured honey was a nice healthy option and so honey roasted pumpkin seeds were born. We had a hard time waiting for them to cool on the pan before digging in. May kept passing the hot roasted seeds between her fingers in an effort to evade the heat while trying to wait long enough to stick them in her mouth. I was right there with her! With a heavy hand of cinnamon, these might even pass for dessert.

Tips and Tricks for Making Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Here’s how I prep my fresh pumpkin seeds for cooking: I put everything I scraped from the pumpkin into a bowl. I use my hands to kind of squeeze the seeds from the strings they are sticking to. I do this to get rid of the biggest chunks of pumpkin. Then I fill up the bowl of pumpkin seeds with water and let them sit for a minute. I use my hands to strain out a little more pumpkin. Lastly, I drain the pumpkin seeds into a colander and spray them with water. Between using my hands and all the water, I end up with very little pumpkin pulp left behind. A little left doesn’t matter anyways; it kind of disappears when you bake it. Not sure how official that all is, but it works.
  • Nuts and seeds burn easily and sugar and honey burn easily. You are working with both of those, so keep an eye on things. Stir often, adjust temperatures as needed, and don’t walk away from their short cooking time. Or. Else.
  • Super cheap honey often tastes bitter to me and that’s no good. I like to get local honey and in a pinch Costco’s organic honey is a good option too.
  • Pumpkins are really neat. I wrote a whole ingredient spotlight on pumpkin if you want to know a few more interesting facts!

 

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are a healthy naturally sweetened way to enjoy those little gems that you just dug out of your jack-o-lantern.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw fresh pumpkin seeds, washed and pumpkin goop picked off
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. If your pumpkin seeds are wet from washing, dry them a bit on a clean dish towel or on paper towels. Place the pumpkin seeds in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small microwave safe bowl, add the butter, oil or coconut oil, and honey. Microwave until the butter melts and the honey is runny. Pour the honey mixture over the pumpkin seeds and stir. Add the cinnamon and stir again.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over both ends. Dump the pumpkin seeds into the middle of the paper and place it in the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the seeds and honey are a deep golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. When the seeds are roasted, remove from the oven and stir again. Stir a few times as they cool to keep them from sticking in one big lump. Enjoy the seeds once they are cool enough to eat. Store uncovered for up to one week.

Notes

  • Nuts and seeds, especially when coated with a sugar (in this case honey), tend to burn quickly and easily. Keep a close eye on these. Stir often and if they appear to be getting too brown too fast, turn down the oven temperature a bit.
Do You Work Out Alone? Here’s How To Stay Motivated!

Do You Work Out Alone? Here’s How To Stay Motivated!

This article first appeared on Mind Body Green.

There’s no doubt about it: working out alone is tough.

But the truth is that it’s not always possible to work out with a trainer, in a group, or even with a friend. So how do you stay motivated to keep working out and keep challenging yourself when there’s no one there to force you to do it?

Here are five simple tricks you can use to keep motivated, even when you work out alone: 

1. Keep a workout log.

The easiest way to do this is to keep track of your workout frequency, progress made and any measurements you care about such as your weight, body fat percentage and your waist size. Then, when you need a little motivation boost, all you have to do is go back and look through your old workouts to know that all your hard work is paying off.

2. Make a schedule. (And stick to it!)

How many days a week do you really want to work out? Three? Four? Five? Do you want to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) three days a week, and yoga two days a week? Get really clear on this first, then go ahead and actually schedule your workouts in your calendar—just as you would any other appointment.

3. Create trackable goals.

When you work out by yourself, there’s no one there to encourage you to push through one more rep, to run a little faster, to jump a little higher. That’s why creating personal goals is so important when you work out alone.

Goals can be anything, whether small or big—maybe you have a goal of doing 20 burpees in a row without stopping, or to run in a half marathon next spring. Whatever your goals, make sure they’re trackable (i.e. more specific than just to “lose weight”), and always remember to record your progress along the way.

Having a goal in mind can help push you through that tough workout even on days when you’d rather be doing anything else.

4. Find a virtual community.

Just because you can’t physically work out with others doesn’t mean you can’t find a support community of like-minded people with similar goals to help keep you on track with your workouts.

Whether it’s a group of people in your neighborhood you meet with once a month to help encourage each other, an online community or forum, or even just social media, having others there to share your struggles and successes can give you a huge motivational boost.

5. Reward yourself.

At the end of the day, when you’re struggling to find that last bit of motivation to lace up your training shoes and get moving, a reward might be the only thing that gets you off the couch and in workout mode.

And while you shouldn’t make it a habit to eat a piece of cake every time you finish a workout, giving yourself a worthwhile reward every time you reach a milestone or hit a goal can be a huge motivator.

This could be a nice dinner out, new workout shoes you’ve been eyeing, even a massage—just make sure you want the reward badly enough to keep working toward your goal, day after day.

And remember, 80% of success is showing up. So get out there and crush your workouts. You can do it—you just have to believe in yourself.

 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This article first appeared on Loving It Vegan.

Fancy a slice of pumpkin pie but not in the mood for baking? This pumpkin pie smoothie is for you! Yes, it’s like pumpkin pie in a glass. You get the taste and the enjoyment without even having to switch your oven on. Woohoo!

This smoothie is velvety smooth, ice-cold and refreshing and combines the best fall flavors in a glass!

To make this smoothie you need to have some frozen bananas on hand. Well, truth be told I recommend you always have some frozen bananas on hand, that way you can make all sorts of awesome smoothies like my carrot cake smoothie, or my double thick chocolate shake!

Whenever you have ripe bananas on hand, peel them, break them into quarters and freeze in a freezer bag. That way you are always set for any smoothie craving that comes your way.

And if you’re not a huge banana fan, never fear! You really can’t taste the banana flavor once blended with other flavors. Frozen bananas just add the most wonderful texture and base to a smoothie.

This pumpkin pie smoothie is just 5 ingredients, takes 5 minutes to prepare and gets its wonderful flavor from pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup and coconut milk.

I went with a low fat coconut milk, because I didn’t want to make it too rich, but if you’re laughing at me for saying that (I’m kind of laughing at myself to tell you the truth, like what? What does too rich mean?), then just go ahead and use the full fat version!

So if you want all the flavor and deliciousness of a large slice of pumpkin pie but don’t want to switch your oven on, then whip up this baby in your blender!

This pumpkin pie smoothie is:

  • Creamy
  • Double-Thick
  • Smooth
  • Fall inspired
  • Pumpkin Pie Flavored
  • Insanely delicious!

Have it for breakfast, or for a snack, or a dessert or whenever the heck you want. Sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice on top for extra deliciousness and enjoy!

 

Description

Get the best fall flavors in a glass in this vegan pumpkin pie smoothie. Perfect for when you want all the deliciousness of a slice of pumpkin pie without having to turn your oven on!


Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients to the blender starting with the coconut milk.
  2. Blend until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour out into glasses and decorate with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

 

 

7 Ways to Treat Anxiety Without Medication

7 Ways to Treat Anxiety Without Medication

This article first appeared on Bulletproof.

Anxiety is a problem that is plaguing more and more people. Nearly 40% of Americans say they are more anxious than last year.

To treat their anxiety, millions are turning to medication. Roughly 8 percent of Americans — that’s 27 million people — take anti-anxiety pills to calm their nerves. While there’s a place for these drugs, they do carry health risks, and they don’t always get to the root cause of the issue. Read on to find out how to treat anxiety naturally, without medication, for a sense of calm and happiness in the long term.

The drawbacks of anti-anxiety medication.

Anxiety is when you feel so much fear and worry that it starts to interfere with your day-to-day life. The most common medications prescribed for anxiety are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). These work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical messenger that carries signals between brain cells.

While SSRIs are a safer choice than older anti-anxiety medications, they still carry health risks and can cause some unpleasant side effects.[1]

“I see a lot of anxiety in my practice, and many of my patients are on psychiatric medication that isn’t helping, and may even be harming them,” says Ellen Vora, MD, a holistic psychiatrist.

When taking SSRIs, some people experience:

  • Weight gain
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhea

You can also build up a tolerance to anti-anxiety medication, which means your brain doesn’t respond as well to the drug. You either need to up your dosage or switch to a different medication.

The best natural anxiety remedies.

If you’d rather not take drugs, there are natural alternatives that offer a longer term solution to calming anxiety without the unwanted side effects.

“Anxiety is a disorder not just of the mind, but of the body too,” says Vora. “You can make certain changes to your diet and lifestyle to reduce anxiety, which are safer and often more effective than medication.”

Read on for seven ways to treat anxiety without drugs.

Fix your gut.

Did you know that your gut and your brain are constantly talking to each other? Numerous studies point to a strong link between what’s going on in your gut and various mood and behavioral disorders including anxiety, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases.[2][3][4]

When your gut bacteria is out of balance or your stomach is irritated, your gut sends signals to your brain via the central nervous system (CEN), triggering changes in your mood. So making sure your gut flora is balanced and thriving will have a direct impact on your anxiety levels. You could say that a healthy stomach equals a calm mind.

Ways to heal your gut:

  • Quit sugar — bad bacteria go crazy over sugar and feed off of it.
  • Choose a variety of low-toxin, anti-inflammatory foods to ensure no one bacterial strain wins over the other.
  • Add Brain Octane oil, an upgraded form of MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil to your Bulletproof Coffee or to food — these fats are strong antifungals, antibacterials, and antivirals.
  • Load up on prebiotic foods like sweet potatoes, dark chocolate, and coffee. Prebiotic foods feed beneficial “good mood” gut microbes.
  • Add collagen peptides to your daily routine — collagen heals the gut lining, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients from food.

 

Work out regularly.

“Lots of research is coming out now that argues that cardio exercise can be as effective as medication for anxiety,” says Linda Burdett, a psychotherapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Exercise releases various neurotransmitters (aka chemical messengers) including endorphins — these attach to your brain’s opiate receptors, lowering your perception of pain and flooding your brain with feelings of euphoria. [5] One study found that working out increased levels of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), a neurotransmitter that calms nerve activity.[6] You can take GABA as a supplement to ease your anxiety, but a run around the block carries more health benefits.

Studies show that aerobic exercise like jogging, swimming, and walking, performed at moderate intensity, is best for lowering anxiety. Aim for a 15- to 30-minute session, three times a week.

According to CBT, anxiety is driven by negative thinking — thoughts that enter a person’s mind automatically, influencing how they feel.

Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches people to become aware of this thinking, so that they can challenge their negative thoughts and change them. This helps people develop a more positive mindset, explains Burdett.

The goal is for you to become aware of these automatic negative thoughts and learn to question them when they come up, leaving you with a more realistic outlook. Doing this actually rewires your brain — the more you practice thinking in a different way, the more you strengthen new neural pathways.[7]

One strategy is to write down a negative thought when it comes up, and ask yourself a series of questions, challenging the validity of the thought.

For example, if you think, “I have no friends, nobody likes me,” you’d then ask yourself:

  1. How does this thought make me feel? (“Anxious, lonely, depressed”)
  2. What is the  evidence for this thought? (“Jane didn’t call me today”)
  3. What’s an alternative way of looking at the situation? (“Jane’s just busy — she has three kids and a fulltime job. We’ve been friends for 10 years, she clearly values our friendship.”)

Tapping to ease anxiety. Change the way you think.

You can lower your anxiety right here, right now using the Emotional Freedom Technique, aka tapping. With EFT, you tap seven acupressure points in a specific sequence, while thinking about a negative experience. The goal is to change the way your body responds to a bad memory.

When you think about the upsetting memory, like a car crash, or being bullied, you start to feel anxious. What’s happening is the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine get disrupted  in the brain, while cortisol and adrenaline — your stress hormones — start to rise.

When you pair a stressful memory with a soothing action like tapping, you tell your body the memory is no longer a threat in the present.

Tapping works for most stress-related issues and various mood disorders, including anxiety, depression, and pain.

 

Eat more high-quality fat.

If you find yourself feeling shaky and tired, or your moods are up and down between meals, you may not be eating enough high-quality fats. Fat keeps you full for longer and maintains steady blood sugar, so you won’t be left battling the “hangries” and energy dips throughout the day. You’ll feel your moods start to stabilize and your anxiety start to drop.

“When we don’t have enough fat in our diet, our brain gets the signal ‘not enough’ and it freaks out,” says Vora. “Adequate fat allows your brain to calm down and relax, knowing it has what it needs.”

Load up on good fats like grass-fed beef, high-quality dark chocolate, avocado, MCT oil, and pastured egg yolks.

 

 

Add minerals for more calm.

Minerals are an easy and affordable way to lower your anxiety.

Minerals like magnesium and sodium help control neurons and regulate blood sugar. But you’re likely not getting enough minerals from your diet alone. Even when you eat a nutrient-dense diet, soil depletion and monocropping — when one crop is grown on the same land year-after-year — mean your vegetables aren’t absorbing enough minerals from the soil.

“Mineral deficiency taxes our adrenals and makes it hard for our bodies to keep up with the demands of the day,” says Vora.

If you’re deficient in magnesium, and 80% of people are, you might feel anxious, tired, have trouble sleeping, and get migraines.[9] The good news is that magnesium supplements are cheap and easy to find. Learn more about how to find the best magnesium supplement for your body.

Also make sure you sprinkle your meals with high-quality sea salt or mined pink Himalayan salt, which contains about 80 trace minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron, and zinc.

 

 

Practice mindfulness meditation.

Meditation reduces anxiety at the neural level, by firing up specific areas of the brain that calm your nervous system. In a 2013 study, people with everyday anxiety were taught mindfulness meditation — when you pay attention to your breath and body, and accept your thoughts and feelings without judging them.[10] After four 20-minute classes, the researchers scanned participants’ brains, and found that meditation activated parts of the brain related to executive function — your ability to think rationally and plan ahead — and emotional awareness.

Nearly 50 other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can improve anxiety, along with other psychological stresses like depression and pain.[11]

Follow this simple mindfulness meditation routine:

  1. The great thing about mindfulness meditation is that it can be done anywhere — on the train, at your desk, or while cooking dinner. But when you’re first starting out, it helps to find a quiet spot where you won’t be easily distracted.
  2. Once you’re sitting comfortably, gently watch as you breathe in and out. It may help to close your eyes, but whatever works best for you. Allow your breath to rise and fall, and simply observe it.
  3. Thoughts will come up, and that’s okay. The goal with mindfulness meditation isn’t to suppress thinking — you merely allow the thoughts to pass by without judgement, so you can return to your breath and the present moment. Notice the feeling of the floor beneath you, or the sounds outside. You’re fully in the moment, simply enjoying breathing and being present.
Smart Tips For Using Up Your Entire Farmer’s Market Haul

Smart Tips For Using Up Your Entire Farmer’s Market Haul

This article first appeared on Mind Body Green.

Nobody likes throwing food in the trash—it’s a waste of money and resources that ladders up into a global issue: We never eat roughly one-third of all the food we produce.

While composting your scraps is a step in the right direction, avoiding them altogether is even better. Wen-Jay Ying, the founder of Local Roots, is on a mission to help New Yorkers do just that. “I see a lot of people saying that eating food that looks funny is a way to fight food waste. I think it’s important to evolve that conversation since most food waste happens in the kitchen, whether it’s at home or in a restaurant,” she tells mbg.

Ying’s company connects people with fresh produce, meats, and cheeses that have been grown within 250 miles of the city, distributing it at pickup locations around NYC. The CSA program also adds a layer of education by offering sustainable cooking tips and opportunities to build community.

Ying was given the Entrepreneur of the Year award by Mayor Bloomberg when she started the company in 2011 at age 26, and since then she’s noticed how the rise of social media has fundamentally changed our relationship to food. On one hand, platforms like Instagram have given us unparalleled access to farmers and the people making our food. On the other, they’ve placed a lot of importance on how our meals look.

According to Ying, helping the planet with your next meal means adopting little routines in the kitchen to help your food go further, no matter aesthetics. Here, she shares some of her favorite ways to make the most of every part of your market haul this time of year.

Stems

The stems of swiss chard and kale are edible, and she likes to either braise them or get a little more creative and pickle them. You can either reuse the brine from a pickle jar or make your own using a combination of apple cider vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and whatever else you feel like throwing in. The result is delicious on salads and sandwiches.

Pickling is a way to extend the shelf life of summer fruits too, like watermelon rinds. And Ying’s already looking forward to fall when she can pickle apples in her new favorite brine: “I’ll put in cinnamon, curry powder, and ginger in there for spice—the result is super delicious on tacos!”

Herbs

Herbs have a tendency to go bad before you get to use them all up, especially when you’re buying larger bundles. Pro tip: Think of leafy herbs like cilantro and parsley like you would a bouquet of flowers. Put them in a small glass filled about halfway with water—the water should only touch the stems, not the base of the the leaves—and put a plastic bag over them (make sure to reuse this week after week!). If you see the water turning a funky color, swap it out. And voila! Your herbs will stay fresh for a week or so—longer if you bought them fresh from a local market.

As for woody herbs like rosemary and thyme, Ying like to use them as double-duty decor. “I’ll tie the sprigs with yarn and hang them upside down in my kitchen. This will dry them out—so I always have dried herbs to use!”

In order to use up other produce before it spoils, you might want to make your fridge a little more organized. Bundling things like leafy leafy greens, fruits, and root veggies together can help you remember exactly what you have and what needs to be used up first.

Tops and skins

Yes, you can eat the tops of veggies like carrots, radish, and turnips. You can either have them raw (Ying notes that turnips in particular have a nice spicy flavor) or work them into a pesto. Same goes for the skin of carrots and beets, and they’re typically packed with nutrients.

Shells

You’re probably already adding egg shells to your compost—but there are plenty of creative ways to harness their benefits. Ying says that adding a few (clean!) crushed shells to coffee grounds can help balance out the bitterness of your brew. Or, you can can grind them into a calcium-rich supplement. More on how to do that safely here.

Everything else

“I really think making vegetable broth is the easiest thing to do with food scraps,” she says. “Pretty much any food scrap you have—besides something like hot peppers—can be frozen in a container and added to a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes for an awesome veggie broth.”

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