A bit of Paradise with Papaya

Whenever I eat papaya, I instantly feel like I’m sitting on a beach in Hawaii. Since papaya isn’t grown locally for me, I forget how much I love it until I make the point of buying it & pop one of those bad boys open.

Besides transporting me to a sandy beach, there are more reasons to love this fruit. Papaya is not only low in calories but packs a punch with the amount of fiber it contains and is a great source of beta carotene, folate, and vitamins A, C and E!

Don’t throw away those seeds either!! There are tons of benefits to these icky looking seeds.

Papaya seeds contain an anti-parasitic property called carpaine and have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects on the digestive system aiding with IBS, constipation, ulcers, indigestion, acid reflux, and even cramps during that time of the month! High levels of oleic and palmitic acids in the seeds are believed to help protect your body against cancer and aid in detoxifying and strengthening the liver and kidneys. Flavanoids found in the seeds are said to help boost the immune system.

PLEASE NOTE: I have seen warnings against taking papaya seeds during pregnancy and for breastfeeding mamas- so make sure you consult your doctor before starting a papaya seed supplement or making papaya seeds a part of your daily routine.

In the mean time, enjoy that papaya with some lime juice squeezed on top or whip up one of the recipes below…

 

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Quinoa love…

My love of quinoa runs deep.

 

I jumped on this spiraled grain band wagon shortly after I was put on an elimination diet and quite literally ran out of food that I could consume safely. (More on this in a future post!) It was allergy safe and at a time when cardboard was looking pretty appetizing to me, I happily ate this bland tasting superfood.

After doing my research, I realized that quinoa was the EASIEST ingredient to work with in terms of flavor, not to mention heath benefits like crazy! (High in protein, minerals, antioxidants, provides energy, aids in weight loss, lowers triglycerdies, blood sugar and insulin levels…I’m sure you need more convincing ;)) Quinoa takes on the flavors of whatever you are cooking with meaning it could be paired with any spices or vegetable to pump up the flavor! This beautiful grain works for breakfast, lunch or dinner! I posted below one of my favorite go-to quinoa meals. Just like quinoa… Mexican bowls will always have my heart!

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Finding balance within the WILDEST of adventures…

So I figured I would start this blog off with a bang… start it with the wildest of adventures- AWAITING THE BIRTH OF MY BABY. ;P Insane! I’m literally just waiting… could be weeks, days, hours or even minutes! Partaking in the journey to motherhood has in fact, been the wildest of adventures. It has been a wonderful way to reclaim my balance in life however, due to the unbalanced and totally unpredictable nature that growing a human requires of a person.

There are a few things you could have counted on from pre-baby Karen… I would wake up and drink my lemon-ginger tea, I would practice some yoga, find some time for meditation, drink my green juice- ya know, all the typical healthy stuff. But here I was morning sickness that was not settled by the ginger, sick at the thought of ANYTHING green, too tired to get on my mat (or too swollen to comfortably do asana at ALL towards the end), and breathing … who are we kidding? I had a child sitting on my ribs for months! My routine, my patterns, my sense of health and wellness, my identity was being questioned by this human I had growing inside of me. My place of balance I had found before pregnancy was no longer working for me. It was really hard to change my habits and beliefs about what I “should” be doing everyday. I was at a cross roads that I think so many people face: “I know this is good for me but… (enter excuse).”

Now I would love to say that I powered through and drank that juice, got on my mat everyday and never had an unhealthy craving- but I would be lying. And I’d rather not lie. In fact, I ate more ice cream than I have ever have in my life & those pints my friend,  were my biggest teacher.

It is true, I worked hard to get myself into these routines to start but once they became part of my day to day, they were easy for me. This isn’t the case for everyone, especially those who are just starting out on their wellness journey. Experiencing these struggles in what felt like a foreign body at times, really helped me to put myself into some of my  health client’s mindsets. It has also helped me to understand physical limitations of my yoga students that I haven’t ever had to consider. It taught me how to re-balance when I was out of whack and most importantly: It has taught me about not getting stuck in routines, even the healthy ones. 

I’ve come to learn the modifications of my yoga practice quite well. I’ve learned that having some ice cream at the end of the day may in fact make the whole day worth it. I have learned the beauty of just taking a walk when reaching for my toes is no longer accessible to me. I now bend at the knees or say “screw it” when something drops to the floor– these are all my new normals. Soon, I’ll have a baby girl in my arms and will have to adjust ALL over again. Getting stuck in these habits- not an option. Going with the flow is the ultimate in learning to balance, over and over again.