Wake Up with Me

I recently committed to 3 hours of movement per week.

My body has been asking for it, and I’ve been much too sedentary since I’ve been working so much with my computer.

I fell into a rut of feeling too tired to exercise, which was enabling a downward spiral of staying put >> low energy >> staying put.

I did pretty goody the first week, but it felt constraining after, and I’ve been moving around so much that making it to the gym has been a bit of a challenge.

I thought my commitment to movement had to be something like working out at the gym or some formal class.

Instead of giving up, I decided to include movement in all forms, and counting dance breaks and walks and stretching into the 3-hours per week commitment.

The last few days I started adding back a practice of stretching and dancing in the morning, to warm up my muscles, wake up my body and ground into it to start the day deliciously.

This is the result:

 

I’ve found, or rather ‘re-membered,’ that this morning ritual shifts completely whatever I was feeling, that I can tap into the wisdom in my body, and it wakes up my appetite for something healthy and nourishing, as opposed to some sweet treat in the morning.

It frees up my back, I feel lighter and more nimble, and it sets me up to make decisions based on what is good for me instead of what feels good in the moment.

I find myself fighting less with myself and having to use my will power a lot less. Instead, I just feel like doing what I need to be doing for myself.

It’s fantastic, and I’m so happy I’m remembering this practice and feel so committed to continuing it.

And it occurred to me, that perhaps you’d like to come along for the ride.

Soooo…. I’ve been toying with the idea of a series called Wake Up With Melody, where I post a video of my morning routine, share about the music, and thoughts on current events and something to inspire you.

What do you think? What kinds of things would you like to see in this series?

Don’t be shy! Let me know in the comments!

And if you’d like to receive these, please sign up for the mailing list here.

This is your formal invitation into a more intimate slice of my life, where you get to wake up with me and maybe dance along.

Big love and gratitude always,

 

Melody

A Return to Sensuality + Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes!

Dear readers,

As those of you who’ve been following me for a while know, I used to teach about pleasure, femininity, and sensuality.

But this year, I’ve been feeling so disconnected from all that.

I’ve felt so disconnected in fact, that I started feeling like it was all fake and forced and inauthentic. Whenever I tried to bring myself to that place of being absorbed in my senses, my mind would start telling me how it would solve nothing and I was doomed.

Despite all this, or maybe because of me not having access to my tools of the past for a while, a lot of blind spots have been uncovered.

Things have been transforming and moving forward in ways that wouldn’t have happened had I not ‘fallen’ from my pleasure stand.

I am grateful for re-discovering the artist in me. The little girl who has always wanted to be a performer and sing on stage in front of people who want to hear me and see me express myself (and them) through my voice.

I am grateful to once again feel the creative impulse to make stuff, like jewelry and clothing and art.

I am grateful to know without a shadow of a doubt that I can pursue these things seriously, and not just as a hobby. Because I say so.

Still, the truth is that 2012 has been very painful for me.

I’ve been pretending that everything was ok when really I wasn’t allowing myself to just be and feel whatever I feel… The way I used to.

I’ve been making myself wrong for not doing enough, and thinking that I have to make a difference in a bigger way than just the medicine for the world that I carry which is myself. I had been disconnected from Tantra and Shamanism, two paths that are very dear to me and that have held so much healing.

The past 10 days have brought me back to mama Earth and to the Tantric practices of allowing my emotions to be there and feeling them fully and ecstatically, no matter what they are (‘positive’ or ‘negative’).

(Remember when I used to talk about that non-stop?)

Last night I went to a women’s circle (Thank you Isis and Cindy, and all the beautiful goddesses who joined me there!), and it brought me the last piece. I now remember why I loved those practices so much and how full they made me feel.

How complete and whole and perfect.

A lot of them center around being in my body, allowing myself to feel my emotions and tuning into my senses. It’s the complete opposite of what I have been practicing lately, which has been so masculine in it’s purpose, focus and goal-orientation.

So now I am excited to live myself into the juicy spot where making a difference the masculine way and allowing myself to be the difference dance a beautiful dance together. I don’t know this dance, but I cannot wait to learn and practice it.

So… My affirmation for the day is:

I am SENSUAL and FOCUSED.

So exciting!

As part of my commitment to my pleasure, today I decided to indulge in some delicious homemade gluten-free buckwheat pancakes. The recipe is below.

Thanks for reading, loves, and I hope you try the recipe out.

With gratitude and love always,

Melody

Fluffy Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes (And I mean FLUFFY!)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
This recipe made 8 medium pancakes. Adjust your ingredients according to the quantity you desire.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1/3 c. gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)
  • 2 tsp. agave syrup
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  2. In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, agave syrup and oil, beating slightly with a whisk (a fork will also do).
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together well.
  4. Let the batter sit and thicken for a few minutes while you heat a skillet or pan very hot.
  5. Spoon the batter onto the skillet. These brown quickly so turn them as soon as you see bubbles start to pop on top.
  6. Serve on plate with spatula and slather in your favorite syrup. I chose raw honey.

Enjoy!

 

If you liked or identified with what you just read, please ‘Like’ or share this post. And please let me know what moved, touched, and/or inspired you in the comments!

(Remember: at Naked Wellness we have a policy of no unsolicited advice, so please keep your comments to acknowledgement of each other or personal experiences. Thanks!).

Divine! Herbed Sweet Potatoes to Die For

Darlings,

Today, I will share something a bit… lighter?

I am the Queen of Sweet Potatoes! Or at least I like to think so.

I just made my delicious and super simple herbed sweet potatoes, and it is always so hard to save some for later.

That’s how good they are.

Luckily, they are also super easy to make so it’s not a tragedy if I eat them all.

Well… maybe for my waistline.

But the good thing is that, eating sweet root veggies such as sweet potatoes is a great way to curve cravings for sweets of the unhealthy variety.

Add them to your diet, and you will see your sugar cravings decrease.

So, without further ado…

Super Easy Herbed Sweet Potatoes

Prep: 5 mins
Cooking: 1 hour

Ingredients

1 lb Organic sweet potatoes or yams
3-4 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
Salt and organic herb mix (oregano, rosemary, thyme) to taste

Directions

1) Pre-heat oven to 400° F.

2) While the oven heats, wash sweet potatoes thoroughly and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks, leaving the skin on.

3) Place potatoes onto baking tray (I use a glass one), salt them, and drizzle the olive oil on them.

4) Get your hands in there and make sure every piece of potato is well coated in the oil.

5) Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, place the tray inside and set a timer (or alarm clock) for 30 minutes. You don’t have to stand around the kitchen!

6) After the 30 minutes have passed, take the tray out and shift the potatoes around so they are evenly cooked. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

7) Once the 15 minutes are over, take the tray out once again and cover potatoes with the herb mix. Don’t skimp! Set timer for another 15 minutes.

8) At the end of the hour, check to see if your potatoes are the way you like them. Personally, I enjoy them crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. You might want to take them out sooner or later.

Enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments. Or perhaps you have another favorite way you prepare this delicious vegetable? Please share!

How I Got Started

Hello, darlings!

I get asked a lot how I got started with what I do, so I figured I’d share it here.

If you’re in any way inspired by me and feel a wee bit jealous (it’s ok!) wishing you could do the same, let me tell you…

I used to have the same feeling about others, telling myself I couldn’t do what they do or didn’t have the courage or whatever other excuse I made up to stay in my comfort zone.

Yes, comfortable… but miserable!

What changed?

I enrolled into the Institute for Integrative Nutrition‘s one year health coaching certification program and it was the one of the most empowering experience of my life.

Why am I sharing this?

Because if you have been looking for a change in your life and are interested in holistic health and sustainability, enrolling into the program between August 15 -18th will get you the following:
1) $200 SpaFinder Gift Card
2) $300 Tuition Reimbursement
3) FREE VIP seating at IIN’s live September conference in NYC with guest speakers & wellness experts: Deepak Chopra, Mark Hyman, Joshua Rosenthal & many more!

I cannot stress how amazing the experience was, and how grateful I am every day that I took a chance and enrolled.

If you’ve been twiddling your thumbs, not sure how to get started but knowing you have to do something…

Stop twiddling and pick up the phone!

To jump on this opportunity, call the IIN Admissions office at 877.730.5444 and tell them Melody Kiersz sent you.

Believe me, you’ll look back and be so happy you did!

Nutrition: Make Your Salad Exciting ~ Peach-Basil Vinaigrette

Garden of Eve, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm I am a member of, has been showering us with peaches all season.

I thought I couldn’t handle even one more peach in my system, but it turns out I was wrong.

I just couldn’t handle it in peach form, or in smoothie form. But I had ran out of the delicious honey-mustard vinaigrette I usually make, and I felt like having something new.

And so, the peach-basil vinaigrette recipe I’m about to share with you was born.

After posting an update on my Facebook and Twitter about my new invention, I got such a great response from everyone that I decided so much curiosity should be rewarded.

Super easy, refreshing and yummy, this vinaigrette will add another dimension to your salads.

Let’s get to the health info first

With all the Vitamins C, B1, B2, B9, betacarotenes, and minerals such as iron and potassium, peaches are great for skin, cardiovascular and kidney health. They make you glow, help regulate intestinal and hepatic functions, lower cholesterol and maintain alkalinity in the blood.

Plus, they are deliciously sweet and, combined with the freshness of the basil, make a killer salad dressing.

So what about the basil?

Well, this fragrant herb has been shown to protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen damage, as well  as having anti-bacterial properties that will ensure that your greens can be safely eaten when you add it to your salad. Basil’s volatile oils can also work as an anti-inflammatory, as they block the same enzyme as OTC medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen.

Like the peaches, basil is also packed with betacarotenes in the form of pro-Vitamn A which act as antioxidants against free radicals.

Lastly, the high amounts of magnesium in basil help cardiovascular health by encouraging muscles and blood vessels to relax resulting in better blood flow.

Now that you know that this salad dressing both delightfully yummy and give your health a boost, let me show you exactly how stupidly easy this is to make.

The recipe

Ingredients:

1 peach (peeled and pitted)

2 leaves of fresh basil

1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt to taste (you can add pepper if you want as well, though I didn’t think it needed it)

Preparation:

Just dunk all the ingredients in the blender and blend away.

That’s it!

 

Well, look at that! This is a pretty short post, especially considering that mine tend to be neverending.

Ok. ok.

I’m gonna hit ‘publish’ before I figure out a way to make it longer.

Nutrition: When You’re Just TOO Hot, Have Some Herbal Lemon-Limeade

This delicious summer drink (inspired by my friend Tanto) is ideal for those days in which the heat is relentless and we feel like doing nothing but sitting in front of the air conditioner.

The powerful combination provides  both the yumminess of the lemon-limeade, and the benefits of mint, anise, and rosemary.

While mint cools you down, rosemary gives you the energy to get moving and anise aids with digestion and breathing. This last is important as our breath tends to be shallow when it’s very hot and humid.

Plus, not only will your body perk up with the much needed rehydration, but you’ll be left with a pleasantly refreshing taste in your mouth.

 

[This is where I was attempting to load the picture but, alas, WordPress isn’t cooperating. I’ll upload it once it’s in a more collaborative mood].

 

Without further ado, here’s the recipe for 6 cups:

 

Ingredients

5 cups of water

1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves

1/4 cup mint leaves

1/4 cup anise seeds

5 lemons

2 ½  limes

Agave syrup to taste (I like mine tart, so I only use a tiny bit)

Ice

 

Prep

1)      Bring the water to boil and place in non-plastic heat resistant container

2)      Make a tea by adding the herbs and letting them steep for a while. The recipe comes out best when you leave the container with the herbs in the sun for a few hours, but this is not a requirement.

3)      Strain the now cool tea into a pitcher, and squeeze the lemons and limes’ juice into it as well.

4)      Add agave syrup to taste and ice.

 

Deliciously refreshing!

 

PS: Coming soon, 3 practical ways to get back into your sexy!

Nutrition: Simple Pea Shoot and Shrimp Salad

This recipe is extra easy for those lazy summer days in which we want something quick and refreshing.  For those of you who are concerned with getting your protein, this salads is also a good way to get some lean protein during those hot days when meat seems… Yuck!

So what are pea shoots,anyway?

Pea shoots (or pea sprouts) are the low-calorie, low-fat, nutrient-dense young top leaves of any pea plant (such as snow peas and snap peas). They are traditionally used in Chinese and South Asian cuisine, either in salads or stir-fries.

A 2-cup serving of this nutritional powerhouse provides you with considerable amounts of vitamins A, B6, C and K, folate, thiamin and riboflavin. Of course, being a leafy green, they also have all that blood-cleansing clorophyll.

In this recipe, we also include the shrimp which bring some lean protein without bringing on the heat of cooked meats (especially when you add some fresh lemon juice!). In addition, the shrimp also provide all the minerals and essential fatty acids that come with seafood, such as selenium, phosphorous and zinc, and the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids.

So, without further ado…

Light, nutritious and refreshing!

Simple Pea Shoot and Shrimp Salad

1 bunch of pea shoots
Cherry tomatoes to taste
Shrimp to taste
Dash of olive oil
Dash of lemon juice

Just combine and enjoy!

Nutrition: Summer Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini

This gluten-free and vegan salad is delicious, very filling, and keeps well. Make extra and enjoy for a couple of days, brown-bag it for lunch at work, or bring it to a potluck or picnic!

The combination of quinoa, zucchini and tomatoes packs a super nutritious and refreshing punch that’s perfect for summer.

The easy to digest nutty-flavored quinoa has an almost complete profile of aminoacids, which means you get lots of protein from a healthy plant source free of saturated fats. This makes it the perfect salad for those trying to build muscle on a diet limited in animal products. While not exactly a grain, quinoa also packs a nice amount minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium and iron.

The zucchini, tomatoes, raisins and walnuts complete the nutritional picture bringing in lots of vitamins (folate, vitamins A, C, K) and minerals (magnesium, manganese, potassium), as well as a range of textures and flavors to delight your palate.

Nutritious AND delicious!

Let’s get started!

Serves 3-4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients
1 cup dry quinoa
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 zucchini, cut length-wise and diced into 1-inch squares
1/2 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1 shallot
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful walnut pieces
1 handful raisins
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preparation

1) Rinse quinoa thoroughly in cold water
2) Put 1 3/4 cups of water, vegetable broth, and quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil
3) Once it starts boiling, cover with lid and leave to simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is fluffled and all the water is absorbed

While the quinoa is cooking,…
4) Dice the zucchini, mince the garlic and slice the shallots, and cut the cherry/grape tomatoes in halves
5) In a pan, heat 1/2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, and add the shallot and minced garlic. Sautee for 2 minutes.
6) Add diced zucchini and continue to sautee until onions are browned and zucchini is cooked

Once the quinoa is done…
7) Let the food cool for a couple of minutes and then mix with all the rest of the ingredients (including the remaining 1/2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil) in a pretty bowl.
8 ) Salt to taste
9) Enjoy at room temp!

Nutrition: Dandelion Greens and Yam Stew

I remember now! This whole site was supposed to be about two types of food!

So far, I’ve written about the food that feeds your soul. But totally forgot to mention anything about the food that feeds your body!

That was probably because I haven’t had a kitchen for 7 months, and my attention was on all the insanity and exhilaration of traveling.

But now that I am back, and I am cooking again (yay, cooking!), I can share with you my newest recipe: dandelion greens and yam stew.

Dandelion greens are the bitter leafy green parts of the common weed with the same name.  They are super high in vitamin A and K, have lots of iron, fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosporous, vitamins C, B1, B2 and B6, and trace minerals such as copper, boron and zinc. Like kale and other dark leafy vegetables, dandelion greens are also a great source of plant-based protein.

Leaves from this plant are excellent detoxifiers (especially for the liver, gallbladder and kidneys), stabilize blood sugar, improve digestion, promote healthy gut bacteria, decrease bloating (especially when associated with PMS), and have a whole lot of other benefits. In fact, the concentration of nutrients in this one plant is what makes it such an all-around potent “drug.”

You can put some dandelion greens into your smoothies, juice them, add them to your scrambled eggs, and  make quiches or stews.

In this instance, I decided to combine them with yams (another antioxidant powerhouse rich in vitamins A, C and B6) to take off the bitter edge of the greens. I also added some kidney beans, just in case the fiber, iron and protein in the other two main ingredients wasn’t enough! The kidney beans are also great at stabilizing blood sugar, and are a great source of folic acid and the trace minerals manganese and magnesium.

All in all, this recipe is packed full of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs!

So.. Let’s get to it!

Dandelion Greens and Yam Stew

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch of dandelion greens, washed and cut
1 shallot (or other type of onion)
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 diced yam
1/2 can of kidney beans
1 can of organic fire roasted tomatoes
1 tbsp of olive oil
Balsamic vinegar, turmeric, cumin and salt to taste

Feel free to experiment, add any vegetables, or switch types of beans, potatoes or onions. Basically, have fun with this recipe!

Preparation:
1) Heat the olive oil in a pot with a cover, add shallots and garlic and sautee until they start to brown
2) Add a splash of water and dandelion greens, cover pot and lower the heat
3) When the greens are half wilted, add the tomato sauce and yams. Cover again.
4) When the yams are done, add the kidney beans and stir until everything is the same temperature.
6) Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and turmeric, cumin and salt to taste

Voila!!

Jump in!

What did you think?