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I always fall in love with one of the recipes in my (Peri-) Menopause Detox.  And I found the one this detox.  It’s Quinoa with Mushroom, Arugula and Lemon.  The base recipe comes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook (my favorite of all time!).  I adapted it to be more of an everyday dish.  I’ve enjoyed it immensely the last few days.  Yum!  I think you will too.   The recipe is below. 

Mushrooms are a great vegetable for a winter detox because they available all year round and because they provide detox and hormone balancing properties.  Wild mushroom season varies by type but mushrooms like cremini and shiitake are cultivated and available all year.

Mushrooms are great for detoxing because they are high in B vitamins.  They are a good source of minerals like zinc and selenium that are important for hormone balance. Shiitake mushrooms are also unique in their amino acid make up. They are one of the few plants that are complete proteins – meaning they have all essential amino acids. Mushrooms like shiitake, and to lesser degree cremini, are are also known for their cancer fighting properties. For us women with the risk of breast and cervical cancers, this is great.

Mushrooms act to block estrogens and prevent androgens from converting to estrogens in your body.  During peri-menopause, we are actually more at risk of being estrogen dominant than not.  That means is we have excess estrogen and lack the progesterone to offset it.  Some estrogens are cancer promoting and estrogens promote cell growth. 

Eating foods that block estrogen, avoiding foods that promote estrogen and doing a detox at least once a year helps your body get in balance. That will go a long way in reducing or eliminating your peri- menopause symptoms.

For more tips and recipes like this and to do your annual detox, join me for the Peri-Menopause Detox.  We start Feb 11-15.  Register here.

Here’s the recipe.  You’ll love it.

Quinoa with Mushroom, Arugula and Lemon
Serves 4-6
3 cups cooked quinoa
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
12-16 oz. of shiitake or cremini mushroom (mix is best!)
1 tbsp. dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
6-8 oz. cooked, shredded chicken (optional)
1/2 whole lemon, sliced and finely chopped (peel and flesh),
2 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup pumpkins seeds, toasted

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Clean mushrooms with dry pastry brush.
  2. Heat a large pan on medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add thyme, garlic, parsley, cinnamon sticks, salt and pepper. Stir to distribute evenly.
  3. Add shiitake and/or cremini mushrooms.  Turn heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes – do not stir (but watch that parsley doesn’t burn).
  4. Add chicken if using, mix and cook for another 3 minutes. 
  5. Turn off heat and set aside.
  6. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup olive oil and lemon juice.  Add 1 tsp. of sea salt and ¼ tsp. fresh black pepper.
  7. Place quinoa into large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add cooked mushrooms, chopped lemon, arugula and pumpkin seeds.  Drizzle with 2-4 tbsp. of dressing and toss.
  8. Taste and adjust dressing and seasoning. 
  9. Serve chilled or at room temperature

Don’t forget to save Tuesday, Feb 5 for the PreDetox Pantry Prep.  12:30pm PST.  It will be on Facebook – click here to Like my page so you are ready to go.

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I’ve been having some fun in the kitchen recipe testing for my upcoming 5-day Peri-Menopause Detox. If you are on the fence, maybe this recipe will excite you to join!

If you’ve never done a detox, I know the thought of it can be scary and overwhelming.  This detox is all about simple, delicious, healthy foods.  You will not feel hungry or deprived.  In fact, quite the opposite, you’ll feel nourished and taken care of.

I love reverse engineering recipes from my favorite restaurants and adding a little bit of Urbanspice love to them.

My latest obsessions are Kale Salads.  A lot of restaurants have them on the menu. They can be hit or miss because sometimes the kale is not finely shredded or massaged which makes it taste and feel like you are eating a bowl full of hay.  Not fun.  One that I do love and has never disappointed is the Kale Salad at Rancho Nicassio – a little restaurant tucked far in West Marin.

The salad also has cabbage, carrots, zucchini, sunflower seeds and dried cherries. I topped it off with an Almond Cilantro Dressing.  (You’ll love the dressing.  I wanted to just eat it by the spoonful!)

This salad is good on it’s own or paired with shredded chicken or shrimp.

A note to kale haters:
If you don’t like kale because it is too bitter or hard to chew, here are a few tips.

  1. When selecting a bunch, opt for one with smaller leaves. The bigger the leaf the more bitter the taste.
  2. Destem & chop the kale into bite sized pieces.  For a raw salad, I think the chiffonade cut works the best.
  3. Massage your kale with a little salt and lemon juice.  This starts to breakdown the cell walls and adds moisture which makes it easier to chew and digest.  (Read how to destem and massage kale here.)
  4. Try baby kale.  It is sweeter and less fibrous than mature kale.  It also saves you time destemming and chopping.
  5. Substitute – don’t be miserable.  If you really don’t like kale, opt for another dark leafy green.  Swiss chard or collards are not as bitter and still provide the nutrition of kale.  Spring mix salad greens also make a nice choice.

Shredded Kale Salad with Almond Cilantro Dressing
Serves 2-3

3-4 cups shredded kale* (1 bunch)
2 cups shredded cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup shredded zucchini
½ cup shredded beets (optional)
¼ cup dried cherries or cranberries (or fresh pomegranite for fall)
¼ cup sunflower seeds

Destem and chop kale into ribbons.  Place in large bowl.  In a food processor with shredding blade, shred the cabbage.  Place in bowl with kale. Add juice of ½ lemon or lime and ½ tsp salt.  Massage gently for a minute.  Let sit while you shred remaider of veggies – carrots, zucchini and beets in food processor.  Add these to kale.   Add sunflower seeds and dried fruit.  Toss to combine.

Almond Cilantro Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup
1/3 cup cilantro (packed)
2 tbsp almond butter (heaping)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice (or 1 tbsp water with 2-3 drops lime essential oil)
½ tbsp. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp sesame oil
½ cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor.  Process for 1-2 minutes, until well combined.  Slowly add in ½ cup olive oil until dressing is smooth.  Add salt and pepper (start with ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper).

Try it out, and if you like it, be sure to join us for my 5-Day Detox that kicks off on August 13 or August 20. Get the details here: 5-Day Peri-Menopause Detox

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To say that this year has flown by would be an understatement.  It hasn’t just flown by, it’s flown at supersonic speed.  Do you agree?

When I was in my late 20’s – early 30’s, I worked with a bunch of guys that were 5-8 years older than me.  They had wives and kids and liked to impart their wisdom on me. They told me that the years will get faster and faster…and even more so with kids.  Boy, they weren’t kidding!

This year has felt faster than any year I can remember.

I’m enjoying a moment of peace & quiet — reflecting on the year and planning for the rest of the year.

Trying to balance work, parenting, volunteering, and self-care is not easy.  As I recall back one year ago, it was the start of the school year when life started to feel a little out of control. So this year, I am trying to be ahead of the game by being more strategic.

I also trying to help you stay ahead too by running my 5-day Peri-Menopause Detox  right before school (or Fall) starts so that you can step into the end of the year eating healthy and feeling good.

Beyond eating right, here are a few 3 questions to ask yourself stay balanced when life gets crazy.

1)  What/who can I lean on to make things easier?
I’ve been leaning hard on the 80/20 rule (without guilt) – opting for high quality store bought granola over my homemade granola or porridges and planning the easiest possible dishes to make for lunch and dinner.  I am so thankful for simplicity of eggs, rotisserie chickens from the Good Earth and my large batch sauces, pestos, chilis, & soups that sit waiting for me in my freezer.

I also have an amazing community of friends and neighbors that make life easier.  Carpools, playdates, trades…all these help take the load off me and add such an element of richness to our lives.  They bring both satisfaction for helping others and gratitude for being helped.  I love it.

2)  What can I put on the back burner?
This is a tough one because you have to be ok with NOT doing it all.  I put sending regular emails/blogs and the running routine I had envisioned at the start of last year’s school year on hold.

While I wanted to send my newsletters and blogs, I didn’t have the capacity.  If I had done them, it would have meant late nights, early mornings or both. (Ouch to the adrenals!) While I knew I would miss the connection to you and my business coach would not be happy, I also knew that it would take a huge burden off me and that it was something I could go back to at anytime.  I just didn’t pressure myself to do it.

I also had a big vision for an amazing running routine twice a week on the days that my son took the carpool.  In my mind, I would dash out for a run in the time I would have otherwise been dropping him off at school.  Perfect….well, not so much.  Running was pushed aside by 8:30am and 9am appointments taking precedence.

But running did not get pushed aside without a replacement.  Which leads to question #3.

3)  What can I do for my personal self-care?
Taking care of my body has become a non-negotiable for me. My body has made it loud and clear that if I don’t take care of it I will feel aches, pains, stiffness and cycle changes.  I cannot ignore it.  While I know some women attribute and accept these pains as “getting older”, I know better.  I have felt the difference myself and have seen it in others.  Self-care includes taking time for myself, eating right and exercising.

Instead of running, I started doing yoga and meditating more religiously every morning.  Yoga allows me to take advantage of the morning hours in the comfort of my own home. I subscribe to yogatoday.com and they have videos from 7 – 60 minutes long that let me squeeze in some yoga no matter how much time I have.

I also added meditation to my yoga routine.  I’ll be honest with you — meditating has not been my thing until this year.  I did it but not consistently.  My excuse was I didn’t have time.  My good friend Jenifer always reminded me of a wise Buddhist saying that goes something like this…

“If you don’t have time to meditate for 5 minutes, then meditate for an hour.”

Let me just say you have to do it to believe it because now I make time. I’ve noticed a positive change in both my attitude and outcome for the day.

And as I prepare for the start of another school year, I’m adding a fourth question…

4)  What do I need to say NO to?

This is what I am working on now.  As the new school year approaches and I am getting emails about helping with this and that at school.  I am going to be more intentional about my time commitments, I’ll be saying no to more so I want to focus my attention on things important to me and keeping my life balanced.

How about you?

If self-care is big on your list, then join me for my upcoming 5-day Peri-Menopause Detox.  I have 2 start dates.  August 13 and August 20.  The detox is in August so that you can start the school year (and fourth quarter) on the right foot and finish the calendar year strong. I hope you’ll join me.

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