Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WOMEN IN WELLNESS: NAFSIKA ANTYPAS

Today I'm honored to introduce to you Nafsika Antypas, TV Host and creator of the world's first vegan living series, Plant-Based by Nafsika.

In her twenty years of working as Marketing Director at her father's food importing business, Pilaros Inc., Nafsika has studied about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. She was trained in Greece by one of the largest European food companies in order to become an “olive oil expert”, and has educated the public since then through newspaper articles, magazines and TV interviews, and has also participated in and coordinated several food recipe segments on National TV networks. Moreover, she has been involved in the recipe selections of olive oil branded cookbooks and TV advertising and materials. 

However, the world is moving toward a plant-based diet and Nafsika, a vegan herself, soon came to realize that not only would this be considered a diet, but a lifestyle as well. Enter, “Plant-based, By Nafsika,” a show all about living a healthy and fun lifestyle, influenced by the beautiful Mediterranean.

But her small contribution to the world does not stop there. Nafsika has designed a personal safety app and security system called, uAlert, which is a true emergency response system that uses your phone’s gps to locate you and, when you raise an alert, sends help your way. Nafsika also runs a non-profit organization, People Against Violence Org. of which she is Founder and CEO, and is also the founder/owner of vegan resource and counselling company, The Struggling Vegan.

Being a mother of two, Nafsika loves to cook and experiment at home and educate just about anyone who would listen about why it’s healthier to switch to a plant-based diet, which to her, is not really a diet, but simply a way of life.

Your food philosophy
As the great Greek philosopher, Hippocrates used to say, "Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." It's so important to recognize the importance of good nutrition. Not only will it help you stay healthy, but prevent or even cure disease. 

Daily breakfast
In my home, we start the day with a fresh fruit smoothie. (Usually banana, strawberries, blueberries, with unsweetened almond milk.) If there's time, I will have oatmeal cereal with maple syrup as well. Since mornings are always hectic in any household, a morning smoothie is so ideal and at the same time, the healthiest choice.

Morning ritual
Wake up the kids, make everyone's smoothie (usually 2 different kinds), pack the kids' lunches (usually home-made leftovers from the day before), dress everyone and then myself, load everyone in the car and off to school and work! I don't wear make-up or style my hair (unless I'm going an event) so we're literally out of the house within 40 minutes.

Go-to juice or smoothie
I will always start with the basic: strawberries, bananas and almond milk as the base, then just add whatever I happen to have in the kitchen.

What supplements do you take
I have a vegan vegetable protein powder that I like to add to my daily smoothies- but not every day.

Your favorite kitchen tool
My blender! I'm always sneaking in extra vegetables in my recipes.

5 pantry staples
Lentils, mixed beans mix, brown rice, can of peeled tomatoes, herbs & spices 

Favorite thing to cook for friends
My famous pasta and vegan meat sauce.

Favorite way to workout
Swimming is by far the best form of exercise because it does not put any strain on your body and works out just about every muscle. If I can't make it to the pool, my Dip and Leg Raise machine allows me to do body weight exercises that targets the upper body while straightening my back. I really love it.
Favorite thing to wear
I love to be comfortable. A pair of jeans and a fitted t-shirt is how usually leave the house. 

Favorite place you've traveled to
I absolutely love Europe, and I've been to several countries. Greece is probably my favorite country to visit since I'm from there but I also really love Italy. 

Where would you love to travel
I have yet to go to Spain and that is definitely on my list of places to go.

Your favorite healthy place in your city?
Any juice bar, I can't pick just one- they are all great.

One piece of health advice
My advice to anyone is to follow a plant-based diet (generally vegan), but do not put too much pressure on yourself. As soon as you start to see the feel the results, you will not want to go back to your old eating habits. 

Healthy recipe to share
Spanakorizo (click for the recipe) (Spinach and Rice, Greek-style)

Spanakorizo (Greek-Style Spinach & Rice)


Today's recipe comes from Nafsika Antypas who's vegan lifestyle show Plant-Based by Nafsika airs on A&E this July. I'm super excited to see all the interviews and cooking demonstrations that are 100% plant-powered! Vegan lifestyle is here to stay, as some of you already know, this is just one more sign of that. Read out more about the show here. Nafsika is sharing delicious Greek-style spinach and rice recipe that takes just about 30 mins to make so it's perfect for those days when you don't feel like spending too much time in the kitchen.


Spanakorizo 

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20-25 mins 

Ingredients:

- 3 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) 
- 1 cup water, pre-boiled 
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped 
- 1/2 leek, chopped 
- 1 carrot, chopped 
- 1/2 cup wholegrain rice 
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce 
- 1 lemon 
- sea salt 
- pepper 
- oregano 
vegan greek food
Pour a generous amount of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, at least 3 tbsp) over low heat in a large pot.

Add in the chopped carrot, leek and garlic, and rice. Add in a few dashes of salt, pepper and oregano. Simmer for a couple of minutes while you rinse the fresh spinach.


vegan greek food

Add in the spinach and enough water (preferably pre-boiled) to cover half the spinach. (The water will later get absorbed.) Finally, add in 3 tbsp of tomato sauce (or pureed tomato). 


Bring to a boil and then lower heat to low-medium. Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, stirring more frequently towards to end.

vegan greek food
Squeeze some lemon over your dish before serving.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Raw Mint Chocolate Cake

 I love cake and eat it too! There were days in my life when I would eat a whole Pepperidge Farm 3-layer Chocolate Fudge cake in a day by myself. Mmmm so good. But so bad. Tons of not-so-good-for-you ingredients so I had to let that cake go. But not to worry! I still get my cake, but it's made from real ingredients, at home and it's not even difficult. Raw cakes are the best thing I've discovered since seaweed :). I can get creative with superfoods, nuts, seeds and create all kinds of cakes. Only imagination is the limit here!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Eye Health and Glasses

I got my first pair of prescription eyeglasses when I got my driver's license about 16 years ago. I cannot see far away too well (thanks to playing video games and writing short stories for hours in front of the computer since I was a kid) so it would be risky for me to drive without seeing the traffic signs clearly. I hardly ever wore the glasses since I very rarely drive, so my second pair of glasses I got just about 4 years ago. I found that the best place to go for cheap glasses was online and so far I've gotten two pairs of glasses from online stores.
One funny thing I noticed was that when I would wear glasses at work (I worked in hotel customer service) guests would be much nicer to me than when I didn't wear glasses. Soon glasses became part of my work uniform for this specific reason. I mean, who doesn't want people to be nice to you, right?!
So now I have my "work glasses", my spare glasses in the car (my first ever glasses) and "home glasses" which I just received from GlassesShop. I wanted to go with something a little unconventional and picked these round pink Cornelia glasses. They're light and fun, just perfect for watching TV at night.

Since this is a healthy lifestyle blog I would also like to tell you about foods that may affect your eye health. Best foods for healthy eyes are dark leafy greens (they are great for just about anything which is why I love them!), orange pepper, black currants, bilberry and anything with high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids. And spending time outdoors in a natural light! You can also buy supplements especially targeting eye health like USANA's Eye Essentials.

P.S. I've got a special coupon code for you to get 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded). Use coupon code GSHOT50 to get your discount.
P.S. Follow me on Instagram (KATALOVESKALE) and Snapchat (KATLOVESKALE)

Monday, May 30, 2016

My guide to good-for-you San Francisco

I've lived in San Francisco for about 9 months now and so far, I've discovered so many great restaurants, cafes, stores and places to visit and wanted to put all my experiences in one handy place instead of them being sprinkled around my Instagram feed. So here are some of my favorite places to eat, juice, do yoga, get my wellness on and hike.

FOOD


Lovely and colorful vegan Mexican restaurant in the heart of Mission District. I've done both lunch and dinner here and love their pretty, yet delicious food. Get multiple dishes to share with your table. Happy Hour too!


Great for salads and green juices after a hike in the Presidio park. Very cool but small place and all the food is organic, ethically and locally sourced, free of gluten, dairy, refined sugars, trans fats and GMOs.

Friendly, inexpensive, all vegan spot to get your delicious balls of flavor (gluten-free friendly as well). I got their organic sesame falafel platter for lunch last time and even I ordered ahead of time online they waited for me to show up until they packed it so that my falafels were hot and pita bread nice and warm. Also got Cinnamon Baklava for dessert, just because.
These cool guys serve healthy juices, smoothies and Acai bowls straight from their truck. Green Goliath bowl: acai, spinach, hemp seeds, strawberry, banana, coconut water topped with blueberries and honey.
Set in the heart of downtown San Francisco, overlooking the park. Delicious small plates and so many teas to choose from. A bit on the pricey side but so worth the zen moment.
They have twelve different flavors of vegan gelato! Funky and cozy spot to get your sweet cravings crushed.

Papalote is in the Mission District near the Valencia Street intersection. Tons of vegan/vegetarian options on the menu, like the Soyrizo.
Great spot to hangout. They have the cutest garden area at the back of the cafe with heat lamps, owls and lush greenery. Mediterranean inspired menu with big salads, almond milk mochas and great tea selection.
Choose from a menu of over 30 ingredients (incl. non-dairy and vegan) and they will whip it together right in front of your drooling eyes. Loving Cup is located near Alamo Square (Painted Ladies) so walk your cup to the park and enjoy it while admiring the contrast of the skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco behind the historic Painted Ladies.
 Ferry Plaza hosts their famous farmer's market three times a week for freshest, local, seasonal produce and delicious foods. Saturdays is the biggest day.
ALSO LOVING: Very Vegan Sundays at SoMa StrEat Food Park, Cinnaholic (customizable vegan cinnamon rolls in Berkeley), Greens Restaurant (vegetarian farm to table experience), Rainbow Grocery (an organic, all-vegetarian co-op market since 1975) and Hella Vegan Eats in Oakland.

JUICE
YOGA
Held at the gorgeous Grace Cathedral Darren Main teaches yoga at this unconventional setting every Tuesday night. It is donation based, and you get to enjoy amazing live music,so get there early and bring your own mat.

I love this place! It's is where I took my first ever yoga class in California. The studio is located on the top floor of an old office building with no elevator, so you get a good warm-up before the class. The space is lofty and filled with natural light from the big windows that go around the room. Classes are Power Vinyasa Flow and donation-based ($10 is suggested).
While on my Groupon graze I bought a Hiking Yoga class when I had just arrived to SF. I thought it would be an excellent way to get to know the city, new people and get my exercise on. We started at the Ferry Building and moved swiftly through the steep hills, whole lot of stairs and stopped to do yoga in front of fountains, statues, gardens, parks and even on the foot of the Coit Tower. Lovely way to get moving!

WELLNESS
Daily drop-in meditation classes, retreats, talks and lectures, including free 20-minute lunchtime guided meditation classes.

Dr. Marcus Coplin, ND
My go-to person in SF for B-12 shots. Give me that energy! Near Valencia St. shops, juice bars and Herbivore.

ALSO LOVING: Twisted Thistle Apothecary in Haight Ashbury and Scarlet Sage Herb Co. (Specializes in traditional Western Herbalism and natural medicine on Valencia St.).


What else would you include in this list? What are some of your favorites in San Francisco?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Roadtrip Pt. 3 : Big Sur & Bixby Bridge

Our final destination on our trip was Big Sur. I had seen so many gorgeous pictures of the Bixby Bridge and Highway 1 that I just had to get there in person to witness it. It was a foggy day so the hills looked even more magical.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Women in Wellness : Nita Pettibone


Today I'm happy to introduce to you: Nita Pettibone. Nita is a certified health coach, wellness educator, author, and motivational speaker that teaches classes, groups and individuals how to feel their best by eating well, living happily, and finding balance in their lives. She has helped thousands of people achieve their own goals with food and lifestyle changes by guiding them with a mentality that feeling great doesn't have to be complicated. As a mom to one human, one canine, and a growing business, Nita understands the demands of every day life. That is why she is spreading the message that when you Fall in Happy with yourself, anything is possible. 


Your food philosophy: 

Eat what makes you feel good and avoid what doesn't. I like to call myself a FeelGOODitarian and teach others to do the same. 


Dream breakfast: 
Green Smoothies 


Daily breakfast: 
Always a Green Smoothie of some variety 

Morning ritual: 
I Set the alarm early so I can snooze, then use that as my quiet or reflection time before the busy day starts. As an example, the first snooze is used to share gratitude for a new day and all that I'm thankful for. Once I decide to get out of bed it is time for a full glass of water, sometimes with lemon, getting my smoothie and lunch ready. 

Your go-to juice or smoothie: 
My favorite go-to juice for inflammation is celery, apple and parsley. But I tend to make smoothies more! Currently I'm all about the chocolate, banana and kale. My base is either water, green tea, or coconut water. And then, I throw in a banana, frozen kale, a couple pieces of dark chocolate, a scoop of cacao powder, some seeds like hemp or chia, and then what ever else I have in the house; like Maca, chlorella, or wheatgrass powder. 

What supplements do you take: 
Actually, I don't take any supplements except for a once in a while Vitamin D capsule in the winter months when the sun is hiding. 

Your fave kitchen tool: 
Oh my Kale… Pretty sure I couldn't live without my Vitamix. I would take it with me everywhere if I could. 

5 pantry staples: 
Almond Butter, Chocolate, Nutritional Yeast, Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil 

Favorite thing to cook for friends: 
I love dehydrating kale when friends come to visit because it is the one thing they are always surprised that they like. As for a meal, I like to have taco/fajita nights so everyone can choose what they use. 

Favorite way to workout: 
Oooh CrossFit, is definitely my favorite! 

Strange wellness habit: 
When life gets hard, I'm having a challenging moment, or writers block; I journal my thoughts over and over on a piece of paper in fun designs. So I continuously write over the thoughts until they are completely ineligible but the design of scribble comes out pretty cool. It clears my head of anything negative going on and allows the positive or new ideas to flow back in. Kind of like doodling, but with words. 

Favorite thing to wear: 
Tank tops and Jean shorts. I'm a simple girl. 

Favorite place you've traveled to: 
I'd probably have to say the Isle of Palms in South Carolina. I was able to take a three day solo trip once and it was so rejuvenating. 

Where would you like to travel:
 I've really been wanting to go to Key West, Florida! 

Your favorite healthy place in your city?
Oh man, do I have to choose just one? I guess if I have to pick one, it would be the Juice bar near our house. But if I get to pick more than one, I would add a restaurant called Tomato Head where everything can be made with dietary preferences in mind, and of course CrossFit Knoxville where I learned so much about myself. 

One piece of health advice: 
Fall in Happy with yourself. When you begin to change your thoughts about yourself, everything else will begin to change. 

Healthy recipe to share: 
I love this old recipe from Happy Herbivore because it is so easy and quick. Happy Herbivore's Spicy Teriyaki Chickpeas. 


Ways to connect with Nita:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Roadtrip Pt. 2 : Carmel-by-the-Sea and 17-Mile Scenic Drive

On our second day we got up early, got some tea and coconut milk mochas to go and headed down south towards Big Sur. We made it to Santa Cruz in little over 2 hours (thank goodness for carpool lanes!), but were there actually so early that the amusement park was not even open yet. We enjoyed breakfast on the boardwalk and got back on the road right after. It was going to take another 90 minutes to get on the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur. 
We also stopped at a gorgeous little village along the way called Carmel-by-the-Sea and had light lunch of veggie paninis at Carmel Coffee and Cocoa Bar located in the prettiest open-air shopping center I've ever been to, The Carmel Plaza. Carmel is filled with cute little storefronts, historic buildings and storybook cottages, and there's flowers and trees everywhere. Just adorable.
When leaving Carmel we took the famous 17-mile Scenic Drive (despite the $10 toll you need to pay to drive through it). But yeah, way better than being on the highway. Too bad we were on a pretty tight schedule to make it home before the dark, but we had some moments to stop by the beaches and admire the scenery.