Monday, 29 September 2014

recipe time :) soup coming your way!

Hello to all!!! It has been a busy day for me today and lovely to see how I got all my errands done and even had time to squeeze in a manicure... :)
I have a couple of drafts for future posts but wanted to start sharing some recipes with you too...As part of eating cleaner  you would really improve if you start getting that inner mini chef you have and start chopping, sautéing and is sometimes easier than you may think and with correct preparation you will have a healthy hearty meal in no time. We will soon cover how to do groceries for a weeks lunch and dinner and how to preserve it all in the freezer and fridge so at least you invest a few hours one day playing chef and you can eat the whole week!!! doesn't it sound great? cook once and eat twice or more yuuuum.

I personally looooove soups. Do you? I love all sorts, stews, creams, purees and hearty soups. I often add grains to them and fresh spinach and herbs at the end to add in some extra nutrients and that bit of color to the plate.
Today's recipe will be a hearty soup which can be slightly to moderate spicy depending on how much you like cayenne pepper.


rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano (italian mixed herbs) fresh is better but dried works as nice too

cayenne pepper
salt (I personally use himalayan the color and health benefits! check it out)
fresh spinach leaves
1 medium white onion
1 medium size tomato
2 garlic cloves
1 corn on the cob
3 stalks of celery
2 carrots
1 and a half cups of green lentils
veggie stock to discretion starting with a minimum of 4 cups

Preparation before cooking

Dice the tomato, celery and carrot
Slice the onion and garlic
Clean out the corn and boil it until corn nibs are tender on the outside but still a bit hard on the inside. I check every 10 minutes after water starts boiling. When ready separate the nibs from the cob with a fork and keep aside.
Boil some veggie stock in a pot and keep on the side.

Cooking time!

Step 1. In a pot lightly sauté onion and garlic adding some spoonfuls of veggie stock to avoid burning
Step 2. Add 4 cups of veggie stock and bring to boil
Step 3. Simmer and add diced tomato, diced celery, diced carrots and corn nibs
Step 4. Add herbs, pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper and keep on a low simmer for 25 minutes
Step 5. Add spinach and lentils and simmer for another 15 minutes
Step 6. Turn heat off and let sit for 15 minutes before serving

You can always add some more cayenne if you like it spicy! And as an option you could save some fresh spinach leaves and decorate the bowl before reaching the table...looks and tastes delish!!
Hoping you enjoy the recipe and if you have any spare you can always freeze it for another time.

Get healthier inside out and have fun cooking :)

That's how it will look like :) It was delicious!!!!!!

Rocio Arenas

Sunday, 28 September 2014

healthy yes...healthy no....I'm me! :)

Hello to all of you lovely people! Today I'm writing with the help of one of my persian cats whom decided to lay on half my keyboard whilst I was getting inspired on today's topic haha so cute! :)
What is healthy? Am I eating right? Should I change any habit? Do I spend my money wisely on my groceries? How could I learn about better choices?
I am sure most of you have asked yourselves that at some point and perhaps are still unsure about the correct answer or may think there is no such answer. I am here to guide you through and hopefully put an end to those doubts. With how everything has changed since the industrial revolution in the late 1700's what we consider healthy has been basically manipulated by food corporations, governments and labs.
Remember when smoking was a 'cool' thing to do and how on board every aircraft in the 80's you could smoke? And how is that now for smokers? banned from public places, separated in different areas in bars and restaurants, tv commercials and street banners are prohibited for cigarette just took people to realize that cigarettes can actually kill you and decrease your life prosperity.Well not as aggressive as that but our food system is starting to fall in the same rails. 

What is healthy? despite the efforts in the 80's to make us believe low fat and low calorie was something good for us thankfully many people realized it wasn't at all.When you actually take fat out of a food product it instantly tastes what did they do to add flavor and still sell it as low fat? add sugar! It was a hit for some years and perhaps still is in some countries but thankfully it helped other movements grow as their sales started dropping so low glycemic, organic, natural.... started hitting the market.
To answer the first doubt then, basically healthy is anything that comes out of the soil, of a tree, from a free living animal, or out of the ocean...hardcore? well anything packaged, preserved, canned, tinned or processed in a lab doesn't sound as a natural state of the food to me anymore, therefore there is always going to be something less healthy about it as it has had to be manipulated before reaching you. Pay attention next time you do your groceries and check how much fruit percentage is in the fruit juice you buy, how much meat percentage is in the packaged sausages you buy, how much fruit pieces in your yogurts or how much fiber in your will be shocked.

Am I eating right? There is a bio-individuality to each and every one of us therefore I believe nobody should be talked into taking diets or trying a new way of eating by crowding out food groups. What works for your mom and sister or your friend or co-worker may not work for you. Make the effort of listening to your own body and create your own lifestyle not diet. Did today's salad upset your stomach? try changing the dressing tomorrow for  a different one. Did tonight's pasta dish upset you? perhaps consider removing dairy or gluten for some time which are the major food allergy groups and see how you feel. If a green smoothie in the morning bloats you try taking your fruit juice in the morning and the veggie juice in the around and pay attention on the signs your body shows you and that will tell you if what you are eating is right. I do suggest you increase the veggies though!!!  they are full of nutrients, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants and they bring color and deliciousness to your plates :)

Should I change any habit? here is where a conversation with yourself takes place hahaha. I will be giving you lots of information here and on my Facebook page 'Rocio Arenas Health Coach' for you to learn and slowly understand what would benefit you best of what is out there in the supermarket.
If for example you drink a half litre soda a day you would want to start reading on what sugar does to your body, what all the aromas, stabilizers, substitutes and preservatives found in sodas do to your organs. Would you want to grow older with healthy bones? You would want to know then that sodas block the absorption of vitamin D in your body which is responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc and essential for bone density.
Would you want to avoid the risk of heart disease related problems or diabetes perhaps? Many studies relate the excess intake of "fast foods' full of oils, saturated fats, sugars, carbs.... to the increase risk of the diseases mentioned before so perhaps if you indulge in more burgers you think are beneficial then please consider reducing the amount.... and the list would go on and all relies on you and that inner conversation with yourself .

I am aware that media and researches and lifestyle makes us think things are better or worse every month that passes by,  but truth is the basics have always been the same...nourish your body with love and affection, drink plenty of water, exercise and eat plenty of fresh organic vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes and avoid those packages, processed un-natural food products in order to balance a healthier you inside out!

By Rocio Arenas

Saturday, 27 September 2014

sugar sugar sugar...all over the place!!!

Hello to all you lovely people! I am hoping you had or are having a wonderful day :) It is 21.03 pm now in Abu Dhabi, I just finished my daily yoga workout and proud to say my headstands are getting better hahaha I am a newbie in the headstand and handstand asanas and I am loving how your body really pushes further and shows you big improvements to gain a pat on the shoulder and a gold star as when we were kids haha.
Today I wanted to share with you a documentary which will soon be released on dvd called FED UP. It is available for you to watch on the apple store already for whomever owns an apple tv. It is hands down one of the best food documentaries I have watched so far.
Within the hour and a half you will learn how much we have changed nutrition. How the industrial revolution changed the concept of a healthy meal for us all and how sugar is absolutely everywhere including places you least expect it to be.
Did you know that a can of coke has the same amount of sugar than an odwalla natural juice?! or that 3 oreo cookies are equal in sugar to a luna bar....that really shocked me as sometimes doing groceries you wouldn't think twice before grabbing hold of "healthier" options only to know the amount of sugar in them is astonishingly high.
Us as humans don't metabolize fructose very well... it poses a major strain for our liver and pancreas.
"A new study suggests that we may pay a price for ingesting too much fructose. Chances are you consume quite a bit of fructose. Most Americans do --- in refined sugars such as sucrose or table sugar (which is half fructose) and in high-fructose corn syrup, used in products as diverse as soft drinks, protein bars, and fruit juice. Dietary fructose affects a wide range of genes in the liver that had not previously been identified."
If you pay a closer look to some of the food labelings you will see that fructose and high fructose corn syrup is almost in everything you eat on a daily basis.
Dr. Robert Lustig states in the movie Fed Up that "Sugar is a poison, he describes it as an acute chronic dose dependent hepato (liver) drug" There are plenty of researches that link high sugar intake to heart diseases, diabetes, lipid problems, strokes, cancer.....fructose can only be processed in the liver...when it is pushed to the max the pancreas has to come to the rescue and produces excess amount of  the hormone insulin (energy storage hormone) which transforms sugar into fat for storage. High levels of insulin can also block your brain from receiving the signal it is full, therefore you feel hungry and you tend to overeat.
Has it happened to you that you may be watching the news and you see a journalist interviewing a group of homeless people and they appear overweight and you think...hey?! but how come they are hungry if they are seems to me they are eating...well here is the huge huge problem and biggest misunderstanding...they are actually starving and they are nutritionally deficient as all they eat are normally foods with loads of sugar and high in saturated fats and carbs mostly fast foods, which of course makes them gain weight. It keeps them full for a while and satiated and it costs maybe a couple or three dollars to serve them for lunch and dinner.
Only us can make a change, only us can fight against the huge corporations that manipulate our food products into addictive substances we think we need!
I am happy to be free of cravings and I will be sharing soon some of my healthy options for when you feel a sweet tooth coming your way as we all like that little bit of sweetness :)
I also recommend you to have a look at Eve O. Schaub, an American mother of two who decided to eliminate sugar from her family's diet for a year and her astonishing results were published in her book 'Year of no sugar' it is a very inspiring and eye opener piece too.
So I hope you learned something today and you were engaged through my writing too. I encourage you to start reading the labels of every product in your cupboards and fridges and see how many sugar additives you spot ( fructose, sucrose, agave, syrups, high fructose corn syrup......) here is a list of over 50 different names that are used for sugar in our foods.

Wishing you all the best :)

By Rocio Arenas

Friday, 26 September 2014

taking baby steps

Hello beautiful people! I am so eager to share stories and daily recommendations and hope to lighten up the healthy part of you all :)
One thing you should know about me is that I love laughing therefore I love smiles so you will see plenty of happy faces when I write my daily entries.
I am enjoying some days off from work now as I have two gorgeous persian cats and I decided to spay them as I won't be breeding them so to reduce the chances of ovarian cancer. So here I am sitting in my sofa drinking bael tea (dry thai fruit) and sharing my thought with you all.
In Abu Dhabi today it's gorgeous and sunny, temperatures are slowly lowering down as we had a pretty hot summer and garden time is soon to come!!
I have had the immense pleasure of not working for the past few weeks as its not a busy time for us now but once I get back on flights I will be also sharing some of the beauty than can be captured around the world.
I would like to share with you all today the huge importance of taking BABY STEPS. Taking things slowly and securely as they come to us, thinking about options and sharing the information with friends and family to ask for advice in every aspect is always highly recommended. Listening to our bodies and slowly changing habits, slowly getting into exercise routines...
And why is that? well take for instance a new job, you are nervous, excited and looking forward to fulfilling all the needs that new job has to offer you. you wish to impress well on your interview and you wish to answer correctly and appropriately all questions. You would't rush in answering, you wouldn't rush in taking a decision once selected, you wouldn't rush in applying for a position not suited to your capabilities.
Take the example of setting up a business for any entrepreneur out there just like myself it is not a rushed decision, it all takes time and it's better to speak out and ask for others input and make decisions by the day with a thorough thinking through.
As you have read those examples I am sure you have been able to adopt them to your life as you have surely done an interview or made big decisions at some point. Now I want you to try applying it to health and wellness and the importance of taking baby steps when it comes to changing your lifestyle to a healthier one that is better suited for your body.
If you drink sodas every day for example and have a sweet desert after each meal and you want to do your best to eliminate both things do it slowly. Start by reducing the sodas to smaller sizes, eliminate one each day and set a week goal to achieve only a soda a day and stay like that for a month see how you feel and see how your body reacts, what are you craving. Whenever you eliminate something you know is not a healthy option for you, specially if there is sugar involved, your body will crave a substitute and that's where the patience and slow steps start. You would want to replace what you eliminated with a fresh piece of fruit or a handful of nuts or perhaps a tea. Increase your daily activity, this is extremely important when changing your eating habits as you will be focused in a task and not worried about eating or about that candy bar you didn't have.
I would like for you to reflect on this and take a moment to think what foods you are not happy with, what foods you have been trying to eliminate, what foods you are upset about "having to eat" every day.
When you have those in your mind replace each of them with a healthier option and visualize yourself not having that internal fight any more over those foods, imagine yourself free of cravings.

Only you can do it if you put your mind to it so start working on it with baby steps and I assure you within some time and effort from your side you will achieve anything you want! :) :)

By Rocio Arenas

Thursday, 25 September 2014

newbie just arrived!!

It has taken me some thinking and lists and time management but finally here I am and as happy as can be.
I will first introduce myself and tell you a little bit of why I'm here and what we will be working on together as you follow me :)
I'm Rocio Dos Santos Arenas.....woooow so many words there hahaha I'm originally Spanish but was born in Brasil hence the last name Dos Santos and as in Spanish tradition we get to keep both mom's and dad's last name as an introductory name as well as printed on all our ID's so the second last name Arenas is my mom's.
I lived in Spain since I was 3 years old and moved to Dubai in 2009 where I have been living until now.
I am becoming a certified health coach and wellness expert and wish to squeeze out all my knowledge and passion to all of you in becoming healthier people.

My enlightenment into this path of studying wellness and nutrition and having yoga as a major part of my life began as early as I had spent a whole year in the UAE drinking and over eating day after day....It reminded me of times back when I was a teenager when food was just some nice "feel good" "petrol for the body" "don't care what it does to me"  kind of thing. I gained 7 kg's, was at my worse state of physical and emotional health and I knew something had to be done!
Slowly I introduced myself in the amazing world of wellness and how to heal your body with nutrition itself, how to listen to what your body needs and how to understand it.

If you choose to follow me there will be exciting healthy recipes every week, tips on how to do your groceries in a healthier manner, how to better snack when being always on the go and how to manage a crazy lifestyle on the outside but a healthy you on the inside.

I am a flight attendant, have been for the past 8 years and counting, I manage to stay healthy despite my "crazy life " and would love to share my experience with all of you! :)

By Rocio Arenas
Something I reflect on as it's now when I found my one passion :)