Cooking, Hosting & Healthy Living

Likely you’re reading this because you’re already subscribed to my blog for tips and recipes, or if you wandered to this site you’re someone interested in cooking or health.

A little about me, I recently finished a graduate program in mechanical engineering where I focused on solar cooking options for women in developing countries. It was such a good experience, and I honestly wish I had more time to explore.

Now I work full time and I haven’t saved the world yet, but I do make a little impact by working on reducing air pollution. In addition to this, in every moment of spare time I find, I devote myself to helping improving the quality of life of others around me by trading unhealthy habits for good ones! It’s really rewarding to hear stories of weight loss, improved strength, and even the elimination of the need of medication.

Going along with the theme of health, my most prized product is my book, The Divine Hostess: A guide to cooking, hosting & healthy living . I’m proud of this book because it is my way of sharing my personal experiences with learning to cook and discovering healthier ways to do so. Over the years I’ve found I can take charge of my health primarily by the way I choose to fuel my body, and I can have fun doing it!

If you haven’t purchased a copy, please stop by and do so today. You’ll be happy you did!

Xoxo
Fifi

“Eat like you love to live!”

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Fitness Gear Must-Haves by Stylist ZionRaiment

Rye of Zion Raiment shares his fitness gear must-haves which keep him fashionable, motivated, and well encouraged to push a little further on every single workout!

You will notice I’m a little bit of Nike junky. Nike has gotten a lot of my money in past and will continue to do so because their products don’t fail me. Also if I ever have an issue with any item, they have been responsive and provide corrective services.  -Rye

Nike Storm-Fit Tech Gloves

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These are my favorite gloves whether I’m running on a chilly day or playing soccer outdoors on a cold day.
The index finger tips on either hand allow you to use your touch screen phone while you wear them.
Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Compression 2.0 Shorts

nike pro combat shorts basketball

These shorts are designed for basketball for those hard falls and contact,  and I also use them for soccer as well. I also use the Nike Compression slider shorts as well.

Nike+ Fuelband SE

nike fuelband se

I like it because it my daily motivation and reminder to myself to be the best me  fitness-wise everyday.

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour ID  Tennis Shoes

nike vapor tour shoes

I opted for Nike ID option for these because I play a lot of tennis. I’ve been playing tennis since I was about 12 years old. It’s important for me to play in gear that is comfortable in a way that is unique to me. One of the deciding factors that made go was the option to customize your traction for hard court, clay, or grass. 
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Follow Rye on

Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest: @zionraiment

http://www.zionraiment.com

The Smoothieologist | Ty of the Green Regimen

I discovered Ty’s YouTube channel several weeks ago when I was looking up green smoothies. I found a ton of delicious recipes, and a man who is a total inspiration as he breaks down the importance of each ingredient. I’ve always said knowing why we should eat healthy really helps us stay dedicated. Dedicated is exactly the word I would use to describe Ty. Read on and get to know why you absolutely must begin the Green Regimen!

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How and when did you get into fitness?I grew up playing a lot of basketball so I’ve been pretty active since I was a kid.  However, in terms of being my life’s calling, I somewhat fell into fitness.  Back in 2010, my mother had emergency surgery to remove some cancerous cells that were found during an annual doctor’s visit.  I knew her recovery from the surgery would be pretty involved and would leave her with limited mobility while she healed.  After much research I decided to start making her green smoothies as they seemed to help with weight loss and were extremely nutritious.  I began drinking them, too, and immediately felt an increase in my energy level. By implementing green smoothies into her eating regimen, my mother lost over 50lbs.  I was elated by her results and at that point I decided that I needed to help others accomplish their health and fitness goals.I originally created The Green Regimen as a health and fitness blog, but now it has grown into a movement.  I receive countless e-mails from people all over the world, detailing how The Green Regimen’s smoothie recipes have changed their lives.
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What is your diet?  I would classify myself as a Smoothievore because green smoothies are the staple of my eating regimen.  I easily consume between 10-12 cups of The Green Regimen smoothies per day.  However, I truly eat like I “love to live”.  I tend to eat based on how I feel.  I would say that 80% of my diet is vegetarian and 20% ground meat.  Some days my eating regimen may consist of all-vegan or vegetarian foods.  I’m not concerned with making sure that I eat five or six times per day.  I feel that you can become obsessed with such thinking and lose sight of your original goal.  Most importantly, I listen to my body.  Your body will tell you what it desires.  But I must be clear:  listen to your body, not your mind.  Your mind will play tricks on you and your body will reap the unfortunate result.
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What does your workout regimen look like? My workout regimen consists of three to four days of high intensity resistance training.  Prior to drinking green smoothies, I would work out six days per week.  However, between increasing my energy level, and enhancing my results in the gym, green smoothies have allowed me to reduce my workouts.I’ve found that once you achieve your fitness goals, green smoothies will help maintain your desired weight.  I am no different than anyone reading this article.  If you stay on The Green Regimen, you, too, can enjoy the benefits that green smoothies provide.
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 What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?  Why? I’m asked this question quite often.  Surprisingly enough, I don’t have a “favorite” recipe.  As you’ll see in my videos, I’ve made green smoothies in different countries around the world.  Every time I come across an exotic fruit, I add yet another ingredient to the mix.  Since the recipes keep tasting better and better, I’ve yet to claim a favorite recipe.  However, I will say that in terms of ingredients, more often than not, I love to use coconut water and a type of berry grown in South America called, Guarana.

Get in touch with Ty:

www.GreenRegimen.com

www.youtube.com/GreenRegimen

www.twitter.com/GreenRegimen

www.linkedin.com

www.greenregimen.tumblr.com/

www.plus.google.com

www.instagram/greenregimen

The Coach | Men’s Health

Fitness is a lifelong journey and on that journey, everyone needs a mentor or a coach at some point. I found LaMar’s channel of months ago and one thing you will recognize immediately is his confident and positive demeanor. He takes a holistic approach to health, realizing that no two people will have the exact same need or goals. He doesn’t just coach and train, though. He lives it. LaMar is a fitness model, coach, and also involved in fashion with his fitness clothing line. No matter where you are in your journey, I’m sure you’ll find his story as inspiring as I did!

LaMar

Young LaMar

Young LaMar

Q1:Have you always been into fitness? When did it begin?

A1: I have been around fitness my entire life, but I wasn’t the least bit interested in it.
My father trained day after day in my house hold and I remember always joining in
because I loved my dad, wanted to be around him, and thought it was a game. Once
I got a little older, I lost most of my desire about health, fitness, or body building.
So I only exercised over the years, but nothing serious.

Q2: How did you come up with this amazing business?

A2: After not taking health and fitness seriously, it wasn’t until I was in San Diego and my mother expressed to me how unhappy she was with her weight. I’ve always wanted her to try and get healthier, but didn’t know how to help her as she was pretty overweight. I started reading everything I could on nutrition so that I could help her from a distance since I lived in Los Angeles and was unable to help her with the fitness portion of things. The more I learned, the more I worked on my own health and fitness. My mother lost over 30 lbs, I made a few posts on Facebook, and 200+ clients later the Body Bandit movement had begun. My brother and I started a YouTube page to try and help more people and it has been building gradually since December 2012. I work the fitness in with my fashion background to offer lots of health & fitness clothing and accessories on my website.
Q3: What keeps you motivated to stay fit and healthy?

A3: There are a few things that really help me stay motived:

  • Leading my Body Bandit support. With so many people looking for help , it’s a good idea to lead by example.
  • By staying in the best shape I can & constantly striving to improve increases my my chance of landing potential jobs
Q4: What is one tip you would give someone who hasn’t started their fitness journey yet? A4: If I had to give one tip I would say if you’ve been spinning your wheels for awhile to seek a credible source to help you. When I say credible, I don’t mean a doctor or personal trainer. Both are great, but they do not always have all the information you need. You want to get help from someone with client results. It will be the best small investment you’ve made. If I did that earlier, I would be so far ahead of where I am now. The issue for me was I didn’t know what a health coach was, or that ordinary people could have more knowledge to transform my body than some of those with professional certifications.
Q5: How can others get involved? I’m sure many might like to hire you for your services soon. If someone wanted to be coached by myself, they would simply need to send an email to :info@superfreshmeal.com with their current age, height, weight, and goal. I’ve been doing my running my clothing brand Superfresh since 2008. I created it as a limited edition source to get fresh underground clothing and accessories.
Check out LaMar’s channel and subscribe:

Divine Fitness| FitFeb!

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Hey everyone! January zoomed by before I could even get used to writing “2013” and now it’s February! The month of January seems to naturally lend itself to eating healthy  because people have many regrets after eating over the holidays. I am very excited to  start a new series for this month: FitFeb! It will be focused mostly on fitness.  For this month, I will focus on workouts, workout gear, products, and more. Look forward to lots of guest writers, weight loss stories, and ideas for ways to stay fit! If you have topics or questions you’d like covered, feel free to visit http://www.facebook.com/divinehostess and send me a message.

xo,

Fifi

The Divine Hostess: A Guide to Cooking, Hosting, & Healthy Living

Front Cover

After a lot of hard work, I am happy to announce the arrival of my first book! Thank you everyone for your encouragement and sharing in my excitement on this journey. The book embodies my philosophy of eating well and living well. It’s not simply a cookbook-but it is instead a cooking handbook that assists with understanding herbs and spices, cooking techniques, and simple ways to entertain in groups.This book is great to have on hand when cooking and makes a fantastic gift. I hope you enjoy reading it!

With love,

Fifi

How to Get the Book

The book is now available in my eStore at www.divinehostess.bigcartel.com

*Signed copies available. 

The book is also available at www.createspace.com/3888911  (Best for international purchases)

Nook, Kindle and iPad versions will be available in the next 30 days.

More about the book:

How Modern Moms Do It: Manisha on Home & Lifestyle

When I interviewed Manisha, I’ll admit I had selfish intentions. I wanted to know the secrets to her success since she stays fit, cooks amazing meals, and chases after a little one. She doesn’t do this in sweatpants. She wears an ecclectic combination of vintage clothes and trendy wear, and still finds time to be a writer. I wanted to share her insight with you, the readers since it’s not easy maintaining proper nutrition when you’re literally doing it all!
 
   

You’re a wife, a mother, a writer, and you have a big family. You are one busy lady! How do you find the time to cook?

Honestly?  My hair may not get that deep condition or my chipped nail polish may have to wait. Typically, I try to involve Arlowe, my 18 month old, as much as possible. He’s awesome at smashing things and mixing. Also, I like to buy staple ingredient items like onions, bell peppers and herbs in bulk.  I chop them all up the same day I bring them home, stuff them into freezer bags and store them in the freezer until needed. For garlic, I just chop it finely and store it in a glass jar with olive oil in the refrigerator. I also LOVE my crockpot!  This is probably a mother’s best friend because you basically ignore it all day and dinner’s waiting for you in the evening.

How do you approach nutrition as far as your son? There are so many cautionary tales; it is probably easy for a new parent to become overwhelmed.It’s definitely easy to get overwhelmed, especially for first-time parents.  Just try to remember that toddlers are probably not going to sit and eat three square meals per day. It’s just a fact of life!  Can you blame them?  There is just so much to see, so much to get into and not enough hours in the day. I follow the apple chart from www.wholesometoddlerfood.comto know how many servings of each food group Arlowe should be eating per day.  The chart is great because it breaks down amounts per serving your child should get at a certain age or weight/ height.  Examples of small meals and snacks are string cheese, rolled up deli meat, chicken sausage with cheeses & herbs (or tofu versions), smoothies, fruit/ veggie pouches (like Plum Organics tots), and homemade cereal bars.  

Following you on Twitter is always fun because I learn about so many neat tricks for food, and DIY projects from what you pin on Pinterest. What are your favorites?

Thanks! I love sharing food tips simply because I talk about food about half the time my mouth is moving, but also because they really work! I have recently really gotten into making EVERYTHING from scratch!  I can’t tell you how great it is to use your own homemade chicken stock, or  being able to control how much salt and fat go into your food and the pride you feel when your dough comes out perfectly for rolls or pizza!  I think my favorite food DIY so far has been making jams and sauces over the summer from the fruit in our back yard.

My favorite non food-related DIYs have been the pieces of home decor I put together for our new house.  I scoured thrift stores for weeks to found vinyl records featuring cover art of places my family has traveled which I’ve framed and hung on our living room wall.  I also made a simple mosaic from graphic iPhone covers left over from one of my husband’s engineering projects. That’s hanging in our hallway.   I’m really excited to decorate for the holiday season!
Last, any words of wisdom for someone trying to get their hubby to eat a little healthier?

You know, in my case it really hasn’t been difficult.  I don’t want to put my husband on blast, but he’s from the outbacks of the boondocks! [laughs]  So unless I try to feed him something like watercress sandwiches or a sparse salad, he’ll eat it without complaint!  My biggest concern is eliminating processed foods, sugar, sodium, and empty calories.  This means that I’ve had to educate myself, and I’ve had to learn to make a lot of things from scratch.  My husband briefly lamented the loss of his many-flavored Doritos, but with so many delicious alternatives I’m pretty sure he’s over it!

We eat a lot less red meat and, really important, adjusted portions of meat, veggies, and starch.  American plates tend to be half meat, a quarter starch and a quarter vegetables when they should be half vegetables, a quarter starch and a quarter meat.  That really put things into perspective for me. Another way we’re eating healthier is by eating at least one meatless meal per week. With the help of blogs like yours and the plethora of others out there, I’ve learned about other food sources of protein and healthy fats to turn into really delicious meals!

Author Audrey Sivasothy-Davis Speaks on Healthy Hair

I read The Science of Black Hair first, then found out more about you, the author. I was completely surprised and impressed at how young you are, to have taken on such a big topic and to have covered it in such detail. What inspired you to write this book?

Thank you! Yes, that does tend to surprise people! It surprises me too, but I couldn’t have done any of this on my own. I’m a woman of faith (as you can probably tell from my acknowledgements page!) so I am not shy about talking about where my help comes from! Honestly, I had no idea how far the book would go when I was putting it together, or if it would even be successful. It started off as a series of articles that I posted online and took about six years to complete after many stops and starts.

I wanted to write The Science of Black Hair for a few reasons:

The first was that I’d completely just given up on my own hair during my teen years. It was in terrible condition and I learned to live with that—breakage, thinning and all.  But later when I had my daughter, I knew that I’d need to really get the hair thing under control or else she’d be in the same position years down the road. Unfortunately, there weren’t very many resources available at the time to help people who were struggling. Today, we are fortunate. There are blogs upon blogs, Youtube channels, websites and everything.

I wanted to create a go-to reference that combined the practical experience of dealing with textured hair with the body of research currently available on textured hair. I wanted it to be something that explained the science in a way that anyone could pick it up and use it.

What I love about your book is that most of the tips are pretty universal; they work for all hair types. Yet, so much of the information was new to me– it was not at all like the information I had been taught about hair as I grew up.

It’s true! All hair is protein (+water and binding materials!), and so it tends to behave in predictable ways across hair types because of its basic composition. The shape of the fiber (curly/kinky/straight) does influence the hair’s behavior too— but for the basics, yes, there are some universal truths you could say!  This is why so many people find issue with hair typing systems that focus on hair shape and degree of curl without really taking into account basic hair characteristics like porosity, elasticity, and density for example.

What are the most common questions and concerns you get regarding hair and what do you usually offer as advice?

Most of the questions I get are hair breakage and hair loss questions. When I look over most people’s regimens, the main breakage culprits are usually: too much emphasis on the protein balance in their product selection, too much heat styling, and hard water issues. I try to help them reorient their regimen so that it emphasizes hydration.  This usually means suggesting a better moisturizing deep conditioner and encouraging them to stick to a set conditioning schedule—usually weekly in the beginning. Hair loss is a trickier topic to help with because there are so many things that can trigger it.  Sometimes it is a natural part of their aging process, it could also be related to medications, diet, hormone levels, stress, and hair practices. If it’s hair practice– that’s easy to fix, but it’s not always the obvious. You really have to dig into the person’s life and background to resolve hair loss issues and that’s hard to do.  So, I recommend scheduling an appointment with a physician and getting hormone levels checked with blood work done to truly resolve.

I have to ask: do you think healthy hair has shine/sheen? I am sometimes sucked into the advertisements for products that supposedly help the appearance of hair. So far, I haven’t really found one yet that has made honest on its claims.

Companies spend lots of money crafting ads and messages that resonate with customers. They know we want shine and luster… and volume… and other buzz words, but our hair type has its own unique character which has to be taken into account despite the ad copy on the product jar or bottle!  Textured hair rarely shines outright, even when it is healthy. Instead it tends to have sheen which is a subtler, matte kind of shine. If it’s worn in its curly/kinky state, the sheen factor decreases because light reflects from curls differently than it does from straight fibers. When textured hair is pressed or relaxed, you’ll see a different kind of sheen— but still not as sheeny or shiny as naturally straight hair.  And there’s nothing wrong with that!  Finally, each individual head of hair is different, so your sheen mileage may vary.

My focus always comes back to eating right and a healthier lifestyle. Do you have any tips on foods that will promote healthier hair?

This is something that I’d like to focus on more because no matter what we do product-wise, if our body isn’t receiving adequate nutrition for the job, it’ll show in the hair we produce.  In general, we should focus on eating a rainbow palette of whole foods—reds, greens (lots of greens), oranges, blues, yellows—a rainbow!  This is one of the simplest ways to make sure that you are on a good path and are getting the essential vitamins and nutrients you need to thrive.  Since hair is made primarily of protein, you want to be sure you’re getting adequate amounts. Lean meats are great for this, and if you are vegetarian you can meet your protein needs with lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.

I also recommend incorporating more raw foods into your daily dietary regimen.  This is something I’m personally making more of a conscious effort to do. You don’t have to go 100% raw or become a nutrition junkie, but eat what makes sense.  Heating takes away some of the nutrition in foods, so adding in more raw items will help you stay balanced. Processed foods, sugars, salts, empty calories—toss them out and opt for more nutritionally dense, whole foods. Finally be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of water throughout the day for your weight and activity level.  This will ensure that your skin (scalp) stays hydrated.

Where can readers find your book? Are there any more books in the works?

Oh yes! Our production schedule is quite busy! Back in May, we released Hair Care Rehab: The Ultimate Hair Repair and Reconditioning Manual to help people who have specific hair care concerns and are looking for ways to work with damaged hair. It’s a book for all hair types—not just textured hair. We also recently signed a deal with a major cosmetology school to customize The Science of Black Hair for their students—so I am really excited about that!  Of course, we’re also working on the second edition of The Science of Black Hair– but that is still a few years away.

The Science of Black Hair is available at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com in print and electronically. We also offer electronic versions through KOBO and Apple’s iBookstore. You can special order it at any physical bookstore for pickup, and it’s carried by a few beauty supply stores and shops, too. The list of stores is here: http://blackhairscience.com/buy_book.html Finally, the book is carried by over 100 libraries in the US and abroad–so if you live in a metropolitan area or near a university, you can check it out there! Please do!

Miami Vacation!

Last week I traveled to Miami for a vacation with more than two dozen pals. Pals of which, I had not met a single one in person. We met on myfitnesspal.com last year (some earlier than that) and one woman came up with the fantastic idea that we should meet in person. So many of us email, text, call, etc on a regular basis– it only made sense. What better city to go to for showing off bodies of newly shed pounds, spending time together under the bright sun and soaking up the rays.

 

We had a few things planned including a 4 hour boating tour which was such a blast even though the waters were choppier than expected. Take a look at my video for a few tips on staying healthy when you travel, and a slide show of my adventures in Miami.