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Archive for May, 2018

Set Your Intentions This Spring Part II

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Yoga participant on 2017 cruise

Ah, it’s finally Spring! After cold weather in some areas left us feeling cooped up inside, and comfort foods appealed to our appetites, so many of us begin to take stock of where we are and where we want to be in mind, body, and spirit. This is the second part of a two-part series on the Holistic Holiday at Sea blog. Check out the first part here.

In this post, macrobiotic counselor Warren Kramer and registered dietitian Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT give us their tips for awakening the body and feeding what we crave.

Subtle Shifts: The Liver

Warren Kramer is a macrobiotic counselor, lecturer, and cooking teacher. He says, “In traditional Chinese medicine, early Spring (February 4), is when we begin our adjustments for the changing season. Making subtle changes at that time helps the body to adjust to the warmer weather on the way, as well as support the paired organs that relate to the season: the liver and gallbladder. It is what also builds a strong immune system as we align with the environment better that way.”

Warren explains that women’s health is influenced by the liver more than any other organ in the body. Symptoms of an imbalanced liver include: irritability, excess heat in the body, skin rashes, headaches, grinding the teeth at night, difficulty losing weight, fibroids, thyroid issues, trouble digesting fats, eye issues, hip pain, and so many more. “Spring represents an upward rising energy and that is what supports the liver as well.”

kale salad on our 2017 vegan cruise.Warren Kramer’s Suggestions for Liver Health

  • Eat plenty of upward-growing leafy greens, lightly cooked, like kale, collards, bok choy, and Napa cabbage. Both tempeh and mung beans, as well as other high-quality plant proteins are great support for the liver. The cooling effect of sea vegetables are also of great benefit to take heat out of the liver. Wakame in miso soup, kombu in bean dishes, dulse on salads, and nori eaten as a snack or used to make vegan rice rolls with avocado and vegetables.
  • The sour taste in our food also helps to release stagnation in the liver. Lemon, sauerkraut, sour green apple like Granny Smith, brown rice vinegar, and small amounts of umeboshi vinegar also help to open the liver up.
  • Grains like spelt, kamut, barley, hato mugi, oats, rye, and wheat berries in small amounts are wonderful for the light energy they give to the liver.
  • Blanching, steaming, quick sauté, light pickling, raw, and light soups, like a brothy miso soup with a garnish of scallions and greens, make the liver very happy.  
  • The liver and gallbladder are able to cleanse when we eat less. Minimize eating past 7 p.m., sit down to eat, and chew well.
  • One of the best ways to cleanse the liver is to reduce oil in the Spring. This includes the use of nuts, nut butters, and seed butters like tahini.
  • Due to the heavy nature of baked flour products and of course animal proteins, they are best avoided or minimized to support the liver. Eating less volume of food has amazing results when trying to help cleanse the liver.
  • Spending time around green in nature is so helpful as well as expressing our creative self as the liver relates to creativity. We need to find ways to gently release the pressure that can build up in our body and the liver. Certainly laughing, singing, and dancing can help that. Practicing forgiveness and having compassion are both so healing for the liver, not living in the past. Gently massaging your liver which is just under the rib cage on the right side of your body is also be helpful.

Jumping Back In

Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, gives a cooking demo on our 2018 cruise.

A registered dietitian, Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, is a talk show host, international lecturer, and author of The Vegiterranean Diet, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, and The Permanente Journal’s A Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets. When asked about her advice for spring cleanses, Julieanna replied, “I don’t recommend cleanses, per se. Instead, I recommend people try to incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives. If things get in the way, such as travel, holidays, or stress, I recommend jumping back on the program as soon as you can.”

While some people attempt to quickly make up for months of poor diet and lack of exercise by undergoing extreme cleanses, Julieanna advises, “Instead of dramatic or even dangerous detox regimens, aim to eat plenty of vegetables (especially leafy green and cruciferous varieties), fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds every day.”

The Six Daily Threes

Julieanna offers an easy way to remember how to follow a balanced diet. “Use the 6 Daily 3s as a guideline: Consume three servings each of leafy green veggies (one serving equals one cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked), other-colored veggies, fruits (a serving is one medium piece of fruit or one cup), nuts and seeds (one serving is 0.5 ounces a day), legumes (one to one and a half cups), and include movement (one serving is 20 minutes).

As you shift your diet this season, we hope it brings you energy, joy, and peace. As Warren Kramer concludes, “Springtime means time to lighten up, get in nature, eat less, and have fun.”

Set Your Intentions This Spring Part I

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Angelica KushiSpring is the season of rebirth and rejuvenation. It’s also a time when we may feel more ready to bring changes to our health and wellness regimen.

While some people practice moderation and a balanced diet year round, many opt for detoxification through a spring cleanse to jumpstart a new pledge to health. In a two-part blog series, we are exploring these options with advice from three Holistic Holiday at Sea presenters about spring cleanses—what they are and what they aren’t. We’ll start here with thoughts from Angelica Kushi.

To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

There are a lot of different types of cleanses; some more extreme than others. Some people do really well with cleanses, and some do a cleanse and then immediately afterwards add all the stuff they cut out back in, almost creating the reverse effect of the cleanse. These are the opinions of Angelica Kushi, a yoga teacher, health and wellness coach, aerial performer, and stunt woman. Her belief is that gradual change is more beneficial than a cleanse. “That being said, the type of cleanse you do is key, make sure it aligns with you, your goals, and your lifestyle,” she adds.

Here are a few tips from Angelica to follow when choosing a cleanse or making gradual changes.

Check in with your intentions

Why do you want to do a cleanse? Doing a spring cleanse can be a buzz phrase. Are you being tempted to do something because other people say it’s a good thing to do? Are you feeling an urge to energetically lighten up after the heaviness of winter?

Create a supportive environment

This goes for cleansing and general lifestyle and dietary changes. You want to set yourself up for success, which means clearing the junk food out of your home and hanging out with friends/family who are supportive of your choices.

Eat seasonally

This is a big one. Each season has different qualities, weather, energies, and foods. Spring is related to the liver/gallbladder. This organ system likes lighter cooking, fermented foods, sour flavor, and especially greens. Choose foods like lemons, green apples, sprouts, dandelion greens, arugula, spring onions, and lots of green leafy veggies.

Crowd out the old by bringing the new

Oftentimes, cleanses are about eliminating foods. This is tricky because then the focus is on what we can’t eat, and that can feel negative. Instead, I’m in favor of adding foods in. What you do is, eat the new food first. Then eventually you won’t have room for the foods you are trying to limit. For instance, if you have a sweet tooth, try eating sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots before you go for the cookies. It may not happen right away, but eventually you won’t be eating as many cookies. In fact, your body will have time to adjust and catch up with your mind knowing that the cookies aren’t as good for you. Eventually you may not even want the cookies anymore because your body has had the time to realize it feels better without the cookies. But if you just tell yourself that you can’t have the cookies, your body is going to protest and one day you’re going to find yourself eating the cookies and not even knowing how the cookies got into your hand. The body can play tricks on our mind!

Taking the Miso Soup challenge

In January, Angelica ran a miso soup challenge with weekly recipes and macrobiotic info. If you would like to do this challenge now, you can get it here, and a series of videos will be sent directly to your inbox.

Stepping up to the daily greens challenge

Starting May 26, Angelica will guide people on eating greens daily. Instead of doing a greens juice cleanse, you’ll look at:

  • different ways to prepare greens
  • different types of greens and what they are good for
  • the theory behind when is best to consume them as a juice, raw, steamed, boiled, or sauteed in water or oil.

This challenge gives you info to be a wise eater of greens.

Movement/Yoga practices

Twists and twisting motions are great for the springtime. Even just standing with your feet planted on the ground and swinging your arms side to side. This moves the liver/gallbladder area and helps support those organs.

Remember, no matter what you choose to do this season, take it one step at a time. As Angelica says, “Gradual changes last a lifetime.” Happy Spring!

Announcing the Winner of our 2018 Cruise Photo Contest!

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In anticipation of our 15th-anniversary Holistic Holiday at Sea voyage to the Caribbean, we put out a call for our 2018 Cruise Photo Contest. Our guests most definitely met the request! Wow! We were so inspired by all the pics. Thanks to each and every one of you who entered using the hashtag #vegancruise. We saw snapshots of food, romance, blue waters, friends reunited, new friends made aboard, and well-known plant-based speakers.

We’re excited to announce that our winner is (Instagram and Facebook handle) @jaxvegancouple. This account is run by Ubaid and Safura, an inspirational couple living in Jacksonville, Florida, (“Jax”) who are on a healthy quest together. After becoming certified in Forks Over Knives Nutrition Cooking Classes, Ubaid and Safura prepared an e-book with more than 70 recipes. “We are passionate about spreading the message about this healthy lifestyle. It has been a rewarding experience to feel connected to the foods we eat,” they write in their blog’s About Us.

Trip Highlights

Ubaid and Safura (Jax Vegan Couple) wrote several blog posts on their first Holistic Holiday at Sea adventure on trip highlights, cooking demonstrations, and the plant-based doctors they met onboard, including Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Michael Greger, Rip Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Michael Klaper, and Dr. Joel Kahn.

“We loved the vegan cruise,” Ubaid and Safura (Jax Vegan Couple) told us. “It was an amazing experience as we mingled with so many fellow travelers of like mind who were eager to learn more about optimal health.”

“F🍉R🍑U🍍I🍌T🍊S & ripe oats, barley, amaranth, and quinoa for Breakfast daily on the vegan cruise: apples, papaya, grapefruit, oranges, bananas, pineapple & watermelon oh my! 😍🙌🏼😋🌱” Photo by @jaxvegancouple

“Our anniversary dinner, chef’s special👨‍🍳🥘indian basmati vegetable biryani, cauliflower, cumin chole chickpeas, papadum and chutney!! 🌟😋” Photo by @jaxvegancouple

“Dessert anyone? 🍎 🌟Cinnamon Roasted Apple with Dried Fruits & Toasted Walnuts with Cashew Sauce 😋👌🏼 Photo by @jaxvegancouple

“Absorbing all the beauty in the islands of Guadeloupe under the coconut tree 🌴” Photo by @jaxvegancouple

Their favorite port was Martinique because of all the colorful homes, crystal blue waters, scenic excursions, and wonderful people.

Jax Vegan Couple in Martinique.

The couple even celebrated their anniversary onboard and were presented with a special Indian vegan meal. “(We enjoyed) meeting the chef and talking to him about the vegan cuisine and the process to get meals ready for 2,500 vegans,” says Safura, who adds that this was the only cruise where they didn’t gain any weight! “We ate delicious, healthy foods daily and participated in superb lectures with cutting edge plant based leaders in the health field. It was so awesome to meet these doctors that we had been following for a decade. Sandy and his team were exceptional; we feel like we are part of their family and friends.”

Join Ubaid & Safura (Jax Vegan Couple) in 2019!

We asked Ubaid and Safura (Jax Vegan Couple) what stood out for them about this experience, and they replied, “What stood out for us was everything. Our first Holistic Holiday at Sea Caribbean cruise was an exhilarating week filled with wonderful wholesome plant-based food to nourish our bodies, informative lectures by renowned doctors to stimulate our minds, and the opportunity to network with like-minded people coming from around the globe. We are already signed up for next year to relax, rejuvenate our mind, body and soul.”

Next year’s cruise will be 11 nights and we’ll be cruising to a new continent with the introduction of Colombia. It’s not too late to reserve your spot for our next Holistic Holiday at Sea Voyage to Well-being. Book today and travel to Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico from our port of Miami. See you soon!

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