With valentines day approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about getting in the MOOD and increasing your life satisfaction in the love department. Below are a few of my favorite ways to give your love life a boost by eating right, working out, and living in health.
Boost the Mood with Food
Aphrodisiacs are generally defined as items that evoke or stimulate sexual desire. The word itself derives from the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation: Aphrodite. The search for sexy foods is an ancient pursuit, and aphrodisiacs come in many healthy forms — with skins, peels, and shells. Scientific studies support the “love potion” reputations for a few of the foods below, but in the absence of hard laboratory proof, a little bit of ancient mystique and placebo effect cant be all that bad. Here’s a list of some healthy aphrodisiacs you can incorporate into a Valentine’s Day meal considered “love enhancers” for their suggestive shape, texture, or color. Sample their effects by cooking up a few of my sexy, healthy recipes and you may find yourself with a delicious love potion that works wonders 😉
- Asparagus. Some claim that people who eat asparagus have many lovers; others think it’s just that the phallic shape of the spears suggest sexuality. What we do know for certain is that asparagus is packed with vitamin E, which can help boost sexual stamina and performance.
- Arugula. Associated with a lesser known Roman god of fertility, arugula was popular among the ancient Romans and Egyptians.
- Garlic. The ancient Romans so believed in the love powers of garlic that they consecrated it to the goddess of fertility, Ceres.
- Saffron. Pricey, but worth a shot: It’s believed to stimulate sexual desire in women.
- Shrimp. An iodine deficiency can result in reduced sex drive, and shrimp provides iodine. Best of all, shrimp protein breaks down in the body to the amino acid phenylalanine, proven to increase levels of sex drive–boosting neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Avocado. While its smooth flesh is undoubtedly sensual, avocado’s aphrodisiac status derives primarily from its resemblance to male sexual organs as the fruit hangs on the tree. (The Aztec word for testicles is ahuacatl ….oh boy Im blushing now 😉
- Basil. In Moldavian folklore, if a man accepts a sprig of basil from a woman, he is destined to fall in love with her.
- Honey. Honey was a primary ingredient in many ancient Egyptian cures for sterility and impotence.
- Figs. Used by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the fig paradoxically symbolizes both sexuality and modesty.
- Chocolate. Some say the great Aztec ruler Montezuma so believed in the power of chocolate as an aphrodisiac that he would drink large volumes of a chocolate elixir before heading into his harem; in modern days, scientists have shown that chocolate causes a release of the same hormone released during sexual intercourse, and serves up a healthy dose of serotonin, sometimes called the “feel good” hormone.
- Strawberries. Maybe it’s just the cute heart shape, or the fact that they can be dipped in chocolate or whipped cream and fed to your lover. Whatever the reason for their power, strawberries have been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient Rome.
Now go and cook up some love with these recipes!
Arugula Salad with Roasted Asparagus for 2
Roasting asparagus brings out a deep, earthy taste and allows the tender spears to pair more easily with wine.
- 4 cups baby arugula leaves, loosely packed
- 8 asparagus spears
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 400° F. Snap off tough ends of asparagus and toss with about ½ tablespoon of the olive oil on a baking sheet lined with foil. Lay spears in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender crisp and slightly charred, about 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of the spears.
While asparagus is roasting, combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. To serve, toss arugula with dressing and divide evenly between two plates. Top with asparagus spears, sprinkle cheese on top, and serve immediately
Spanish-Style Shrimp With Garlic (from Cooking Light)
Aphrodisiacs garlic and shrimp take center stage in this classic Spanish dish, which is commonly served as a tapa in Spain. To determine when the shrimp are done–beyond looking for the characteristic pink or orange marks–check to see that the shrimp flesh has changed from translucent to opaque white. Serve this tapas-style dish with grilled bread or rice to make it more of a main dish.
- 1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 4 lemon wedges
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pepper, garlic, and bay leaf; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shrimp; sauté until shrimp have pink or orange markings and white, opaque flesh (about 4 minutes). Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with lemon wedges.
Honey Almond Fig Balls
The perfect high-energy snack or treat using aphrodisiacs honey and figs. This recipe yields around 25 to 30 balls.
- 1 ½ cup raw almonds
- 2 cups dried figs (any piece of the stem removed)
- 3 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Take any of the leftover stem off your dried figs. Throw your figs and almonds in your food processor on high until you get a paste. Then add the rest of your ingredients. Taste to see if you need more salt. Turn on high again to mix well. Use your hands to make balls any size you please. Top with course sea salt.
Fall In Love with Fitness
Shaping up with your sweetie will give your body and sex life a boost. Exercise gets your blood pumping, endorphins flowing, and works as a natural aphrodisiac. Not only that but research shows that 94 percent of couples stick with their fitness programs when they work out together. By motivating each other to get up and go, you’ll not only shake up your usual weeknight couch-wine-reality TV routine, you’ll be learning moves together and sharing a new experience. Here are a few of my favorite ways to workout with a partner. The couple that sweats together stays together – talk about a relationship builder!
- Get Outdoors. A great way to get a couple’s workout are outdoor exercises such as hiking, rafting, camping, cycling and many others. This provides you lots of benefits as you can adapt a new and healthy lifestyle out of it. You bond together, you can appreciate nature and you can have fun, what more can you ask for?
- Get Wet. Swimming an excellent workout for your muscles and tons of fun – especially if you race your partner to see who can cover more laps! Or if you have just made a trip to the gym, take a cool dip together to relax your muscles by floating in the water.
- Cycling. Grab yourselves a couple of bicycles and get out on the road. Cycling is a great workout for your heart and easy on the joints. Just don’t forget your helmut!
- DANCE! This can rekindle or intensify the romance between you and your partner. Sign up for a dance class that is suitable for pairs. Most couples enjoy ballroom dancing specifically Rumba and Tango…ooooo sexyyyyy.
- Sporty Spice. Pick up a sport of two, like badminton, soccer, tennis or even table tennis. Its active, fun, and might light a spark through some innocent competition. Make it a routine and before you know it you wouldn’t be able to go a day without playing.
- Sign up for a class together. Consider trying something new that interests you both: martial arts, an indoor climbing clinic, yoga (including Partner Yoga), 5K training, adult swim lessons, or other sports.
- Boxing. If you like to kick things up a notch, try out a kickboxing class. It’s playful, fun, and a great way to work out any disagreements 😉
- Get BUFF. When strength training at the gym, “work in” (switch places) with one another between sets. About 90 seconds of rest between sets is beneficial anyway. So while you rest, your partner can complete one set of the exercise. Switching the weights to your own level is quick and easy to do on most machines. Another time-saving option is to use dumbbells, so that you don’t have to constantly add and remove weight plates when switching between sets.
- Workout with Caroline. Enroll in my special Outdoor Bootcamp event I am hosting on March 3rd on Chrissy Field in San Francisco. Our group will involve partner exercises gaurenteed to get you feeling the love. Not only that but our sweat goes to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for life-saving cancer research. Sign up HERE to participate and fall in love while raising money for a good cause.
I am a BIG believer in balance…. this February 14th indulge a bit! Spend some time with your loved ones, treat yourself to your favorite workout, and enjoy a sweet treat or festive drink. Holidays were created to remind us to CELEBRATE life – Have a great time this holiday and Happy Valentines Day to You ALL!
Other Things To Check Out This Week:
- Photos from Cycle for Survival 2013. Huge thank you to all that donated!!
- 10 minute core and hip workout. Free online exercise video.
- Motivation. Inspiration. Community. Connection. Join me.