Vegetable ‘pasta’ with raw walnut basil pesto

The past couple of days I have been fighting a teeny tiny respiratory infection. Yesterday I fasted, except for water and lemon/ginger/cayenne shots.

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The three combined are a powerful healing concoction. If you can’t stomach the intense flavor in one shot, you can cook it into a tea too. I did 4 of these yesterday and felt good most of the day. Last night was rough again though, with coughing, and my fever kept lingering at the breaking point so it was impossible to stay asleep for more than a half hour at a time. The stinks! I allowed myself to stay in bed a bit later until it felt right to get up.

Before bed and after waking up, I worked on some healing meditations. If you’re ever looking for guided meditations, there’s a ton out there on Google and Youtube – including ones for things as specific as fertility and flying for the first time. I will definitely be using that second one, as I’ve booked a flight (for the first time in my life!) for June to visit my mom in North Carolina. I have an intense anxiety related to public transportation, and don’t even take the bus. So, for me to book this flight, and be willing to go through the process alone, is a big step. I’ve talked through the worry about it with myself. It’s not a fear of the plane crashing. For some reason, I’m afraid of doing it wrong. Getting lost, getting on the wrong plane, looking stupid. That’s the same fear as with even the public bus system. But it’s something I’m working through. I bet once I get on a plane, taking the bus will seem like no sweat at all. ๐Ÿ™‚ One meditation I completed for healing involved imagining the production of white blood cells and using these to “go to war” against the infection. That was a funny visual.

Beyond the physical healing, I’ve been working on some serious emotional healing. Again, I’ve been utilizing meditation quite a bit. Last night, I used one on Youtube designed to reduce night terrors. At one point, I vividly visualized caricatures of the words Panic, Anxiety, Paranoia, Stress, Worry, and Fear. I placed these words in jail cells locked behind a big wooden closed door. I also put a collection of images that cause me these feelings, including recent fights and worries and past traumas. I sealed the door shut and put Conan and Thor (my childhood rottweilers) guarding the door. The word-people were also gagged and knocked unconscious with ether. Because hey, why not. It was a funny image that really put things into perspective and honestly made me feel pretty good. I didn’t have any night terrors last night, but it was still a restless night because I’m sick. I’m excited to see what kind of results I get with this process when I’m feeling physically healthy as well. I’ve also spent time just reading and looking at motivational and inspiration quotes online that are reassuring and build strength. My favorite one at the moment which I keep reminding myself of: “Don’t let your struggle become your identity.”

The funny thing about all of these meditations and visualizations that I’ve been doing is that the more I do them, the sillier the anxiety and fear and worry is becoming. What a powerful tool. The goal is to be able to relax on command in tough situations. Today, I had some drama, and I actually got through it and didn’t freak out! Yay!

This morning I had a fresh made juice from carrots, local asparagus, apples, and ginger. It was all I had on hand but I knew I needed the nutrients. Then I had a big bowl of steamed broccoli with a little Earth Balance and Daiya cheese. I wanted to use that up as I’m working on my transition to a mostly raw diet for the summer. I want to do July entirely raw. So I’m building up to it.

I ordered this neat little tool through Groupon Goods a few weeks ago and it finally came in.

You can use it for rings of veggies for salads, curly fries, etc. I was most excited to use it for raw veggie ‘pasta’ and things like dehydrated fruit rings. It will make it very easy to slice thin slices for the dehydrator, which is helpful since I don’t have a good working mandoline at the moment.

So today, I ALMOST decided to just cook pasta with roasted veggies on the side because I wanted something warm, but I decided to give this a go instead. I rarely eat pasta and it seemed too heavy anyway. You can combine the ‘pasta’ mixture and pesto raw and eat as is. I chose to steam the ‘pasta’ for just about 3 minutes just to heat it up. Like I said, I wanted something warm.

Vegetable ‘pasta’ with raw walnut basil pesto

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp filtered water (more as needed)
  • 1 small heirloom tomato
  1. Begin by cutting the zucchini and summer squash. If you have a spiral slicer, feel free to make some spaghetti style pieces. If not, cut into small pieces about the same size as pasta.

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2. Combine the walnuts, basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and water in Vitamix or food processor. Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency.

3. If you are choosing to eat the meal raw, combine ‘pasta’, pesto, and tomato in a bowl and enjoy.

4. If you want the meal warm, steam veggie ‘pasta’ for just 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook or it will become mush. Combine with pesto and tomatoes and enjoy!

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I love new kitchen toys! And THIS- was delicious. I know this will be something I use a bunch this summer to create raw dishes. Mmm sundried tomato sauce.

PS- I’ve got radishes, broccoli, and spinach sprouting in my garden!

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It’s been one week! And Meatless Monday: sprouted bean burritos with tofu sour cream

Wow, so the past week came and went and I haven’t even been on here to post and say what’s going on with life. Especially after I just stated my commitment to it! Gah! But now I’m back, and the past week has been good in a lot of ways. I’ve spent some time hanging with some good friends, worked on some sprouting stuff (a separate post later), got some good recipes tested (included in this post), gotten good exercise, and started gaining serious motivation. So, I’ve just been working on myself. Now it’s time to catch up here and record the ups and downs of the past week to continue moving forward.

I’ll just recap my week with whatever I can remember according to the photos I took…

This was a big meal for dinner, I know. It was last Monday, after my crazy productive/busy day and I went without eating the whole day. So I loaded up for dinner. I prepared the tofu just with some Bragg’s, rice vinegar, and garlic, then pan grilled it. The veggies were just sauteed with some herbs and butter. The soup was made from potatoes and other veggies that I had boiled during my juice fast and then froze. I defrosted them, added some fresh parsley and almond milk, and then blended in the Vitamix to make soup.

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The wrap: grilled sprouted tofu wrap with heirloom tomatoes, spinach, and hummus.

On the side: sauteed shiitake and zucchini.

In the bowl: homemade cream of potato soup.

I’m regretful that I don’t have photos of the process just to illuminate the description but it’s very very easy to make homemade broth AND cream of veggie soup at the same time, reusing the ingredients for the broth for the soup. For the quantity you make of both things, you bet you’ll be saving money. And both of these are typically high sodium items in the market, and in this recipe, there’s NO salt added. Yay! You can store both of these items in the fridge for 3-4 days and they also can be packaged into individual serving sizes and frozen to extend shelf life.

When making the soup, you will need a Vitamix or other blender (an immersion blender would work well too.) This will fill the Vitamix pretty much to the top, or as safely as you want to get to the top. Feel free to split into two batches for a smaller blender or to avoid creamy soup explosions. ๐Ÿ™‚

Homemade vegetable broth and cream of potato soup (made with one set of ingredients)

Ingredients:

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1 yellow onions
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic (to taste)
  • handful of chopped fresh herbs of choice
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Method:

Part One: Vegetable broth

  • Chop vegetables. Add to pot and cover with filtered water. Add enough water so there is approximately 2″ of water above the veggie line.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring often.
  • Lower to a simmer, cover. Allow to simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occassionally.
  • Remove from heat. Let cool completely. (To speed up cooling time, I would stop by the stove every few minutes between doing other things and give the broth a good stir to release heat.)
  • Once cool, strain broth away from vegetables. Save veggies!

Part Two: Cream of potato soup

  • Combine vegetables and almond milk in blender or large pot, if using immersion blender.
  • Blend on low to medium speed until mostly smooth with some small lumps.

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Tuesday, I worked on my sprouting setup because my new half gallon mason jars came in. I love them! Jars are my lifeline now in the kitchen, for drinking out of and for food storage. I got this little crate from Benny’s and rigged it with some duct tape tied to create a “ridge” for the lip of the jar to rest on so it wouldn’t slide. It fits 3 of the half-gallon sizes on bottom and 4 of the regular quart size jars on top. I put a thin towel underneath to collect water drainage. A pan or something else would work nicely too. You wouldn’t want a fluffy towel to prevent air flow to the opening of the lids on the bottom level.

This picture still has some of the sprouts in the soaking stage, but you get the idea. (Garbanzo beans, split green peas, wheatberries, quinoa, kidney beans, brown rice, and sunflower seeds.)

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I’ll go into more separately with sprouting details in another post as I begin to write recipes for each type of sprout and the entire process including soaking and sprouting times and details.

We had chili for dinner that night. I used onion, garlic, celery, butternut squash, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, spices, and fresh parsley and cilantro (added towards the end to preserve dinner.) I absolutely LOVE butternut squash in chili.

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And then, instead of cheese or sour cream, top with 1/2 an avocado and some toasted sesame seeds. This chili is vegan, gluten-free, and free of refined oils and sugars.

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Wednesday and Thursday I deemed my “days off” and didn’t honestly do too much except keep an eye on the sprouts, go bowling, and… well I’m sure I did other stuff around the house and regular errands and such, but nothing important to remember.

Friday I went with Bryan and our friend Hal to play disc golf in Easton, MA. (On a side note, Bryan’s mono seems to have just about fully subsided after a miserable 2 months. So happy to have him back and feeling healthy and himself again!) This is great exercise, it’s an 18-hole course plotted in the woods, so there’s a fair amount of tromping around. If you’ve never played before, it’s basically just golf with a frisbee like disc. It’s a bit more sturdy than a frisbee though. Anyway, it’s a very fun, active day out. About halfway in, I ran and chucked the disc at the opening of a field and totally threw my right shoulder out of socket. It was close to the worst pain I’ve ever felt, up there with dry socket and broken tailbone. I barely – BARELY – held my tears in and then made the guys go ahead so I could try to pop it back in, if that’s what needed to be done. A little stretching and it was too sore to move, so it must have been inflamed. I didn’t play a hole or two, and then attempted some left handed. Honestly, I was kind of better with my left hand, surprisingly. I gotta look into that more. Over the past few days, I’ve been taking care of the shoulder including heat compresses and gentle stretching and now it’s almost back to normal. It does feel slightly pushed forward, but I expect it to slide back during a good yoga session.

The weather was beautiful again on Saturday (love it!) I drank pretty late on Friday night, so I did wake up a little hungover, but I knew that I wasn’t going to waste that sunshine. I drank some water and wandered off for what I goaled to be a 6 hour walk around Providence. It was going to be like a “city hike” since I don’t have a car. There are some good hills here! Providence is kind of tiny and boring to walk for 6 hours though, you’d be surprised at how quickly you’ll get from end to end. I hadn’t been over to India Point Park, so I ventured that way and then walked up and down the water for a while, there was great sun exposure here. Then I decided to walk the East Bay Bike Path! Brilliant! It’s close enough to get out of the city, it’s sunny for your Vitamin D, and it feels a little more secluded. Unfortunately, not too far into the actual path, it’s under construction and closed for a 3 mile strip. So I had to turn around and head back to Providence. If it had been open, I would have easily reached the 6 hour mark, but after heading back over the bridge again and back into the city, I just felt exhausted. It gets hard to breathe for a while with the stuffy heat and car exhaust of the city, at least on the bike path there are some trees and fresh air. I think that’s the real main reason I want it so badly! I got a teeny bit of a sunburn just on the very tops of my shoulders and an overall tan. Why does being tan make me feel so much more motivated and healthy?? I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I know being tan means I’ve been outside in the sun soaking it in. I feel miles better in the sunshine. I’m an addict.

And I was in for more sunshine on Sunday! I started the day early, getting to the grocery store at 8 a.m. right when they opened. I did my shopping, and per usual, bought more than I intended. But I strapped the heavy stuff on my back and divided the rest into two reusable bags and got ready for the trek home. It’s not far, less than a mile, but there’s a pretty big hill to climb. I definitely felt the burn in my back and shoulders carrying all the weight. When I got home – 42 pounds! (Jeez that’s a lot of groceries, haha. The more raw and really healthy foods, you get to eat a LOT.)

I started the day with an open-faced tofu egg sandwich. This is a recipe I’m working on perfecting because it’s something I crave quite often and I know it can be made very healthy. It’s also one of the foods that I long for when I’m hungover. They serve it vegan at two places in Providence, but I can make it for cheaper and healthier. ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried out a cashew hollandaise sauce this time, and I actually liked it. It was the first one I’ve made without vegan mayonnaise or Earth Balance, so it didn’t have any refined oils, and of course, is way less processed and nutritious. It had a ‘brightness’ to the flavor. The thing with Hollandaise is that I never had it traditionally made, only the vegan version. So I don’t really know what it ACTUALLY tastes like. But whatever, it was good, and the brightness of the lemon came through nicely which I read is how it’s supposed to taste, so. We’ll see.

Then I kicked my backyard’s ASS! I spent about 5 1/2-6 hours doing yardwork (weeding and raking leaves) and then fiercely pressure washing the whole backyard. There are two separate patio areas, a side cement lot where the garden bed is set up, and two brick pathways. It was a big, muddy, wet mess. I had to keep unplugging the pressure washer (very heavy!) and carrying it to plug in near the other area while one side dried and then returning to continue with all the dirt and mud. I couldn’t believe it. This is a dangerous job for someone like me with a touch of OCD. Once I started one area, everything had to get done. This is the wall, and the difference one stroke over with the pressure washer made. It didn’t LOOK dirty for some reason before hand, but when you see it like that, whoa.

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I figure I burned about 300 calories an hour. I felt so tired after but I felt so accomplished. I remembered it was Sunday and booked it to the liquor store with just 3 minutes to spare. The one closest to me was closed and I had to hustle up Hope St to make it to a different one, haha. Cracking open that beer when I got home was such a reward, and I got takeout veggie nime chow when I was out too. My roommates and I sat outside that night and it was glorious. I felt sore, tired, exhausted, accomplished, and everything smelled fresh and clean and watered down and the weather was perfect.

I drunkenly ate popcorn and almonds kind of late and very close to the time I actually fell asleep last night, and this morning my stomach was very mad at me from the late food and alcohol. I drank a bunch of water and ate a mango and was going to get my day started but I decided to just sit for a little and drink more water. I did some internet work. Then I finally felt right and got walking around 10:45. I did some errands on foot and then went to Old Navy to use a coupon and return a couple of things. I also specifically wanted to get a strapless dress for tanning purposes. I needed something that I could wear without a bra in my backyard without looking ridiculous and that was short so my legs could tan too. Trying on clothes at Old Navy was a mixed back. There were a few things on sale that I really loved that just didn’t fit. Specifically, there were two dresses with buttons. I can’t do anything button up and fitted, and it’s a look that I absolutely love. It’s all about the hips. Two pairs of jeans I tried on were bloody ridiculous. Oh well. I found a few nice things after a good hunt. Ended up with pants, yoga pants, belt, t-shirt, 2 dresses, sunglasses… for $42! Not so bad. I am going to build my wardrobe back up by watching for sales and shopping smart. I’ve also gotten better at keeping receipts and staying organized. Oh, and I started entering those customer service surveys that print on the bottom of receipts. I figure if the paper is already wasted, and someone’s gotta win, why not me? Come on, baby!

I ended up finding a cute polka dot dress at Forever 21, of all places. I can’t believe I can fit into their clothes. I worked there when I was at my heaviest, and when you’re fat like that, you view clothing stores completely different. I forget that I can just walk into most stores and find clothes! Granted, I’m on the edge still, depending on how the clothes run. I can usually do okay with tops and dresses. Pants are still at a 16 but it’s a bulbous butt 16 so that makes it much more tricky. My waist is easily a 12 or 14 but my hips and thighs will have none of that.

You can see the remnants of my sunburn if you look closely for the ghost white imprint of a tank top.

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The sun felt great again today, but I was smart about exposure and kept my shoulders hidden. Well at least until I got home and settled into my backyard. I did put on the “tanning” dress for back there. The sun isn’t quite as hot as it is walking around the city because the trees and all the brick really cool it down. In fact, today it was kind of not very hot at all. It was the last time it was 80 degrees, but there were just a few too many clouds this afternoon to really get the sun in on you back there. But I sat outside for a few hours and did some research and planning and ate some lunch. I made a smoothie with fresh almond milk (I’ll be writing a post all about this soon – value in both nutrition and cost), banana, blueberry, vanilla protein, and kale. Then I cut up a bunch of veggies and gobbled those up with a sprouted chickpea hummus (again, I’ll write all about the sprouts soon! Promise!) The hummus is just sprouted chickpeas, lemon juice, water, cayenne, cumin, and boatloads of garlic. It took me about 2 hours to get through the whole meal and the whole smoothie, and as I was eating it, I really took my time to taste the different veggies and chew them and think about how they were nourishing me. I felt very full and satisfied after all of it. I also felt very hydrated and refreshed after having been out in the sun. My body LOVES the sun and loves the heat, but it hates to feel fatigued and gross during the summer. I gravitate towards raw when I’m outside. Last summer especially, I found myself eating entire days full of raw food just by chance. The rehydrating properties of fresh foods, my gosh! Plus, your body doesn’t have to expend energy and heat digesting food and can save that energy for crazy hikes and climbing mountains. omg.

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Every time I eat something that’s really healthy, I try to consciously focus on how I feel connected to that food and to engage with it and understand why I’m eating it. It’s not mindless eating. I’m eating to live. That’s what they say right? Sure, the meal above may not appear appetizing to a lot of people. But that’s the trick. Don’t take out the junk or processed foods you love. Begin your transition by adding a meal like this in. Maybe once a week? Three times a week? Every day? Because what will happen is you will end up filling up on the good stuff and the nourishment you receive will outweigh the appeal of that junk food. Everywhere I read, the change to a clean, more organic plant-based diet is recommended to be attacked in the same way. Don’t give up everything all at once! It’s about what you add in, not what you take out. And pretty soon, the good will crowd out the bad. You will lose hunger for these foods and they will even begin to look foreign to you. Did you ever notice the most beautiful foods are fresh fruits and vegetables? Look at all the color. There’s a reason they look beautiful to us: your body is screaming, “EAT ME!”

So it’s true that not every bite of those fresh veggies or smoothie tasted amazing and I didn’t want to scarf it down like an insatiable vulture. But the more I ate it, the more I realized that I was making a good decision and that the more I choose these foods, the more my body really will crave them. I try to think about things like cucumbers being good for skin health, and as I eat the cucumber, picture my skin feeling smooth and hydrated and blemish free. Visualization can be a powerful tool, ya know.

And then it was happy Monday to me when my new knives and cutting board came in! For someone who cooks, and prepares a LOT of vegetables and fruits every. single. day, I’ve never owned a nice knife set. This is a Ginsu set, I guess like medium range? At least they cut awesome right out of the box. Preparing dinner was a treat!

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Tonight’s dinner was excellent. I’m excited to share the recipe for two reasons: 1) it’s my first time cooking sprouted kidney beans and they were awesome! 2) the tofu sour cream is also a new recipe that I’m trying.

 

Sprouted Red Bean Burritos with Tofu Sour Cream

Ingredients:

For the bean filling:

  • 2 cups sprouted kidney beans
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp garlic, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • hot sauce to taste

For the tofu sour cream:

  • 1/2 pound sprouted extra firm tofu (any firm or extra firm will work, start with less water if using a softer tofu)
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice,
  • 3 Tbsp chives

For the burrito:

  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Mixed leafy greens
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • …anything else you want!

 

Method:

  1. Sprout kidney beans (soak for 8 hours, rinse and drain every 8-12 hours for 2-3 days).

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2. Add kidney beans to sauce pan with filtered water going 1-2″ past bean line.

3. Bring beans to a boil.

4. Beans will produce a white foam from excess gas being released. Skim this foam off.

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5. Cover and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes, checking softness after 30 minutes.

6. Remove from heat and drain.

7. Preheat a separate pan over medium-high heat until warm enough to make water droplets dance.

8. Add onion. Make sure to keep onion moving to prevent burning. Don’t use oil! Motion and heat are all you need.

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(Beautiful caramelized onions – NO OIL!)

9. Add garlic after cooking onions 4-5 minutes and sautee with constant motion for 1-2 more minutes. Finish when golden brown.

10. Add caramelized onions and all spices to the pot with the beans in it.

11. Heat over medium heat, stirring and mashing with a wooden spoon. Add a little vegetable broth if beans are sticking to pot or burning, or are not mushy enough to create a refried beans like texture.

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12. To prepare tofu sour cream, add all ingredients into blender and puree until very smooth.

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I doubled the chives because I was craving that flavor and the sour cream came out with a nice mint green hue, haha.

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When I went vegan, I stopped eating sour cream, of course, but I never adapted into the substitute. It was the same with cream cheese and shredded cheeses – until Daiya. I love the originals, but since the flavor and texture in the vegan substitutes was never quite right and honestly I really never liked it. I have dabbled with some nut based replacements for sour cream, but with no success really. But here! This is the winner by far. Creamy, tangy, sour. If you taste it on its own, it tastes like exactly what it is – sour cream made from tofu. You can taste the tofu. But once wrapped in the burrito, it blends in AWESOME and just tastes creamy sour creamy deliciousness.

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After dinner, I took a fireball shot to wash it all down. That’s fresh squeezed lemon juice, with cayenne pepper and ginger. I’m working on incorporating 2 of these every day as well as 2 “shots” of straight up cherry juice to help work on inflammation while I drastically up my exercise routine. They both have a ton of antiflammatory and cleansing properties. Yay!

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This shot kicks you in the sinuses, the stomach, the forehead, the muscles, and you feel totally energized and amazing in literally 3 seconds!

I might go have another one right now….

 

Sorry for the very long post. It’s taken me over 2 hours to recap all this! I will definitely start doing a better job keeping up with my daily postings as I throw myself into food and exercise in the best way possible. Here’s to a happy and healthy week!


Juice feast day 7: breaking the fast, recap, and what’s next

Day 7 of my juice fast saw me still at 192 pounds, down 8 pounds from the beginning. Like I mentioned in my Day 6 post, I was feeling like today might be the day that I started to incorporate solid foods back into my diet. I really want to get back at the gym and get a lot more exercise into my routine starting Monday, and for me, this isn’t accomplishable on a juice fast. The energy isn’t there to raise your heart rate and sweat off fat. And if you do try to exercise on a juice fast, fat can be very difficult to burn because our bodies start to panic that not only is fat and protein intake gone (due to juicing), but now you’re energy output is increased as well. So our bodies hold on to fat as dearly as it can. It’s what our bodies are trained to do.

I also believe that with any change in our diets or lifestyles, we should listen to how our body responds. At first, I could feel my body working like a Hazmat team, clearing out toxins and literally flushing out and healing an overworked digestive system. As someone who normally maintains a pretty clean low-oil vegan diet, does not smoke cigarettes, and has significantly cut back on caffeine and alcohol, the process of detoxing was able to cycle through in those 5-6 days. I felt a boost in motivation, energy, mental clarity, and a cleanse of my cravings. But then I started to feel fatigue as I tried to increase my energy level to match what I was feeling like I could and wanted to accomplish. So I listened to my body, and decided it was time to break the fast gently.

If you decide to break a juice fast early, make sure to remember a few things. Don’t break the fast because you were running late for work and a coffee and donut sounded more tasty than your morning juice! Don’t break the fast because you got invited out to dinner and that was easier than juice! Don’t break the fast because you can’t pay for your gasoline without grabbing a chocolate bar or potato chips. Break the fast with healthy, whole raw foods when your cravings are FOR healthy, whole raw foods. When you can think about eating a huge salad and your mouth drools. That’s a good sign! That shows us that we’ve gotten past the point of needing that processed food fix. And after the juice fast, remember to continue incorporating fresh juice into your diet on a daily basis whenever possible to maximize nutrient intake and healing potential.

When you’re trying to lose fat and gain muscle, a juice fast is a great way to start. I learned when watching “Hungry for Change” that our bodies have difficulty losing fat when we are toxic, because the toxins would then be released into our body making us feel worse unless we’re doing something to detox as well. A juice fast can be the right way to get started on a healthy lifestyle as it helps us release both toxins which make us physically dependent on unhealthy foods but emotions and cravings that go along with this processed food, chemically-laden lifestyle as well. And now that the juice fast has served its purpose, I’m ready to move onto the next phase of clean eating and an increase in healthy exercise to burn fat and gain muscle! My body wants to move!

 

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Day 7 started with a juice made from bokchoy, celery, asparagus, radish, zucchini, pear, kiwi, and apple. I then speed walked 3 miles to my boyfriend’s house to meet up with him to see “Hunger Games” – which I really liked by the way.

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My first solid meal in a week! We went to a local restaurant, The Garden Grille in Pawtucket. I got the Reggie’s Raw Heaven salad, which was arugula, avocado, mango, beet-infused jicama, and ground cashews. I think there was some kind of oil on the salad, but it was fairly light regardless. Every bite of this salad was freaking amazing, but particularly the avocado and mango were incredibly bright and full of flavor. I also had a nice hot cup of green tea, which was to die for. I struggled back and forth between getting a regular meal and something raw, but was happy I made the right decision. The salad was huge, I even had leftovers to take home.

For dinner, we had brown rice sushi with cucumber and avocado, I had about 5 pieces I think. I also had 2 squares of Raw Matcha Green Tea and Peppermint Chocolate from Fearless Chocolate. I think it was the perfect ease back into eating…

Except for the gin drinks! Haha. We hung out with a friend we hadn’t seen in a while and wanted to show him the cool Hurom Slow Juicer. We did up some honey dew melon and fennel and mixed it with some gin. Look how pretty in these glasses! I only had maybe 3 drinks over a couple hours and remembered to drink plenty of water to help flush it out. I will admit that I wish I had waited a few days to have alcohol, not a great idea the first day breaking a fast. But we can’t be perfect all the time! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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So Friday, I had whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and a juice. For physical activity, I got in a 3 mile walk and probably about an hour total of stretching/light yoga. I did the 10 minute segment for thighs on Target Toning on Netflix Watch Instantly, I’m trying to build up to do the whole video 3x a week. I’ve been having a significant amount of numbness and nerve spasms in my right thigh though, and have felt it’s been bothering me more since I’ve increased my walking so much. I’m just concentrating on hip openers and lower back stretches to try and release it through there. Maybe its a pinched nerve.

Today I ordered in brown rice noodle bee bong. I had some chickpeas earlier too. For exercise, I did 7 hours of heavy duty housecleaning! I know, crazy right?? I started by emptying all my kitchen cabinets (well I have a few more to do) and cleaning them inside and out. Then I did all the window frames and inside windows. Then I moved all the furniture out to clean and mop every corner of both the front parlor and regular living room. On average, the consensus is that cleaning burns about 150-250 calories an hours, so it was a good day for slow steady calorie burning! Tonight I remembered just in time to watch “Hungry for Change” before the free online premiere ended tonight at midnight. It was a great introductory film to health and wellness through nutrition and I think it has a lot of accessible information. It makes it seem like a nobrainer! I learned a few things too. I liked their comparison of white sugar and white flour to cocaine – ha. Pretty clever. When they started talking about juicing, I realized I hadn’t had a juice today! GAH! what was I thinking. I had to pause the movie to go make one quick. I threw one together with red cabbage, celery, parsley, carrot, pear, and lemon.

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I am going to turn Sunday into my juice day of the week and will be juicing entirely to begin the week off right. A lot of people think to gorge Friday-Sunday and then try to start Monday off restrictive. However, if our stomachs are stretched and overworked from eating heavy meals and processed foods, it won’t be as easy to turn that off cold turkey. So, I will give myself Friday and Saturday nights as leniency nights (note I say ‘lenient’ and not ‘cheat’). I won’t go completely crazy but I may have a couple drinks or go out to eat. Then Sunday reboots to get back on track first thing Monday morning. Tomorrow I am going to attempt to use ZERO fruits, carrots, or beets in my juice and turn it into an entirely GREEN juice day.

Then on Monday, I officially get started on my journey to (attempt to) write a cookbook, “Sprout Out Loud!” It’s going to be all about sprouted foods, including how-to’s, nutritional info, and duh – lots of delicious recipes. The first stage is going to involve a lot of research and recipe testing, and I’ll be blogging the whole way. It should be fun!

Now off to do some relaxing yoga before bed…

 


There comes a time in every healthy girl’s life that she has to fry something for her man: Vegan buffalo seitan

In passing, I mentioned to my boyfriend that I used to make fried buffalo seitan. Immediately, he said he wanted it. I haven’t made it in probably almost 2 years because, with the very high unhealthy fat and sodium content, it was something I decided I needed to remove from my cooking repertoire. But, as a special treat, I broke out the recipe last night with a few changes. I nixed the flour and subbed in whole wheat flour with a sprinkle of ground flax seed. And when I may have put these buffalo seitan bits on a pizza or sandwich with added fats and sodium, this time, I served with just plain steamed veggies.

So what is seitan anyway? Seitan is made from wheat gluten, which is the main protein of wheat. The wheat flour dough is stripped of its starch, and the elastic, gummy, sticky stuff that’s left is the gluten. Of course, seitan isn’t a good meat substitute for those of us who may have celiacs or a gluten intolerance… but for someone who has a bit of trouble digesting soy and no trouble with wheat, like myself, seitan is a great alternative. Generally, I don’t use meat substitutes, just because I feel the best when I concentrate on vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans. Seitan is fairly processed down, but it does offer a good hit of protein: 21 g of protein in one serving, with just 120 calories and 2 g of fat.

Some notes on the ingredients…

Oil: Olive oil is technically said to be the “healthiest” but the bottom line is that you’re using 100% fat no matter what. I chose canola for my budget’s sake. Try to find organic, and look for brands that avoid sourcing GMO! I used Whole Food’s 365.

Seitan: I used West Soy brand strips. The bigger the chunks you can get the better, but the little fried buffalo bits are also quite delicious.

Hot Sauce: Frank’s Red Hot is commonly used in buffalo sauce, but I used all-natural cayenne pepper hot sauce from The Scoville Food Institute. The sauce I used did not contain any garlic, but that is an ingredient in the Frank’s Red Hot. I felt it really benefited the sauce to add some fresh garlic in.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Oil for frying
  • 8 oz seitan
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 cups almond milk (or milk substitute of your choice)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic (optional)

Method:

  1. Open seitan, drain extra water. Wrap tightly in paper towels and press out extra moisture.
  2. Fill pan 1/4″ – 1/2″ with oil and heat over medium flame.
  3. Pour milk substitute into a bowl.
  4. Combine whole wheat flour and flax seed in second bowl.
  5. Dredge seitan in milk, then flour mixture, then back in milk.
  6. Place seitan carefully into hot oil, making sure to be careful for splash back.
  7. Fry seitan until breading is golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway through for even cooking.
  8. Drain seitan thoroughly on paper bags or paper towels. Press excess oil out with paper towels.
  9. Melt Earth Balance in a small sauce pan over medium low heat.
  10. Whisk in hot sauce and garlic.
  11. Toss seitan chunks in buffalo sauce. Enjoy!

 

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Other seitan recipe posts you might like:

38. slowcooker chick’n seitan. (makegreat.wordpress.com)

Top Chef Wednesday: Enchiladas with Onion & Seitan (suburbanvegan.com)

Pesto Infused Rice with Seitan (foodfitnessfreshair.com)


Meatless Monday: Quinoa stirfry with broccoli, mango, cashews and spicy ginger sauce

Meatless Monday!

Let’s talk quinoa, a great addition to any meatless diet. Pronounced KEEN-wah, in case you were wondering. But what is it? It’s actually a seed, but is considered a whole grain. Most importantly, quinoa is the only plant-based source of complete protein. Whoa, what’s that? Yes โ€“ there is a plant that contains all 9 essential amino acids: quinoa! And it packs 7g of protein per serving compared to brown rice’s 4g. So it’s got more of a better quality protein. I love it. I will admit it took me a little while to come around to it. I’m much more of a fan of a hot quinoa dish than a cold quinoa salad, though. (Quinoa can replace other grains in soups, stirfries, or Mexican dishes, OR try it in place of oatmeal for breakfast.)

One particular amino acid that quinoa is high in is lysine, which is missing from wheat and rice. Lysine aids in tissue growth and repair, aiding the immune system. (Lysine is often used as a supplement to quickly banish cold sores.) Quinoa also is packed with fiber and minerals. It’s gluten-free, and considered an easily digested grain. Win-win-win.

This dish is vegan, gluten-free*,with no added salt, no added refined sugars, no extracted oils. It’s packed with fiber and healthy fats.

*contains no added gluten ingredients, but make sure you double check all brands of products like vegetable broth or soy sauce that you are using, as many will contain gluten or wheat ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups water or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks (this would work well with pineapple too)
  • 6 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 cups frozen diced pepper/onion mix
  • 1 cup raw cashews

Sauce:

  • ยฝ cup rice vinegar
  • ยฝ cup raw agave nectar
  • ยพ cup water
  • 2 ยฝ Tbsp Bragg’s (or reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce)
  • 1 ยฝ Tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • ยฝ Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • ยฝ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch

Method:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package. (Typically, add 2 cups water or reduced-sodium vegetable broth and 1 cup quinoa. Bring to boil. Cover, and lower for a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Quinoa will be done when grain is translucent and has little spirals coming out of it.)
  2. While quinoa is simmering, steam broccoli in covered pot for approx 10 minutes.
  3. Add mango and pepper/onion mix to broccoli and steam for approx 5-7 minutes until heated thoroughly.
  4. Stir in cashews and remove from heat.
  5. To prepare sauce, add all ingredients except corn starch to a small sauce pan and bring to low boil.
  6. Whisk in corn starch until thickened and thoroughly dissolved.
  7. Once quinoa is finished, add quinoa to broccoli/mango/cashew mixture and stir in sauce.
  8. Simmer all ingredients together above medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3-4 minutes to reduce sauce slightly and meld flavors.

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Other quinoa recipe posts you might like:

Sopa de Quinua or Quinoa Soup (vegetarianirvana.wordpress.com)

Quinoa: breakfast of champions (mostlyfood.org)

Thai Fried Quinoa (feastyoureyesonmyveg.wordpress.com)


Not-my-Dad’s Patty Melt (vegan!)

Patty melts.

This is a food that causes the weirdest, contradictory feelings and memories for me. It’s almost a sensation, where memories from now intertwine closely with memories from before I began my passionate love affair with vegan foods.

As a kid, I hated (HATED!) the smell, taste, aroma, and idea of eating or even cooking a patty melt. I hated onions, I hated rye bread, and I was definitely more of a hot dog kid. Thinking about patty melts, I get this strong memory of my Dad, because it was really one of his favorite foods. And to me, since I wouldn’t touch the things, it was a “Dad food.” Thinking about my 10-year-old self smelling the onions cooking makes my eyes sting a little bit. I don’t think twice about the meat or the cheese or the butter or the oil. I don’t think twice about my dad’s diabetes or the fact that everyone in my household is overweight or obese.

I now drool at the idea of making a patty melt, but what its made up of is totally different. Organic caramelized onions, flavor integrity preserved by cooking without oil. Plant-based Daiya cheddar “cheese.” Hearty veggie and grain burger. Artisan seedless rye bread. The smell of the onions cooking makes my mouth water now! (No, really. Onions like this are one of my favorite foods even though my mom couldn’t get me to touch the things as a kid. This has to be my 4th or 5th post mentioning them already!) My mind compares the 2 foods: how many less calories, zero cholesterol, fewer processed sugars and refined oils, nothing artificial… I wonder how my dad would like my adaptation of one of his heart-clogging favorites. After just one bite, I’m actually pretty sure he would have liked it!

It’s intriguing how deeply some foods – actually, any aroma, flavor, even texture – how deeply they can root themselves into not only a memory but actual feelings about people, places, things, and especially, time. Do you have any foods that you have a strong connection or dislike as a kid but now love? Do these foods cause a strange sensation regarding your relationship to food?

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices rye bread of your choice (whole grain preferred, but today I cheated with a Jewish seedless rye)
  • 1 veggie burger (I used Amy’s All-American)
  • 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance (I choose soy-free)

Method:

  1. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat until hot enough for water drops to hop around on the surface.
  2. Add onions to skillet. Stir constantly to ensure even browning. Remove from pan once caramelized.
  3. Grill veggie burger until cooked through.
  4. Evenly spread Earth Balance over 2 slices bread.
  5. Place first bread butter side down onto skillet. Top with burger, onions, cheese, and remaining slice of bread, butter side up.
  6. Flip sandwich carefully when bread is grilled to grill other side.
  7. Serve with tomato soup and a hearty green salad.

 

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Vegan low-fat, low-sodium apple pecan oatmeal cookies (YUM!)

So, I don’t cook sweets that often, especially not cookies, but every now and again it strikes my fancy. I checked out my pantry to see what I had and decided that I’d Google pecan cookies and see what kinds of combinations came up. I came across this Low Fat Apple-Pecan Oatmeal Cookie recipe on yummly.com. I decided to adapt it to be vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick oats!)
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I used almond)
  • 1 chopped apple (I used organic Fuji)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp luke warm water
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps apple pie spice –OR– 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1 tsp ginger

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix together oats, milk, chopped apple, and pecans in a bowl and set aside.

3. Whisk together flax seed and water until slightly frothy (similar to what an egg would be like.)

4. Mix together brown sugar, flax seed mixture, apple sauce, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.

5. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir well to combine.

6. Drop batter by Tbsp full onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten each cookie slightly with fork.

7. Bake for 12 minutes. You will know cookies are done when they can be lifted from parchment without gushing apart in your hands or sticking to the paper. They will be soft, almost spongy. Cookies do not really firm after cooling, this is definitely a soft vs. crisp oatmeal cookie recipe – which I like better anyway!

This recipe yielded 39 cookies for me, and a bunch got eaten by my roommates and I before I could take a photo. ๐Ÿ™‚ They tasted GREAT. Not too sweet, these would make an awesome, wholesome breakfast. No dairy, no eggs, no added fat, minimal sugar. Brown sugar may sub out easily for maple syrup to reduce the recipe to no refined sugars. Oh yea, and trust me on this – you’re gonna wanna scoop up a couple while they’re still warm.

A little bit on the nutrition….

For 4 cookies (That’s right – you get to eat FOUR of these bad boys for probably what one traditional chocolate chip cookie might be….)

 

Calories: 232

Calories from fat: 53

Fat: 6 g

Sodium: 132 mg

Potassium: 62 mg

Carbohydrates: 41 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 15 g

Protein: 5 g

 

So these cookies are not only cholesterol free (vegan!), low fat, low in sodium, but they also offer a nutritional punch of fiber and protein! 5 grams each per serving!

In conclusion, I guess I impressed myself tonight…