Thursday, February 28, 2013


Dinner tonight was another quick and easy stir fry. This is a great meal after a long day!

Tofu, rice noodles, kale, mushrooms, scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and a splash of low sodium soy sauce.

Quinoa Salad

Lunch time!

Quinoa with garbanzo beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, minced garlic, lime juice, and a little olive oil.

I will definitely make this again!! :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Eat Your Veggies!

I'm starting to realize that online resources for vegans are pretty slim. Eating a whole foods, plant-based diet shouldn't require many resources, but I'd still like helpful tips and an easy guide to eating out. I will continue my search...

In the meantime, I will soon be posting two additional pages on my blog. One will be a helpful shopping list and the other will include recommended books and documentaries. So stay tuned!

Today was a particularly sad day. It seems so many people are struggling or dealing with loss. This is just another reminder to appreciate what we have and continue to maintain and develop healthy habits for a long life. A healthy body and mind will give us the strength we need.

With that said, I started my day off with this lovely green smoothie! This monster was made with almond milk, spinach, banana, blueberries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and a little almond butter.


For lunch, I had one of my leftover veggie burgers stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and avocado. Yum!

For dinner, I juiced kale, beets, parsley, apple, carrot, orange, and a little meyer lemon.

I also tried making Nut Butter Crusted Parsnip Fries. I made mine with almond butter only instead of mixing almond and peanut butter. They were pretty good, but not as crispy as I'd like them to be. Trial and error! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I can, but I choose not to.

After reading far too many articles about vegan food and nutrition this weekend (hello! I have reading to do for class!), I've come to the conclusion that I was lacking nutrients before starting this journey. It's hard to imagine what I was eating. I know I drank a lot of coffee and I liked healthy, easy meals that required little to no cooking. I never touched fast food and I avoided both processed foods and dessert items. I would buy the occasional salad or sandwich from the cafe at work and I'd take things like yogurt, fruit, and raw veggies for lunch. Even so, I always felt my diet wasn't quite balanced.

With the help of Pinterest and other blogs, I've been inspired to make a long list of vegan meals. I'm already feeling healthier, happier, and satisfied. I'm more knowledgeable than ever on what my body needs. I'm making sure to include a wide range of fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, grains, nuts, tofu, non-dairy milk and yogurt (soy, almond, hemp, rice), and seeds (including my new favorites - hemp and chia!). To read more on these seeds, check out this article.

My mom asked me today if I had difficulty finding things to eat. So far, not at all! I haven't had any problems, but that's because I've been making my own food as well as planning ahead and keeping a stocked fridge. The cafe at work also makes several vegan items which helps. I'm sure I'll hit a few bumps along the way, but I've already researched the most vegan-friendly restaurants in the area. I will be sure to blog about these when I go.

To end the night (and to get back to reading!), I keep hearing and reading that plant-based diets can reverse medical conditions. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead documents Joe Cross battling obesity and an autoimmune disease through juicing. He was able to heal his body and eventually stop taking his long list of medications.

Just two days ago, I was told my friend's husband might avoid surgery if he switches to a vegan diet. Amazing.

Veggie Burgers

After a fun morning at the San Rafael Farmers Market <3, I came home and made veggie burgers for lunch. After seeing the recipe on Oh She Glows, I knew I had to try them. I have to say there were more ingredients than I usually like to play with, but this was actually quite easy to put together. 

Prepping was easy. I measured the ingredients.

 I mixed all the ingredients together.

And formed patties!

Since I didn't have any regular bread crumbs, I used panko bread crumbs instead. I also had to leave out the chili powder from the recipe. I pan fried one patty for lunch today and baked four other patties in the oven for later. Since I'm not a huge fan of all the bread on a typical burger, I opted for an open-faced burger.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Linguine with Butternut Squash and Romanesco

I roasted butternut squash for dinner last night, so I decided to use the leftover half to make a pasta dish tonight. This was my first time making a butternut squash sauce. I think the recipe needs a little tweaking, but it was still really good!

Here's how I made it: I started cooking half a package of whole wheat pasta. I then washed and broke apart the romanesco and placed it in a steamer basket. While both were cooking, I sauteed 1/2 cup diced onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves in some olive oil. Once browned, I transferred the onion and garlic to a food processor, added in the butternut squash, and 1/2 a cup of almond milk. I added a little salt and pepper and pureed the mix. After the linguine and romanesco were cooked, I added both to a bowl and mixed in the sauce.

And for dessert, I had a refreshing fruit salad with blood oranges, kiwi, and pear.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What About Calcium?

"How will you get enough calcium on a vegan diet?" I have already been asked this question and the answer is easy. Calcium is found in a wide variety of foods. Adults need approximately 1000 milligrams of calcium per day. Here is a list of some of the best vegan sources:

40 Vegan Calcium Sources

Vegetables (per cup)

Bok choy (cooked) – 330 mg
Kale – 180mg
Bean sprouts – 320 mg
Spinach (cooked) – 250 mg
Collard greens (cooked) – 260 mg
Mustard greens (cooked) – 100 mg
Turnip greens (cooked) – 200 mg
Swiss chard (cooked) – 100 mg
Seaweed (Wakame) – 120mg
Okra – 130 mg
Broccoli – 45 mg
Fennel – 45 mg
Artichoke – 55 mg
Celery – 40 mg
Leeks – 55 mg

Nuts, nut butters and seeds

Almonds (1/4 cup) – 95 mg
Brazil nuts (1/4 cup) – 55 mg
Hazelnuts (1/4 cup) – 55 mg
Almond butter (1 tbsp) – 43 mg
Sesame seeds (1 tbsp) – 63 mg
Tahini (1 tbsp) – 65 mg


Cereals (calcium fortified, ½ cup) – 250 to 500 mg
Amaranth (cooked, ½ cup) – 135 mg
Brown rice (cooked, 1 cup) – 50 mg
Quinoa (cooked, 1 cup) – 80 mg

Legumes and beans

Chickpeas (cooked, 1 cup) – 80 mg
Pinto beans (cooked, 1 cup) – 75 mg
Soy beans (cooked, 1 cup) – 200 mg
Tofu (soft or firm, 4 oz) – 120 – 400mg
Tempeh (1 cup) – 150 mg
Navy beans (1 cup) – 110 mg
White beans (cooked, 1 cup) – 140 mg

Fruit (per cup)

Figs (dried) – 300 mg
Apricots (dried) – 75mg
Kiwi – 60mg
Rhubarb (cooked) – 350 mg
Orange – 70 mg
Prunes – 75 mg
Blackberries – 40 mg

Calcium in Milk Substitutes
1 cup
Soy milk, fortified
200.0 to 368.0
Soy milk, unfortified
Rice milk, Fortified
250 to 300
Almond, Fortified
200 to 300
Hazelnut, Fortified

Many other factors can contribute to the amount of calcium the body absorbs. Vitamins D and K help absorb calcium. It is also important to note that calcium can be significantly depleted through the consumption of animal protein, salt, caffeine, refined sugar, nicotine, prescription drugs, etc.

And to give you even more information... :)

"The real cause of osteoporosis in this country is not insufficient calcium intake, it's excessive excretion of calcium in the urine. Even calcium supplementation is often not enough to make up for the increased calcium excretion. Vegetarians, in contrast, excrete much less calcium, and this is why they have very low rates of osteoporosis even though their dietary intake of calcium is lower than those on a meat-eating diet," (Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease, 301).

"Published data clearly links increased urinary excretion of calcium with animal-protein intake but not with vegetable-protein intake. Plant foods, though some may be high in protein, are not acid-forming. Animal-protein ingestion results in a heavy acid load in the blood. This sets off a series of reactions whereby calcium is released from the bones to help neutralize the acid. The sulfur-based amino acids in animal products contribute significantly to urinary acid production and the resulting calcium loss. The Nurses Health Study found that women who consumed 95 grams of protein a day had a 22% greater risk of forearm fracture than those who consumed less than 68 grams," (Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat To Live, 86).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brain Food

I had class again tonight and I was pretty hungry by the time I left. Rather than figuring out what to do with my romanesco which, by the way, I received in my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box this morning...

...I decided to juice! The romanesco will have to wait. I purchased a Big Boss juicer on about six months ago and I'm always using it. A juicer is a great way to pack in vital nutrients and use up some of the fruits and veggies you already have. Although you can use just a few fruits and vegetables, I like to throw in a little bit of everything. I never use a recipe, but I always make sure to add a couple fruits to keep it sweet and fruity. Tonight I used lettuce, spinach, wheat grass, one carrot and its top, one beet and its leaves, a watermelon radish, an apple, a tangerine, a kiwi, and just a little lemon. 

All that turned into some serious brain food! :) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Prepare. Focus. Hydrate.

Today was a busy day and planning ahead was key to staying on track. Since I knew I would be working all day and heading to class just after, I prepared three small containers - oatmeal, the last of my savory sweet potatoes, and some tofu stir fry. I also brought with me a tangerine, a banana, and pistachios to keep at work.

Increasing my water intake has been a challenge. Everyone knows I don't drink enough and if I do, it's usually coffee. Surprisingly, switching to a reusable glass bottle with a twist lid did the trick. I don't have to worry about plastic or metal containers now. Just buying one Voss water will give you a fun little reusable glass bottle or you can find glass bottles wrapped in silicone online or in most stores.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tofu Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

This amazing stir fry was thrown together tonight, which is not something I do easily! I'm usually a recipe kind of girl, but this turned out great!

I cooked half a package of rice noodles. I browned some tofu in a little bit of olive oil, then added broccoli, kale, spinach, and mushrooms to my pan. Once my veggie/tofu mix was cooked to my liking, I added in the rice noodles. I served the dish with a dash of low sodium soy sauce, sesame seeds, and cilantro. Yum!

Swiss Oatmeal with a Twist

I'm always short on time in the mornings, so this overnight oatmeal is great. Just add rolled oats, blueberries, chia seeds, cinnamon, and almond milk in a bowl, stir, and refrigerate. This cold oatmeal is ready to eat in the morning. Try adding nuts and banana slices too!

Savory Sweet Potatoes

Yum! Baby organic sweet potatoes with kale and mushrooms. So good! This was dinner last night. :)