Friday, August 30, 2013

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Sauce


Well, I did it! I made a raw dinner! I know my salads are usually raw, but this was a pasta-like dish using all raw ingredients. I realized how cheap and filling this meal can be. AND I saved electricity and time!

The ingredients were so simple.
  • 1 zucchini
  • A large handful of arugula and spinach
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 very small garlic clove
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Oregano and black pepper 

I also threw in one sliced cremini mushroom and about 6 green beans because I needed to use them up! I certainly like my hot foods, but there are definitely benefits to incorporating raw meals into my diet.

Rather than a tomato sauce, you could make an avocado-pesto sauce or a peanut sauce to make pad thai. If you don't own a spiralizer, then the easiest way to make zucchini noodles or ribbons is to use a vegetable peeler like I did.

I threw together another cost-effective meal the other night. You can call them Fajita Pitas! Don't you love the name? I had pita bread in my freezer, so why not make fajitas? :) I sauteed bell peppers, onion, zucchini, and corn with oregano and the smallest (and I mean smallest!) amount of oil and red wine vinegar. I filled the pitas with avocado, plenty of fresh cilantro, and the grilled veggies. I actually really enjoyed them!

When I'm not in the kitchen or at work, I'm often found reading, researching, or watching YouTube videos lately. I know...I should focus on school. I will! We have a three-day weekend, so I can enjoy a little "me time" first. :)

I have to share a few great finds lately. First, check out Eco-Vegan Gal on YouTube, Facebook, and/or on Whitney Lauritsen has a passion for learning, as do I, about everything healthy and vegan. I've watched many of her videos and I feel she's giving out some solid information.

While on the topic of YouTube, there are so many great videos worth checking out. Just search "vegan" or "whole foods plant based" and you will find so many great videos. 

I also discovered Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. I'm not very far into the book yet, but I love it! Kris Carr provides a fun and very informative perspective on nutrition despite her challenges with cancer. Here is a description of the book from Kris Carr's website:

"Crazy Sexy Diet comes on the heels of Kris Carr’s best-selling cancer survival guidebooks and her acclaimed TLC documentary. Infused with her signature sass, wit and advice-from-the-trenches style, Crazy Sexy Diet is a beautifully illustrated resource that puts you on the fast track to vibrant health, happiness and a great ass!

Along with help from her posse of experts, Kris Carr lays out the fundamentals of her Crazy Sexy Diet: a low-glycemic, vegetarian program that emphasizes balancing the pH of the body with lush whole and raw foods, nourishing organic green drinks, and scrumptious smoothies. Plus, she shares the steps of her own twenty-one-day cleanse, and simple but delectable sample recipes.
In ten chapters with titles such as, “pHabulous,” “Coffee, Cupcakes and Cocktails,” “Make Juice Not War,” and “God-Pod Glow,” Kris empowers readers to move from a state of constant bodily damage control to one of renewal and repair. In addition to debunking common diet myths and sharing vital tips on detoxifying our bodies and psyches—advice that draws both on her personal experience as a cancer survivor and that of experts—she provides helpful hints on natural personal care, how to stretch a dollar, navigate the grocery store, eating well on the run, and working through the inevitable pangs and cravings for your old not-so-healthy life. Crazy Sexy Diet is a must for anyone who seeks to be a confident and sexy wellness warrior."

I think an evening of reading Crazy Sexy Diet sounds like a good idea to me. I hope to get up early tomorrow, make a chickpea scramble, maybe head to the beach, and take care of a happy puppy in the afternoon. Then on to school work on Sunday! I'm glad I've had two productive weekends the last couple weeks cleaning my patios, selling books, giving away clothes, and focusing on maintaining a simple, happy, healthy, minimalist lifestyle.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recipe Ideas

I'm officially 23 lbs lighter than I was in October 2012. I feel great and what I'm doing lately seems to be really working. I'm kicking up the vegetables and greens, eating smaller and more reasonable portions of grains and proteins, cutting out unnecessary fats, eating proteins and starches at separate meals (food combining!), and listening to my body.

In my efforts to be as healthy as I can be, I have been using variations of the recipes I've already posted on my blog. If you're looking for fresh ideas for vegan dinners, definitely check out Going Home to Roost which has a compilation of original recipes and recipes from other websites. I found the blog through Pinterest. Pinterest is another great tool worth checking out. I'm all about pictures and I use it all the time to get home and recipe ideas.

I might try a lighter version of this Summer Vegetable Curry from 101 Cookbooks tonight. Going Home to Roost recently featured this recipe and it's a perfect way to end the summer. I'll leave out the tofu since the starchy potato sounds really good!

Summer Vegetable Curry

Another great website worth checking out is My New Roots. The recipes and photos are incredible!

I've been reading so many nutrition books before school starts again (tomorrow!). Some of my favorite books as of late are:
  1. Whole by T. Colin Campbell
  2. The Starch Solution by John A. McDougall
  3. Healthy Eating, Healthy World by J. Morris Hicks
I've read several free books on my Kindle, but of course all the ones I really want to read have a price tag! Luckily, I can read a sample first to decide if I want to purchase the book or just go to the library. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Roasted Beet Salad

Mixed greens with roasted beets and thyme.

Sweet potato with zucchini, onions, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and micro greens.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tips and Tricks

The more I continue to educate myself on nutrition and food combining, the more I realize I need to treat my body well and refine my eating habits.

My latest trick to eat more greens is to fill my plate with arugula or any other green leaf and then put vegetables and either pasta, rice, or tofu on top. My favorite is whole-wheat pasta with an avocado pesto sauce and arugula. By doing this, I have the volume I'm used to, but with more greens and vegetables. I'm also eating a nice balance between cooked and raw food. 

Step 1: Add your greens to the plate. I like arugula and micro greens.

Step 2: Add your veggies and your protein or starch.

I'm already starting to feel better and thinner. I was at a plateau for many weeks and now it's time to kick start my health and weight loss again.

I've really enjoyed reading about food combining and I've had better luck finding information from Kindle books than websites. I realize I've been following nearly all of the food combining rules already, which is great! I recently read Kathryn Marsden's The Food Combining 2-Day Detox. I definitely recommend it. Kathryn Marsden talks about so much more than the detox. She also talks about reducing your exposure to toxins, getting rid of cellulite, how to be diet-wise, the rules of food combining, dealing with too much acidity in the body, how to look after your liver, taking care of your colon, food tips for traveling, and the benefits of pure essential oils. 

If you haven't watched the videos or checked out the food combining charts I posted in the last few days, I'll tell you the two major rules of food combining right now.
  1. Don't mix any major protein with starch (grains, potatoes, bread, etc) in the same meal
  2. Don't eat fruit in the middle of - or immediately after - a main meal. Enjoy it either as a between-meal snack or as a starter - in other words, on an empty stomach. Fruit passes through the system more quickly than protein or starch and is digested more efficiently if taken without other foods. - Marsden
 Other food combining tips:
  • Due to the water content, eat melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc) on their own and preferably first thing in the morning
  • Allow fruit to digest for 15 minutes before eating main meals
  • Wait 3 hours after eating a grain-based meal before you eat a protein-based meal
  • Allow 4 hours to digest a protein-based meal
  • Greens digest well with everything 
  • Try to keep meals simple for better digestion
  • Desserts can interrupt digestion and cause fermentation in the stomach. Try to wait a few hours (yes, a few hours!) before indulging yourself with a dessert.
  • Be sure to thoroughly chew your food
  • Try to incorporate chia or ground flax seeds into your diet each day for extra fiber and omega-3s. I add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia or flax seeds to smoothies or oatmeal each morning.  

That's it on food combining. I often eat fruit after a meal if I want something sweet, so I will definitely try to eat it before or on its own now! Being vegan, I don't often mix proteins with starches, so that won't be difficult. 

Happy Sunday!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Food Combining

I keep hearing and reading about the benefits of food combining, but I'm often left with more questions than answers. So what is food combining? Why is it beneficial? Is food combining just for people who experience stomach problems? What are the worst food combinations? Does it really improve digestive health?

I have always considered my digestive system quite healthy and happy. I assumed food combining wasn't for me, but wait! Proper food combining can actually increase the body's absorption of essential nutrients, improve digestive health, and increase energy.

Below are a few resources that answer some of my questions. These resources are intended to get you thinking, but are not backed by medical studies. I can say, however, that the food combining "rules" seem fairly consistent in all the articles I've read and the videos I've watched.

The Ten Rules of the Food Combining Diet
7 Food Combinations That WON'T Wreak Havoc on Your Health
Food Combining Chart

I guess that means I should have eaten the figs before the tofu scramble...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Red Wine Stew with Mashed Potatoes

What started off as an idea to make shepherd's pie, turned into a stew using plenty of red wine!

As soon as I could smell the red wine cooking away with the onions, mushrooms, and plenty of garlic, I knew where I was going. The recipe still needs tweaking since I was just winging it last night and very hungry, but it was really good and I have PLENTY of leftovers!

This stew is packed with onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, corn, peas, kidney beans, and a great Malbec I had on hand. Topped over mashed potatoes and served with a nice glass of red wine. 

I have a newfound love of freshly ground black peppercorns and I made sure to use plenty on this red potato and spinach dinner I made the other night. I can't remember the name of the red potatoes I picked up at the farmer's market last week, but these potatoes carry their reddish color throughout.

I was craving spinach, so I threw together red potatoes and black beans on one side of the plate and spinach, zucchini, and corn on the other. I topped the dish with avocado, cilantro, parsley, a little salt, and plenty of freshly ground pepper!

I'm pet-sitting for a couple weeks, so blog posts will be infrequent for a little while. Just when I really wanted to post a few things last night, I couldn't. Instead I read and skimmed some parts of The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. I definitely recommend the book!

Not to make this a dear diary moment, but the last couple weeks haven't been easy for me and I'm finally feeling like myself again. I think I lost my way for a short while and I felt like I was just waiting for things to happen (to be financially stable, meet the right guy, be healthy, happy, and naturally slimmer) when in reality I need to make these things happen.

So I've come to a few conclusions:
  1. The importance of creating limits and boundaries is key to becoming financially comfortable. I need to stick to my tight budget, stop splurging on things like coffee, and I need to live simply.
  2. This is my life and I need to stop waiting for something different or better to come along. Enjoy today.
  3. I need to set goals that I actively pursue and take steps now to achieve them.
I've written down many goals for myself and I will share some here in the event it inspires someone else who may be stuck in a rut.
  1. Be financially comfortable - In particular, I want to get rid of debt and save 15% of every paycheck (and don't touch again unless it's an emergency!)
  2. Expand pet-sitting business
  3. Complain less
  4. Be open to all positive opportunities 
  5. Be a minimalist
  6. Finish school
  7. Learn and create new recipes
  8. Travel even if it's just local
  9. Nurture my friendships
  10. Eat well now to be healthy, happy, and naturally slimmer