Monthly Archives: June, 2012

Are You Toxic?

Do you have trouble losing weight?

Do you have heartburn, frequent stomach aches, or digestive issues?

Is there a ringing in your ears? Watery, itchy eyes?

Have you suffered from depression, anxiety or irritability?

Do you have achy joints  muscles?

Headaches? Insomnia? Asthma?

Do you get sore throats or canker sores?

Do you have poor memory or concentration?

Sinus problems? Acne? Compulsive eating? Or frequent sickness?

Well doesn’t everybody deal with this stuff? No! These are signs that your body is toxic.

Warning: This is not sugar-coated. This is blunt.

I’m not just talking about the environment here. I’m talking about that crappy diet you keep eating.  Not just the fast food either.  We all know toxins are bad, since the whole cancer scare really hasn’t changed your habits maybe this will help.

Ever heard of DDT? It was banned in the 70’s for its severe toxicity.  It’s linked to diabetes and cancer. It also caused neurological abnormalities  in babies. Yea well, 100% of beef was found contaminated with DDT. 100 frickin’ percent! More than 90% of processed cheese, hot dogs, bologna, turkey and ice cream too. YUCK! DDT was also found in 70% of 4 year olds! Not their fault!

That’s only one toxin, not to mention that it has been banned in the US for more than 40 years, but we have also released 79,999 other new chemicals since the turn of the 20th century. Toxic shit storm!

Can you avoid all 80,000 of these completely? Probably not unless you put yourself in a bubble, which would probably be made from one of these chemicals anyway.

Not only does having all these toxins in our body cause cancer, which is not news to you I’m sure, but when we eat sugar and high-fructose corn syrup AND chemical toxins, we screw up our kidneys, our thyroid, our mitochondria, our immune system and our brain (neurotransmitters specifically). That causes weight gain and obesity and a whole host of other health problems.

Got a headache? Feeling depressed? Heartburn? Stop reaching for the medicine you’re only adding to the chemical shit storm already festering inside you. FIX THE PROBLEM. DETOXIFY!

What you can do is stop eating all the highly processed, chemical-laden foods. Start cooking! Let’s get this straight. If it comes from a factory, in a box, can or package it is processed.  Now you can still buy some of these foods.  Organic black beans in a can are ok.  Processed-meat (especially the ones I listed above) is a no-no. Read the ingredients. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t read it, don’t eat it! Eat as many whole foods, especially plant sources, as you possibly can!

Stop your toxic diet! Get healthy, be happy and you’ll be the hottest chick on your block!

Now for what I’ve been eating for my 30 day challenge.

Dinner last night: Taco Night.

Smoothie this morning: Berry Banana Smoothie.

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What I Eat & Recipes

Over the weekend I spent a lot of time explaining to people what I do for my work and sharing about my blog. I explained many times that I was doing a 30 day challenge for my blog and what it entailed.   And I got so many questions about what I was eating etc, etc. (I was at a graduation party on my fiance’s side and the only vegan thing there.. were carrot sticks and cucumbers haha)

Brett’s (my fiance) aunt was like you should give a meal by meal update so it can be duplicated so we can do it too! This is both awesome and very challenging (for me).  But for the last 6 days of my 30 Day Challenge I am going to do my best to do exactly that, while still sharing some good health info!

Alyssa this is dedicated to you. 🙂

What I Eat… so Far Today

I’m a little smoothied out and running out of fruit, so this morning I moved on over to the juicer! Juicing can be just as good and good for you as smoothies. They’re easier to drink and less filing, but you still get all the same phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Not only that but eliminating some of the fiber makes it easier for your body to absorb into your blood stream! This means quick energy, sort of like you might get from coffee.

Good Morning Delight

3 apples (any kind works)

1/2 a tomato

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

Juice those babies up and viola its a good morning delight! (sorry, I guzzled this bad boy down before I thought to take a picture) Now for my lunch…

Garlicky Asian Quinoa Stir-Fry

I always loved how flavorful the veggie stir fries at Chinese Restaurants are. It took me awhile to come up with a good home-made version. But this is quite delicious and full of flavor. 

This ingredient list looks long, but really its just a lot of different vegetables. You don’t have to use as many as I do.  I generally just take whatever is in my fridge and throw it in.  Use as many or as few as you like.

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

2/3 c quinoa

1 1/3 c water’

1/2 onion, 1 inch pieces

1 bell pepper (any color), 1 inch pieces

2 carrots, sliced

1 celery stalk, sliced

2 c. mushrooms, quartered

1 Tbsp hoisin

1/2 zucchini, cut lengthwise then sliced

1 ear of corn, taken off the cob

1 c fresh broccoli

3 tbsp rice vinegar

3 clove garlic, pressed/minced

1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

sea salt to taste

1.  In a sauce pan, add 1 tbsp EVOO. Then add garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika. You want to lightly fry the spices.

2. Add the quinoa and water. (You want to make sure you pre-soak your quinoa for a couple minutes before you cook it otherwise it won’t sprout.) Boil then simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on.

3. Meanwhile in a saute pan add 1 tbsp EVOO, onions, bell pepper, carrots, and celery.  Let them cook down a bit. Then add 1 Tbsp soy sauce and hoisin. Stir

4. Add zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, and corn.

5.  Mix in the rice vinegar, garlic and ginger. Stir and let cook until vegetables are coated and tender.

6. Lay down the quinoa on a plate and cover with the stir fry veggies. Garnish with fresh green onion if you like and enjoy!

Well my friends writing recipes wears me out! Please enjoy them! Alyssa, do try it. This is an easy-to-get-into-quinoa recipe!

I’ve got some hula-hooping to do and some pampering to do and a whole list of other things I should do as well!

Eat healthy, be happy, and rock  you’re hot body!

Diets Suck

I get my panties in a twist every time people start talking to me about dieting. I don’t eat this. I shouldn’t eat that. That’s not on my diet. I can’t find a diet that works.

THAT’S BECAUSE DIETS DON’T WORK!

AND THEY SUCK!

I work with my clients and just talk to people in general and I’ll give them recommendations of foods to ADD. Yet most still want to take out foods. Restrict foods. Create a list of bad foods.

Restricting foods or being on diets creates bad relationships with food. Trust me I know all about bad relationships when it comes to food. You tell yourself no cookies 10 times, but then the 11th time you eat the cookies, but instead of enjoying your cookie, you scarf it down like the faster you eat it the less likely it’s really happening.  Then, instead of one you have ten! Then you give yourself a hard time about how you suck at dieting and you don’t deserve to be skinny.

See the dilemma here. For every diet/restriction, there is an equal and greater BINGE.  (Funny how I write this in the middle of my 30 day challenge.. I’ll explain the difference)

Getting healthy or loosing weight is a gradual process. You have to slowly learn ways to replace your old food with new food that you love just as much. You have to know why you want to get healthy or why you want to lose weight. You have to appreciate where you’re at right NOW in order to get where you wish to be in the future.

There are some simple tricks. Following blogs can help you with ideas, and working with a health coach can give you the support and the advice you really need.

Tricks- replacing your favorite foods with healthy versions. When I first decided to go vegan… and we can argue about whether meat or dairy are good for you or not, but the truth is plants are good for you no matter what that argument is. So when I first went vegan I took some of my favorite foods and asked myself how I can make a vegan friendly version.

Chicken and noodle soup. Take out chicken, add more veggies. Take out chicken stock, add veggie stock. Take out milk, add soy milk.  Use whole wheat noodles.

Spaghetti.  Take out meat, add more mushrooms and zucchini.

Veggie soups, bean burritos, veggie stir fries. Vegan mashed potatoes- still my comfort food to this day. I could go on and on with things I did.

I bought a vegan ranch dressing. vegan mayo. vegan butter. hummus. salsa. Those 5 things made my life easy.  I wasn’t changing my food that much. I was just eating different versions of the stuff I always liked.

I wasn’t eating lettuce, carrot sticks, and tofu.  I was eating honest to goodness soulful foods. They were hearty and yummy. And I didn’t feel restricted one bit.

If you’re a sweets-loving person. Try this. You can eat whatever sweets you want… as long as you make them yourself- from scratch. I know personally  I will never attempt making oreo cookies from scratch, but strawberry pie- yes.

Diets suck. Diets don’t work. Diets ruin your relationship with food. We want to nourish our bodies, not deprive them.

Kick the diet and start eating!  Eat yourself skinny. I dare you! And remember- Eat healthy, be happy, and strut your hot stuff!

Sloppy Joe’s Like My Mom Did… Kinda

I recently ran into a recipe in a magazine for vegetarian sloppy joes.  Instantly I go back to being a kid and eating this messy sandwich. Across the table my little brother has sloppy joe covering half his face and dang near his whole arm.

It’s time to get messy!

The recipe I ran into had cheese and black beans, which Brett isn’t much a fan of beans.  I instead think quinoa! Because I seem to think quinoa is the answer to everything lately. And so, I act on this idea in a few days time and now with great success I wish to share it with you!

Sloppy Joe’s Like My Mom Did… Kinda

When I cook traditional foods like this, I like to keep it as close to the flavor as what I grew up eating, which is why I gave it the name that I did. Only this bad boy is vegan!

1/2 c. red quinoa

1 c water

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

Extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tbsp)

salt and pepper

6 oz tomato sauce

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Dill pickle, garnish

Cilantro, minced, garnish

1. Cook the quinoa in water with cayenne and paprika for 20 minutes or until quinoa is sprouted.

2. Meanwhile saute the onion and bell pepper in some olive oil.

3. Add the cooked quinoa, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar. Stir until it is heated through.

Take some dill pickle slices and chop them up.  Mince some cilantro as well. These 2 things will really give this sloppy joe that wow factor. YUM YUM.

Put it all together on a bun and enjoy! Beware, it’s as messy as I remember it being 🙂

Eating these made the little kid inside me happy. It was messy. It was delicious.  I haven’t touched meat in more than 4 years so this to me- I could have sworn was the same thing my momma served me.

What are your favorite childhood foods?

Have you recreated them to be vegetarian/vegan friendly?

Please share! In the meantime live healthy, be happy, and go about your hot self!

The Best Thing I Ate All Week

The best thing I ate all week…

Fresh peaches! Oh my lanta.  The smell of a ripe peach when you put it to your nose. When you bite into it and the juices are gushing down your face. The juicy peach is making you feel like a kindergartener with a piece of watermelon! I literally had peach juice running down my arms, it was  so juicy!

<I felt like this cute little guy 🙂

If you haven’t eaten a fresh peach in the last week, seriously what are you waiting for?!  🙂

So I found myself saying “best thing I ate all week” after I devoured my first peach in a long time.  I thought to myself why does this sound familiar. Bobby Flay’s show The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  From now on every Friday (my intentions) I will share with you the best thing I ate all week!

Now that I have a new love for peaches, I wanted to know more. Here are some fun facts about the peach.

The Chinese have a saying “longevity peach” because they believed peaches prolonged life.  They may be right. Peaches are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Beta-carotene, lytein, and lycopene are 3 types of anti-oxidants found in peaches (and  they give them they’re pretty color).  So not only are they tasty but with these 3 bad boys, peaches can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and muscular degeneration.  To add to the glory of the peach, Pop-Eye may have done it the hard way.  A peach has almost as much iron as spinach!

Peach or spinach? That’s easy! (Not that I don’t love my greens)

The best thing I ate all week was a big ripe juicy peach! Enjoy, but make sure you have a napkin though! 🙂

Vegan on the Go

I grew up in an Indiana town. (Sung with Tom Petty’s Mary Jane’s Last Dance) 🙂 Sometimes I get so frustrated living in the Midwest because being vegetarian can be challenging, but being vegan is like being an alien.  If you’re from the Midwest you know what I’m talking about. If not, I envy you. 

These last 13 days being vegan has really made me appreciate the “diet” the way I used to.  I’ve been asking myself why I fell off the vegan bandwagon in the first place.  All I hear back is all the excuses I used to make. “I’m not home enough.” “It’s just too hard when I’m working” “If my friends would stop eating cheese I wouldn’t have this problem” “My family puts cheese in everything” etc. etc.

Well you know what? I’m over those days. I’ve been hanging out with my friends more these last 2 weeks than I ever have in the last 4 years.  Being with friends means going out to eat more. Now I’m a huge believer in home-cooked meals and would never complain if someone banded me from eating out ever again, but this is real life. We have friends; we socialize; we entertain; we…. eat out!

Vegan Friendly Dining

1. Panera Bread.  Cliche maybe, but there are 3 things that are vegan straight from the menu.  Pesto veggie soup, black bean soup, and the classic cafe salad. I’m sure you can have your way with any of the salads and a few of the sandwiches too.

2. Red Robin. Shhh don’t tell. But seriously every now and then I get a craving for those big fat burgers! Not the ones with actual meat, but just a big messy burger-esque sandwich.  Red Robin has vegan burgers that you can sub on any of their burger options. I asked for them to special make mine, ya know sauteed onions but not in butter… and they were totally cool! They also have one called, keep it simple, and it’s all vegan.

3. Taco Bell/Mexican. Yes my dear friends dragged me to taco bell. Not something I like to admit, but I was thinking about it and I think it’s really important for new vegetarians/vegans to know that it is out there. Taco Bell you can get a bean burrito fresco with no cheese. It’s pretty good for $.99.  And almost any mexican restaurant you can get veggie fajitas with salsa and guacamole and be the happiest little vegan ever!  Do be careful ordering refried beans or rice.  The refried beans are often cooked with lard. And the rice is often made with a chicken stock. Just ask to be sure. (The ones at taco bell are lard free believe it or not.)

4. Italian Restaurants. Pick your pasta. Add your marinara or red sauce or sometimes a white wine sauce. Load in the veggies.  Skip the cheese. Easy.  🙂

Don’t be a clammed up vegan. Get out there. Eat and be merry.

What are you’re favorite vegan meals out?

As a little bonus, I want to give you an update on my challenge.  First, I’m still a little salad challenged. Second, I have a new favorite smoothie. I call it blueberry pomagranite slam. Third, I’ve lost 2 pounds being vegan! I’m 5 foot and 112 pounds. It’s a big deal. And I feel great! Fourth, I LOVE hula-hooping. I’m spreading the trend everywhere I go. Check it out.

I’m Falling In Love

I had a moment as I was driving down the road. Apparently I come to most of my epiphanies while driving.  But, I did. I had a moment of just pure happiness and love and comfort and contentment.  I’m thing to myself, “I’m falling back in love with me!

”  

I got so excited! Thoughts just came rushing in my head; you’re happy, you’re getting married; you have great friends; you spend time with them; you have tons of fun; you’re doing what you love; you’re organized; you look great. Oh my gosh Maddi, this is the girl you remember and missed!

I know it sounds funny to say I’m falling in love with myself, but it’s true, or perhaps more accurately I’m falling back in love with myself. There is no one else on earth that I would trade my life for theirs.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have plenty of things in my life that are not so peachy. I promise you I do. But the good things are so much better than any of the bad things.  For instance, I’m poorer than I’ve been my entire life right at this moment, but I am at one of the happiest times of my life, if not the happiest.  I’m ok with that.

It breaks my heart to be leaving the company I worked with for the past 4 years, but that’s what I’m in the process of doing, and I don’t think I could say all this if I was still there full time. But I learned so much. I became this confident business woman. I overcame my fear of public speaking. I learned how to build a business from nothing. AND I learned that you, as a person, always need to be looking for ways to grow yourself. Thank you for that.

I think if you’re reading my blog, you’re probably already doing that yourself, but I ran across this in my school journal. I really believe that finding your happiness and falling in love with yourself is about finding your passion and knowing you’re right where you are supposed to be.

TRY THIS: Using all your talent and passion, what is one big contribution you would like to make to the world? Describe it in detail. Who  would be touched by your contribution and how would it affect them? How would it feel to make this contribution?

Me? I want to change the world. I want people to stop falling ill to heart disease and cancer and Alzheimer’s and diabetes and MS and osteoporosis and on and on. I want children not to suffer from diabetes, obesity, ADD, depression, anxiety, or especially cancer.

The studies are out there for plant-based eating. I’m here to spread the word and share the wealth of good health. That’s my intention every time I write, and every morning I wake up.

I’m living my passion, I’m eating my passion, I’m speaking my passion, and now I’m falling in love with me. I’m happy. I’m healthy. And darn it I’m hot too!

What is your passion?

What are you doing about it?

What do you need to fall in love with you?

Do the exercise and find out.

Old-Fashion Taco Night Goes Vegan

I can remember one of my favorite dinners when I was young being taco night. My mom would just put out an array of stuff; meat, chicken, refried beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, tortillas, hard tortillas, lettuce, rice, and whatever else fit. Then we would make our own tacos and be merry.

Well taco night is still one of my favorite dinners.  It’s still just as easy as when my mom did it and don’t tell her this, but it tastes even better. That’s one thing about going vegetarian or vegan is you get really good at adding REAL flavors and spices to your food. (Not that chicken and cheese aren’t flavorful, but come on…)

How to make the switch

Quinoa instead of meat.

I use red quinoa, because it kind of looks like ground beef. Then just add taco seasoning while its cooking out the water. I also add some diced onions, but I don’t think its a must.  Just read your ingredient labels carefully when buying taco seasoning.  It should just list different spices like paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, etc. No artificial junk.  You can also make your own if you know how, but if not, this works easy-peazy, lemon-squeezy.

Veggies instead of chicken.

My mom used to always make fajita style chicken.  Instead I do fajita style veggies. Generally you can just use onions and bell peppers, but usually I add zucchini and mushrooms. Cut the zucchini in strips like you would the onions and peppers. Let them cook down in some EVOO. Then add sliced mushrooms. Add a little cayenne pepper, and sea salt. Done.

Guacamole  instead of sour cream and cheese.

Guacamole has that creamy texture that I sometimes miss about sour cream, but it’s loaded with good vitamins and minerals and fats unlike the sour cream. When guacamole is done right (I say this because I’ve had a lot of bad guacs) it has just as much flavor if not more.  All you need is fresh cilantro, fresh lime, sea salt and fresh pressed garlic. And avocado of course.

Ramp up your fixings

Instead of the old fashion iceberg lettuce use  a spring mix or baby spinach or whatever your favorite is.  Heat up some vegetarian refried beans (no lard people). Put out your favorite salsa. Cut up some fresh tomatoes.  Grab your corn or whole grain tortillas.  Sometimes I just do tostadas or hard shell tacos. And let’s have a Mexican Fiesta!

(I made a delicious corn salsa! I’d tell you about it but I just made it up and I wasn’t paying attention to what I did or how much I used… oops. The magic of cooking!)

For those of you doing the salad challenge. I’m using the leftover toppings for my salad this afternoon 🙂

Well it’s awfully nice out today. I think it’s time to put on the bikini, get some rays, and hula hoop!

I bid you a healthy, happy, and hot farewell!

Banana Berry Smoothie Meets Garlic Bread

Five days complete in my 30 day challenge! It’s been going great!  I have so many things I want to share with you!  That’s what I get for waiting 5 days before posting :/ You’ll forgive me though, right?!

I promised you my veggie lasagna that’s so good you’ll never miss the traditional stuff… well turns out I didn’t buy lasagna noodles. whoops! I ended up making Veggie Stuffed Shells that once I get pictures, I will share.  But for now.. First thing is first!

Banana Berry Smoothie

I love the color of this smoothie.  It reminds me of grape soda 🙂

1 banana, peeled

1/4 c. almond milk

6 large strawberries

1/2 c. blueberries

1 handful spinach (or other leafy green)

1 Tbsp flax seeds

1/2 c.  ice

Add it all to your blender. Blend until smooth. Then enjoy!

Tip: I add banana and ice to almost every smoothie I make. Banana adds the creamy texture you’re looking for and ice makes it cold.

Salad Challenge

I’ll admit I’m still a little salad challenged, but let me share with you what’s been getting me through it.

1. Organic Spring Mix. This is chock full of more than 10 good-for-you greens including; arugula, spinach, beet greens, radicchio, endive, tango, red chard, and the list goes on. Those are just the ones I remember.

2. NUTrition.  This little mix here has almonds, pistachios, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and granola. (I might be missing something, but who cares!) This stuff is so yummy. I’ve just been throwing it on top of my salads for some crunch and a yummy healthy kick. This right here is for the lazy salad maker! (ie: me!) Give it a try! Oh, and it’s great as a to-go snack by itself.

Now I did tell you I made Veggie Stuffed Shells instead of lasagna, since I can’t share that recipe with you just yet, I’ll give you one better. The real star of the show.

Guilt Free Garlic Bread

The trick here is you want to go to the bakery and buy a whole grain loaf. Any kind, Italian, French, whatever. WHOLE GRAIN.  Traditionally my mom made this with the sweet Italian bread, but we’re giving it that healthy ramp and going vegan with this bad boy!

1 loaf whole grain bread

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 c. Earth Balance buttery spread

(This is a vegan butter, I generally just call it butter)

3 cloves garlic, pressed

1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, rough mince

1. Combine EVOO, butter, and garlic in a bowl. (I do recommend a garlic press for this. You can see mine in the picture, but it allows the garlic to combine with the butter rather than be big clumps that I chopped up.) Mix until smooth. I just use a fork for this.

2. Turn your oven on to broil. Then continue to cut your bread into slices. Like above. Spread the garlic butter evenly over each piece.

3. Sprinkle with your fresh chopped cilantro. (Picture was taken at this step!)

4. Broil for about 3 minutes or until golden brown or butter is melted and bread is crispy!

I also use this same recipe for crutons, just cooked a little longer!

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. I’ll continue in my 30 day challenge. Good luck to those of you joining me!

In case you were wondering my hula-hooping skills are getting much better! haha 🙂

What are you waiting for?! Get  Healthy, Happy, and Hot! Eat these delicious foods!

My 30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenge?! That’s right. I was inspired reading Angela’s post on Oh She Glows about the 30 day salad challenge. I, like her, tend to fall off the salad bandwagon. There’s something I always find more satisfying about a warm cooked meal, BUT it’s summer and it’s salad time!

Green smoothieIn addition to the salad challenge, I’ve added a couple of things. I’m going to do a smoothie (or juice) challenge as well. I pretty much always have one in the morning anyway, but I really want to challenge myself to discover some new smoothies and experiment more. I get stuck with my favorites. Oops 🙂 So, one smoothie/juice a day.  Click the picture for my favorite recipe!

I’ll be sharing the new and good ones with you!

I’ve been a bit of a lazy vegan lately (not that I claim to be a full vegan). That darn cheese pizza just seems to always gets me!  So I’ve added that I will be completely vegan as well. I love eating this way. This is just my promise to myself not cheat or be lazy for 30 days.

On tonight’s menu Veggie Lasagna! It’s so good you’ll never miss the traditional stuff.  I’ll share the recipe with you tomorrow!

All right now for my last little bit. You’re going to love this! I am going to hula hoop. Yes hula hoop! For 20 minutes everyday! Haha! Don’t laugh at my picture! I was inspired by my brother’s girlfriend, who reintroduced me to this childhood pastime. This is a killer core exercise. Not only that, but I kind of suck at it right now and I’m determined to get good at it! But seriously, you can do this in your living room! And you’ll be the coolest,hottest person on your block! 🙂

Care to join me in my 30 Day Challenge!? Do one part or all parts or just your favorite parts!

But I’m going to need some help!

What is your favorite salad recipe?   Favorite smoothie?   Vegan recipe?

Here’s to a healthy, happy, and hot June! Strut your stuff!