Monthly Archives: August, 2012

The Traveling Vegetarian

You may have noticed the scarcity in my post over the past couple weeks.  Well dear friends I do have a good excuse for my

absence. I have been traveling for quite some

time now.  When my brother and really good friend moved out to the east coast, it seemed like only the right time to make the trip.  So here I am in Freeport, Maine taking in this beautiful scenery and enjoying the calm laid back life-style.

I started  my trip in Newark, Delaware where my brother moved for his job. This adorable college town made me go yippy-skippy with all it’s vegetarian menu options.  I was astounded.  Not even the best choices back in Indiana even come close to what I had discovered in this town. Home Grown Cafe is a local restaurant that makes all their dishes from local produce.  Almost everything on the menu had a star next to it saying it could be made vegetarian AND a double star for vegan.  Holy cow, a restaurant that actual caters to us plant-eaters. I was falling head over heels in love.

I would also like to take a moment to celebrate one of the most wonderful foods I discovered so far on this trip. Chili Mashed.  I found this lovely side dish at another local restaurant in Newark, Santa Fe Mexican Grill.  If you haven’t figured this out yet, I love my mashed potatoes. I don’t know if it’s an Indiana thing, a Midwest thing, I don’t know, but I do love mashed potatoes.  These Chili Mashed weren’t just your ordinary mashed potatoes. I mean what Mexican restaurant serves mashed potatoes anyway?!These things were mashed and infused with a spicy chili. Nothing super hot, just velvety potatoes with a little kick. A little kick that had me coming back the next day just for this particular treat.  My taste buds were in heaven yet again! I cannot wait to try to recreate these bad boys when I get home!

(I wish I had a picture of these Chili Mashed Potatoes, the restaurant was just too dark)

Next stop Philadelphia

My dear brother probably found the one thing that would get me excited more than all this vegetarian food and culture, a Sublime concert! While there’s nothing healthy about that, it certainly made me one happy chick!

(I made it all the way to the 2nd row. I was stoked)

While in Philly, after the concert, a lost debit card, and a little too much beer,  my brother showed me the ultimate vegan late-night food. A tomatoe pie topped with arugula!  While first making a stop by the greatest bar I discovered which was hosting a mustache party and claims to be Home of the Pickleback, we then made it to some pizza joint which I can’t recall ha! For this!

      

Right: Tomato pie with arugula.  Left: Sign in the bar claiming home of the pickleback, which is a shot of Jameson followed by pickle juice for a chaser. Delish!

I should make a quick shout out, before moving on, to my brother, Kodi. Thank you for being the greatest travel/eating buddy I could imagine.  For you veggies and vegans, I highly recommend finding another like you.  It makes eating on vacation a luxury rather than gluttony.

Now for my extremely long trip to Maine

Let’s start off by explaining exactly what this entails.  At 9am I took a train from Wilmington, Delaware to Philadelphia.  Then waited 3 hours for a bus from Philly to New York City. Then I had to walk nearly 2 miles to a different bus stop in NYC to take a bus to Boston.  Where I waited for an hour for a bus that I was pretty sure wasn’t coming, so bought a last minute ticket with a different bus company to Portland, Maine, where my uncle picked me up at 12:10am. There will be a post on this particular day that I will call Fear and Loathing.

Anyway, I really didn’t leave the bus stations in Philly or Boston for fear of missing my bus or getting lost.   However, in NYC I had no choice but to do some exploring (finding the next station).  I don’t stray too far from the route my GPS has planned out for me, but I walk by a little shop on the corner that says Juices and Smoothies on the outside.  I’m interested. I walk in, and they do indeed have green juices and fruit smoothies, plus a salad bar and a sandwich station. All look delicious, but I’m so dang excited that I can actually order a REAL smoothie!  Not some fake sugar crap blended with some fake fruit for some fake ass smoothie. Pardon my language, but that’s how I genuinely feel. So, I create my own. My favorite. Banana, pineapple, spinach, orange, and blueberries. Gosh dang it, I couldn’t keep the glee of my face. I had gone without fresh juice or a smoothie for 7 days until then!

Now I had one more mission with my short time in NYC.  I wanted to answer THE question. Which is better Chicago style pizza or NY style pizza?  So I sit in this little juice shop, a gentleman sits down next to me and I’m thinking he’s got to know where I can find some good NY pizza. He’s got to. He’s got the accent. Haha. I work up my nerve half way through my smoothie. He says in his NY accent, “Ohh yea, 2 blocks up here, it’ll be on your left. Big sign says #12 pizza in New York.” I smile excited that it’s on my way so I won’t have to get lost in this gigantic city. I make my way up the street, eyes peeled for a sign boasting good pizza. I eventually see one.  Though, I’m not so sure it was the one he was telling me about, but I’m too fearful of getting lost and missing my bus.  So I duck my way into this pizza joint. Pizzas line the counter. I look at all my options.  I consider the veggie pizza and decide that just a plain piece of cheese pizza will probably give me the best means to decide, Chicago or NY?  I get this beautiful, huge piece of cheese pizza. Thin crust, but not too thin, cheese melted evenly across the whole thing. I hold up this masterpiece nearly above my head so I can take a first bite and I know the answer.  A slightly sweet tomato sauce, goey cheese, perfectly fired crust.  New York style pizza takes the cake… or pie?!

Once I hit Maine, I was so darn tired.  I spent 13 hours that day, sitting, waiting, walking, going from trains to buses after buses. In my head though, there was one thing I knew I couldn’t wait for… to cook my own meal!  That next morning despite having gone to bed late, the sun woke me up at 8am, and I scooted by butt to the kitchen.  I scoured the cabinets. I had one thing on my mind. Potatoes. I wanted MY homefries for breakfast and what do you know! I found them. I cooked my own food for the first time in what felt like a month, and it was pure delight. 🙂

  

 

Left: MY home fries. Made with red potatoes, yellow bell pepper, and shitake mushrooms sprinkleds with salt, pepper, and garlic powder! (Though at home I use fresh garlic)

Right: The street my brother lives on in Newark, Delaware. That’s him to the left.

Wilmington, Delaware. This is the city my brother works in. It was full of these adorable quaint little buildings. I wish I had gotten to spend some more time here. 😦

Cheers to more traveling! I’ll be hitting Boston soon 🙂

PS whoever said you can’t be healthy, happy, and hot while traveling is seriously misinformed!

Enough With the Protein Concern

As a vegetarian, the one thing you can be sure of is that someone, somewhere, likely more often than you’d like will ask you, “Where do you get your protein from?”  And as the educated vegetarian you are, you sigh, and silently ask yourself why people are so ignorant about food and nutrition, but then smile and respond kindly, “You know I get that question all the time, but I get it from nuts, legumes, beans, grains, veggies, and my favorite quinoa!”

Actually I didn’t always respond so kindly.  I used to be very defensive about my way of eating and very annoyed by how little people know about food and nutrition.

Now please understand that my annoyance is because I am so passionate about getting people healthy and I KNOW that the number one answer for 90% of health concerns out there is to fix what you’re eating. For me, becoming vegetarian(vegan at the time) fixed all my health concerns. Really though, it’s simply adding “real” food into your life: fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, etc. and getting rid of the “fake” foods. Think anything in a box, can, or package: swiss cake rolls, hot dogs, lunchables, ravioli, Campbell’s soup, macaroni and cheese, etc. Becoming vegetarian or vegan just demands this switch from “fake” food to “real” food.

Now for this protein concern.

Let’s start with the basics here. If you are eating a 2000 calorie diet (you do not need to be counting calories by the way, but that is a whole other can of worms to talk about) you need 10-15% of those from protein.  Ok, so that’s 50-65 grams of protein each day. Seems like a lot right?

Not hardly! My vegetarian breakfast this morning had nearly 30 grams of protein in it! More than half of what I need for a whole day and that’s without bacon, sausage, ham, or any other kind of meat! And let’s be honest I’m a 5 ft tall girl. I’m sure I don’t need 2000 calories a day or 50 grams of protein.  I personally only need about 40 grams. I’m basically set for the day!

If I go back to my meat-eating days, my breakfast would have been an egg, ham, and cheese sandwich.  Follow that up with a turkey sandwich for lunch with chips and chicken breast for dinner with some rice-a-roni and broccoli and cheese.  That’s nearly 75 grams of protein. Almost double what a teenage girl my size should eat.  And let’s not even look at the lack of fruits and vegetables.

Ok, actually that’s exactly what I intend to do.  Why all the protein fuss? Why?! For the average American, that is the last thing they should worry about.  Now if you lived in a 3rd world country, protein should probably be a concern. However, that’s not the case here.  If you’re eating meat or cheese based food at all your meals that’s 50-70 grams easy.  Then we’ve got people drinking 1-3 protein shakes with it. That’s more than 100 grams of protein, but where are all the fruits and veggies?

So what’s the big deal?  Too much of a good thing? Yes, that’s what I’m saying. Eating excess protein causes digestive issues.  When your digestive system doesn’t work properly you store fat.  Not to mention the research on animal protein and cancer growth is a little scary. (Check out The China Study) You could be a work-out machine, chugging down protein shakes and eating a shload of animal protein AND actually getting fatter, sicker and still building muscles at the same time!

What’s the alternative?  Stop worrying about protein consumption. You’re getting enough. Really! Start worrying about getting enough veggies and fruits and other plant foods. Yes, plant-based is always my answer. That doesn’t mean you need to go vegetarian, but there are so many plant-based protein sources out there. What’s great is they’re also packed with the vitamins and minerals you find in fruits and veggies (because they’re plants too!).

Examples. Quinoa. Nut butters like peanut, almond, or hazelnut.  Almond or soy milk.  Nuts and seeds, especially hemp seeds.  Two slices of whole grain bread have 10 grams of protein.  Beans. Make a bean and rice burrito and get 17 grams there.  So many bean options, like hummus. YUM! 1 cup of cooked spinach equals 13 grams, but less than 100 calories. Seriously, there are so many plant sources of protein!!!!!

Try this! Instead of the old-fashion whey protein powder in the can (yes, whey is an animal protein) put a banana, a big scoop of peanut (or other nut) butter, some flax or hemp seeds, a handful of spinach or kale leaves, some cooked oats, almond milk, and some berries in a blender.  This will make a protein packed smoothie using REAL foods instead of some powder in a can! 🙂

It’s vegetarian. It’s vegan. It’s good for you. In fact it will fight off half the diseases out there and help you build muscle! Tell me that won’t make one happy, healthy, and hot… chick, dude, grandma, whoever?!

So, Enough with the protein concern!

What are your favorite plant-based sources of protein?

Any good protein-packed smoothies to share?

My dear friend, Taylor, also a health coach, wrote this article! I agree with her on so many levels! Rather than rehash it. I thought I would give you a chance to read it from Taylor’s perspective!

Cheers and thanks Taylor!

A Beautiful Morning + Recipe

What is the most beautiful morning to you?

Do you know what I mean?  For me, it’s waking up without any alarms blasting in my ears, yet not in the middle of the day either.  Those mornings when you went to bed at a decent hour and just naturally woke up as the sun started shining into your bedroom window.  Yeaaa that starts it for me.

Having enough time to do what you’d like to before leaving.  Not rushing.  Cooking a warm and healthy breakfast matched with fresh made juice. Making yourself a homemade avocado facial.  Doing some yoga in the morning sun.  Taking a warm relaxing shower.  Then taking the time to curl your hair and pick out a cute outfit.

A beautiful morning. How often do you give yourself a beautiful morning? Can’t remember? Well, maybe it’s time. I realize not everyone can do this daily or regularly, but can you do it one morning a week? A Saturday or Sunday? Go in to work an hour later than usual.

Let me tell you, I haven’t done this in a while.  I sort of lost it.  I DID do it today! My oh my, what a difference I feel with my life right now.  Taking care of yourself is so important!  Not just eating right, but treating your self right, with care.

I’ll share all the wonderful things from my beautiful morning.

Sweet Potato Home Fries and Greens with Mashed Avocado

Cut a sweet potato into cubes, like home fries. Then dice up half of a medium onion of your choice. I used a white onion. Put a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a heated saute pan. Throw in your sweet potatoes and onion. Add some salt and pepper to taste.  Cover it with a lid.

Meanwhile, mash up half an avocado with a fork.  (Save like a tablespoon of it though. You’ll see why ;))

Add some salt to your avocado.  I added a little bit of lime and cilantro too 🙂

When it’s almost cooked, about 20 minutes, sprinkle on some dried rosemary and add a handful of spinach or other green.  Stir. Cook until greens are wilted.

Looks Yummy!  And Healthy!

Cucumber, Apple, Orange Juice

Pretty simple. Just juice a cucumber, a green apple and an orange. YUM YUM!

Eat your breakfast in peace.   I like to dip my home fries in the avocado. It’s much healthier than my other favorite, BBQ sauce.

I had these beautiful flowers to admire while I ate.  I bought them for myself, but that doesn’t make a difference 😉  They’re still beautiful.

Avocado Facial 

I’ve shared this with you before, but take that left over avocado I had you save and mash it up really well.  Then smear it on your face! Leave it there for about 20 minutes and wash with warm water 🙂

It doesn’t look pretty but your skin will feel oh so good!

What do you like to do in the mornings to take care of yourself?

What gets your day started off right?

As always, be healthy, be happy, and wear it like a hot babe!

Lazy Cooking

I love cooking… most days.  Some days, the last thing I want to do is prepare a freakin’ meal.  I’m sure you’ve been there, or maybe you’re there most days. Hey, totally get it.  But let’s be honest, whatever you’re thinking about throwing in the microwave is just not good for you. Microwavable foods may be the worst thing we’ve ever created to eat, so just hold that thought…

Be prepared, this is easy!

All you need is a knife and some tin foil… and your oven… or grill.

My mom used to do this with potatoes. Well you can do it with any veggie out there.  Don’t want to do any chopping? Hey, grab a bag of the mixed frozen veggies, or pre-cut ones from the store. I won’t tell.

Take your cut up veggies and lay them on decent sized piece of tin foil.

Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil, some sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Seriously that’s all you need.

If you’re feeling fiesty, add garlic or lemon, or whatever is looking good in your spice cabinet. Cumin! Curry! Cayenne! Whatever, it’s  your dinner!

Now to finish this.  Lift the two sides of foil together and wrap it. Then wrap the ends in and you’ve got a foil packet.

Put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Depending on what kind of veggies you’re cooking this may take a  little less or a little more time in the oven.

I did this with potatoes a couple times last week! Got great reviews from my friends!

Sweet potatoes and potatoes is my favorite mix!

Asparagus works great!

Or a whole mix of your favorites! Broccoli, cauliflour, carrots, onions, peppers, take your pick!

No dirty dishes! Just dump it on your plate and enjoy!

Now go be lazy, healthy, happy and hot!