Health

Let’s Make That Workout Happen

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let’s face it: When you’re just out there running for fun, it’s a lot easier to get “bored” with running than if you’re motivated by a race, or weight loss, or have some crazy deal where you get paid per mile you run(If I had a deal like that, I’d be out there all day). The truth is it’s just hard to love a tough workout 100% of the time. Here is how I get workout-ready in my morning.

I always start the day with a big breakfast, workout or not. My perfect trifecta is oatmeal for fiberous carbs, peanut butter(cinnamon raisin swirl PB & Co. here) for healthy fat, and greek yogurt for protein. To be completely honest, I don’t love Greek yogurt here always; a lot of days I’d be happiest with 2 huge bowls of oatmeal and nut butter. But greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and protein. And starting your day with protein has been shown to boost metabolism and curb you late-night hunger. I can certainly scoop some Fage for that.

When I know I’m about to run, I always steal some chocolate from my stash. Call it a bribe; it’s as natural as putting on my shoes. “Rituals” lie this can keep you on a regular exercising route.

Today, my workout motivation as music. I just downloaded Telephone(I know, I’m terribly behind) and Love On The Inside by Sugarland and made a big playlist out of them. I definitely couldn’t have gone so far without that energy pumping through me. For some, it’s music. Other times, it’s whatever’s on the TV at the gym. And, of course, there’s always the beautiful nature of the outdoors. Whatever it is, distractions can be some of the greatest ways to make a cardio workout enjoyable.

Afterwards, it’s important to hydrate. In fact, I plan this beforehand by sticking water and anything else I might want in the fridge and knowing just where it is to grab it to drink while doing stretches. Without stretches, the next workout might not be as enjoyable…

And, of course, you need to refuel. There was a lot of hype last Summer about chocolate milk being the “perfect drink”. Really, what you need is food. Drinking carbs is certainly one way to get energy back in to your system. That just doesn’t fit me, personally. For myself, I made a “dream salad”(as in, I dreamed this up all run long): Spinach, avocado with lemon juice, sauteed onions, and toasted cashews. If this doesn’t work for you, feel free to go back to the chocolate milk.

And it never hurts to have a little more running motivation. Sundae Friday, anyone?

No matter how difficult it is, there is nothing that tastes better than homemade ice cream. Can you see the vanilla bean specks and thick chunks of organic dark chocolate? Maybe I got hit by a car on my run and went to heaven and don’t know it yet.

Flash forward to 2 hours later when I hadn’t sat down at all and realized it was one of those 2-lunch days.  Now I’m relaxing with oatmeal and cashew butter and a pineapple Chobani. Glorious, no? I’ve been trying to churn up a real good dessert. It’s been a battle so far; we’ll see how it comes out tonight. We’ll see…

How do you stay motivated to work out?

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How To Break A Bottomless Pit Day With 1 Move

Posted on May 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The only thing I hate more than having a bottomless pit day is realizing that I’m having one and obsessing over it. I see the same in a lot of healthy living blogs I read. To be fair, I can’t sympathize on how much it sucks to take pictures of snack after snack and post them for people who like to show all they eat(I do about 98% but every now and again I’ll grab an undocumented handful of baby carrots or something). But I haven’t had one in a long time, and I don’t think I will again, because I’ve got the one trick that breaks the bottomless pit feeling: Eat a meal.

If you’re hungry enough for a meal, even if it’s right after one or it’s not really a normal meal time, put down the apple you think might help your hunger and make something solid. Right after this post, I threw together a kitchen sink salad.

Caprese Chickpea Salad With Seasoned White Potato

Caprese Chickpea Salad With Seasoned White Potato

The “caprese” part of this was grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and raw probiotic mozzarella. With that were chickpeas and a quartered white potato. Delicious, no? Absolutely. Except it wasn’t all I needed after my run. Enter lunch #2:

Sweet And White Potato Homefries, Scrambled Eggs

Sweet And White Potato Homefries, Scrambled Eggs

After this, I felt much better, and like I had beaten my bottomless pit day. A simple mix of onion, sweet potato, and white potato in some olive oil and salt came out perfect. And between my vegan baking and the general lack of egg love, we have a ton(read: 2 dozen) of old eggs to use, so I did my part and ate a couple scrambled in all that oniony love. I guess it’s no surprise we have so many eggs when neither the ice cream nor the brownies I make call for them…

Vegan Chocolate Chip Blondie With Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

Vegan Chocolate Chip Blondie With Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

That would be an extra special blondie under a mountain of raw chocolate chip ice cream. J’adore this ice cream but I can’t wait to try new recipes by Gina once there’s room in my freezer! I continued to support that cause…

Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

For dinner I had one huge craving to satisfy: steak. We served steak on Sunday night to our guests and had plenty of leftovers, but I really try to only eat grass-fed or local beef. It was worth waiting and pushing aside the craving until I could satisfy it with exactly what I wanted.

Grass Fed Steak With Caramelized Onions Over Asparagus And Arugala

Grass Fed Steak With Caramelized Onions Over Asparagus And Arugala

Oh my goodness, was this delicious. I’m pretty sure this was the fattiest cut of beef possible, but–hell–I took it and it did perfect. And considering a pound of the steak cost $7 while an entree at Tomasso’s of local beef is $24, I see big savings here.

What have you been craving of late? For me, it was the beef. Of course, now that I’ve discovered my love for onions cooked down in any and every fat, any excuse to eat more of those is also welcomed. Just beware of my breath.

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My And Rachael Ray’s Best Friend

Posted on May 17, 2010. Filed under: Health | Tags: , |

Before I dive into today’s subject, a quick recap from the weekend:

Today I’ve gone to my old high school’s graduation. I can’t wait to see the entire class I used to know, only younger, and all my old teachers. This reminds me of when I went back to my elementary school; I’m sure it will feel weird at first but be a blast in the end. Have you ever gone back to old places? Did things change or stay the same?

In the mean time, I wanted to draw your attention to something I can not live without: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or, as RR would say, EVOO.

First of all, what is it? Extra virgin olive oil is the oil from the first pressing of freshly picked, raw olives. It’s a dietary fat liquid at room temperature which contains 14% saturated fat, mostly monounsaturated fats, and about a 1:15 omega 3:omega 6 ratio. Extra virgin has the most pungent flavor and is the least refined of the olive oils.

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Extra virgin olive oil was the only liquid fat I used  in my dorm, and I used it quite a bit. I love it to roast vegetables, as in my sweet potato fries, or simple broccoli. It’s great to heat in a pan and cook potato chunks, or to drizzle over a chickpea salad.

I mentioned in this post all the ways I like to save money by buying store brand. Olive oil is one of the foods that I would say you do not want to be cheap on. Splurge! A good bottle will last and it is worth the investment. I love bringing back olive oil from Europe whenever I’ve gone on vacation there.

Sicilian Olive Oil

Sicilian Olive Oil

This olive oil was recently 50% off at Whole Foods and I literally cannot wait to finish my old bottle and open this up. Each olive oil taste different depending on the season, the olives, the location, and every other factor. And extra virgin tastes moreso different because it’s the most pungent in flavor.

Grecian Olive Oil

Grecian Olive Oil

My own personal favorite olive oil comes from Greece(I suppose this was bound to happen being a Classicist). Don’t be afraid to try different olive oils to find the one right for you. Traditional practice has it that you dip bread in a saucer to give each a try, but I wouldn’t judge if you sipped a spoonful straight 😉

This post even has great tips on how to fancify your own oil.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

And did you know that chocolate and olive oil pair really well together in baked goods? When I baked this cake, I made the curious substitution of EVOO for canola oil. Could you taste it? Yes. But it was in an absolutely beautiful way. Cocoa powder is naturally bitter(especially non-alkalined which I buy); it needs sugar to make it sweet and fat to make it rich. Olive oil lends a fruitiness to the chocolate.

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Get Me Out Of The Kitchen

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I could have sworn I wrote a post like this before. Regardless, even if I didn’t name it this, it’s a common problem I have: I get in the kitchen and you can’t get me out of there.

Roasting Potatoes

Roasting Potatoes

Sun Tea

Sun Tea

When I got home from my run, I showered and immediately had 4 projects going in the kitchen at once. 2 of them were rather simple. I started making half-caf sun tea using 7 tea bags and some room temperature water. That I’ll refrigerate later and sweet with stevia and lemon to serve as iced tea. And I threw some potatoes in the oven to bake because I like to always have a few fully baked potatoes lying around to throw into a hash. Speaking of hash…

Home Fries And Rosemary

Home Fries And Rosemary

I threw 2 previously baked potatoes, some red onion, rosemary and EVOO in a pan to cook into home fries for lunch. I’ve been assured that, while these aren’t currently as good as some of my favorite restaurants’, it just takes time and practice.

Vanilla Cashew Cream

Vanilla Cashew Cream

And while I had that on the stove, in the blender I threw together the ingredients for raw chocolate chip ice cream. At this point, it was like a thick and frothy vanilla milkshake I could have just drank there. But I resisted because lunch was ready.

Home Fries, Veggie Burger, Gingerade Kombucha

Home Fries, Veggie Burger, Gingerade Kombucha

For protein, I had a Wildwood shitake veggie burger alongside the home fries and a gingerade kombucha to wash it all down and rehydrate.

Home Fries With Red Onion And Rosemary

Home Fries With Red Onion And Rosemary

Again, not as good as when I get it at Nick’s or Garden Grill, but getting better. The red onion and sea salt are really key for the flavor. I can’t wait to try this again with part sweet potato.

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

10 Miles

10 Miles

Before my run I ate a piece of microwave vegan chocolate fudge and that powered me through 9 laps of the neighborhood. I definitely did not feel fast today but after 3 days of outdoor running on hills I guess that’s to be expected.

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Fuji Apple

I snacked on an apple a little later on in the afternoon after I cleaned up all my messes(a food processor is not the same as a blender when it comes to liquids). Eventually, my cashew mixture had chilled…

Raw Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup amber agave
  • 1/4 cup vanilla bean infused sugar
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs

In a blender, puree the first 4 ingredients until they are fully mixed. Store this liquid in a container in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill. Once ready, pour into ice cream maker and work to manufacturer’s directions. Add the cacao nibs 5 minutes before being done. Eat immediately or keep in a tight container in the freezer.

This was so fun to make! I can’t wait to make quarts and quarts of ice cream this Summer. I let this sit in the freezer for a bit but I think the texture was actually better right after being churned. It definitely had a cashew flavor, but not in a bad way. This would be better with an actual vanilla bean but my way costs considerably less. Did I mention it was delicious? Let’s just pretend the cashews have no calories.

Raw Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Raw Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

…What? Was I supposed to have only one bowl? Yeah, not happening. While I could try to make some excuse that this is raw and that somehow makes it healthier, ice cream is ice cream. I will say that this is a really fun way besides oatmeal to get in some NUTrition.

Baked Beans, Broccoli And Turnip In Soy Sauce

Baked Beans, Broccoli And Turnip In Soy Sauce

My dinner was boring compared to that. I really wanted to keep eating raw: raw salmon, that is. But as much as I love rural America for its honey, I do not love it for its lack of Whole Foods and cheap sushi bars. I told myself if I wasn’t going to feel ethical eating that fish, I should just be happy eating beans. And I am. Seriously, buy 365 baked beans. They will change your opinion on canned goods.

Favorite raw vegetable? I don’t like many vegetables raw but baby carrots I don’t mind. Here’s a note: raw turnip does not taste all that good. Keep that in mind.

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Free Of Nothing; Full Of Nutrition

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I had a sobering thought on my run today. I hate “veganism”. “What? But I love all my vegan meals and recipes.” That was my next thought. But I kept going back and realizing I really do hate the label, “vegan”.

So then I asked myself “Why?”

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

*Note: I did not eat this today, or any meat. The only non-vegan things I had were a yogurt at breakfast and brownie made with eggs in the afternoon*

Frankly, I’ve known too many people going vegan or vegetarian to avoid certain things for “health”, things like cholesterol and animal fats. And then once a year–probably on their birthday–, they’d have a big juicy steak. “Once and a while won’t kill”. Well of course it’s not going to kill you; but no one can say the same for the cow.

I think there are a lot of ways you can be healthy without strapping on the vegetarian label and shunning things out of your life. That’s not why I eat vegan at the meals and times I do. Rather, it’s to bring certain nutrients in.

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

My lunch wasn’t healthy because of the absence of animal products; it was healthy because of the abundance of plant-based foods. That, to me, is what veganism is all about: The emphasis of a plant based diet. As much as I’d love to think that way 24/7, I’ll undoubtedly slip up sometime and look at something for being “dairy-free” or “free of animal by products”. What I really wish I could see 100% of the time is how something is free of nothing, but full of nutrition.

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Of course, allergens play a role in this, too. But I would count those as a separate case. A lactose-intolerant person would eat coconut milk ice cream for a very different reason than a vegan. I’m–well–I’m neither. But I love how this tastes and feels, and do try to avoid dairy to some extent for better digestion.

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

And the brownie was likewise free of dairy and gluten(an allergen I do take care to avoid).

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Desserts in general, though, I would say get a pass on ever being “healthy”. No matter how you cut it(a fudge joke), my microwave vegan chocolate fudge and microwave vegan peanut butter fudge are full of sugar. That doesn’t mean they aren’t full of flavor, either, or that you shouldn’t make them 😉

9 Miles

9 Miles

That fueled me to run around my neighborhood 8 times for a total of 9 miles. Perhaps my legume love isn’t such a terribly beneficial thing since I needed to make a pit stop into the bathroom after lap 6. At least I was close to home and didn’t go on a road run like I was thinking.

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Afterwards I refueled with my lunch posted earlier, and when that wasn’t enough I added an apple. Later on, at the grocery store, I grabbed a bag of baby carrots to eat in the car(or the walk out of the store). If you went through a list of the allergens raw fruits and veggies are “free of”, we’d be here all day; it’s better to think of all the nutrition they’re “full of” in my mind. And tonight was “full of” recipes:

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • salt to taste

Cut the ends off of a sweet potato. Slice all the way through horizontally. With the cut side down, make strips 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Cut those again lengthwise to make into “fry” shapes. Repeat with the other 1/2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add the fries and EVOO to the pan and massage with your hands until completely covered. Preheat an oven to 350 and bake for 60 minutes. Season to taste.

Vegan BBQ Bean Poutine

Ingredients

  • 1 serving sweet potato fries
  • 1/2 cup vegan BBQ beans
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella style Daiya
  • 2 strips tempeh bacon(optional)
  • 3 pieces fresh basil

Cook the sweet potato fries according to directions. Pile on a plate, and add on top the BBQ beans. Heat in the microwave through for about 2 minutes. Add on the Daiya and heat another 30 seconds to melt. If using, cook the tempeh bacon through until crispy according to manufacturer’s directions. Cut into small pieces and crumble on top. Garnish with basil.

Organic Pickles

Organic Pickles

Served with a side of organic pickles. Such a simple and delicious meal for one(I’m the only one home tonight). What are you full of today? I would have to say that I’m full of beans!! and also joy that I got so much on my to-do list done. The only thing I hope for this weekend to be “free of” is stress before my last final, because that’s been giving me plenty of that.

If you enjoyed my What Would You Do moment, the actual show is on at 9pm tonight on ABC so watch that!

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My Summer In Recipes

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

All throughout the year, I’ve had a tiny list of a few recipes I’d like to try. Well, when I realized I was home and had the whole Summer before me, that list kind of… exploded. Thanks to all of your suggestions and more, here is what I hope to make and bake over the next few months.

Wow. I better get cooking, right? Thankfully, I have.

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Microwave Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup no-stir peanut butter*(smart balance recommended)
  • 3/4 cup natural vegan butter substitute(earth balance recommended)
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract**

In a bowl, microwave the vegan butter until melted. Add in the peanut butter and stir until fully incorporated. The mixture should be a thick liquid at this point. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla while slowly adding the milk as needed. Once all the ingredients have been mixed together, pour into a shallow square pan. Keep in the fridge loosely covered for at least 12-24 hours before cutting into.

*If the peanut butter is not solid at room temperature, the recipe will not set properly

**The powder is recommended because the alcohol in the vanilla extract will hinder the setting process somewhat

Good thing I’ve been running too…

14 Miles

14 Miles

I hoped to run 14 miles today, but honestly I did not know that I would. I put myself out on the road, and after the first few miles things just felt good. At 6.5 miles, when I could have cut it short, I knew I had it in me to keep going and going and made it all in under 2 hours. Wahoo! I was excited, and ready to eat a good meal for lunch.

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Ah, nothing feels more refreshing than a Summer salad. I dressed spinach in this dressing and then mixed together chickpeas, golden raisins, raw cheddar, and a little maple syrup. The maple and sea salt really draw out the flavor in the cheddar to the point where it is too good for words. Have you been following your salads for salad a day?

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge And Vegan GF Chocolate Cupcake

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge And Vegan GF Chocolate Cupcake

Dessert was the 2 things I’ve been holding in my head all day: A piece of vegan peanut butter fudge and a Sweet Utopia vegan GF chocolate cupcake. The fudge isn’t quite set to where I’d like it, but I couldn’t help digging in with a spoon; the flavor is dead on. This plus Tivoed Bobby Flay made for a perfect afternoon. Do you think I could get into a fudge throwdown with him?

Oatmeal With 365 Crunchy

Oatmeal With 365 Crunchy

I also had for the 2nd day in a row a bowl of oatmeal with 365 crunchy. What can I say? I’m obsessed. I like the crunch, but so often pre-flavored nut butters are smooth. So now that I’m on a 365 kick, I expect to be crunching away!

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Plus an organic apple for a good serving of fruit before dinner.

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli, Basmati Rice With Coconut And Lime

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli, Basmati Rice With Coconut And Lime

For dinner I tried out this recipe.

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli

I think I’ve got you matched here, Whole Foods. This was pretty fantastic. Sure, it wasn’t fried. But the flavor was nice and spicy. For the rice, we just cooked it normally and then drizzled with coconut milk and lime zest at the end. Magnifique! So simple and yet rich and flavorful.

What recipes do you hope to make this Summer? Or maybe you shouldn’t tell me because then my list will grow longer…

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“I’m A Runner. I Can Eat Whatever I Want”

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I hear it all the time, either on the Runner’s World forums or in real life: “A runner can eat whatever they want”. Let me tear this one to shreds. First of all, are we all really “runners”? at least in this sense? I do think that there’s little difference between anyone who runs a mile for fun or 10 miles for fun. But there’s a BIG difference between people who run for fun and people like Ryan Hall who run for a living. Now those are runners.

OK. Let’s assume we are all runners. The same rules of life still apply. That’s why my first point is to listen to what mom always said and have your 3 balanced meals each and every day.

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Dinner last night was a simple medley of black beans and organic russet potato over spinach and topped with Daiya. Yes, I really was just eating everything else as a way to have Daiya. But I thought this would be better than eating it straight from the bag to get more nutrients, don’t you think?

Moldy Chobani

Moldy Chobani

Some things none of us can eat, like moldy yogurt. Yeah, this wasn’t the most pleasant way to start my day.

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

And other things we could eat but probably shouldn’t. Case in point: these cupcakes for breakfast. I know people who would call a cupcake a “muffin” if it’s eaten before 10am. But with no whole grains, and little of–well–anything, these would not have been kind to me during my 14 miler I have planned. That’s when I made a new plan for breakfast:

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Much better. A new yogurt, topped with Tierra Farm‘s organic dark chocolate almonds, and oatmeal topped with vanilla peanut butter made with Madhava vanilla agave. Sure, there was sugar here. But there was also 30+ grams of protein, 20g whole grains, 20g bran, healthy fat and antioxidant from cacao and pomegranate. This was most definitely one of my “balanced meals”.

I don’t want to make the case that a runner always has to eat healthy; that’s a dangerous mindset I hear too much, too. The truth is, balance is the key. At a certain point, a calorie is a calorie and a runner might just need more to do more. That’s where dessert comes in.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Indulgent? Sugary? Delicious? All of the above. Still, I try to find some nutrition in my desserts, which is why I often reach for coconut products. The saturated fat in coconut is medium chain, making it easier for our bodies to break down to energy than long chain. And it’s plant based so it has no cholesterol. Besides that, it just is easier for me to digest than dairy. What more could I say to get you on the coconut train?

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

And if I’m notorious for anything, it’s my nightly bowl of oatmeal with nut butter. Do what you want. But the warm carbs are great for a good night’s sleep. And this is nothing but a healthy dessert. And those squares of Endangered Species organic smooth dark chocolate–all for the antioxidants 😉

Fudge

Fudge

So I guess I can’t play the runner’s card to attack this pan anymore, huh? Well it will still be there if and when I finish running 14 miles. The sun is shining and things are heating up so if ever that’s happening it will be soon. Tonight’s post will be a recipe-packed post with all of your ice cream suggestions and what’s in the pan above.

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It’s Time To Get New Pants

Posted on May 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I noticed a funny thing yesterday. My jeans which have always been a bit big are starting to fit better, and the ones that have traditionally fit well seem a bit tight and uncomfortable. Being a guy, my first two thoughts were a) I’ve been shrinking everything in the laundry or b) someone else had them be altered to mess with me. That’s when option c hit me.

It might actually be me who’s growing out of them

My gut response was the typical “healthy living blogger” way of seeing it: I’ll eat out a little less, cut down on the sugars, and things will go back to the way they were. And then I thought about it. What if I didn’t adjust to fit the pants; what if the pants adjusted to fit me?

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

I’m still healthy and eating my superfoods.

Rehydrating

Rehydrating

I’m running faster and further than ever before.

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

And I’m enjoying eating out including brunch at fantastic new places.

In short, why would I want to change any of this? I love this! Underneath clothes, we’re all naked; what does it matter what size they are? Be healthy, but be happy. And if happy leads you to a shopping spree at that incredible French clothing store, Targe, with a buttload of gift cards to get jeans from the 75% off rack, so be it.

Who else is willing to throw out the old and put on the new with me?

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Not only did I go to Whole Foods last night, I ate out, too. This was my last dinner of Providence, so I was prepared to make it a good one even if I had the ingredients for something much more humble back at my room. I got from the salad bar roasted carrots, potatoes, and onions with paprika, avocado rubbed kale, and golden sesame tofu. All delicious. All making me grow out of my pants. All good.

They didn’t have the coconut almond chip coconut milk ice cream I went all the way to get. Bummer, right? I was pretty let down. That’s when I made a plan and got the regular coconut ice cream and add Tierra Farm‘s almonds.

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

I really liked the bare coconut flavor. This ice cream had just 6 ingredients and 11g of sugar per serving–unreal! It was a little chewy even because of the coconut flakes. It was definitely a good ice cream for anyone who likes to add their own mix-ins.

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

I never got hungry for oatmeal, but I did still want the nut butter and I can always go for chocolate. I was worried whether I’d like Aztec Crunch because I’m not a fan of raw cacao nibs(part of the crunch). But this really blew me away. It was raw, but not bitter. It definitely had a solid crunch. One of the ingredients is said to have magical soothing powers; I’m not sure if it was the chocolate or the ingredient but I was definitely soothed.

Of course, the other side to new pants is the completely metaphorical side: fitting your surroundings to fit how you want to be. As much as I love oatmeal, I’m willing to toss it by the landside if I’m craving something else. And this morning, I had a huge white potato craving.

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Home Fries

Home Fries

Home fries, anyone? I think I’m still getting past the shock and awe that I made these and not some restaurant, because they’re so delicious. It was just 1 1/2 white potatoes tossed in a pan for a while with some red onion in EVOO. It would be great with sage or rosemary but I didn’t have any. To make this more of a meal and less of a breakfast, I added flaked salmon with maple syrup and sea salt. Definitely not as good as the home fries; but that’s where the extra maple syrup comes in handy.

And how about this for new pants: I’m moving out tonight =-O

If the pants do not fit, you must acquit

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DIY: Fancy Nut Butters

Posted on May 7, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good, flavorful nut butter. And I will happily fork up the cash for it(don’t assume I haven’t paid $10+ for a single jar). But that’s not always the most wallet friendly way to eat, even if the cost per serving is relatively low. And sometimes the flavors you want just aren’t out there. Or maybe they haven’t arrived at a store near you(Justin, I’m looking at you here). That’s when you need to know to make your own. With that, I’m happy to announce the newest additions to my recipe page: nut butters.

Chocolate Nut Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sweetener
  • Vanilla flavoring

In a small dish, combine all ingredients and stir.

Cinnamon Raisin Almond Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

In a small dish, combine all ingredients and stir.

Cookie Dough Cashew Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1/2 tablespoon chocolate chips
  • Vanilla flavoring

In a small dish, combine all ingredients and stir.

Vanilla Peanut Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons liquid sweetener
  • Vanilla flavoring

In a small dish, combine all ingredients and stir.

The benefit of all these recipes is that they use pantry-friendly ingredients and require no food processor. Of course, I also have recipes for nut butters that start from scratch. I’ll be sure to add those over the Summer(when my food processor isn’t stashed underneath my bed).

Ginger Green & Black's Chocolate And Dark Chocolate Mint Alter Eco

Ginger Green & Black's Chocolate And Dark Chocolate Mint Alter Eco

Otherwise, I’ve been eating chocolate still. Lots and lots of chocolate. Why choose between Green & Black’s ginger and Alter Eco’s dark chocolate mint when you can have both? Beats me.

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

And oatmeal with the aforementioned vanilla peanut butter. I don’t actually measure out the ingredients–I eyeball it based on how hungry I am. But I wanted to give those for a good starting point. Feel free to change it up to fit your taste!

1/2 Honest Foods Apple Ginger Bar

1/2 Honest Foods Apple Ginger Bar

And 1/2 of an Honest Foods apple ginger bar I found in the fridge when I was feeling snackish. This was SO GOOD heated up in the microwave; it became like the topping to an apple crisp–Yum!

This morning, the plan was to go to the gym first thing. But I wasn’t feeling it. New plan? Make cinnamon raisin almond butter.

Oatmeal With Cinnamon Raisin Almond Butter

Oatmeal With Cinnamon Raisin Almond Butter

Vanilla Siggi With Organic Raspberry Conserves

Vanilla Siggi With Organic Raspberry Conserves

If you haven’t tried siggi’s, well I can only tell you what you’re missing then. It is so smooth and creamy in texture, and the speckles of vanilla bean = pure love. But none of their flavors are sweet enough for me on their own 😦 Which might be OK if they had a little added fat to make them richer but they don’t. Fruit jam to the rescue(and a little almond butter snuck in their as well).

I hope you whip up some nut butter for your Cookie Friday. I’m sure a shmear of cinnamon raisin almond butter on this cookie would be perfect. Now I really must start my day! Lot’s of paper writing to do I’m actually looking forward to. What, what?

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Stock Your Kitchen For Healthy Habits

Posted on May 5, 2010. Filed under: Health | Tags: |

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I went chose an all-natural diet around 10 months ago was “How am I going to not want to slip up?” It was easy then to see myself reaching for a diet soda from the corner whenever I started wanting one. But slowly and surely the fake stuff started leaving the pantry and not being replaced. My environment was actually helping by making the fake food out of sight and out of mind. And eating healthy is a lot like that, too.

1. Put in your peripheral what you want to eat

I recognize this is a lot harder for people living with others and full families; but if you keep around you only the good, healthy foods, there’s little option to eat otherwise. At the very least what you can do is keep fresh fruit and veggies always at arms reach and desserts, snacks, and ice cream out of sight(, out of mind) and out of reach. And if you’re living in a house with mixed eaters, here’s a tip: Give each person their own personal shelf in the pantry with foods only they can eat.

2. Don’t buy food; buy ingredients

Source

Say what? Here me out because this one I think makes the most sense. Rather than buy a prepackaged, pre-flavored container of Mexican rice, buy regular rice and keep spices on hand. Don’t grab a tuna salad from the Deli; just always keep a can of tuna in your pantry. By buying ingredients and making food for yourself, you control a lot including portions and calories. It’s even better that you can adjust it just to your tastes! It may take a little extra time, but if you can’t find 5 minutes to get serious about your own health, there are bigger problems.

3. Invest in staples and paper clips

When you go to the store, do you have a routine list of foods(or rather, ingredients) that you always get? Why not? The healthy foods we eat and want to eat we should always keep around. The “pantry staples” can be lifesavers in those grab-and-go moments. Here are some of mine:

365 Beans And Fish

365 Beans And Fish

Pantry:

Refrigerator/Freezer:

  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Fruits & Veggies
  • Quality Cheese
  • Healthy Sauces & Condiments
  • Earth Balance
  • Grass-Fed Butter
  • Naturally-Raised, Hormone-Free Meats
  • Fudge

4. Make your dessert and eat it, too

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

No kitchen is complete without things like sugar, flour, and cocoa; and no house is a home without dessert and that fresh apple pie cooling on the windowsill. So have your dessert, but make it be one you’ve made. This has two advantages: First, you can always make the substitutions to make it fit your diet. Both my banana goodness bread and moist moist pumpkin bread have very little to no added fat to them. If you’re not making the healthy substitutions, like with my microwave vegan fudge, at least you have a better awareness of just what’s in it rather than if you bought it at the store. And this awareness will lead to a healthier appreciation of however much you do eat.

What are you kitchen staples? Let’s get a list going and I’ll make a big one on my next post!

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