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let’s talk raw – juices and smoothies

Yesterday was a big day for green smoothies in our house.   The husband drank his first one.

While he’s had sips of mine before, he didn’t really like it and has never shown any real interest in drinking them himself.  For starters he doesn’t like banana, and since that’s the main ingredient in mine every day, it’s no wonder he sort of turned his nose up at them.  But in the spirit of wanting to up the health factor in his diet, he decided to give them a go. And he’s actually really liking them!  He obviously knows the way to my heart:)

Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic, but I ended up buying a bag of mixed fruit – peaches, pineapple and strawberries – and using that for sweetness instead of banana.  I also added a big handful of spinach, soymilk, 1/2 scoop of Amazing Grass and ice.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently reading Kris Carr’s new book, Crazy Sexy Diet, and I’m loving it.  As a wellness warrior, she advocates eating only raw food, preferably liquids (juices or smoothies) until lunch.

According to Kris that means “green juice, green smoothies, purified water, and teas.”  But this doesn’t mean that you have to starve as you can have as many servings of them as you need.  And “if that’s not enough for you, no worries, solid foods are definitely an option.”   I’m not one to jump on unrealistic fad diets, but as I’m learning more about the benefits of raw food, juices and smoothies, I am becoming more and more of a believer that the more raw foods you can incorporate into your diet the better. I feel overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the information I’ve absorbed, and while I want to share it all right here right now there’s just too much!

For now, I will say that one of the best things about starting the day off with green juice or a green smoothie (after a big glass of purified water with lemon of course) is that it gives the body an instant shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein and oxygen, plus a major hydration boost.  And the body barely has to do anything to digest it!  Little work + lots of healthy stuff = pure energy and vibrance.

One thing to remember though is that when our bodies are used to digesting and storing more acidic foods, it will take a sort of short detox phase to adjust as the body gets rid of toxins.   During that time you may in fact feel less energetic…but just give it a few days to a week and you’ll be so glad you did.  It took about 3 days for me, and this morning I felt noticeably more energetic than previous days.

There was a time when I didn’t understand how juicing was so good for you.  Doesn’t it remove all the good fiber?  Won’t it raise my blood sugar if the fiber isn’t there to balance out the natural sugar in fruit?  While it may raise blood sugar a bit, it won’t be a big deal as long as the overall ratio of veggies to fruit is about 3:1, as fruit has more natural sugars.  And make sure they are vegetables that are low on the GI scale – like cucumber instead of carrots.  A great one to start off with is 1 whole organic (or peeled if it’s not organic) cucumber, several stalks of organic celery and a small apple.  But have fun playing around with different combinations!

Coming full-circle now, let’s talk smoothies again.  Smoothies are almost just as amazing for the body as juices…and they also keep you full longer. The body does have to work a bit to digest them, but still not nearly as much as with solid food, and the fiber provides longer lasting fullness and energy.  Plus, they’re easier to make.

As Kris explains, “the difference between a juice and a smoothie is that a smoothie leaves no pulp behind – it contains all the fantastic fiber of the ingredients.  The tough cellulose structure of the produce is broken into tiny pieces that are easy for your body to digest and assimilate.  Think of it as a pre-chewed blast of optimum nutrition.”

My green smoothie was just a smidge different than usual this morning. In an effort to keep it 100% raw, I subbed in water for my usual almond milk.  I was kind of concerned that it would loose it’s delicious creamy factor, but I could hardly tell a difference!

2 big handfuls of organic spinach + 1 banana + 1 cup water + 1 scoop of Amazing Grass (with a side of folded towels:)

As I talk more about raw/vegan food, I want to make it clear (as always) that whatever each individual can do that improves their health and quality of life is like gold.  If that means introducing green juice or green smoothies once a week or eating three raw meals a week, then that’s great!  The fact is that no one is perfect and the more we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect – in any area of our lives- the more we’re setting ourselves up to fail. I’m currently trying to eliminate sugar from my diet as much as possible, but yesterday afternoon I got a serious craving and nothing but the vegan peanut butter cookies I’d made for the husband would do.  So I ate one.  And it was delicious.  It didn’t lessen the healthiness of my morning and I can definitely tell you it improved the healthiness of my mind because it reminded me that perfection is overrated and food is to be enjoyed.  The thing I’m realizing though, is that the more I use food to take care of my body and promote energy and vitality, the more I do enjoy it.

Amen?

This morning I’m spending some time going through my yoga class for tonight.  I only have two classes left!  I’m really going to miss teaching and am hoping I can get a new position asap.  Also on the schedule for today is three tutoring appointments and of course…packing.  I probably don’t even have to say that anymore, huh?  It’s kind of a given that there will be packing going on here during any down time for the next week and a half.  Crazy times.

Hope you all have a great Wednesday – the week is almost halfway over!

*Note that I’m only talking about food intake up until noon.  Kris doesn’t necessarily advocate eating a 100% raw diet.
**I also want to add that while I am really enjoying Crazy Sexy Diet, and I feel like I’m learning a lot of valuable information, Kris writing style is very forward.  At times she uses language that could be a bit offensive to some, and while I personally don’t like it, I choose to look past it because for me the information is worth it.  Just an FYI if you’re considering reading the book.

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let’s talk about food

Thanks so much for all the sweet well wishes for the husband’s first day on the new job. Ya’ll are so sweet.  I texted him mid-day to see how it was going and he texted back “it’s going really well.  A great company to work for…and so much to learn!”  Today and tomorrow are basically just orientation days, and then Wednesday will be his first day in the office.  That is, unless the predicted 6-10 inches of snow keeps him home (fingers crossed:).  Anyway, I’ve always been so thankful that he has a job he loves, and I feel that way even more now.  Every time I ask him about how he’s feeling regarding the change, he just starts talking about how great he feels about this company and the difference they’re making in people’s lives.  Yay.

Now let’s just see if I can get a job as well!

I started off yesterday morning with a serious craving for yogurt and raw oatmeal.

1/3 cup raw oats, whole soy yogurt, chia seeds, dried cranberries and cinnamon

Totally hit the spot.  Sometimes I feel myself getting tired of foods that I’ve been eating a lot of, and all it takes is scrolling back through my blog a little bit to find inspiration.  I can almost always find a basic meal that I haven’t had in awhile to bring back all fresh and new!  This oldie was definitely a highlight to start the day.

Other highlights for the day included but were not limited to the following:

  • painting my nails mint green

  • spending a little extra time with God this morning

  • making my green smoothie with a scoop of natural peanut butter and chocolate almond milk for lunch

  • having a really great conversation with my mom on the phone this afternoon

  • eating yet another leftover cinnamon roll for a snack this afternoon (I know).  One a day does = moderation.  It does!

I have had two tasty meals in my head all day today, but I’ve been on kind of a weird schedule (hence the green smoothie for lunch), so I haven’t been able to make either one of them.  One is the veggie chili I made for the husband’s work party a couple of months ago, and the other is a really simple lunch idea that I just can’t get out of my mind.  I’m thinking I’ll be enjoying it for lunch today, and if so then I’ll share it later on!  As far as the chili goes, I think it’ll be the perfect meal for Wednesday when we’re all snowed in again.  mmmm.

The last part of this post has been pretty much all about food, ha!  Food is where it’s at, though.  Even Mr. Squirrel agrees.

He sits right outside our kitchen window almost every morning, munching on all kinds of nuts and seeds.  Gives me a hankering for nuts and seeds myself, just watching him.

But really food is such a big part of life, you know?  We need it for fuel and nourishment…but it also affects us in psychological ways. We celebrate with it.  We comfort with it during times of loss.  We have memories attached to it.

I’m not encouraging emotional eating in the sense of eating to hide or cover up emotions, but we’d be crazy to say that food isn’t tied to something besides a physical need.

I’ve never really talked about this on the blog before, but in the past I’ve had issues with emotional eating, and it wasn’t in a positive way.  Sometimes, whether I’d be feeling stressed, sad or just plain tired, I would go straight to the pantry and just eat mindlessly.  And then when I would finish, I’d feel guilty and even more stressed, not to mention physically kind of sick.  I remember at times feeling like I’d never be able to break the cycle.  I ate healthy enough all the rest of the time and exercised enough that I never really put on any visible weight, but the emotional weight it was adding on was not a good thing.  It was a bad habit…and I needed to break it.

It has been a long time since this last happened.  I still get carried away with the chips and salsa occasionally (okay, often;), but it’s not the same kind of destructive behavior.  It’s no longer me trying to cover up an emotion…it’s more just about liking blue corn tortilla chips a little too much. ha.  I think the point that I really was able to gain control of what I was doing was when I recognized the true issue behind the behavior.  After a lot of prayer and internal processing, I realized that I was eating at these times in an effort to relieve the negative emotions I was feeling inside.  Food was a way to cover those emotions up by doing something that felt good right at that moment.

Besides identifying the root of the problem, another thing that helped a LOT was realizing that just because I disappointed myself by doing this didn’t mean that I should punish myself afterwards.  When I treated my body that way I needed to do something really nice for my body in turn…rather than beating myself up about it.  So, I started going for a long, slow walk,  taking a bubble bath, or just cuddling with Olive for a bit.   I also spent some time identifying the specific reasons why I would eat, and then made an alternative plan for each negative emotion, such as laying down for a twenty minute nap, getting into downward dog and holding it for 20-30 seconds or spending some time in prayer. Basically, I was ready to tackle the problem itself, whatever problem it was, rather than trying to put a band-aide over it.

After so many weeks of implementing my new plan, it became a habit, and now I don’t even think about it.  I’m not saying it was an easy process, and I definitely had my fair share of set-backs, but in the end it was so worth it.  Every time I would fall back into the behavior, I would take time to really process through what I had really been feeling in the moment, work through that emotion (if it was anxiety over my job, I would take 30 minutes and problem solve or call my teacher friend and ask for advice).  And through the whole process, not only have I gained confidence in my ability to eat in a healthy way, but I’ve also become more confident in handling conflict and anxiety.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that has ever dealt with us, but somehow I doubt it.  Just the other day I was talking to the husband, and it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t eaten in this way in a long long time.  I realized that I’d totally forgotten what it was like and is totally out of character for me to do something like now.  I know there’s a possibility that I could fall back into the habit someday, but it feels good to know that making slow progress toward a healthier way of dealing with negative emotions has brought me to a place where I feel much more confident in my relationship with food. Isn’t that how it should be?

Anyway, these are just some thoughts I’d been pondering lately, and I thought I’d share them.  I used to think this issue was something I was ashamed of and wanted to hide.  I’m still not proud that I struggled with it, but I realize now that we all have battles such as this and the best way to overcome those struggles is to bring them out into the light.

What is something you’ve overcome through a lot of time and hard work?  How does it feel to be in a place where you feel confident and at peace in regard to that issue?  Or are you still working through something and trying to get to that place?

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random musings on a snow day

As promised, we got quite the snowfall overnight, and today the husband and I both got a snow day!  I love snow days because they’re the perfect excuse to stay home with the husband all day and be lazy get lots of stuff done!  We’ve now found out that we’ll be having another snow day tomorrow.  On my agenda: pack pack pack. We have three weeks left in our house, and I haven’t boxed up one thing.  eek.

Unfortunately I really wasn’t too productive today…but I don’t really feel bad about it.  We slept in about an hour later than usual and then got up and made some amazing breakfast.

I used a whole wheat boxed mix and then spread natural peanut butter on one half and Earth Balance on the other.  Topped with pure maple syrup and banana slices.  So gooooood.

After breakfast we got a little bit of work done in the office and then layered up and spent some time out in the snow!

This was the most snow we’ve had this year by far, and it was so pretty.


Olive is the funniest thing – she isn’t a big fan of the snow and acts like she’s going to die if she has to be in it for more than about 5 seconds.  We took her out with us for about 10 minutes and she was trembling all over in her little coat. Poor baby.  At one point, she and the husband were on the porch and I was out in the yard, so I started calling to her, trying to get her to come to me.  She minds us so well that when I started calling her she kept thinking about coming, but really didn’t want to get in the snow.  Finally I won her over.

She lasted about four seconds.  But it sure was cute.

We spent the rest of the afternoon napping, cuddling, watching movies, eating…and now at 11pm we’re finally getting some work done.  That’s the way we roll I guess.

In other news, I know I talked about this a little bit already, but I’ve decided to try and get a full-time job.  I figure the husband and I could really use the money as we’re moving into our new house, and seeing as how we’re becoming “live-ins” with one of our sets of parents, I don’t think I want to be home all the time!  I’m really struggling with what to do during this transition period.  I really want to keep doing what I’ve been doing – tutoring, yoga, working on the biz – but I think it would be beneficial for me to branch out and try something new (full-time) for awhile.  Once we have little ones, I want to be a stay-at-home mom, so now’s the time if I want to work again.

Some of the ideas so far (some far better than others): zoo worker, Starbucks shift manager, emergency dispatcher, and the one that I’ve actually applied for and am somewhat excited about – supervisor for a children’s program at a hospital.  I’ve also considered going back to teaching, but I really need something right now.

If you guys have any great ideas – send them my way!!

And now for some random thoughts to end the evenings:

  • I am missing Thailand so much lately!  I can’t stop thinking about it.
  • It’s always a bad idea go out in foot deep snow wearing ankle socks
  • Splitting a 1lb bag of peanut m&m’s with your husband over the course of 2 days is not wise
  • Never wait until the night before a snowstorm to hit up Walmart
  • If you are on city water and you lose electricity, you WILL still have water
  • Old houses = cold

I’m off now to get some sleep – my eyes are getting very heavy.  Hope you all had a great Tuesday!

Did you get any snow? What kind of job do you do (if you don’t mind sharing!)?

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to buy grass? or not to buy grass…

It was a sad moment this morning when I discovered this

No more grass:(  I’m still deciding which breaks my heart more – the picture above or paying twenty five big ones to restock.  hmmm.  I’ll have to think about that one.  And I’ll have a few days to figure it out since I can only get more in the city, which won’t be until Friday.

I was able to scrape the cannister enough to have one last grass-filled green smoothie.

It’s seriously cold in these parts today – there’s even a chance of snow flurries later on.  A girl can only hope!

I do have to admit that green monsters are getting less enticing day by bitter cold day.  I have to bundle up tight to be able to enjoy it. It’s so worth every little chill bump, though.   I really love mixing up my breakfasts and trying new things, but nothing makes me feel as awake and energized as one of these.

In other news, unfortunately I do not have any baby pics to show you today.  We didn’t stay at our friends’ house for long before we had to rush off to have dinner with the Korean couple that I tutor.  I didn’t even get to hold her, which I was kind of bummed about…but maybe next time:)  It was still fun to get to see her and catch up with our friends for a few minutes – we hadn’t talked to them since they had her, so we got to hear the short version of her birth story and all about how parenting is treating them so far.  They were so happy; it was sweet:)

I spent the last part of the afternoon making a crock-pot full of vegetarian chili and some homemade cornbread muffins to take to them.  It smelled so good in my kitchen all afternoon – it was all I could do not to snag a bowl!

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn, no salt added
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 3/4 can tomato puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ground red pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to crock-pot and mix well.  Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours.

This was a very basic recipe, similar to soups/chilies I’ve made before.  That’s what’s so grand about it though…it’s so easy to make and it warms you from the inside out.

And you can’t have chili on a cold night without cornbread muffins.  I found this vegan version here, and I didn’t change much about it, just a few minor tweaks.  It was pretty good, but next time I think I would tweak it some more….maybe add a bit more sweetener, like some agave or something?  I’d also like to try using part spelt/whole wheat flour.

While this muffin was a tad bland on it’s own, it was delicious with Earth Balance spread on it.  I didn’t eat any chili since we were taking it to our friends, but I’m sure this would also be awesome crumbled on top of the chili.

Vegan Corn Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp egg replacer
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a 12 muffin tin or use muffin liners.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg replacer and 1/4 cup water.  Whisk until well combined and set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Mix well.
  • Add egg mixture, olive oil and water to dry mixture and mix until smooth.
  • Fill each muffin tin with batter.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Slather with Earth Balance or enjoy crumbled over a hot bowl of chili.

Dinner with our Korean friends was great last night, too!  I look at all of my tutoring students as great friends, and sometimes it seems weird to me that only a matter of months ago, I had never met them! Today is my first day to meet with my new 4th grade Korean student.  I don’t get to hang out with kids very often anymore, so I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m off to plan my yoga and PiYo class and then meet up with my friend Grace for lunch.  We’re going to my favorite sandwich place today…I can already taste that heavenly bread….mmmmm.

Hope you all have a fantastic day!

What is your favorite splurge item that it kills you to spend the money on, but you just can’t bring yourself to not buy it?

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cheesy noodle dish + blog reading tips

Hi!

This morning Jon and I hit the gym a little late, so I did a really quick interval run.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to get the motivation to kill it on the treadmill, but when I do it’s nice because I get done so much faster and I feel so good!  Unfortunately I didn’t have time for weights or ab work, but later I did spend some time running through my PiYo class for this week.

I also spent some time catching up on some of my favorite blogs over breakfast!

1/3 cup oats, handful of frozen blackberries, 1 tbsp chia seeds cooked in 3/4 cup water for 2 minutes.  Add a couple spoonfuls of soy yogurt and another sprinkle of chias (just for fun:) = best oatmeal ever. creamy. thick. delish.

I hate when I get behind and I feel like I don’t know what’s going on with everyone.  This morning was like catching up with friends…I love all my blog friends:)

One thing I’ve been having a hard time with lately, though, is time.  No matter how bad I want to catch up and comment on everybody’s blogs, I just don’t have enough time.  I can sit for an hour at some point in the day, reading and commenting, and still feel like I’ve only gotten through about half, which for me is about 15 or so. I just feel like I don’t have much more time than that to give to it, especially by the time I post on my own.

I feel like I see so many bloggers who comment on tons of blogs, and I just don’t see how they have time to do it.  Is there a secret that I don’t know about? I use google reader, but by the time I click out of it to comment, I’m not sure how much time it really saves.  What gives?

I’m hoping I’ll get some tips from some of you on how to read and comment on more blogs in less time!

Moving on.

For lunch today I made one of my favorite meals, but in about 1/4 of the time it took me to make it last time!

Cheesy “noodles” and brussel sprouts

Instead of cooking the spaghetti squash in the oven, I poked holes in it with a fork and put it in the microwave for about 12 minutes.  When I took it out, it was just the right amount of softness and I sliced it open with ease. In less than 2 minutes, I had cleaned out the seeds and then scraped out the “spaghetti” strands into a bowl.

this is what it looks like after being cooked and cut in half

and after separating out the strands

While preparing the squash, I placed a bowl of halved brussel sprouts in the microwave with just a little bit of water for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Next, I mixed together 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp hummus and about 1.5 tbsp water.  I whisked it until it had a smooth consistency.  Last, I combined about a cup of spaghetti squash and 1/2 cup of brussel spouts before pouring the sauce over top and mixing it all up.

I added a dash of black pepper and ground red pepper for some kick!

Delicious!  This is one of my favorite meals.  The credit does not go to me though – I think I originally saw this idea on Heather’s blog, and I think Gena actually came up with the sauce idea.  I know some of you may think it sounds like a crazy idea for a recipe…when I took this to work for lunch last year, my coworkers thought I had lost my mind.  Try it before you knock it though.  It honestly tastes like a big bowl of creamy, cheesy pasta!  Added bonus: it took me less than 15 minutes to make, and it heats up well too if you’re looking for lunch to take to work.

I know some people have a problem with using microwaves.  Honestly, I haven’t done enough research to voice an opinion, but I try to choose my battles.  And right now, that’s one I’m going to choose not to worry about.  If I had more time, I would just cook the squash in the oven, but on days like today I’d rather have microwaved spaghetti squash than none at all!

I’m off to meet a new tutoring student.  This is my first student who is not an adult – he’s a fourth grader!  I’m not used to this, so I’m crossing my fingers it’ll go well.  Hope you all are having a great day!

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