Friday, November 12, 2010

Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate

I just found this recipe and thought I would share. If you search for 'homemade vegan hot chocolate' on the internet there are a lot of recipes out there. Enjoy!

1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 cups coconut, soy, rice, or almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fried Zucchini

4 zucchini, cut in thin rounds
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
coconut oil

Stir wheat flour, paprika, and sea salt together. Dip wet zucchini slices in mixture to coat well. Fry in coconut oil until browned on both sides. Optionally, drizzle with your favorite dressing.

(Zucchini shown in picture was from a humongous zucchini!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Light and Refreshing Dinner

I'm on a roll! A light dinner I ate last night that consisted of:

Almond 'Cheddar Style' Cheese
Squeeze of lemon
Dash Pepper

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chocolate Balls Dessert

1 cup raw almond butter
1 cup raw tahini
1/2 cup flax seeds, freshly ground (optional)
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup raw chocolate powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt

Mix all together in a bowl, roll into balls, and chill. Optionally roll into chopped nuts or shredded coconut. Send to school/work in a baggie or wrapped in saran wrap.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Favorite Breakfast Ever!

This morning my mother-in-law sauteed zucchini, butternut squash, and tomatoes. She also added steamed collard greens and topped it off with a dash of pepper for a yummy veggie dish! I also ate slices of avocado and ezekiel sprouted grain english muffins topped with non-dairy butter and almond butter. I have to say that surprisingly, this is my favorite breakfast dish ever!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Fall Time, and I am Blind

A few years ago I heard a story about a blind man sitting on a street corner begging for money. He had a cardboard sign propped up next to him that said, "I am blind." People rushed by him on their way to work, oblivious and blind themselves. Then a man approached. He took the blind man's sign and added some words to it, and pretty soon the blind man could only hear the clank of the coins being placed in his can. After a few minutes, the blind man asked the next person to drop money in, "What does my sign say?" The woman answered, "It's springtime, and I am blind."

Yesterday I met a blind lady at the train station. I didn't know she was blind until she stood up when the train whistle sounded and started walking straight toward the drop-off of the tracks. I yelled, "Wait! Stop!" Then we both laughed. We talked the entire hour-long trip: I'd look at her and then look out the window at the gorgeous snow-topped mountains and clear blue sky that I knew she couldn't see. I helped her buy her ticket when we had to transfer trains. How does a blind person know the difference between a $1 bill and a $5 bill unless there's someone there to tell them?

I kept asking her questions, and she kept answering. We both could feel the warm sun even though it was 50 degrees outside. She told me how she still does face painting—she showed me pictures on her camera and it's amazing what she can still do—and how she's looking for a new line of work now that she can't see the computer. She's a weather person—a meteorologist. She just started losing her sight two months ago, and she's a single mom of six kids, her youngest being 11 years old.

What an inspiring woman. My world meant more to me after I left her side. It's fall time, and I can see.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Namaste Cookie Mix

I've tried my share of gluten-free mixes (all have actually been gifts from loved ones!), and to be honest, the majority of them I wouldn't buy nor have bought again. Too heavy. Made in a factory with milk, soy, and tree nuts. Too lumpy and texturey. Too incompatible with my taste buds. But alas I found a cookie mix that I would actually buy again. My guess is that the rest of you gluten-free gurus are leaps and bounds ahead of me, so please share your secrets and favorite foods with me.

Namaste Foods Cookie Mix
-Made in a dedicated facility free of gluten, wheat, soy, corn, potato, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and casein. Whoo-hoo! I'm in.
-Made in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Who doesn't want to support good ole Coeur d'Alene?
-Includes evaporated cane juice as the sugary goodness. (To be honest, this cookie mix ignited my sugar cravings again, which I guess should be a con, but I'm going to call it a pro, because I've actually missed them.)
-Absolutely amazing topped with Purely Decadent Mint Chip frozen dessert, especially when you slightly underbake the cookie!

-The final product doesn't hold together very well, so I guess that's the way the gluten-free cookie crumbles. Anyone know of a cookie mix that holds together pretty well? I did buy some xanthum gum, which I may add to my spare cookie mix, which is silently waiting on my pantry shelf.
-It was difficult to slide the spatula under the baked cookie and remove it in one piece. The dough thins out so much while baking that the cookies become large and flat and breakable. (So maybe these two cons are one and the same?)

My long-standing recommendation to you is to make all your food from scratch, but it's nice to have an emergency backup just in case. I say give these a try if you're looking for something sweet and gluten-free when in a time crunch. If your local grocery store doesn't carry Namaste Foods, ask for them by name and you should see them on the store shelves in no time.

Namaste ("The spirit within me honors and respects the spirit within you.")

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Word to the Wise

Many religions of the world have various health codes they follow, ranging from fasting to abstaining from certain meats to not eating meat entirely. If you're interested, I suggest studying up on these practices to see if there are any you'd like to adopt.

I happen to follow one of these health codes. It's called the Word of Wisdom. Maybe some of you have heard of it. It came about because back in 1833, the prophet Joseph Smith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a., the LDS Church or the Mormons) was confronted by his wife about the mess the men were making in their meetings, covering the bare floor with their chewing tobacco. Joseph took it to heart and then took it to the Lord. The answer came as the will of God for the "temporal salvation of all saints in the last days." The term saints means "followers of Christ" or "people who are striving to be better."

In the Word of Wisdom, the Lord begins by explaining that in our day "conspiring men" would be more concerned about the buck than the health of society. I always connected this warning with the producers of tobacco and alcohol, but the more I study about the food manufacturers today, I am not afraid to include them as well.

Now, many of you may be familiar with the parts of this health code that focus on what we should stay away from, but when's the last time you reread it, looking for the council about what to eat? When I first started my diet change about 7 months ago, I read and reread this revelation. It was like I was reading it for the first time because it is so rich in . . . what? WISDOM! Considering I believe it came from God, the Creator of all things on the earth and in the heavens, wouldn't He have some light to shed on what He'd have us eat to be the healthiest we can be?

My sister-in-law texted me tonight (which is why this is on my mind), saying, "Just read D&C 89 and was thinking about how diligently you have lived the Word of Wisdom, and as a result you are truly receiving ALL the promised blessings. It's very inspiring, and I love you, my dear!"

To be honest, it leaves me in awe as I look back on how far I've come with my health—I've been witnessing miracles as my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is slowly fading away. For the past 3 weeks my finger joints have not hurt at all. Not at all! This morning my left hand was stiff and stayed a little stiff all day, but I think it had to do with the 20-degree-drop in temperature. Do you realize the extent of what this means? For the last six months I haven't been able to use my fingers to push buttons on the microwave, turn on my car blinker, itch my skin if I had a layer of clothing on, massage tight muscles in my neck (or someone else's), cut my food, pick something (like a piece of paper or a hair) up off a flat surface, open round doorknobs, rub my nose, snap, clap, or flip on a light switch. I literally am experiencing natural healing in a way doctors and people with RA would never believe.

So what does the Word of Wisdom say we should eat?

-Wholesome herbs.
-Every herb and every fruit in their season—What? Really? I thought that was just the current trend to eat food in season.
-Meat sparingly (in winter, cold, or famine).
-All grains.
-All fruits above and under the ground—So I'm interpreting "fruits" to mean both fruits and vegetables here since it's referring to food that grows both above and beneath ground.

And what are the promised blessings?
-We will have health in our navel and marrow in our bones.
-We will find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge—I can attest to this one!!
-We shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint.
-The destroying angel shall pass us by.

Give it a try. It never hurts to eat more of the good of the earth. You've seen me experimenting with eating more greens and whole foods for the past 7 months now, so you have my guarantee that it can only make you healthier.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kitchen Art

A palette of fresh beet juice.

Coconut Curry Sauce

This is one of my favorite recipes, and I make it at least once a month, dividing it into three different containers for at least 9 separate meals. I can't get enough of it and have to refrain from eating the whole recipe straight through. There's a teensy kick from the spices, but nothing to take note of, so if you'd like to add more curry, be my guest. Please cater this recipe to your preferences and make it your favorite too.

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons curry
3 tablespoons kuzu
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 can coconut milk (approximately 13.5 ounces)
Sea salt to taste

Cauliflower, sliced
Broccoli, sliced
Zucchini, chopped
Carrots, sliced
Sweet potato, chopped
Any other yummy veggie or green you're in the mood for

Heat oil in medium sauce pan or large frying pan. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add spices and cook for 1 minute. Add kuzu (natural thickener) and stir, breaking up the kuzu chunks with wooden spoon. Pour vegetable broth into mixture and then add cilantro and coconut milk. Stir and then let simmer about 20 minutes. Freeze however much you'd like.

Add vegetables to curry and simmer until vegetables are soft. Serve over brown or wild rice.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Veggie Burgers

I first made these veggie burgers on 4th of July. While everyone else was chowing down on their flame-broiled hamburgers, I was devouring my own form of culinary delight topped with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. I literally crave these now, and typical eaters, meaning normal people, love them too. (I'm okay admitting I'm abnormal.) I like to freeze half of this recipe for easy, ready-to-go dinners after a long day when I'm too tired to cook.

2 cups raw sunflower seeds
2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg, optional*

Put sunflower seeds in turbo blender. Blend into oblivion. Remove sunflower seed powder and put in a large bowl. Put brown rice in blender and blend. It'll get sticky and globby, so be prepared to put the mixture down and keep blending until the rice is blended. Remove rice and add to the large bowl. Put carrots in blender and blend away. Once carrots are completely shredded, add to the large bowl.

Add all other ingredients to large bowl. Knead the mixture together as if you're kneading bread. Really get in there to get an even mix of ingredients. Place however much you want to freeze into an air-tight container and put in freezer.

Place a large frying pan on the stove and add coconut oil. Heat at low temperature. Start forming patties with the mixture and place them in frying pan. Add more coconut oil if you see it's not enough for the amount of patties you're cooking in the frying pan. Flip patties as you see them start to golden on the bottom.

*Add a raw egg if the mixture isn't holding together very well, usually if the rice is drier. If you do choose to add an egg to the mixture, knead it well and cook thoroughly on the stove.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Heredity of Illness

Here's a question for all you bright minds out there: how much of an influence do our families have on the illnesses we get? Some may say, "Well, a huge influence because many illnesses are hereditary." Are personality traits hereditary too then? And how much of an influence do those traits have on our health? And how do those personality traits interact with our environment to then lead to loss of health?

This is what I'm studying right now, and I feel like I just opened a can of worms I never knew existed. Health always seemed so cut and dry. But it's not.

For the past three weeks I've been going deep into who I am and who I learned to be from my parents and grandparents, and pinpointing what traits and habits are keepers and which ones are reeking havoc in my life (e.g., not being able to stand up for myself, eating canned food, being too accommodating, not making time for myself/my health). If you think you didn't learn that from someone, you're wrong. (And I'd really love to have someone counter this or vouch for it as well. Please share your insights.) Who would've thought that since my dad always has to be the last one at the party to help vacuum and take the trash out (even if it wasn't his party!!) that I'd be the same way? One of my brothers admitted he's that way now too. Curses. It's a fight to get myself to leave a party without feeling guilty that I didn't help clean up. All I hear in me head is, "You stay until the work is done."

I bet you'll be surprised at what you unravel as you think about how your personality type handles stress, your everyday decisions, and your environment, and how you learned much of that from the people you were raised by—either by adopting their ways or doing the opposite.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Gluten-free Vegan

It's official. It has been confirmed that my tummy would be better off without gluten. I'm allergic to wheat, oats, rye, and spelt. At first I thought, "Hey, no biggie. I've been prepping for this. I've been avoiding gluten for months now." But then I was informed my tummy also doesn't like quinoa and millet, which are gluten-free and in my special Mary's Gone Crackers crackers. Dang. And I love cooking millet and quinoa together and eating them with black beens and zucchini. They'll have to be for another day.

And then I was told to stay away from soy as well. I took this a little harder because, well, soy has become a key player in my daily meals. But now I know why my stomach hasn't been so happy lately. Really what it comes down to is feeling the best that you can, and if eliminating these foods will help me, I'm all for trying. So I gave away my soy ice creams (vanilla and gingersnap) and my bag of frozen edamame, and crossed tofu, tempe, soy sauce, tamari, miso, and practically every processed food off my grocery list. Why does everything have soy in it? That's a good question. Anyone have any answers to that?

I went to a birthday party on Monday for my friend Josh, and Josh's grandma asked me, "Can you eat cranberries?" She looked at the ingredient list on the bag of Oceanspray cranberries, and instead of it reading just "cranberries," it read "cranberries, sugar, something else, and may contain milk, wheat, or soy." What? Aren't cranberries just cranberries? What else could be in those cranberries if the factory is worried about all their other food products contaminating each other?

Sushi Salad

I crave this salad and have made several different versions, adding or subtracting veggies, depending on what I have on hand. Be creative. Make your taste buds happy while eating healthy!

2 cups cooked brown rice*
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 carrot, shaved with a peeler
2 small scallions, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced or grated
1–2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup cubed tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
Wasabi to taste

Place rice in a bowl and drizzle with rice vinegar. Once it has cooled, add the veggies, ginger, sesame seeds, tofu, and olive oil. Serve with wasabi on the side.

*To make rice exceptional, coat with coconut oil before cooking. This way it doesn't clump and has a smoother texture. 

Tofu Scramble

As of two weeks ago I no longer eat soy—my stomach just can't digest it like it should—but I snapped some pictures of a few of my favorite recipes prior to making this diet change. I didn't want to keep these yummy dishes from you, so even though I won't be eating them exactly as the recipes call for, I still wanted to share them with you.

If you aren't into tofu, replace with garbanzo beans—my taste buds actually prefer it this way. I always double this recipe so that I have plenty of leftovers. Enjoy!

1–2 tablespoons coconut oil, or olive oil
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tub firm tofu, or 2 cups garbanzo beans, soaked and cooked
 Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in a frying pan and add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until veggies are soft. Then add parsley and turmeric, and stir. Crumble tofu (or garbanzo beans) and add to pan. Stir some more. Continue to heat for about 5 minutes more, or until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Experiment Update: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

When I started this blog, my intention was to experiment with a new, healthier way of eating to see if it would cure me of a number of ailments. (Click here for the entry that started it all and a complete list of the illnesses I decided to declare war on.) The biggest change I have yet to see has to do with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I've had serious intestinal problems since I was fourteen years old, so for about fifteen years now, and went to doctor after doctor. Finally when I was twenty-two they labeled me with IBS, since they didn't know what else to call it. But as many of you know, that doesn't solve the problem. They just tell you to eat a lot of fiber and to get on antidepressants because you have a nervous stomach. Nope. Not buying it.

So on March 8th I paid my last visit to my gastroenterologist up at Huntsman Cancer Institute and stopped eating dairy—what I thought was "the impossible"—and I can say 100 percent that that was the best decision I could've ever made for my body. No more visits to the gastroenterologist, no more pain, and no more thought about my colon—he's a happy little guy now.

Over the past 7 years I've had 5 colonoscopies to remove precancerous polyps (adenoma) and regular-old polyps (hyperplastic). My next colonoscopy is scheduled for a year from now, so the next part of my experiment is to see if my colon will stop producing polyps because of my healthy eating. That's my plan. It'd be a miracle, but I believe in miracles, and I've already seen miracles happen since I've been reaching for green.

Here are the main changes I've made to my eating habits during the past 6 months:

-No dairy. (I now drink almond milk, eat coconut oil instead of butter, and use hummus instead of mayo.)
-No table sugar. (I've replaced this with raw honey, stevia, and agave.)
-No white flour. (In July this evolved into using gluten-free flour, which as of last week evolved into no flour at all. More to come on this.)
-No processed foods or preservatives.
-No meat, except fish and eggs. (I now load up on beans and lentils. Until last week I ate a lot of quinoa and soy, but not anymore. More to come on this.)
-Leafy greens.
-Plant-based protein.
-Fresh fruits and veggies.
-Whole grains.

To be completely honest, making these food changes has been the hardest thing I've ever done. It's not for the weak at heart. But I want to move without pain and regain my life back more than I want a plate of Oreos and a glass of milk. It all comes down to what we really want out of life and what we're willing to do to get it. (I can see my cute mom doing a cheer right now, literally. Cheerleaders never die.) If you're on the fence, maybe start by making one small change in your eating habits and then making another. I promise that if you're consistent, you will see a difference and it will be worth it. My experiment is working!

Tip #1: How not to smell like throw up.

This morning I woke up to find mush. Moosh. Garbanzo bean mush. Yuck. I was planning to soak the beans for 48 hours (changing the water every 12 hours), but somehow I lost track of the days and let them soak double that. Whoops. So I picked through the mush and pulled the skin off most of the beans, and now have them in the pressure cooker. Almost time to make hummus. Except I smell disgusting now. I've washed my hands over and over again, but I smell like throw up. Garbanzo beans don't have the most pleasant smell, so to avoid smelling like throw up, don't over soak your garbanzo beans.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Please pass the green!

Last weekend I joined a fellow at his work party. The buffet wasn't as expansive as we expected, so when I got to the end of the line, all I had on my plate was a pile of lettuce and three slices of tomato . . . until I noticed the cheese platter garnish. Kale. KALE! I eat kale. So I carefully tugged at one of the leafs with the metals tongs, trying to be inconspicuous and searching for a way to not leave a bald spot in the decor. As I was taking my second piece of kale, I glanced up directly into the eyes of a little girl, probably 8 or 9 years old. I smiled at her over the buffet table. She froze, expressionless. I laughed, and she grinned and looked down. My guess is she was thinking, "People eat that stuff?" I hope she tried it, just to see for herself. So now you know not to overlook the garnish.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spinach and Edamame Soup

When it comes to recipes and easy gourmet dishes, the Dinner at Your Door authors—Alex, Andy, and Diana—know what's up. One of my all-time faves is their Spinach and Edamame Soup. Since making it over the last couple months, I've altered it slightly to meet my new vegan diet (e.g., opting for vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and replacing butter with coconut oil), but I actually can't hardly tell a difference in flavor! To read more about these three amazing women and their book Dinner at Your Door: Tips and Recipes for Starting a Neighborhood Cooking Co-op, click here.

Spinach and Edamame Soup
(serves 6)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 organic carrots
6 cups vegetable broth
20 ounces fresh spinach, large stems removed
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 cup flour
12 ounces shelled, frozen edamame, thawed
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Throw onion in turbo blender or food processor, and chop. Then saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute.

2. Throw carrots in turbo blender or food processor long enough to chop. (You'll end up pureeing the carrots later, so not worries about the carrots' chopped appearance are at this point.) Then add carrots and broth to pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until carrots are tender.

3. Add spinach to broth and cook until spinach is just wilted. Remove soup from heat to cool. Pour soup into turbo blender in several batches and blend. I usually have a pitcher on the side into which I can pour the pureed soup. Once the entire pot of soup is blended to your satisfaction, pour back into pot and set heat to medium.

4. Combine nutmeg, coconut oil, and flour in a small bowl to make a paste. If your coconut oil isn't quite room temperature, let the mixture sit in the sunlight for a few minutes to make it easier to stir. Then whisk this paste into the reheated soup and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Add edamame to the soup and simmer until barely tender and still bright green. Stir in lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

I promise you will love this soup! Thanks for dinner (and lunch . . . and sometimes breakfast) Dinner at Your Door!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Boy meets girl.

Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Boy and girl watch fireworks and then carry on interesting conversation, interesting enough that girl wouldn’t mind if boy wants her phone number. He does. Girl awaits his call with actual anticipation.

Boy calls girl. Girl answers. Boy and girl talk endlessly about everything (including girl's new health regimen and all that that entails), and girl believes they were meant to talk to each other forever. Boy calls again. And again. Girl answers every time. Girl even calls boy and he answers. Boy asks girl out. Girl accepts. Boy is going to look up all the vegetarian, vegan, and veggie-friendly restaurants in the area to take girl somewhere where she can comfortably eat the food.

Boy picks girl up. Girl . . . lets him pick her up? (Can't think of anything better.) Anyways, boy is thirty minutes late, but girl looks mighty fine in her new Plato’s Closet short-sleeve sweater dress and doesn't mind at all. Boy sees her and says, “Oh, you’re wearing sandals . . .” Girl says, “Uh-huh. What do you mean? What are we doing?” Boy says, “We’re going up in the canyon.” Girl says, “I don’t have a jacket.” Boy says, “Oh. Yeah." Then boy continues, "And we’re doing a BBQ and bonfire up there, so do you have any food at your place you can eat?” Girl says, “No, you idiot, but if you’d told me even half an hour ago I could’ve though.” Okay, girl really didn’t say that, but she did communicate that with her body language, tone, attitude, and eye contact. Just not her words. Instead she said, “Well, why don't you take me back home, and I’ll change my clothes. I don’t have anything at my house to grill because I’m vegan and you know that and we’ve talked hours about how hard it is to find food I can eat when it’s a date or social event, but I guess we can see what I can find at the grocery store.” Okay, she didn’t say all that either, but basically. Perfect beginning to a first (and last) date.

Boy grills steak. Girl grills salmon. (Good thing girl's a seafood-eating vegan.) The food is delicious enough to at least cloud girl’s memory of how the first hour of the date went down. Then girl's chair topples down the hill with her still in it, and she remembers. Half way through the night girl's RA starts to flare up hard core in her left shoulder, and boy comes to the rescue with a shoulder massage, although unfortunately pointing out that girl's deltoid is almost nonexistent. 

Boy hasn’t called girl since. Girl hasn’t called boy since, although she needs to because boy still has her camping chair and salt shaker. And they lived happily ever after. The End.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How do you get enough protein if you're not eating meat or dairy?

One of the main questions I get from people is, "How do you get enough protein if you're not eating meat or dairy?" Maybe some of you have been thinking the same thing and didn't dare ask. Well, first of all, the typical American diet actually provides us with an overabundance of protein. So the amount of protein I was used to eating was actually more than I needed.

So how do you know how much protein your body needs? I found a health calculator created by the University of Maryland Medical System that asks your age, height, gender, and frame size, and how active you are. It looks like this:
My results show that I need 67 grams of protein a day. If you're body isn't as healthy as it should be, it's good to get a little bit more protein than average, so I aim for about 75 grams of protein a day. Click here to calculate your protein.

So are you wondering what I could possibly eat to get that much protein without eating one bit of animal protein? Well here are some of the protein-rich foods I incorporate into my diet and how many grams of protein they contain per serving:

almonds (raw), 30g
black beans, 15g
brown rice, 5g
garbonzo beans (aka: chickpeas), 16g
kidney beans, 13g
lentils, 18g
lima beans (raw), 11g
millet (raw), 22g
peanut butter, 8g
peas (raw), 8g
quinoa (raw), 24g
soy beans (aka: edamame), 29g
spinach, 5g
sunflower seeds, 6g
sweet potatoes, 4g
tempeh, 41g
tofu, 9g

The numbers I gave you above greatly depend on the amount of food and how you prepare your food. For example, one ounce raw ground almonds is 6g protein, but one cup raw whole almonds is 30g protein. It all depends what you set the amount to be. Because of this I say, click here and do your own calculating. This site allows you to plug in foods from Arby's to Coldstone to dear old Mother Earth, and asks for details about the way you prepare your food. The nutrients (including protein) depend greatly on the food's preparation—is it raw or cooked? It's amazing how much nutrients food lose when they're cooked. Check out the comparisons and decide how you should be eating your food for optimum nutrients.

And these other fruits and veggies also contain protein but in smaller amounts. Feel free to look up the exact amounts yourself (because I gotta get back to work!), but now you know how easy it is to get enough protein just from eating stuff that grows out of the ground.

Brussels sprouts

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Experimenting with Green Smoothies

I tried something a little different yesterday for my green smoothie, I purchased dino kale, green chard, and papaya for the first time. I like to mix it up now and then and add some variety. I usually put in frozen fruit but this time everything was fresh and made for a very yummy smoothie!

Dino Kale
Purple Kale
Green Chard

Papaya (seeds and skin included)

*I also threw in some sunflower seeds I sprouted.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fake it till you make it.

Just now on my way home from visiting my cousin Laney (who, by the way, grows the sweetest strawberries I've ever tasted), I decided to remove my hanging handicap pass from my rearview mirror. If I'm to get better, I need to act like I'm healthy and think like I'm healthy. So now I'll most likely be setting up a silent auction for my two handicap passes. They've still got two good months before they expire and they look quite attractive when the sunlight hits them through your windshield. They slide easily into a purse or briefcase, and they get you rock star parking no matter where you go.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Can foods increase or decrease your pain?

Sometimes process of elimination is the best way to figure out what makes your body happy and what doesn't. Months ago when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I read about nightshade vegetables. Tomatoes are one of them. So are eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. Some people say these are the culprits for increased arthritis pain, while others say there is no connection. Only you can decide what's best for your body.

All I know is, my RA symptoms mysteriously doubled this past week and old pains came back, so I decided to cut tomatoes from my diet. Now, you have to understand that I love tomatoes more than I love(d) Oreo cookies. Tomatoes are my number one food staple for salsa, marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, salads, and in pitas and tacos, etc. But since I've eliminated tomatoes this week, my hands have felt the best they've ever felt (since March), and my feet, which had become so painful to walk on, have felt 99 percent better the past three days. Whatever works, right? We're all about feeling better naturally. Do your own experimenting and see what you could eliminate from your diet to get feeling healthier.

For more information on the alkaloids in nightshade vegetables and how they may cause inflammation and affect people with joint pain, click here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Something Sweet

Here is a recipe for 'Chocolate Balls'. I have to admit, I wasn't sure if I liked this at first, but I have come to really like it. Although I can't seem to get my kids to eat them. I store mine in ziploc bags in the freezer and have a cool treat now and then.

Chocolate Balls

1 cup Raw Almond Butter
1 cup Raw Tahini
1/2 cup Flax Seeds, freshly ground (optional)
1/2 cup Agave
1/2 cup Raw Chocolate Powder
1/8 tsp Sea Salt

Mix all together in a bowl, roll into balls, and chill. Optionally roll in chopped nuts or shredded coconut.

(I was not able to roll mine into nice looking balls, if any of you have a trick to do that let me know. I placed mine on a cookie sheet with saran wrap and froze them. Then took them out, placed them in a ziploc bag and stored them in the freezer.)

Not for Long

In two weeks my Salt Lake self is being put to rest in the city cemetery next to that hauntingly creepy ghost story woman. Long past dusk we crept over the chain link in search of her. Never found her (even though friendly Mr. Officer found us), but I've still got time. Two weeks. Two weeks to eat my oat groats with the morning cool and the box elder bug babies and my little parsley plant on the balcony. Two weeks to smile at the sycamore trees on Michigan Avenue and dream of the day I'll have my own mini window in my front door and listen to Josh Ritter tell me how hard I am to love.

Fourteen days to hike up Emigration Canyon and be able to call it my own and visit my neighbors the three rowdy tiger cubs and run across the street to catch the shuttle to campus. I've got fourteen whole days to visit my little ducky friends at Garden Park and listen to the trees in the gully and talk to the rushing water. Sometimes it's all I need. Fourteen days to not feel so far away. I still need to partake of the Patagonia Outlet, pay Park City a visit, eat at Omar's, tour the Masonic temple, meander through my favorite corners of the Avenues, discover more secret gardens, reek of camp fire, and just be one hundred percent in the moment. Walks and talks and friends I love. I'm pretty sure this is exactly what it feels like to know you're dying.

But the downtown farmers markets will bring me back at least once a week and so will the refugees and so will you. Please promise to put flowers on my grave, and I just may come back for a day. Or three. My new home feels too far away.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's Possible to Live on Hummus

Hummus is my new mayo, miracle whip, veggie dip, and dressing, and boy do I wish I'd discovered it years ago. Sure I'd buy it ready-made from the store every once in a while or order it as an appetizer at Mazza. I indulged in plenty of hummus last year when I was visiting the Middle East, but I never knew it was so versatile. Or maybe I've just become more creative now that my food options are more limited.

The biggest problem I first found with making hummus is that the recipes were too lemony. And one even burned my mouth, there was so much garlic! So I gave up for a while. Then I tried again and the texture was too thick and lumpy. Well, I finally found the perfect combo. If this still isn't your perfect combo, keep at it and make it work for you.

1 can chickpeas (or 2 cups soaked and cooked chickpeas)
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or add more if you so desire)
small handful parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or substitute with coconut oil)
Approximately 1/4 cup water, depending on the texture you prefer
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin

Blend all ingredients in your Blendtech. It's so much smoother and creamier with the extra water, but maybe you'll want to add it gradually to the blender until it's the consistency you like. I usually double this recipe, but make it in two separate batches since the blender can only handle one batch at a time. Then I put half the hummus in the fridge and half in the freezer, and then I'm set for about two weeks if it's just me eating it.

Lately I've been eating my hummus on sprouted tortillas with lettuce, cucumber, and tomato. I can attest that it is possible to live on hummus.

How do you eat your hummus?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


JUNE is the smell of vine-ripened tomatoes that triggers memory after memory of watering my dad's garden to the setting California sun. And picking zucchini the size of baseball bats. It's morning sunlight and carefree wildflowers and fuzzy baby quail waddling along the back fence. It's cut grass and baseball and endless weekends. Summer storms and evening hikes and a renewed hope for romance, of course. And farmers markets and new yummy recipes and late nights with the windows open and the fire pit ablaze. And lots and lots of beautiful words on paper that come together only at dusk. (Maybe I should've waited till dusk to write this post.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where the body thinks the joints are foreign and attacks them. Part of the disease includes fatigue. Now, I've been experiencing this fatigue since the end of March, and some days I know I was on my feet too long or danced when I should've sat still, so not being able to move the next day makes sense. I just blame it on my forgetfulness—I still haven't had RA long enough to remember that my body needs more rest now. But I actually just came across a very informative Web site by the RA Warrior that not only shares pertinent info about RA but also explains where the fatigue comes from.

Naturally when your body is sick (or thinks it's sick, as it does with autoimmune diseases) it releases chemicals called cytokines. Some scientists blame these cytokines for the fatigue symptoms associations with the common cold or the flu. So since with RA your immune system is working overtime to fight a nonexistent foreign entity (your joints), your body is being overloaded with these fatigue-causing chemicals. It all makes sense now! No wonder some mornings I feel like I've been hit by a truck when all I did the day before was take a shower and sit at a desk. If you're interested in learning more about fatigue in RA click here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Make Your Own Almond Milk

Soak raw almonds in purified water for 8-12 hours. Drain water.

For every 1 cup of almonds, add 3 cups purified water. Blend for about 2 minutes. (You can also add a few majule dates, or 1 tbsp vanilla, or 3 tbsp raw honey to make it sweeter.)

You will want to strain the liquid in a nutmilk mesh bag. If you don't have one you can use cheesecloth or any kind of strainer. Before I purchased this I used a dishtowel, not ideal but it works.

Pour almond milk into the mesh bag.

Squeeze the almond mush until all the milk comes out, or you can let it sit for a while until most of the milk strains out and then squeeze it. When finished add a few pinches of sea salt.

This is what the almonds look like after you have squeezed out all the milk. Some people use it in raw cookies, nut pates, or as a nut butter treat.

The finished product, a yummy glass of cold almond milk! I also put it on my cereal.

(FYI: The best price I have seen for Raw Almonds is $3.28/lb at Winco in Boise Idaho, if you have seen a better price feel free to comment)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

There's Always More on Coconut Oil

A good friend just let me borrow her two pH books, which are all about the benefits of alkaline foods (vs. acidic foods) with lots of easy recipes I can't wait to try out—I hadn't a clue what to do with the enormous artichoke I bought last week, but now it looks like I'll be making Artichoke Pesto Dip. For now I'm flipping through the pages and jumping around to get a feel of the books, but since I just came upon some more great info about the benefits of coconut oil, I thought I'd share. I know a lot of you are leery about coconut oil because of the word "oil." I know it's hard to retrain those synapses. I know we've had it drilled into our heads that fats are bad, but that's not completely true. Our bodies need good fats to be our healthiest. Here's what The pH Miracle for Weight Loss has to say on page 88:

"Coconut is the second incredible fat-rich food you should never do without when you're working toward a healthy weight [the first was avocados]. Technically a saturated fat, coconut oil—as long as it is cold pressed and not converted into trans fat by heating processing—has been shown to reduce the symptoms of digestive disorders, support the work of the white blood cells, and help prevent bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections. Coconut oil is high in lauric fats (which comprise 50 to 55 percent of its makeup), a medium-chain fat that the body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin helps reduce acidity and, thus, weight. By controlling yeast, coconut oil reduces yeast's appetite—and your cravings for sugar. It also curbs hypoglycemia and helps eliminate hunger pangs. The final bit about coconut oil: it speeds up your metabolism. A study conducted in Yucatan, where coconut is a staple of the diet, showed that people living there had metabolic rates 25 percent higher than people with a similar profile living in the United States. (Bonus: The women in Yucatan had none of the symptoms commonly associated with meopause.)"

If you've tried everything else without success, maybe it's time to try coconut oil. I buy mine online at Mountain Rose Herbs. Click here to go to the site. And remember that you want "Coconut Oil (Virgin Unrefined)."

Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

For about a month straight now I've been getting my healthy share of salmon, maybe even to the point of overdosing. It just sort of happened. My friend Hayley is not only kind and generous, but she's a talented chef, and she's has been bringing me weekly salmon dishes. Then here and there I've eaten salmon at restaurants and at my family's homes and I've made it myself twice. Not until the joints of my hands started to feel amazing this past week did I really sit down and think about what was making a difference.

Fish oil is known to help with the inflammation of RA. I've also been taking plenty of herbs/drops from my holistic doctor that are fighting the Strep G and helping tame the RA. I've also taken my diet up a notch in eliminating all processed foods. So I believe it's a combination of everything. It's working!

So this past Sunday I had a friend over and decided to make her some salmon. Big surprise. My friend Mandy has, hands down, the most amazing salmon recipe, so don't be alarmed if you start overdosing on salmon too. It's called Soy Ginger Salmon, so see below for details.

And blech, Brussels sprouts, right? Wrong! This recipe is from my friend Jenn, and I could not stop eating this stuff. I made it as a side to the Soy Ginger Salmon, and together they make up my new favorite meal. I halfed the recipe since there were just two of us eating, but bad idea. Next time there will be no halfing going on. Let me know what you think of the recipes.

Mandy's Soy Ginger Salmon
(serves 8)

2 pounds salmon fillet
1/2 cup agave (2/3 cup agave = 1 cup sugar)
1 tablespoon lemon zest or lemon juice
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil (cold pressed, unrefined)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, minced
2/3 cup orange juice
a pinch black pepper
a couple shakes sea salt

1. Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Seal bag and marinade in refrigerator overnight or for at least 3 hours.
2. Preheat broiler. Place fish in a foil-lined baking pan. Reserve marinade.
3. Broil fish skin-side up for 2 minutes. Remove from oven, pull skin off, and baste with marinade. Return to oven and broil for 2 more minutes. Flip fish over and broil until fish flakes (about 4 min.). If your salmon is skinless, broil for 4 minutes on one side and 4 minutes on the other.

Jenn’s Brussels Sprouts with Warm Lemon Vinaigrette
(serves 6)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
20 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, outside leaves removed if needed, and quartered (about 5 cups)
1 teaspoon salt

a pinch pepper
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
a little agave natural sweetener, to taste
zest of half a lemon for garnish

Heat coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add Brussels sprouts to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown in places. Add salt, pepper, and onion, and cook for 30 seconds more. Add water and cover. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove lid. Add lemon juice. Stir to combine well. Drizzle a little agave over top and stir to evenly distribute. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with lemon zest. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Miracle Waiting in the Wings

Barbara didn't exactly tell me what I wanted to hear, prayed to hear. As of late my prayers have definitely been taken up five notches and are more like pleadings now. It's humbling. I can almost touch God.

I've been praying that the joint pain in my right pointer finger, which has all the RA symptoms, would really just be the infection and parasites and Strep G that are in all my other joints. But when I asked Barbara to look at that finger specifically, the computer clearly said RA. My faith is often like our eyes when we're starving and pile our plates high with more food than we could ever swallow. My faith likes to accept every challenge fearlessly, but it doesn't know what patience means. So when Barbara told me it was RA, it was almost like a slap in the face. I've been so, so healthy the past couple months. Shouldn't I be better by now?

But now that I've had time to reflect, I feel like God is telling me, "I know you think you know what you're capable of, but Katie, I'm about to show you that you are capable of so much more." And even more powerfully He's saying, "Watch what I can do. If you'll let me, I'll work an even mightier miracle for you. You haven't seen nothin' yet." I trust Him, I do. He's healed me so many times before that I can never doubt His power, but this is to a new height. I'm wondering if He wants me to prove Him to the point that he lets me see the physical affects of RA so that He can heal me, change me visibly. It makes me heart ache because of the love He has for me and ache because I feel like a little child afraid to jump off the diving board. I guess we'll just have to see what He has in store.

PS: The most beautiful sun is making my backyard radiate and shimmer. It wants me to come out and swing for a minute and pick the pretty purple wildflowers growing through the grass. It doesn't even care that I'm still in my pajamas.

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Balancing Act: Alkaline and Acidic Foods

As you probably know already, your body has to digest whatever you eat. The typical American diet is made up of way too much acidic foods—soda pop, white bread, mayonnaise, processed cheeses, white sugar, etc.—which means our bodies have to work extra hard to neutralize those foods. And why do our bodies neutralize the food? Because it's all about balance. Our bodies know that healthy=balance. When our bodies are worn out or sick, they don't always have the strength to neutralize the acidic foods we eat, so they pull minerals from our organs and bones to help neutralize the acid. It makes me want to cry to think how much I've been overworking my poor little body. In a healthy state our diets should be 60% alkaline, and in an unhealthy state our diets should be 80% alkaline.

Your first thought may be that citrus or tomatoes would be acidic foods, but they are actually alkaline. After our bodies digest the food, whatever remains of each food is either alkaline or acidic. The remains of a lemon are alkaline, so the body doesn't have to do any extra work to neutralize it.

I'm currently working for that 80% alkaline. It's not easy, but it's possible. Today was a frustrating day, and I felt burned out from having to put so much energy into what I eat. I'm tired of it, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up, of course. I'm just tired. But my body is thanking me already.

For more background on alkaline and acidic foods, click here. The charts I've found that divide alkaline from acidic foods vary, as the Web site authors admit, but I liked the chart on this Web site in particular because it gives ranges from High Alkaline to High Acid.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nutrition Data - Know What You Eat

You can learn a lot from a label. On Nutrition Data, you'll find detailed nutrition information, plus unique analysis tools that tell you more about how foods affect your health and make it easier to choose healthy foods.

Food Was Meant to Be Fun

Read more about healthy eating and Robyn Openshaw at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flax Oil

I introduced flax oil into my diet when I started drinking green smoothies. Flax oil, also known as flaxseed oil, is the richest natural source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are said to support arthritis, bones, heart health, cholesterol, joint mobility, blood sugar, blood pressure, and much more.

Flaxseed oil takes a bit of time to be absorbed into the body before the full beneficial effects begin, ranging anywhere from a few days to as many as six weeks, depending on your overall well-being. It's important to buy high-quality flax seed oil as it is prone to rancidity. Light and oxygen will slowly breakdown the essential fatty acids. You can buy flax oil in the refrigerated section of a health food store or online. Make sure you refrigerate it to help extend its shelf life. You can also buy flax seeds or flax meal and sprinkle them on salads, cereal, or mix them in muffins. One ounce of flaxseed meal (approximately 4 tbsp.) will yield about 6 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blender Spaghetti Sauce

Since I've bought my Blendtec blender, I've used it to make a couple different soups, at least 20 smoothies, hummus, salsa, flour, and pancakes. Lately my focus has been to eliminate foods with preservatives, so this week I expanded my blender creations to include spaghetti sauce.

Give the recipe below a try and see what you think. I added a couple handfuls of torn, fresh spinach while I was simmering the sauce and then spooned it over some rice noodles with a side of steamed asparagus. Mmm-mmm-mmm. I was quite pleased with myself to say the least.

3 cups tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 onion, quartered
6 oz. canned tomato paste (I didn't have any, so I threw in an extra tomato—still tasted good but made sauce too runny.)
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon agave

Put all ingredients in a Blendtec blender in the order they are listed. Put the lid on and press DRESSINGS. Then pour into a saucepan and simmer for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Writers of the Blog

Hello friends and family! I just wanted to let you know that there are two writers on this blog. Katie is the creator of the blog and Sam is a contributor. If you look at the bottom of each post, it will say who it was posted by. Please feel free to leave comments, we'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More Answers

In all honesty, I haven't posted any health updates lately because I've plateaued and am slightly frustrated about my arthritis pain not improving, so there's nothing much to share that's progress. And just yesterday fear started to creep in. I don't like that word and for the most part I feel completely at peace about my health, but yesterday I saw my Uncle Mike, whose wife has RA. I'd taken my car in to see Mike, the Saab master, because the "check engine" light came on Wednesday afternoon. Nothing's wrong with the car—the light came on because my gas cap wasn't screwed on tight enough. It hurts my hands to click the cap tight, so after I fill up with gas I just twist it on without clicking it in place. Something about the lack of pressure in the gas tank makes the engine light go on. So I practiced turning the cap and can click it three times if I do it with both hands, mainly using my thumbs, and go at it at a different angle than normal. Mike figured that me not being able to screw the gas cap on tight was the problem because his wife, Lavon, can't do that either because of her RA. It hurts my fingers to even hit the blinker or the windshield wipers now, but what can you do? Lavon's in the same boat but worse. So are a lot of other people.

So the fear part crept in after Mike mentioned joint damage and how when you use your joints when they're inflamed, you can cause permanent damage. I didn't know that. The rheumatologist said to keep using my joints even when they hurt. She also told me to come back in 4 months or until the pain got unbearable because she said my hand pain appeared to be osteoarthritis not rheumatoid. Well, what is unbearable pain? I think I can bear any pain. I feel like my rheumatologist has just left me hanging without figuring out the root of the problem and looking deeper. At first I felt fine about that because I had Barbara and knew about the infection in my body even if the rheumatologist didn't want to go down that road, but now that my symptoms aren't improving as quickly as I hoped, I feel very vulnerable and don't want to cause permanent joint damage. I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. If I were seeing faster results with the medicine I've been taking from Barbara, I would feel safer.

But just now I decided to research more about Strep G to better understand what it's doing in my body and what to expect with it, and I came across this information, which helps me see the whole picture a lot better! Amazing! Read below.

"Group G strep (GGS) is normally present on the skin, in the mouth and throat,and in the intestines and genital tract, and is most likely to lead to infection in alcoholics and in people who have cancer, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions that suppress immune-system activity. GGScan cause a variety of infections, including:
     -Bacteria in the bloodstream
     -Bursitis (Inflammation of the connective tissue structure surrounding a joint)
     -Endocarditis (a condition that affects the lining of the heart chambers and the heart valves)
     -Osteomyelitis (inflammation of bone and bone marrow)
     -Peritonitis (inflammationof the lining of the abdomen)."

If I didn't have RA and if my immune system weren't low from other health issues (epstein barr virus and hyperthyroidism and stress), I bet the Strep G wouldn't have attacked my joints. Interesting! So my primary concern is to kill the infection and then see if the joint pain goes away completely. If not, then I know the infection really did trigger the RA and then I'll deal with the RA. My most persistent and worse pain is in my right pointer finger knuckle, which is an RA joint (OA joints are the two top joints of the fingers and the thumb joints), so I am concerned about joint damage there. Here's what I'm doing now to eliminate the bacteria:

-taking herbal drops to kill the parasites and Strep G infection (same drops I've taken over the years to kill all my travel bugs)
-taking Lactozyme pills to put good bacteria in my body
-eating 4 Tbs. coconut oil daily, which has major antiviral properties (go to to read more)
-getting massages with essential oils that fight infection and help with pain (Okay, so I've had only one massage so far, but was the best thing I've done so far for my pain. I felt amazing the entire day and swore I would start doing them every other week. But they cost money, so I have yet to go back for my second one.)
-trying to stress less
-trying to sleep more
-eating 4 cups of green smoothie a day (see Please Pass the Green for more info)
-lessening the foods I eat that contain preservatives
-eating mostly fresh, raw veggies, especially asparagus, edamame, chickpeas, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, spinach, and green beans to get the most protein

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wheatgrass Shots

A new thing I have been experimenting with is making wheatgrass shots. I purchased some wheatgrass plants at the grocery store in the produce section. Typically people make their wheatgrass shots by juicing them, but since I don't own a juicer I have been blending them in my BlendTec blender with a small amt of water. I have read that it is best to start with a small amt and work your way up. Make sure you wash your wheatgrass thoroughly before juicing or blending them. I'll be honest though, it doesn't taste very good, but you get used to it.

Wheatgrass is said to be a strong detoxifier, helps with blood flow, digestion, and cleanses the blood. Here are some websites with information:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Months of Drinking Green Smoothies

It's been almost 2 months since I started drinking green smoothies. I began with drinking 2 1/2 cups of smoothie a day, and have worked up to 5 cups (1.25 L). I have also started adding supplements such as bee pollen, brewers yeast, and protein powder. I noticed a difference in how I felt almost immediately. I felt energized. I began craving the green drink and looked forward to having more.

I have been training for a half marathon and within 2 weeks I drastically improved. One day I dropped 30 seconds per mile and have maintained that. Last Saturday I went on a 10 mile run at a comfortable pace and ended up running 7:52 minute miles. Now after almost 2 months, this week I have started to run another 10 - 15 seconds faster per mile. I have been running again since June and have not had such drastic improvements until I started drinking green smoothies.

In the last few weeks I have been having an easier time waking up in the morning and feel more happy. I have not felt myself since having my second child 4 1/2 years ago and I am beginning to feel the old me coming back. I am slowly beginning to have more patience with my children and feel more able to handle them. My skin is starting to clear up and I am losing weight. I am also working on eating more healthy in general and eating less meat.

Another aspect to drinking the smoothies is that I have had some weird symptoms which I read are called detox symptoms. After a few weeks I got a cold and cough that has lasted for a long time, and is still lingering now. I have had some very bizarre skin issues. Acne, sudden dry patches that come and go, red blotchy itchy spots. I had times where I felt very fatigued, light headed, have had headaches, and a hard time focusing my eyes. Very random strange things that come and go. I did some research to find out that these symptoms are all very normal when you start drinking green smoothies and change your diet. These symptoms can mean your body is cleansing itself and getting rid of toxins, or that your body is releasing toxins faster than it can get rid of them. These symptoms can also be withdrawal symptoms if you drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Something in the Green

Last night I was at the library working on homework when I realized I wasn't tired. It was 8 o'clock and for the first time in months I wasn't ready to crash! I was shocked. And then it gets even better. This morning I woke up on my own at 7:30 a.m. I beat my alarm, and I didn't feel like a zombie! This is HUGE. But this is only the beginning.

Maybe I should attribute the added energy to nerves and stress and pending work deadlines, but I'm not going to. I really think there's something in all that green I've been eating. It's been exactly one week since I started the green smoothies, and I'm never going back. That was an easy decision to make. There's no question I'm on my way to healthy.

Today's smoothie wasn't too extravagant, but it went as follows:

1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon coconut oil
7 strawberries
1/4 banana
2 handfuls spinach
1 handful ice cubes

1 1/2 scoops Nikken protein powder

Blend all ingredients together except for the protein powder. If you're using a Blentec, press the SMOOTHIE button. When the cycle has ended, add the protein powder and hold down PULSE for 5 seconds.

Tomorrow's smoothie will most likely include kale, peaches, and kiwi fruit. The rest of my breakfast will be a stack of wheat-free and dairy-free pancakes, thanks to Bob's Red Mill (and my dear mother who bought me the mix).