7 Quick Tips for 7 Servings of Fruits and Veggies a Day

A diet high in vegetables and fruit promotes fat loss. It fills you with fiber without a ton of calories. AND a recent large study out of Britain found that mental well-being and happiness were higher among people who ate about 7 daily servings of fresh fruits and veggies!! Pass the salad!   To be honest, a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of it, especially if it is far from what they normally eat.  If you have a busy schedule and find it easy to stop for a Starbucks and a ding dong for breakfast, drive through the local fast food place for a quick lunch and take home barbecue or chinese for dinner, then you are in the majority of the standard american diet (SAD). But it is SO simple to add fresh foods, you will be surprised.  And there is no right or wrong here, it is just what suits you.  You will find though, that the more fresh fruits and veggies you eat, the more you will be willing to try new ones.  So start where you are and work your way to a wider variety.  The more colorful and diverse your diet, the higher amount of micronutrients you will feed your body.  So, don’t sweat the fact that you can’t grow your own veggies and sprout your seeds and drink apple cider vinegar straight from the bottle like your crunchy neighbor. Do what you can, where you are.  Fresh food can be fast food too! Here are 7 quick tips for 7 servings (especially good for those with picky kids!):      1 – Store pre-chopped raw veggies in the fridge for snacks and dip in hummus.  It’s easy enough to buy the veggies already chopped and pre-made hummus (look for oil-free)      2 – Start dinner with a small salad.  Mix it up, it doesn’t have to be “lettuce”.  Try shredded cabbage with raisins and sunflower seeds with an orange vinaigrette, or a bowl of thinly sliced cucumber with sliced sweet onion with a little apple cider vinegar and maple syrup,  how about spiraled zucchini with grape tomatoes, pine nuts and a dressing made from balsamic vinegar, dates, garlic and oregano.  Mix it up – color is fun to eat! The fiber will fill you too, so you eat less of the empty calories.      3 – Have an afternoon snack between lunch and dinner everyday as a pick me up (instead of that afternoon candy bar or soda ;D) *** a little almond butter (fat and a protein) with an apple (healthy carb!) – it will hold you over, wake...

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Are you ready for some football???

  If your house is anything like mine, when Superbowl Sunday is on the horizon, there is always a lot of anticipation for the football game, no matter who’s playing.  And if we are planning to have friends over, the frenzy includes, what the heck am I going to serve?  Chili is always part of the deal, the easiest to make ever meal.  But we want snackeroos too . . . and we want TASTY food! This recipe is one I have made for about 15 years now.  A friend of a friend brought a version of it to a Dirty Santa party one year, and I don’t even remember her name now, but THANK YOU to her because this is a staple for special occasions in our home!  There will be months that go by and I’ll be scrambling to make something to bring to a party or something and this will come to mind, and it’s always a no-brainer . . . and I ALWAYS go home with an empty dish.  Just think — creamy cream cheesy, spicy sweet with a little crunch, with a savory aftertaste, you are in for a heavenly treat!  If you have the time, make your own cream cheese from soaked cashews, and make your own chutney.  Otherwise, the recipe is listed with store bought ingredients so you can throw this baby together quickly.     Ingredients: 1 jar Major Grey’s Mango Chutney (if you’re in a rush use this, if not: make your own with less sugar) 1 tub whipped Go Veggie Cream Cheese 1-2 c. finely shredded romaine lettuce 1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut 1/2 c. roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (if you are raw vegan, use raw nuts of your choice) 1/4 finely diced chives (can substitute with scallions) Directions: This is SO easy.  Smear the creek cheese directly onto serving platter.  Next, smear chutney directly on top of cream cheese, leaving an inch of the cream cheese not covered all around the edge, for looks.  Then top with remaining ingredients, in order. Serve with a melange of crackers and fruits and vegetables, and you’re good to go!   The flavors of this can easily be changed, like using strawberry conserve instead of the mango chutney and eliminating the chives and adding in mint and replace the peanuts with pistachios.  That would remove most of the savory flavors and it would be more like a dessert dip!  YUM!  I think we may have to give that a try 😉  ...

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Meatless Monday’s!

  If you are anything like the hundreds of people I have talked to about food prep, you simply don’t have time to stand in the kitchen preparing a gourmet meal every night. You want simple, you want tasty and you want it now!  Well, if you prepare in advance, a healthy, filling, nutrient dense meal like this is only ten minutes away!  And if you aren’t sure if a vegan diet is right for you, why not try something new and try this Meatless Monday meal 🙂 This was a simple meal one night, lazy, lazy! Black bean burger in the toaster . . . 4 minutes Salad: romaine & spring greens, grapes, sunflower seeds, balsamic vinegar . . . 4 minutes Zucchini sliced in half, tomato sauce poured on top, Daiya cheese sprinkled on top, broiled until melted . . . 4 minutes If you do it in that order, you can make dinner for 2 in less than 10 minutes, whole food = fast...

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Body, Mind and Spirit
Jan03

Body, Mind and Spirit

My mission this week is to share what I am doing in the new year, but I think it’s going to take me a month to tell you everything! And I have about a million and one things running through my mind, so breaking it down to one subject per post feels like . . . ahhhh!!!   I want to talk about my food today.  I love food.  I mean, I LOVE food.  I love the way it smells, how pretty on a plate it is, the textures, the combinations.  You say food, I’m like: Most folks know that I have been Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB)for about 5 years. This means: no processed/prepared foods, no salt, no oil, no animal products which includes all animal flesh: beef, turkey, chicken, duck, lamb, veal, fish, etc as well as no dairy – Dr. Fuhrman dubbed this a “nutritarian” lifestyle. For the first half, I was deeply entrenched in making sure I had my micronutrients. I have suffered most of my life with debilitating autoimmune disease and toyed around with vegan/vegetarianism for the 10 years preceding this move in my diet and I was just ready to get out of that cycle. The second half of that, saw more and more exposure to farming practices as I researched my health and the quality of the food I was eating.   Not only was I seeing what kind of chemicals were getting sprayed on my food and how they were changing the DNA make-up of food in a lab in the seed, but also how animal products actually get to the stores. From the birth of the animal to the animal product in packaging – eggs, milk, chicken breasts, beefsteak, bacon . . . the more I saw, the more I even just lost my appetite. And man, oh man, did I not want to give it to my family! So I started telling people that I was WFPB and that compassionate living was a happy happenstance. But . . . research is never ending. And as you change what you eat, and the hormones in the foods are ingested less and less, the levels of those hormones in your body slowly begin to lower. Your thinking clears and your brain is able to make connections that those hormones can hinder. You’ll hear a lot of people talk about how their skin clears, their eyes are brighter, etc but also, you feel like you begin learning things on a spiritual level that somehow were blocked before. It’s an awareness of sorts that has to be experienced because it’s too difficult to explain. And...

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Blackberry Currant Layered Cheesecake

If you saw my FB post yesterday, you saw my oh-so-yummy noncheese cheesecake! Part of what I am doing this year is a sort of gradual detox to rid my body of harmful chemicals from all the medicine I took last year through my illness. As of the first, I am eating no cooked foods. I made this as a treat for New Year’s Eve, knowing I’d have enough left for a “go-to” if I had to have a treat. I don’t usually have hankerings for particular foods anymore, but it’s not hard to want a piece of this!  And it’s pretty simple too, aside from straining the blackberries through a sieve, you can probably make the whole thing from start to finish in under 20 minutes! To start, you will need 3 cups of soaked cashews.  The best way to do this, is to purchase RAW nuts the day before, and place in a jar or bowl big enough to hold the cashews covered in water, plus an additional cup of water and still have some space left in the container.  I use a 2 liter mason jar to do this, it’s just easiest for me.  The reason you want to do this, is that the nuts will absorb the water and expand.  It’s also important to note, to ensure you don’t get bloating or discomfort,  drain and rinse the nuts and soak again halfway through soaking time.  You want a minimum of 4 hours, but 24 hours is superb.  The longer they soak, the creamier your cheesecake!  The reason you drain and rinse is because nuts have enzyme inhibitors that are released when they touch water.  Those inhibitors can cause intestinal discomfort aside from the fact they will keep you from absorbing all the goodness!  So, the recipe takes a little forethought, but is quickly made! For the pie crust: 2 cups raw nuts (I use pecans mostly, with some walnuts and almonds) 5 tablespoons cacao nibs (can use non-dairy chocolate chips) 2 T. cocoa powder Some himalayan sea salt ½ t. vanilla 5 medjool dates, pitted (room temperature works best)   For the filling: 12 – 20 oz. fresh blackberries This reminds me – I went to Cracker Barrel with my family not long ago, and the only thing on the menu that I could eat was the fruit bowl – fresh blackberries and pineapples. I’m not a big blackberry fan because of the seeds, but o.m.g. . . . . these blackberries were HUGE and JUICEY and so good, I had to ask the chef where he got them from locally. That’s kind of what...

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Authentic in 2015 – New Year’s resolutions??!

  If there is anyone excited about an opportunity for fresh starts this year, it’s ME!! Growing up, we always talked about resolutions, my friends and I did. Usually it was a time for “what can I do that will please me”. Typically, I was known as the friend where you could get anything you need – a shoulder to cry on, help with homework, friendly advice, even the shoes off my feet (on more than several occasions!) My parents called me their “missionary child” because I was always helping someone, including every stray animal that crossed my path! I didn’t really think I needed to up my game in that department, I just needed to keep doing what I was doing. So the typical resolutions that made it to my list: lose weight, run my neighborhood M-F, save $XX before my birthday, etc. But in my mind, I felt incomplete. I spent so much time trying to help others and to be sure that those around me were satisfied that it became a habit to put my thoughts/wants/needs in a little box and on a shelf in the back of the room of my mind. It became such a habit that it had become a very heavy anvil that I carried daily with me. It became easier just to say, “whatever you want” when asked where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. I would just spit out phrases my parents spoke or others whom I knew I should value. It was too hard to sift through that very full room in my mind of chaotic needs that surrounded me in my life, to the back of the room to the tippy-top shelf to get to that tiny, little box where I put myself. In the book “The Five Love Languages,” Gary Chapman refers to our “love tank” as a gauge to how fulfilled we are. We learn through his text which language we speak, and how often we are “spoken to” in our language is what fills our tank. We have a tendency to naturally lean towards “speaking” our own love language. There is a test in the book you can take that tells you what language you speak, but I think you probably can tell for yourself which language fills you the most (and it can change through the seasons of our life). And it’s not what you want to project, or think is the one you should feel, but what truly makes you feel loved. He labels the languages as: Words of Affirmation Quality Time Physical Touch Acts of Service Receiving Gifts...

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