Sunday, December 30, 2012

All you need is Love

Have you ever read The Secret?  If not, go to right now any buy it!  It is such an inspiring book that explain the secret of life.  For a few dollars  and a couple hours of your time, you can learn how to feel so good about who you are and where you want to be in life by simply using the secret.

This past Christmas. Andrew and I found The Power.  This book is all about how to apply the secret (law of attraction) into your life.  One paragraph in the book reads, "Tell the law of attraction what you love every day by singling out the things you love and feeling them.  Just think about how much love you can give in one day by feeling the things you love..."  This seems so easy, and it is, but it is even more amazing as to how good and loving you feel after just a few of these affirmations.  Part of living healthy is being loving and kind to yourself and those around you in order to bring balance to our chaotic world.

During this first part of the new year, when everyone is working on their resolutions, try to incorporate the secret and the power into your everyday life.  But more importantly, don't give up on it in February when many other resolutions start to fade away.  Keep pushing on and you will be amazed to see how your life will change for the better, even if you don't think it can't get any better.

Question for the day:  Have you assessed your 5 domains of health lately?  If you would like help with this, leave me a comment with your email and I will help get you started.

Luana ola!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Plant Roots

I am so sorry for taking so long to write up another post.  I promise to do better in the future...

Right now, I have so many books that I am reading/skimming through, but there is one that I picked up from the library that I just have to tell you all about!  It is called Plant Roots and is written by Rex Bowlby.

This quote from the book really stuck out to me:
"The bathtub is overflowing and the medical profession is there to bail water from the tub to the sink, soak up the floor with towels, and build up the sides of the tub. Certainly, those measures will help, but they will have no where near the impact of simply turning the water off"

It makes complete sense when you really think about it in terms of degenerative and infectious diseases.  Before I get into that, let me break down these two terms.  Infectious diseases are those that come on fast by a bacteria or virus and more than likely need to be treated with medication in order to be taken care of.  Degenerative diseases, on the other hand, are slow-moving diseases that deteriorate different parts of the body.  These diseases are mainly caused by nutritional deficiencies and/or an overabundance of unnecessary nutrients like fat, animal protein, and refined sugar.

That being said, the quote above makes sense because as a species, humans have created many helpful medications to take care of and even completely diminish, which makes infectious diseases less deadly for us.  Now that we don't have to worry about infectious diseases as much and are living longer, degenerative diseases are increasing drastically.  Since medication worked in the past, we have come to believe that medication can solve our problems in the present.  Well, we seem to be seeing that this is just not the case.  By taking medications for degenerative diseases like diabetes, certain cancers, MS, and many others, we are just masking the problem (or mopping the puddles if you will).  In order to simply turn off the faucet, we need to start eating what comes from Nature and is what our bodies should naturally consume:  plants of all forms.

Question of the day:
If you could live a longer and healthier life by simply replacing animal products with plant products (i.e. cow's milk vs almond milk, animal cheese vs soy cheese, meat vs beans) would you?

Luana ola!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Roasted Root Veggies

I am practically done with this vegan challenge!  I can't believe I have made it this far.  With a few slip-ups under my belt, I feel more confident and comfortable in this new way of life.  In these next few months, I probably won't be so strict, but I do believe that I will keep up this wonderfully healthy lifestyle.  I can honestly say that I have more energy and feel better about the nourishment I am feeding myself and Andrew.

Last night, I made a wonderful mixture of roasted beets and sweet potatoes with a side of pureed vegetable soup that was topped with steamed Brussels sprouts.  It was so good!

First, peel the sweet potato and beets.  Be careful because the beets will stain EVERYTHING!  If you want, you can wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from turning pink.  Next, slice in half and cut into thin rounds.  Once that is done, slice each of the rounds into match-stick sized pieces.  Put everything into a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, thyme, oregano, and sea salt.  Toss to coat and put it into a preheated 375 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until soft.

I had a bunch of cabbage soup leftover, so I blended that up and added a boiled sweet potato to add some thickness.  I heated that over the stove and added the Brussels sprouts.  To my surprise, the chunks of Brussels were really good with the creamy soup.  It was a dinner in vegan heaven!

Besides being tasty, I was so happy to eat a bunch of the food because I know it is good for me.  I felt healthy and happy after eating this meal, as I do with all vegan meals.  There is no weighing you down with heavy meats or dairy products.  I hope you try my recipe and see how much you can love vegan food as well!

Luana ola!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Veagn Challenge Update

 I have been doing this challenge for 18 days now!  I can't even believe it is so easy.  I'll admit I had a couple slip ups:
  • mandatory class tastings for nutrition
  • When I was feeling like I wanted to stop the challenge, I had a slice of cheese and some crackers.  Low and behold, I felt very heavy and my stomach ached that night...
It is amazing how my body craves different foods now and how completely turned off I am at the sight or smell of dairy.  Even the thought of consuming animal products just makes my mind fuzzy.

I have been taking a B12 supplement once a week because this crucial vitamin is hard to find in abundant sources in plant-based foods.  I have heard of fortified nutritional yeast containing B12 as well as naturally fermented foods.  Although these foods do contain trace amounts (according to the articles I read, which I will find and post later) of B12, but are not substantial enough.  I have also read that once the body becomes acclimated to no more B12 from the outside, it can take small amounts from the foods we do eat (i.e. fermented, dirt from our veggies, etc.) and hold onto it in our bodies.

There is still much more research that needs to be done on this topic.  I will be looking more in depth and posting articles I find within the net few weeks.  I would love to hear what you have to say about this topic, as well.  So, please feel free to post your thoughts/ideas/articles you have found so we all can learn a bit more.

Enjoy the warm-up this weekend!

Luana ola!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vegan Update: Day 14

Thanksgiving pictures

Challenges through Thanksgiving:
1. Family traditions-
        Like most families in America, my family has a huge "traditional" spread during Thanksgiving and has been that way since before I was born.  This spread includes turkey, ham, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a big salad.  For many years, I had enjoyed this tradition.  Last year, when I was exploring vegetarianism, I had a few complaints from relatives who told me that I should be eating met because it was healthy.  Well, after another year of not eating meat, I am still healthy as ever and got questioned about this vegan challenge.  My aunt, who is a nurse, told me that there are certain amino acids that are only found in meat so I should at least eat a little bit.  Although she is somewhat correct, I have absolutely no desire to eat meat (maybe fish...a  few times a year...?) ever again.  My aunt was super sweet, though, because she made me a three bean salad so I could get some additional protein!

2. Sense of accomplishment-haven't felt it yet...
       After Thanksgiving, I began thinking about stopping the challenge because I had graciously made it through a meat-infested holiday with few troubles.  Just as that idea came into my head, I began to think that this is the time I should keep going on. I found the courage to push through because it is in our toughest trials that we need to keep going in a challenge, I am learning nothing while it is easy, but when it gets hard is when the real learning occurs.  Since I had finally felt a slight challenge, it is important that I keep going to see if I run into anymore tough roads.

Recipes from Thanksgiving:

-Stuffed pumpkin
1 medium pumpkin
1 loaf day old (or older)whole grain bread, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 apples, unpeeled, chopped
1 c raw nuts (walnuts/pecans), chopped
Herb mix, to taste:  sage, thyme, cumin, pepper
1 to 2 c vegetable stock
1/4 c Earth Balance, melted (or other light-flavored oil)
soy sauce or salt to taste
     ~ Cut the top of the pumpkin off to make a lid.  Remove the seeds and scrape out and pulp.  Comine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix.  The stuffing should be moist, but not wet.  Pack it loosely into the pumpkin, replace lid, and bake on a oiled cookie sheet for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees F.  The pumpkin is done when a fork pushes easily through the flesh.  Any remaining stuffing can be baked in a casserole dish for 1 hour.  You may eat the pumpkin with the stuffing.
Recipe from:  Homecooking
-Raw pumpkin pie
4 c cubed sugar pumpkin
1/2 c agave
1/2 c honey/maple syrup
small handful of dates
cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste
pinch of salt
1 c water
1 c each walnuts and pecans
1 c dates, soaked 30 minutes in water
2 T Earth Balance
pinch salt
        ~Process pumpkin into small  chunks, add remaining filling ingredients and process until smooth.  Add liquid.  For the crust, process the nuts into powder, add dates, agave, honey, and Earth Balance.  Process and press into pie pan.  Pour filling over the top and let rest in the fridge for an hour.
Recipe found at:  This Rawsome Vegan Life
-Roasted Brussels sprouts
lots of Brussels sprouts, end cut off, quartered
1-2 T olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
     ~Place all ingredients in a casserole dish and mix with hands.  Cover with a lid and bake at 350 degrees F until just cookd through and lightly golden (about 30 minutes).  Serve warm
-Mashed sweet potatoes
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 c maple syrup
almond milk
pinch salt
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves to taste
     ~Boil potatoes until fork tender.  Use an electric hand mixer or potato masher to mash potatoes while adding the remaining ingredients until your desired consistency is reached.  For more creamy potatoes, add more almond milk and Earth Balance.  For thicker, leave on the skin, use less milk, and mash with a potato masher.

My dinner plate:
More deserts, including my mom's vegan pumpkin bread!!!
I hope you like my recipes as much as my family and I did.  These dishes would also make great sides/mains for the rest of the holidays as well, so please give them a try and let me know what you think or if you made any changes!

Luana ola!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vegan Challenge: Day 8

It's almost Thanksgiving!!!

I am so excited to make some scrumptious vegan recipes!  Today's challenge was eating out at an Asian restaurant.  I have so many favorites, luckily most of them being accidentally vegan:  garlicky green beans, sauteed mushrooms, and sesame seed balls.  I love the third so much that I have decided to try making some myself!!

Here are the links to the recipes I found that sound authentic and tasty:
Sandra's Easy Cooking
Chinese Food

I am going to take the recipe from Sandra's Easy Cooking, minus the peanut filling and add in a sweet red bean filling from this site.

I won't be making these until Thanksgiving is over, but I will definitely be keeping you posted!

3 more days!!  What are you making this holiday season?

Luana ola!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vegan Challenge: Day 7

Well, I have officially made it one week into my cruelty-free way of eating!It has been much more simple than I had imagined, but I am beginning to see the challenges that lie ahead:

1.  This morning, we went out to breakfast with some friends.  At first, I was really nervous because all I saw on the menu was fruit, toast, or oatmeal. I was even more nervous because I didn't know if their oats were made with milk...luckily, they only had water!  So, low and behold I got a nice nourishing bowl of creamy oats (without the dairy). MMM
2. This afternoon, we went to an Eagle Scout ceremony for one of Andrew's friends.  I didn't know that they would be having food and got nervous when I saw the covered pans before the ceremony. Note: I really need to learn to have more faith in people, because they had a salad and an amazingly good pasta dish with tomato sauce (cheese was optional and on the side!).
3. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and temptation will be everywhere!  Luckily, I am bringing a few scrumptious dishes of my own, but I know my family will question me.  I just have to remain strong and remember why I am doing this challenge...for all of those animals whose lives are either taken or tortured for our enjoyment of the foods they bring us (which is completely unnecessary, by the way).

That being said, here is a cute video of some of the pigs on a farm that was right next to the nature center where we had the eagle ceremony!

Luana ola!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vegan Challenge: Day 6

I had another wonderful morning of yoga training at Thrive/Essencia!  Here is a picture of the studio!
After a bout of conversation and lessons, we had 4 students join us for class.  I learn so much every time I am there and love how refreshed and renewed I feel afterwards.  I have been an athlete my whole life and have always thought that I wasn't getting a good enough workout unless I was sweating hard, heart racing, and competitive.  After beginning to learn more about the depths of yoga (and I have A LOT more to learn), I have come to realize that the body does not need to be put through crazy workouts in order to feel great and be healthy.  I feel more calm, at ease, and free spirited than when I played volleyball or worked-out in a gym.  After being in the gym, I always felt pumped up, adrenaline going, and powerful.  Yoga is already leading me to a new inner strength that I have never felt before; and I love it!  I am getting rid of my gym membership and focusing on yoga for the time being.  Now, when it gets warmer out again, I will definitely be taking up running and biking again, but winter is a time in which Mother Nature winds down, and blankets all of her goodness with a white covering.  This is a time to reflect and learn about who I am, and what I want to be.  Yoga will keep me strong and flexible until nature says she is ready to bring back the light and encourages me to get outside to enjoy her bounty.

As for my vegan challenge, things are still going great!  I ran into a bit of a bump tonight for dinner, though because we decided to go to Mariano's.  For those of you who don't know, Marioano's is a wonderful store that just opened up this past fall by our house.  It is full of great produce and has a big dining area full of soups, sandwiches, and of course a beautiful salad bar.  Since I adore soup, I thought I'd check out what they had to offer.  Well, their vegetarian selection was quite impressive:  chili, minestrone, tomato basil, garden vegetable, and even a butternut squash soup!  Well, as you can imagine, I was super excited...until I read the ingredients...all of them had milk!  What a bummer; but on the bright side, I had a beautiful salad filled with kale, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, olives, beets, and broccoli.  Delicious!  I just wish more places were vegan-friendly...

Well, I am already about a week into this challenge and I feel great.  I truly think that I am getting great support through yoga and my family (and my readers of course!!) So, I leave you with the question of the day:
Do you know any good vegan Thanksgiving recipes for desert?  I am thinking something other than pie/cookies/etc.  A little more non-traditional, if you will?

Luana ola!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Vegan Challenge: Days 4 and 5

Day 4:

I had the day off, so I got a lot done, including a nice long walk to get groceries. I picked up a lot of great fruits and veggies along with some bread and Earth Balance (vegan butter) to use in my Thanksgiving recipes. 

I had a wonderful yoga class last night.  It was filled with candle light and the Christmas lights on the trees were shining through the window as we gracefully went through moon salutations and a wonderful routine of deep stretching.

Since I had the yoga training, I packed up a few things and left the house without I got hungry, I looked at the ingredients of the JuicePlus protein bars and saw that they contained whey (a protein only found in milk).  I was very hungry and knew I needed food.  I can not even tell you how many times I wanted to just open the bar and settle my hunger, but I didn't.  Today, I am so proud of myself for holding on to my strength and waiting to have a snack when I got back home later in the evening.  This trial really helped me to think about my food and remember the reason why I wanted to go vegan:

There are so many cruelties surrounding our diets these days.  Beyond health benefits, going vegan is a cruelty-free practice.  One of the sutras of yoga is being loving towards our bodies as well as the world around us.  How can we practice this when factory farms are everywhere...I have not yet worked up the courage to write about some of the videos I have seen or read about. 

I am beginning to find an inner peace with myself through going vegan and delving into yoga.

Day 5:
This morning I had a wonderful bowl of hot oatmeal with almond milk and a pear.  I am really noticing that this transition from vegetarian to vegan is fairly easy, I just have to remember to read labels more closely.  It amazes me as to how many products have milk, eggs, or forms of those products in them!  I am here to tell you that it is much easier to go vegan once you begin eating mainly unrefined foods.  Think about how many natural foods there are that are vegan-friendly:
     fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, nuts, breads (most)
Now, think of the variety that those groups offer!
     Fruits- apples, bananas, kiwi, grapes, melon, mango, pears, quince, fig, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, plums, etc.
     Vegetables- kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green beans, peppers, squash, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, cucumber, etc.
     Grains- oats, wheat, corn, rye, teff, quinoa, barley, millet, etc.
     Beans- garbanzo, kidney, adzuki, pinto, soy, black, cannalini, navy, etc.
     Seeds- pimpkin, sunflower, chia, etc.
     Nuts- almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, sanch inchi, hazel nut, Brazil nut, pecan, etc.
     Breads- whole grain, corn bread, sweet bread, pancakes, muffins, dinner rolls, flat breads, etc.

It amazes me how much we have been blessed with an abundance of produce that we either neglect to nourish ourselves with and/or feed it to livestock.  Why waste the energy and resources to feed something that we then have to kill for nourishment when we could eat those things ourselves and nourish our bodies with natural foods it craves for?

Question of the day:  If you saw the inside of a slaughterhouse, would you become vegetarian? (Click here if you are unsure)

Luana ola!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vegan Challenge: Day 3

Last night, as I was adding the finishing touches to dinner, I asked Andrew if he would like cheese on his baked acorn squash.  He said of course...

I have absolutely no problem with him having cheese or other dairy products (as we are both vegetarian), but it made me think about dairy for the first time in the past 3 days.  I have not even thought about consuming any dairy until I had to shred the cheese to finish off the dinner.  3 days ago, I would have taken a nibble of the cheese before putting it back in the fridge; now I actually had to think about it and remind myself about where it comes from.

I am a mere 3 days into this challenge and I am already coming across the need to think about food more.  Not that it is difficult or making me angry/sad/etc, but it is making me more aware of the foods that I am putting in my body.

On that note, it is a good thing that I read the label for the Juice Plus protein bars because they do have some milk protein (whey) in them. :(  So I can't try them now, but Andrew will be testing one out today so I'll be sure to let you all know what he thinks.

Now I am off to reading and classes!  Yay nutrition!!

Luana ola!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vegan Challenge: Day 2

We had a wonderful vegan dinner last night of Brussels sprouts and mixed veggies in a butternut squash broth.  The squash broth made the whole dish slightly sweet and perfect!  I made the broth by taking all of the leftovers from chopping the butternut squash for soup (the skin, and fibers that hold the seeds) and boiling them with spices.

Now for today:  So far, going vegan has still not been too difficult.  I made pancakes this morning with oats and whole wheat flour and used flax meal/water for the binder.  Simple!  Lunch was leftovers and a snack was some almonds after my first day at yoga teacher training!!!!!

More on that here:
OH MY GOSH!  These women were so much fun and I had a blast.  Since this was my first time ever being in a yoga studio, I wasn't sure what to expect and what their expectations were of me.  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous.  Well, let me tell you, the nerves flew right out the window as I walked in to big smiles and hugs!  I felt so at home right away.  We did some talking, went through postures and savasana, and then did some more talking (over 2 hours worth! so great!)  During savasana, we were each covered with a blanket and there was a scent of lavender in the air as our limbs got lightly massaged and loosened; there is no better way to relax.  I felt so rejuvenated afterwards.  I can't wait to go back on Thursday evening! (Check out there website here.

Next, to my surprise, my newest Juice Plus package arrived this afternoon!  JP Complete protein bars!

Can this day get any better?!  Oh wait, it can because I have been given this wonderful body to move in all sorts of ways and an opportunity to share my passions (cooking, health, yoga, etc.)  with other passionate people.  Being that it is nearing Thanksgiving, everyone seems to be in a more thankful mood, but this mood should be there year round.  We should all be thankful for the many gifts that we have and even for those we don't have because if we were perfect at everything, there would be nothing to strive for in life.  

I can't express my gratitude enough.  Be sure to thank someone, especially during this holiday season.

Luana ola!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Product Review Part 2

I had the coconut butter, cashew butter, and cocoa bliss to finish of the wonderful abundance of Artisana nut butters.  I apologize for not having any pictures, so if you forgot what the packages look like, take a look at this post.

Coconut butter/Cacao Bliss:
    The reason that I lumped these two together is because they are both coconut butter; cacao bliss is coconut butter mixed with chocolate!  Now, I have to admit that although I am a total fan of coconut oil, the butter is too much coconut for me.  Coconut butter is ground up coconut flesh and tends to have a bit of a dry texture, even after its been melted.  That being said, cacao bliss tasted just like a Mounds candy bar (but obviously way more healthy!).  So, although I personally did not care for it, my mom (who adores all things coconut) absolutely loved it and even brought some to work with her to share!  So, for you coconut lovers out there, Artisana has some great products!

Cashew butter:
     At first, I was not sure what to expect because the color is very pale and it looks really gooey (like paste, sort of).  But one bite had my mind blown!  Now I know why they use it as a bast for so many other nut butters.  The texture of this stuff is outstanding.  It is velvety smooth with just a hint of cashew-flavor.  The mild flavor of this nut is great for recipes, especially when making "creamed" anything vegan!

So, I must say, keep up the great work Artisana!  You really know what you are doing.  I have only one request/ you think you will ever add seed butters (like pumpkin or sunflower) to your list of products?

Have you tried any of these products?  If so, or if you have a nut/seed butter that you love, I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Luana ola!

Becoming Vegan Day 1

I have had many ups and downs about becoming vegan.  In the past, I would commit to it and then lose the "will power" after only a few days.  I have been a vegetarian for a few years now and have been playing with the idea of veganism for a while.  I have watched a few videos and read a few books, but nothing struck me like these two things:

1. Vegucated
     This documentary really hot home for me.  I watched it last Friday and definitely cried at various parts.  In this film, three New Yorkers decided they would accept the challenge to go vegan for 6 weeks.  These people ate meat 3 times a day and thought they couldn't survive without it!  If they can do it, so can I.
     I really think that everyone should watch this video because it is realistic and shows clips of why people become vegan.  If you know of any films that are like this, please send them my way as I would like to learn all that I can.

     After wiping away the tears from Vegucated, I decided to do a little bit of my own research.  I ran into this site and the  first thing I saw was a 30 day vegan challenge.  I though to myself, "I can do this!  If I can make it through the holidays on a vegan diet, I can do it all the time!"  So low and behold, I am on my first day as a vegan.  So far, it hasn't been too hard, but the hard part is yet to come...
     I plan on doing plenty of research and watching videos/pod casts to keep myself aware of why I am going vegan.  I think that it is very important to remind yourself on a daily/weekly basis of why you do something because it keeps you real and grounded.  The more one falls into the routines of life, the more one is susceptible to not living to one's fullest.  I am doing this challenge to improve my health and take a step in saving our world (more on that tomorrow).

Would you ever consider going vegan or vegetarian?

Luana ola!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Food 101: Potatoes!

In the past, potatoes have gotten a bad rap for thier high starch content and "lack of nutrients".  Now, it's time to put those theories to rest!

First of all, yes potatoes are high in starch.  This starch is a good binder as fiber and helps your digestive system function properly.  No matter what type of potato (white, red, blue, etc.) it is a natural replacement for other refined starches like pasta and bread.  When it comes to filler foods (i.e. things that are more calorie dense than greens and other veggies), I like to go for the most natural.  Breads and pastas are great!  Heck, I'm always happy with a piece of any type of bread!  But, from a nutritional standpoint, I like to lean towards potatoes and plantains for nature's starch.  Think about it, before ovens we didn't bake bread...we ate tubers!

Second, potatoes are FAR from lacking in nutrients.  They are an excellent source of insoluble fiber and have lots of vitamin C and potassium.  Both of these vitamins (and fiber) are seriously lacking in the American diet, if you ask me.  Also, the colorful potatoes, like sweet and blue, have additional vitamins/nutrients that give them those hues; so eat up! One important thing to remember is to keep the skin on when you cook/eat it because the skin holds many nutrients as well.

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat potatoes:
  • baked
  • mashed
  • pureed in soups
  • sliced and baked with garlic and olive oil
  • as a topping for savory pies
  • in salads
  • as pancakes
Because potatoes have such a mild flavor, they can really be added/used in almost any style.

What is your favorite recipe/way to eat potatoes?

Luana ola!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Product Review #1

Good morning everyone!  It is such an exciting day because I have three wonderful products from a nut butter company called Artisana.  As you may have read in my last post, they were kind enough to supply me with tons of samples of their nut butters.  They are "Creating unique, delicious, healthy, gourmet food is a work of passion for us, blending together nuts and seeds like the vibrant colors of an artist's palette. Handmade with care, our organic foods are crafted using a temperature controlled process that preserves the life-essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and enzymes." So far, I have tried 3 of the butters for breakfast.

The first one I tried was the raw pecan butter.  Wow!  It really tasted like pecans.  The only two ingredients are pecans and cashews.  From past experience, I have come to understand why many nuts are mixed with cashews in order to make a smooth consistency.  This is because many nuts just blend into a fine powder and are really chunky; which is not necessarily a bad thing unless you want something smooth.  This is where cashews come in.  Cashews blend up so nicely and become silky smooth when processed.  That reminds me, next post I'll have a great picture of their cashew butter for you!  Anyways, this raw pecan butter was divine and perfect for this time of year and the up coming holidays.  I would use this over peanut butter any day (even topped on my pancakes like in this picture!)
 The next one I tried was the almond butter.  I have tried many different brands of almond butter and they always end up runny and gooey.  To my surprise, this almond butter was creamy, but I actually had to work it out of the pouch!  The sweet taste of almonds in a smooth and luscious butter form is perfect for an on-the-go snack with a pear and cinnamon!
 Finally, this morning I whipped out the raw macadamia butter.  Sadly, I am not a huge fan of macadamia nuts, but this butter won me over!  I had it on toast with banana, but I tried it by itself sand could have eaten the whole pack right there!  Again, it is mixed with cashews to give it a more creamy texture, but this one was a little bit more chunky compared to the other two.  It definitely changed my mind about macadamias though!
I apologize for the bad pictures, it has been really dark when I eat breakfast now and I don't have any special equipment so please bear with me...

As for now, my favorite nut butter is definitely the pecan.  I have 3 more butters to show you, I'll keep you posted.

Luana ola!

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's Here!!!

My first review on this blog will be happening next week!  I just received all of these wonderful, wholesome, organic nut butters in the mail today and I can not wait to try them!!!!!

I'll be posting soon...keep checking in :)

Luana ola!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Part 2

I made Forbidden Rice for dinner!  It is black rice with a bunch of herbs and spices added...perfect for All Hollow's Eve!

Andrew was Clark Kent transforming into Superman and I was a Medieval Wench (wench means "country lass or working girl")

Happy Halloween and Luana ola!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baked Pears

When the weather turns bad, I turn to baking to warm my soul.

It is absolutely perfect weather for baking, especially pears.  There is something about the warm, sweet, softness of a baked pear that comforts me and brings me home.  As you may know, I am still working on my first book and today was the prime opportunity to make one of my recipes (the pears)!  Sadly, I can't share the recipe with all of you, but I am hoping to get the book out before the Holidays!

Here's what they look like!!!!!
Oh yeah, and they taste as good as they look!  This guy was my mid-morning snack :)

I hope everyone is staying safe during this period of bad weather.  May comfort and blessings fill your homes.

Luana ola!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Part 1

This time of year is so great!  Crisp air, sun, warm soups, hot tea/cocoa, and so many things to do...  Well this weekend was the last weekend of Goebberts for this season so I decided to dress up in my best Medieval Garb and get a few pictures with Gus before the festivities begin.  I used to always decorate the garage and help my parents pass out candy, but this year will be a little different since I am not living at home.  As of right now, there are only pumpkins being used for decoration and I think I will just be handing out bags of tea to trick or treaters this year.  

Here's a picture of me and my little bat girl! (Both outfits are home made by yours truly...except the corset, I haven't quite mastered that one yet, but am definitely up for some advice...anyone?)

I am very much into Halloween and its history/traditions.  On October 31st, I will devote a post to the wonderful past of this holiday; you might be surprised about its history!!

Last night's dinner was another round of delicious squash soup!  We can't get enough of's that good!  Along with Stacy's pita chips (the cinnamon ones are so good too)

Well, better stop distracting myself and get back to Chemistry reading...

Luana ola!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Plantains and Product Reviews

Yesterday for Nutrition Lab, we had a giant food tasting!  I got to try so many foods that I had never had before.  Foods like choke cherries, rutabaga, purple potato, watermelon radish, black garlic, and plantains!Speaking of plantains, two of my classmates come from Hispanic countries and both have family recipes involving plantains. For them, these starchy bananas are a staple food and are used as a potato or other starch replacement in all meals.

This chapter is obviously on starches...!

These plantains were so good, I stuffed myself of them!  Each girl made them 2 different ways that their families like to prepare them.  Girl 1 used very very ripe plantains; the skin was completely black!  She peeled them and boiled one and pan fried the other in a little bit of oil.  They were both very sweet and had a little bit of a banana flavor.  Girl 2 used very green plantains, which are much more firm and starchy.  Her aunt made fried plantains (aka plantain chips) and another way of pan frying them.  I actually liked the pan-fried one better and can definitely see myself using more plantains to cook with (maybe for the holidays??)

Here are the other tastings

After all this tasting, you know I had to do some nutritional research, so here's what I found...
Although 3/4 of the recipes involved frying, it was in healthy oils and not a lot of it, but the nutrition facts I found are for 1 cup of sliced, plain cooked plantains:

  • 179 calories
  • 47.97 g carbohydrates
  • 21.56 g sugar
  • 716 mg potassium
  • 16.8 mg vitamin C
  • 1400 IU vitamin A
  • 3.5 g fiber
  • resource
Overall, this is a pretty healthy food and would make a decent replacement for other starches.  As with all starchy foods, though, it is important to not over do it.

And last, but certainly not least, I got a confirmation for my first product review on Luana ola!!  I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but the company will be mailing some samples for me to review, so keep checking in to see when it comes!!  I am so excited!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Broth is Good for Bones

After going through emails and blog posts this morning, I got inspired to write this post about broth.  Broth is one of those foods/food items that gets forgotten about and put on the back burner (pun intended!).  The cool thing about broth is that, like the soups that are made from them, there are so many variations/flavors/ingredients to use that you can never get bored.

Broth in general has many health benefits. I make lots and lots of veggie broth.  The great thing abut this broth is that I can use whatever veggie scraps I want, which saves on waste and keeps the flavors changing constantly so we never get bored.

I make my broth as follows:
  • load up a stock pot with raw veggie leftovers (i.e. broccoli stalks, kale stems, carrot ends, celery, onion pieces, beet tops, etc.)
  • fill with water until the veggies are just barely covered
  • add spices (I like to use star anise, coriander, mustard seed, pepper corns, cumin seed, all spice berries, and any other whole spices I have lying around)
    • Bring the whole concoction up to a boil and then simmer until the veggies become mushy; this ensures that all of the nutrients are in the broth.
    • You can use the veggies to feed the birds, make a pie, or chop and use in a soup.  The most important part here is to not waste, but remember that all the nutrients from those veggies are now in the broth.
Once the broth is finished, it can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a few months.  Use it like water, or drink straight up!  I like to make rice and beans with broth to add flavor and nutrients, but I also use it to make all of my delicious fall soups!

What's you're favorite food to make with broth?

Luana ola!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Super Awesome Crazy Weekend

I had a full day of work on Saturday (from 9AM to 7PM) and was busy the entire time!  Goebberts is one hoppin' place on the weekends, especially now that the season is almost over...only 8 more days...

Exhausted, hungry, and tired, I walked through the front door to a warm hug and a new book on the table, waiting to be opened!!!!
 Vegan Holiday Cooking has so many amazing recipes for all year round, but specialize in holidays (in multiple denominations!)  I can't wait to try some of these!!!

Here's some pictures from Goebberts on Sunday morning:

 Sunday afternoon, Andrew and I went to my Mamaw's house to help her bake an old fashioned stack cake.  It has mainly wholesome ingredients including whole grain flour, home made applesauce, and lots of love!  You make individual rounds of the cake and bake it until it's really crisp.  Layer the cake with spiced applesauce and let it sit overnight to soak up all the goodness.
 I apologize for the bad picture, but I couldn't figure out the lighting...I made potato and split pea soup (yes, it was all made in one pot!)  So amazingly delicious, especially with pita chips!!
 Then we shared this piece of cake for desert!  Had to call Mamaw and tell her how good it was!!!!!  I'll definitely be making this again, and tweaking the ingredients for different flavors, and smaller portions...

Nothing says fall like soup for dinner and apple for dessert!!  Did you make anything special this weekend?

Luana ola!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Friendship Bread

Can I just say that Amish Friendship Bread is the best baked good in the fall!!  Add pumpkin and chocolate chips for a perfect bar/bread/muffin/etc.

Amish Friendship Bread:
-1 c starter (fermented for 10 days)
-3 flax eggs
2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c pumpkin
1/4 c oil
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 c soy milk
2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
     mix all ingredients and bake at 325 degrees F.  Times vary depending on the pan you use, but here's some general guidelines:  loaf = 1 hour; mini muffins = 20-30 min; 1/2 sheet pan = 40-50 min
This recipe makes 2 loafs and freezes very well (not that it needs to be...)

Andrew and I both got home late and were famished before dinner was ready...Friendship Bread was calling our names!!  Desert before dinner?...Yes please!

Dinner included baked potatoes and mixed veggies...mmmm...nothing like autumn.

Anyone have fun plans for the weekend?  I'm baking with my Grandma!!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Favorites

After my post about ideas to help all of us eat just a bit more healthy, I decided to post today about some of my favorite fall foods.  With a little inspiration from an email I got this morning(check out this link), here's what I came up with:

Apples:  Loaded with poly phenols to help fight disease, these handheld fruits are perfect for every meal.  Let it be noted that the majority of the nutritious poly phenols are located in the skin of apples.  Eating a fresh, whole apple is the best way to benefit from all it has to offer.  Skip peeling, pureeing, and baking apples (although these forms of preparation are okay every now and then...) and eat the whole fruit as mother nature intended.  Eating the fruit whole will allow for all the nutrients to get absorbed properly, help regulate your blood sugar, help prevent cancer, and even control cholesterol levels (Source).  My favorites include golden delicious, jonagold, honey crisp, and rome.

Squash:  Winter squash is so good because it can me prepared so many different ways and adds a mild touch of sweetness to dishes.  My favorites include, but are certainly not limited to:  muffins/quick breads, soups/stews, roasted, stir-fried, steamed, mashed, and baked.  You can even include them in cookies, cakes, pancakes, and waffles!!
     -Pumpkin.  Obviously my favorite of all types of winter squash!

Cranberries:  Did you know what cranberries are more than that big glob of dark red stuff at Thanksgiving?  Besides being loaded with antioxidants, which help fight cancers, cranberries also help to prevent urinary tract infections.  I like to boil the cranberries until they pop, add some seasonings, and toss them in a soup or quick bread.  They are also really good dehydrated.

Roughage:  Fiber is your friend.  All of these wonderful dark greens are low in calories, fill you up, and provide essential nutrients like vitamin K, C, and iron into your diet.  My favorite way to eat greens is either raw or lightly steamed.  The steaming makes them really bright green and brings out the sweetness of the plant.  More to come on recipes (psst...I'm making Brussels sprouts tonight...)
     -Brussels sprouts

Nuts: Oh nuts!  These little guys are packed with healthy fats and protein.  To control portion sizes, I like to crack them myself; I get tired of cracking after awhile and it slows down my eating speed.
     -Acorns (you can get these right off an oak tree!  Just make sure they haven't fallen to the ground yet, but are just on the verge of doing so)

Well, now you know more about why I love this time of year so much!!  Tons of healthy food available...what's you're favorite fall food or recipe?

Luana ola!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Healthier Ideas

As you may or may not know, I went through an emotional bought of binge eating and am still working through the recovery phase.  Although I have not binged in a long time (over 6 months), the struggles are still there and I face them almost every day.  Here is a list of some of the ways I have come up with to help me stop a binge from occurring:

First of all, it is important to note that I have found out how to tell when a binge is coming on and have learned how to either counteract it with the following list or to completely obliterate it from happening in the first place by eating scheduled, balanced meals.

         1. Know that I am not perfect.- I have a type A personality.  This means that I LOVE organization, order, lists, and perfection.  These things can be great, but they also bring many difficulties to my life.  For example, I am my own worst critic for everything; some of the things I say to myself, I wouldn't dare to even imagine saying to someone else.  I strive for perfection and hate to fail, but failing is inevitable when perfection is all you see.  With this in mind, I try to remind myself to be the best Me I can be by eating healthy, getting exercise, and minimizing stress.

  • 2. Eat a balanced, healthy breakfast every morning. - make oatmeal with fruit, whole grain pancakes, or stir fried veggies. Starting my day with healthy wholesome foods helps me to get in a healthy state of mind for the rest of the day.

  • 3. Give up dieting.- I am a firm believer in the old saying "diets don't work". The definition we have given the word "diet" has become so negative that we are becoming more and more afraid of food. We need food to survive! Eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables will ultimately lead you and me to a healthy lifestyle and long life with loved ones.

  • 4. Get support.- We are social creatures and are not meant to do things on our own. If you have a goal in mind, tell many people. This way, you can be held accountable and those people can help you get to your goals in a slow and healthy manner.

  • 5. Always keep healthy snacks in my bag.- There is nothing worse than getting stuck somewhere hungry with nothing around but fast food or sugary snacks. For this reason, I have become accustomed to packing a snack bag with nuts/seeds and some fruit and/or vegetables.

  • 6. Exercise daily.- Our bodies were meant to move and movement helps to relieve stress and bring oxygen throughout the body, allowing your mind to think more clearly and deeply.

  • 7. Learn mindful/intuitive eating.- I am still working on this one. When I am hungry, I can not think of anything else but food. If I let myself go too long, I become a completely different person and am no fun to be around. I try to listen to my body to hear what it wants whether it be water or fuel. When I listen close enough, I will know how much to eat or drink, what to eat or drink, and when to stop.

  • 8. Set a timer and meditate- When life starts getting too fast and busy, set a timer for 3 minutes. Trust me, these three minutes will feel like an hour, but once you have been still and calmed your mind and body for that short period of time, you will feel so much better and will actually be more productive.

  • 9. “I can always have it later”- Part of my biggest problem is that I deny myself constantly, so when I don't deny myself for one instant, I go crazy and gobble up the sweets because my mind thinks that I can never get this food again. I have begun to tell myself, "You can always have it later". This is a form of self-discipline; your mind is like a small child and wants things that make it feel good, aka endorphins. Endorphins are released in your brain after eating grains, sugars, and chocolate! This makes complete sense if you think about what you eat when you are sleepy, emotional, or unhappy: chocolate, cakes, cookies, and other high fat/sugar/starch foods.

  • 10. Know my triggers- It is amazing how little we know ourselves. Taking a self-analysis or answering questions to yourself is a great way of getting to know what triggers your personal "bad behaviors". This is kind of like a self-date. Really get to know yourself, your deep self who is rarely seen by the outside world. Explain to yourself the reasons you do things and if those things are not healthy, teach yourself how to make them healthy.

  • 11. Get sound sleep.- Sleep is our body's way to rejuvenate and repair itself. Without adequate sleep, we can not function well the next day. Make sure you go to bed at a decent hour and try to rise without an alarm, if possible.

  • 12. Treat yourself with love and be kind to your body.- This is your home. Treat it as though it were a statue on a pedestal in a museum. It is your shrine to show off to the world. Every body is different, so there is no such thing as perfect. When you care for your body and respect it, you will have a beautiful glow coming from your skin and people will notice. Health starts from the outside in, what makes up who you are?

Since I am still working on these things, I would love some comments on your thoughts and ideas you may have come up with.

Luana ola!

Happy Pancakes

Good Morning!!!

Upon waking, both Andrew and I had an inkling for pancakes.  Not just any pancakes, though...chocolate Kodiak flapjacks!

You start with 1 cup of Whole Grain Kodiak Cakemix.  Then, add 2 T cocoa powder and some water to mix it all together.  Now, heat a skillet and add a little oil of choice.  Pour batter in skillet and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side.  This recipe made 2 larger pancakes for Andrew and 2 small ones for me (banana not included).

I accidentally made this smiley face, so when I realized what I'd done, I had to take a picture to show all my readers!!

Luana ola!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yoga and Food

In terms of the many articles that I read about yoga, I am very new to its concept.  I began practicing yoga just over 2 years ago and  have only attended one official practice session.  I do most of my yoga at home and it is based off asanas and routines I find online, especially from Yoga Journal.  As of this past summer, I found a yoga studio that offers teacher training for a pretty decent cost.  Since I have been so busy with Goebbert's and school, getting certified has been on the back burner, that is until recently...

I noticed that after October, my time at Goebberts will be over :(  I will be working on mostly school but this might be a good time to begin a new journey.  I have found a passion for yoga and am really wanting to become certified so I can spread my love of movement and health/nutrition. Pretty cool, eh?

I am also reading a book about yoga right now (actually, I was reading it just now, which prompted this post).  The part that stuck out to me in this book was about mindful eating and there are a couple topics I want to address in this post that I even have trouble with:
1. Make the bulk of your food intake during the day.
        I tend to have a really hard time getting in enough calories during the day because I am too frugal to buy lunch at school (so I bring my own) and I have class throughout the entire afternoon (no time to eat...).  I have found a couple different ways to sneak in meals because my teachers will not allow food during class.  If so inclined, I bring a protein shake with me, but sometimes I am just not in the mood for them. Second, I munch on nuts/fruit/veggies during the 10 minutes I have between classes.  Now, I know that is no where near mindful eating, but I feel that it is more important to keep my energy levels up and be mindful during breakfast and dinner.  Do what you have to do.
2. Be aware of habitual eating
     Do you eat in front of the TV?  When you're bored, stressed, or tired?  I know I do!  Especially when I'm, stressed.  My goal for myself is to try to practice yoga or meditation the next time I get too stressed and want to eat junk food.
3. Make time to enjoy your food
     Make it from scratch (when you have the time) and sit down with those you love and enjoy it.  Take at least 20 minutes to eat each meal.  This will help you to enjoy each bite and morsel of food.
4. Don't deny yourself foods you love
     Everything in moderation is good for you and your soul.  Eat the foods you love, but fill up on wholesome and healthy foods first.  This will ensure that you are getting enough nutrients and you will then be more aware of your craving as to whether it is because you really want it or if you are just bored.

Luana ola!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkins Galore!

Well, I officially have 5 followers!  I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but it is still really exciting for me to have followers!  I started this blog because of a college assignment and it has blossomed into a journal/recipe experience full of joy and fun.  I love that I can share my passion with even the few amount of people who do read my blog (and I thank you all so much!!!!).  I hope to reach more people soon, so please let me know what you would like to see on my blog and I will accommodate as best I can.

As for today's post, I would like to introduce to you my favorite autumn food of all time...(seriously, people think I'm crazy because of all the things I use this food for...):
I bought those beauties pictured above before work yesterday.  Well, actually I got them for free because being an employee means that I get to spend up to $16 on pumpkins on the company (that's Goebbert's by the way).

Pumpkins, like the butternut and all winter squash, are loaded with beta carotene which turns to vitamin A in our bodies!  Vitamin A supports healthy eyes and actually helps to give our skin a glow, but beware, if consumed in extremely large amounts, you just might turn orange!!

Gus loved the little pumpkin I got for her.  She actually started to bite at it, so I think we will chop it up for her dinner tonight!

Still working on my book, Medieval Feats and Marvelous Treats.  I should be getting more time to work on the recipes and take pictures soon and I am shooting to be done by Christmas!

Luana ola!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Upon waking, a big mug full of hot banana-cinnamon oatmeal warmed our stomachs before venturing out into the frigid autumn air for some exercise. Please note, my oatmeal was in the Tigger mug!!

After a good workout, we went to Barnes and Noble for some "couple's" time and reading over a cup of hot coffee!! (and Andrew had a blueberry muffin...I had a piece of the sugary top!)

I wanted to buy so many books!  Especially this book!!! Flipping through the pages prompted the need to cook a good vegan soup for dinner...Butternut squash anyone?

Here's my recipe (created on the fly), but feel free to play around with the spices and ratios to find the recipe you like best:

  • 2.5 lb butternut squash, washed, peeled, and cubed
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • good pinch of each whole black pepper corns, cloves, cumin, and coriander in a spice bag
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 c non-dairy milk
  • 3 c vegetable broth
    • Saute the onions, celery, and garlic in a medium sized pot.  Add broth, spices, cinnamon, and squash.  Simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is very soft.  Transfer just the chunks of vegetables into a blender.  Puree, adding milk and/or broth from the soup until your desired consistency is reached.
    • Pour into bowls and garnish with roasted squash seeds!

This is quite possibly the BEST soup I have ever had!!  Ask Andrew, I couldn't stop talking about it; he called me crazy, but I just think I am in love.  As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I need this shirt...

Beyond pumpkin, I love all forms of squash summer and winter varieties.  I had never made this soup before but seriously wanted to give it a try because I'd had something similar in my past and loved it.  Besides making the perfectly creamy luscious soup that it becomes without adding cream, butternut squash has many health benefits as well:

Butternut Squash, Raw
Butternut squash, baked, without salt

What's you're favorite soup?
Luana ola!

Friday, October 5, 2012


Well, I am, but it's just getting cold out...oh autumn in the mid-west...

The good news is that the leaves are all changing and the neighborhood is lined with differing shades of gold, orange, red, and green.  I can not even begin to describe how much I love this time of year.  It saddens me to think that winter is just around the corner, so I'm not going to think about it!  I am going to enjoy these days while they're here.

Speaking of enjoying the days, I made a raw sunflower seed butter this afternoon.  Friday's are my early days for class and it just so happens that I have to pass Whole Foods on the way home.  Needing to pick up a few items anyways, I stopped in for a quick browse.  I ended up leving the store with $60 out of my bank account and one giant recycled bag full of good food.  Sadly, I still have a few items to pick up at another grocery store on Sunday, but my bulk items are taken care of for the next couple of weeks.  Here's what my bag was filled with:

  • coconut oil
  • tri-colored quinoa
  • raw hulled sunflower seeds
  • kale
  • organic fugi apples
  • 8oz almond yogurt (trying to find a good vegan yogurt for extra probiotics...)
  • butternut squash
  • multi-colored popping corn
  • Endangered Species dark chocolate bar with gogi berries, pecans, and maca
What is it with me and colorful things?  I will take some pictures tomorrow morning, when there is hopefully more sun, so you can see how beautiful the popping corn and quinoa are!

I am a huge believer in eating a colorful variety of whole foods, so when there is a mixture of collors for one food, I go crazy!  As a matter of fact, I probably bought enough to last us3-4 weeks!

This has become a very random post, but I just wanted to inform all of my readers about my Youtube channel that I just recently started!  I will be posting videos of different healthy recipes that are vegan and gluten-free for the most part :)  Let me know what you think of it and feel freee to pass it along to friends and family.  I started this blog as a journal, but the next stp for me is to make connections with as many people as I can.  I do not get paid for anything on this blog, it is a really fun hobby that I picked up and would like to eventually turn it into a career.  I welcome all advice and/or comments with great happiness, so please help me out by letting me know what you like/don't like or would like to see more of/less of.

Luana ola!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


     This is a very spur-of-the-moment post.  As you might have guessed, I LOVE to write.  On my bucket list, I have at least 3 different books that I'd like to publish, not including the ones that Andrew and I would like to write together.  As of right now, I am working on a children's cookbook entitled Medieval Feats and Marvelous Treats.  In this book, I share stories of a family in the Middle Ages and the recipes that they create and share together.  This book is very close to my heart because I got my passion for food from my Grandmother (aka Mamaw).  She taught me so much of what I know and has been a huge influence in my life.  This book practically sums up the joy I get from cooking and sharing food with friends and family, so I hope you get a copy for that little chef in your home and teach them about great food and making memories together.

     The next book that I write is going to be about healthy living.  I would really love some input from my readers!  What topics interest you most?  I am also thinking about a Q&A...would anyone be interested in being in my book??  Just send me an email or leave a comment with any ideas.

Luana ola!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Awesome Oats!

Last night I was thinking about what I wanted for breakfast...I honestly couldn't come up with anything!  So, after the Bears game, I laid my head down on my brand new comfy pillow and went right to sleep.

This morning, all I could think of was oatmeal!  The cool weather has definitely got me craving hot tea, hot coffee, and warm breakfasts to soothe the soul.

The recipe for this yummy concoction is as follows:

-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup soy milk (or water/cows milk/almond milk/coconut milk/etc.)
-1/4 t each cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg
-1 T ground flax seeds

Dump everything into a small pot and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until your desired thickness is reached.  Serve with a bit of studying for nutrition and you have a balanced morning!

Right now, I am studying vitamins for one of my classes and Vitamin A was the topic during that picture.  Besides some oils, vitamin A can be found in all orange/red vegetables, especially carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato.  Is it ironic that I had a post about the color orange on the second day of October?   I think not, my friends.

Well, off to do more studying and then to work.  Hopefully I'll get some pictures to post about later!

Luana ola!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Food Snob

I am one of those people who is just obsessed with food.  I use all of my senses when eating a meal or just browsing the grocery store.  Although I am a vegetarian, I like to think that I have a very open mind and admire all sorts of food-related lifestyles that people have.

I am a health nut and sometimes I can get carried away, but I never want to come across as a food snob.  Through a Facebook post today, I felt as though someone thought I was trying to push vegetarianism on them.  That is not the case at all!  I write this blog and post about what I have researched and found to be healthy to help those who are interested in food like I am.  I am not here to preach or to be one of those people who talk until they are blue in the face about why "you should be a save the animals!"  No way!  That is just not me in any way, shape or form.

Please, if I come across this way to any one, let me know so I can reword my thoughts.  My goal in life is to spread the word about healthy eating and living, not to turn people away by forcing a lifestyle on them.

Life is about living the way that you feel most healthy and at your best.  Who am I to say what one can and can not eat?  Only I can make those decisions for myself, I can not make them for anyone else.  The information I post about is just information that I have found interesting and beneficial for myself, and would like to share with other people.  I don't want to offend anyone, so please let me know if I ever come across this way.

Enjoy your weekend!  A fun post about my new job will be coming early next week.

Luana ola!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nutrition and Wellness

     Through any piece of media that you can imagine, we hear about fad diets and new ways to lose weight.  No one knows how your body feels besides you, it is your machine and you know it best.  That being said, there are many scientists out there who have studied countless people and have learned a general sense of how the human body can be fueled and run at an optimal level.  We all know that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but there is always something holding us back...time?  money?  preparation?  knowledge?  You name it!  Now, it would be really easy for me to tell you to just give up the excuses, and live a healthy life, but you and I both know that rarely works for anyone.  I'll tell you what, share this post on Facebook, leave a comment on what your reason for not eating as well as you could, and I'll devote an entire post to your specific reason!    Learning and living healthy is easier with a community.

     While you are thinking of that, I'm going to side track and let you know about the fun things that are going on in my life.  First things first, Andrew took me on a dinner cruise in Chicago last night for my birthday!  We were on the Spirit of Chicago, it was a beautiful evening, and we had lots of fun!  The only problem was the price for parking...$24!!


 Dessert!  The carrot cake was amazing!!

     I apologize for the extensive post, but I just have to tell you about this book I am reading (besides the ones for class...I know, I know I'm crazy in love with books...)  It is called Raw Food:  Weight loss and Vitality.  Now, I am not into losing weight, per say, I am just very interested in what this guy has to say about raw diets.  I heard of him through a podcast and decided to get his book because he was so right about so many things pertaining to food!

     In Chapter 2, he compared a bunch of studies that had been done on the typical diets of the longest-lived people, their culture, and lifestyle.  The two that stuck out the most to me were the Okinawans and Kenyans.  The Okinawan people (part of Japan) are known for being thin, long-lived, and practically disease free.  They typically eat food in a ratio of 85/9/6 (carbohydrates, protein, fat respectively) and seem to have a longer lifespan than any one; 5 times as many Okinawan reach 100 years of age as to the rest of Japan!  We could seriously learn from these people...
     As for the Kenyans, did you know that they typically eat a plant-centered diet with little protein and fat (77/10/13).  Besides the fact that the elite Kenyan runners have a vigorous training program, it is easy to see that these people can be very healthy.

     I think that more research should be done on these two populations because they just outshine the rest in terms of health and longevity.  I have already felt a sense of lightness after becoming vegetarian, I wonder how I would feel after adopting a more similar lifestyle to one of those two populations?  More research on my part is needed, but I am definitely int the market to learn all I can, so if you have any resources for me please let me know!

Don't forget to share and comment on your reason for not eating more healthy.

Luana ola!