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“How I Became Happy and Healthy”- The 10 Lessons I Learned During My Health Journey

17 Jul
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About The Author: Hi! My name is Hanna and I am a Junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism with a Sustainability Certificate. At the University of Iowa, I am a member of the public relations team of my sorority and starting in the fall, I will hopefully be writing for Iowa’s school newspaper, The Daily Iowan. After graduating from Iowa, I hope to be attending law school to study Environmental Policy and Law. Outside of academics, I enjoy practicing yoga and channeling my creativity through different forms of art. Being a vegan for over a year, I am frequently spending my free time learning more about the vegan lifestyle.

Hi Everyone! Like many others, living a life that promotes both physical and mental health is a top priority, which is why I have spent the past year discovering different strategies that keep me healthy from the inside out. These 10 themes I learned are based off my personal experience, but anyone can apply these topics to their lives regardless of where they are! Each of these tips falls into one of three categories: nutrition, exercise, and mental health. So here are the top 10 lessons I learned while on the path of living a physically and mentally healthy life 🙂

1.    Fuel your body with the proper nutrients!

healhtyeatEating nutrient dense foods is the first step to becoming your healthiest self! A plant-based/vegan diet has all the necessary nutrients your body needs to become strong, toned, and healthy! Consuming our essential macro nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat) in whole  plant foods will leave you feeling energized and nourished.

Proteins= The building blocks to our bodies! Proteins make up the structure and function of our tissues which is very important when building muscle! It is extremely easy for vegans to not only consume enough protein for their body’s everyday-function, but also to consume enough to build and maintain muscle mass. My go-to protein providers are quinoa, buckwheat, beans, chickpeas, tofu, and Evolve plant protein powder (it’s so good)! Don’t forget that all plants have protein so don’t worry about not getting enough! Here is an awesome piece about plant-based protein!

Carbohydrates= Energy! All fruits and vegetables have carbs in them which our bodies use to create glucose. Glucose is the sugar that gets used for energy immediately or stored for later. Not only do out bodies need glucose, but so do our brains! With the bad rap carbs get, it’s important to understand that in order to be a functioning, healthy human we need to consume carbohydrates. My favorite complex carb-dense foods are bananas, sweet potatoes, lentil pastas, brown rice noodles, and home-made treats!

Fats= Absorption! It is essential to have healthy sources of fat in your meals so your body can absorb and receive the benefits of all the nourishing vitamins from whole foods! Healthy fats also help you feel satisfied, satiated and can curve cravings. I like to get my servings of fat from avocados, coconut oil, nuts, vegan chocolate, and almond butter!

2.    The timing of your food matters!

nourish bodyNot only is it extremely important to eat the right types of food to be healthy, but it is also important to know when to eat specific foods!

If you have a day packed with activity like walking a long distance, a tough workout, or a race to run, you’ll want to prep your body with a carb-dense meal. Leading off your most energy-expending activity of the day with a substantial, carb based meal will guarantee that you will have a steady flow of energy throughout!

One of the most crucial steps to being fit is making sure you are providing your body with enough protein to gain and retain muscle mass. After an activity where you are exerting large amounts of energy from your muscles (lifting weights, HIIT sessions, long cardio sessions, a challenging hike, etc.), consuming 20-40grams of protein will give your body all the necessary amino acids to repair, maintain, and increase the muscle tissue!

3.    Discover the type of training that works the best for your body!

There are endless benefits to exercise that leads to a healthier body and mind; so in order to be your healthiest and fittest self, finding a workout routine that you love, gets you results, and is sustainable, are key pieces! Whether your goal is to gain muscle, lose body fat, gain speed and endurance, or just to be active overall, there is a style of training that will help you get there. Everyone’s body and goals are different, so find a style of training that makes you the happiest and healthiest!

After trial and error periods, I have found that a routine centered around explosive and body weight exercises consistently gets me to my goals! My workouts always involve exercises that require more than one muscle group like jump squats, push-up-burpees (aka death), walking lunges, and commandos. These are just a few exercises that get my heart pumping and leave me dripping in sweat! Despite the fact that I sometimes think I am going to collapse during a difficult workout, this type of training is what I enjoy, what is sustainable for me, what pushes me, and what keeps me fit!

4.    Find your motivation!

We can’t forget that it takes hard work, discipline, and patience to be the healthiest version of yourself! Ask yourself why you want to commit to this journey. Is it because you’ve played sports or been active your whole life and want to continue? Is it to be confident and completely comfortable with how you look? Is it to get stronger? Leaner? Faster? Do you want to feel your best and be energized? Is it all of the above? Whatever your reason is, find what motivates and inspires you to put in the effort even when you don’t want to! My recommendation is to try to find a mentor or role model that reflects your goals in a healthy and safe way (I have listed my personal favorites at the end). There are so many amazing young men and women that share their fitness and health journeys that provide the opportunity for anyone to follow so find someone who you trust and look up to!

5.    Develop a Healthy Mindset

There is an extreme amount of pressure put on both young men and women to look a certain way, for women to be “thin” yet “curvy” and men to have the “triangle” shape with broad shoulders and a six-pack. These difficult expectations are not only promoted through advertising campaigns but also found through different social media platforms. It is challenging for young men and women to avoid comparing themselves to these unrealistic standards. With the constant pressure to look a certain way, it is crucial that you retain a healthy mindset regarding yourself, your food, and your workouts!

body careI have experienced first hand of what an unhealthy mindset looks like; I counted calories, restricted myself, counter-acted any “slip-ups” with 2 hour long workouts, and sometimes I would even go to the gym twice a day. But the unhealthiest part during this time was that I put an extreme amount of pressure on myself to be this impossibly “perfect” person. After much needed self reflection, I decided that I was no longer going to sacrifice my health and happiness to meet these expectations. I now look at my health and fitness journey with these 3 attitudes.

View food as your friend, not your enemy! Nutritious, whole foods are the necessary support to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Nutrient dense plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and grains will be your allies in being your fittest self! When you do decide to indulge in your choice of “junk food”, try to remember that having a vegan doughnut (my go-to) or a vegan double-cheeseburger is not going to ruin your progress or require you to spend 3 hours at the gym the next day. Don’t be hard on yourself if you “treat yo-self” once in a while!

View your exercise and workouts as a time to make progress toward your fitness goals, not a counter to not-so-healthy choices! Viewing exercise as a time for yourself and a way to increase your strength, speed, endurance, and overall health leads to a healthier mindset. Also, don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a day of exercise! Our bodies require time to recover so don’t force yourself through a workout if you’re sore or if you aren’t up for a gym session! Listening to what our bodies are saying will lead to a healthier self inside and out!

If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. We tend to be the biggest and toughest critics of ourselves so it is crucial that we maintain a healthy mindset towards what we see in the mirror. Understanding that people see you differently than you see yourself can switch your self-criticism to self-acceptance. No one is going to notice that pimple on your forehead, that you’re a little bloated today, or whatever insecurity is on your mind. Positive self-talk is so important for your happiness and self esteem, so expressing gratitude and appreciation towards how amazing your body is and everything it does will help you feel confident throughout your journey!

These last few lessons I learned are concepts that I follow in order to be in-tune with myself and my happiness!

6.    Don’t forget about your passions!

Each of us has small passions that provide a way to express our creativity and ideas! When we’re trying to keep up with the pace and demands of our lives, sometimes it can be easy for us to forget about our little hobbies that make us happy. Whether you love to create art, build things, take photos, make fire mix-tapes, write poems, watch old movies, whatever it is, just do it! Carving out the time to do something that you love enhances your individuality and will leave you feeling accomplished, content, and proud of who you are. Your passions are what make you, you!

7.    Put yourself first!

This might sound selfish but hear me out. I believe that taking the time to provide space for yourself to decompress and do what is best for yourself benefits not only you, but others. Putting yourself first dedicates the time and mental room to ground and recharge yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or a little off! If you take the time to support yourself, love yourself, and understand yourself, you then can support others, love others, and understand others!

8.    Learn how to be alone

The wise lyrics of Lil’Boosie and Lil’Phat, “I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, do you know what that mean mayne?”, asks an important question of the meaning of independence. Being independent doesn’t just apply to your ability to support yourself, it also applies to your emotional and mental independence! There will be times in our lives we won’t have our family and friends surrounding us; maybe we are away at school, or we moved to a different city. Whatever the reason, eventually we will need to learn how to be alone. Spending significant time by yourself allows you to really think about who you are and who you want to be. I am not saying spend a month in solitude just to figure out where you want to go to college, but being alone can lead you to your own conclusions and decisions without outside influence! Spending time in your own company will inevitably create a strong support system for yourself and solid coping skills that will be necessary when making big decisions and struggling with conflict.

9.    Allow room for growth

grothEveryday we are presented with both big and small trials and decisions whether they relate to our careers, home life, school work, or health! These areas of our lives offer the opportunity for us to challenge and push ourselves outside our comfort zones. This final push over the threshold of comfort is where we find the most growth! It may be challenging, uncomfortable, nerve-racking, and even a little scary to challenge ourselves to keep growing in different areas of our lives, but the outcome of our progression is completely worth it. We all have dreams and goals we wish to reach and achieve and its our job to push ourselves to be the best we can be!

10.    Take one step at a time

Life is hard. We get dealt hands we don’t want and we get thrown curve balls we don’t expect. Sometimes we have to adjust our lives, plans, and dreams in order to accommodate our new situations. It may seem overwhelming and daunting when trying to become the person you want to be; but I promise if you just take one step at a time, soon you will be able to look back and see how far you have come!  It doesn’t matter what you are facing; it could be the start of your fitness journey, a mental health situation, relationship problems, uncertainty about your future, whatever it is we’ve probably all experienced it. Just keep moving towards your end goal and I promise that you will make it out on the other side stronger and wiser!

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read this piece; I hope I could provide beneficial advice and a helpful point of view!

Here are links to just a few individuals who inspire me to continue on the path of healthy living!

Tess Begg – Both a fitness and vegan inspiration! Tess has delicious recipes and great workouts!

Sarah’s Day – My go-to girl for great workout routines and exercise plans! **Disclaimer: I do not agree with or promote Sarah’s food choices, I only recommend her workouts!**

Hanna ❤

Connect With Hanna!


Top 10 Pieces of Advice When Becoming a Vegan!

5 Jul


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About The Author: Hi! My name is Hanna and I am a Junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism with a Sustainability Certificate. At the University of Iowa, I am a member on the public relations team of my sorority and starting in the fall I will hopefully be writing for Iowa’s school newspaper, The Daily Iowan. After graduating from Iowa, I hope to be writing on the topic of the environment or attending law school to study environmental policy. Outside of academics, I enjoy practicing yoga and channeling my creativity through different forms of art. Being a vegan for over a year, I am frequently spending my free time finding new plant-based recipes and learning more about the vegan lifestyle.

Hi Everyone! Depending on your starting point, becoming a vegan may involve some transition and change. Sometimes when we are making a change, no matter how big or small, we can feel overwhelmed, clueless, and maybe a little nervous! Fear not, being a vegan is one of the best choices you can make for yourself. I have put together my top 10 pieces of advice for anyone who is trying to go vegan, is a vegan, or just curious about veganism!

1. Change Your Mindset

Remember that being vegan is a lifestyle choice, not a diet. Yes, your “diet” consists of all plant-based foods but veganism stretches further than that. Chances are once you embody this lifestyle, you won’t want to go back.

vega picStart looking at your food with new lenses. Break down what exactly you are consuming into separate ingredients rather than the final product. That non-vegan cookie you’re debating on? That isn’t just a cookie, it contains many different ingredients including eggs and dairy. Try to then connect these non-vegan ingredients to larger ideas like your health and ethics. Practicing this break down helps you make the connection from your food to veganism and creates a bigger picture for you to see that your choices do matter.

2. Tap Into Your Creativity, and Eat the Rainbow


Here is my go-to! Base: Banana “nice-cream” w/ vegan chocolate protein powder (The brand I use is “Evolve”, absolutely delicious!) Toppings: Banana, raspberries, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, cocoa nibs, chia seeds, and hemp seeds

Start embracing the saying, “Make your plate colorful” and eat the foods that make you beautiful from the inside out. Pack your meals with fruits and vegetables that are not only rich in color, but also rich in nutrients!

One of my favorite things to do is to decorate a breakfast bowl for myself in the morning! I use either banana “nice-cream”, acai, or coconut milk yogurt as my base and then use all different types of toppings to create a beautiful design! Taking the time to do this for myself allows me to appreciate the natural beauty and the beauty that we can create eating a plant-based diet. It’s very therapeutic 🙂

3.Use Replacements to Hold Your Hand

When I was first transitioning to a plant-based diet, I used replacements for my “comfort foods” which helped adjust to the new lifestyle. I frequently ate pre-made veggie burgers, veggie-dogs, vegan mac-n-cheese, vegan cookies, basically anything in the grocery store that had “Vegan” on the label! There are vegan options for pretty much everything so chances are you won’t have a hard time finding exactly what you want!

Using vegan replacements for the foods that you are used to eating can help introduce you to all plant-based foods without bringing you out of your comfort zone too much! But remember, whole and unprocessed foods are better for you than pre-packaged foods so don’t depend on these replacements for your main nutrient source!

4.Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

This tip applies to living your vegan life outside your home. I will be the first to admit that when I was first becoming vegan I would turn to my mom if we were out to dinner and say “Mom, can you please ask the waiter/waitress if *item on menu* has dairy in it?”. I quickly had to get over my fear of inconveniencing people with my questions and dietary choices. Now if I am unsure about a food or drink item on the menu I have no problem asking all the necessary questions in order for me to know exactly what I am consuming. At the end of the day sticking to my morals and values trumps me being too much of a baby to ask questions!

5.Create New Norms

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Here is a picture with one of my new norms, I wasn’t kidding about the bananas!

Before I was vegan, I never thought that having 2 sweet potatoes as the main portion of my dinner was “normal”. I definitely never thought that walking into Whole Foods once a week asking for one 40lb box of bananas to fuel me would be a part of my weekly routine (yes, I basically just shared with you that I consume 40lbs worth of bananas per week). But these are are just two examples of what is “normal” to me since becoming vegan.

When you become vegan, you will find what works best for you and create new norms for yourself. These norms might seem strange or extreme to other people or even to you at first but remember that you are fueling your body. So embrace your new norms!

6.Become a Student Again

Just like anything new in life, becoming a vegan and being a vegan is a constant learning process. You are learning how to view your food differently, how to eat differently, cook differently, how to grocery shop differently, and how to eat out differently. Bold statement, but I would honestly say I learn something new relating to being vegan every few days. We only get one body in this life, and it is our responsiblity to do what is best for it, which is why I love learning about plant-based nutrition!

Resources, resources, resources! When I was first exposing myself to veganism, I used almost every tool at my disposal. I watched a crazy amount of YouTube videos, lectures, and talks, followed several vegans on Instagram, searched “veganism” on Pinterest, and used google search almost everyday (I linked some of my favorite pieces at the end!). We live in a period where information is at our fingertips, so take advantage of the inter-9webs and get ready to absorb the knowledge!

7.Be Patient

The biggest advice I can give you regarding the mental aspect of going vegan is being patient. Be patient with veganism, be patient with your loved ones and their acceptance, and most importantly be patient with yourself.

vegvegvegEveryone’s vegan story is different. Some people take a few days to transition, a few months, a few years, and for some it is an overnight change.

For me, it took be about a year to be ready to commit. Summer of 2015, I watched YouTube videos almost everyday of girls my age from around the world of what they eat in a day being vegan, why they went vegan, vegan grocery hauls, and vegan recipes. Because it was a big change to my previous diet (standard American) I personally needed as many facts, exposure, and real world examples, and experiences that I could visually consume before I made the change. I started small, making small replacements of everyday foods, and choosing the vegan friendly option when convenient. Then, March of 2016 I decided to cut all meat out of my diet. Because I was away at college, I decided that as soon as I came home from school for the summer I would go full vegan. So summer 2016 is when I officially went plant-based, that is one full year after my first initial thought of going vegan.

Once I went vegan it took me about a month and a half for my body to adjust to my new diet. After that time period I no longer craved meat, dairy, or eggs and instead craved sweet potatoes, avocado toast, and of course, bananas. I had to learn to be patient with my body, after all, I had 19 years of certain foods to get out of my system.

Was I perfect through this transition? Absolutely not! I am human after all. When I did slip up I tried not to be hard on myself and move on while keeping my eye on the end goal of being fully plant-based.

8.Listen to Your Body

After exposing yourself to the vegan lifestyle you will most likely come across all the different “types” of vegans. Some common vegan diets are raw-until-4pm, raw, and as-long-as-it-doesn’t-involve-animals. Regardless if you follow one of these diets, the most important thing is to listen to your body. Pay attention to how certain foods make you feel because what works for one person might not work for you. Maybe your body thrives off of eating different types of melon in the morning, or oatmeal, or a massive green smoothie, or 6 bananas like me; whatever it is, experiment with what you thrive off of!

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Listening to your body includes intuitive eating which involves the practice of labeling your cravings. Our bodies need three macro-nutrients for fuel: fat, protein, and carbs. When we get a craving, that is our body telling our brain that we need one of these nutrients! Say you are craving a big bowl of ice cream (vegan of course), that is probably your body saying “I want some fat!”. So instead of reaching for that cashew milk ice cream, maybe reach for a healthier option like an avocado or almond butter which are both high in healthy fats! Taking that second to break down what you are craving into the necessary macro nutrients instead of the individual food gives you that space to really listen to your body and choose the healthiest option for yourself.

9.Block Out the Haters

leovegan memeEveryone knows the vegan joke, “Oh you’ll know if someone is a vegan because they’ll tell you”, or the stigma that all vegans are crazy, hippie, peta-preaching, extremists who live off lettuce. I don’t know about you, but all the vegans that I know are extremely kind, compassionate, and intelligent people who would gladly have a civil conversation about veganism if asked. Some people just have this “image” of who can be a vegan when in reality veganism is all inclusive.

When sharing your new lifestyle of being vegan, you will find that you get reactions that can probably fit into these 3 categories: positive, stereotypical, and just straight up uncomfortable.

Positive: These reactions are the easiest. The most frequent ones I have come across is something along the lines of “Oh, that’s cool!”, “How long have you been vegan?”, “What made you go vegan?”, “Do you feel different?”, and “What do you eat?”

Stereotypical: These are the ones that may make you internally eye-roll. These reactions are usually “Where do you get your protein?”, “Don’t you miss bacon?”, “Oh, I love cheese too much”. The stereotypical reactions almost always end in, “I could NEVER be a vegan.” to which I reply “Hey, I grew up with ground beef on taco Tuesday, pizza on Friday, and steak-dinner on Sundays. If I can do it, you can do it”.

Uncomfortable: This type is my favorite! These reactions seem to happen when the person has no idea how to react to you being vegan. The most awkward reaction I’ve gotten is when I was out to lunch with my ex-boyfriend and his grandparents and shared with them that I was now vegan. His grandmother ordered steak tacos and I kid you not, offered to build a wall between me and her tacos with menus from the restaurant. I appreciated her thoughtfulness and said that building a wall wouldn’t be necessary.

Chances are you have experienced, or you will experience each of these reactions. My advice is just to laugh off the uncomfortable ones and let go of the negative ones because unfortunately someone will always be judging you. Just like every other decision you make, there will probably be someone that disagrees with you being or going vegan. At the end of the day, being vegan means that you are choosing to live your life with compassion and health. If someone has a problem with that, that is on them and not you.

10.Discover the Purpose

why vWhen I first went vegan, I did it for myself. I was drawn to veganism for the health. Now, when someone asks me “Why are you vegan?” I say, “I am vegan for everything”. The more you expose yourself to the lifestyle, the more you will learn that being vegan isn’t just about you, its about the preservation of life. Every choice we make has an impact, whether we see it first hand or not. Being vegan impacts your health, the animals, the agriculture system, the oceans, society, world hunger, the environment, and our home Mother Earth. Being vegan is not just a plant-based diet, it is a moral choice.

We all have a chance to make a difference in this world. The question should not be “Why go vegan?”, the question should be “Why Not?”

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I hope that I could help you in some way! Listed below are some of my favorite pieces that helped me go vegan!

From “Excuse-itarian” to Vegan- Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

101 Reasons to go Vegan

Nutrition Facts

There are extremely eye opening and thought provoking documentaries that also played a huge role in my decision to go vegan (“Meet Your Meat”, “Earthlings”, “Forks Over Knives”, “Cowspiracy”).

Hanna’s Instagram

Hanna ❤

4 Tantalizing Mythical Creature Smoothie Bowls

24 May

blog title smoothie bowls



Smoothie bowls are all the craze on IG lately! They all look super yummy and healthy! Almost too pretty to eat! Beware though, because they can be HUGE sugar bombs. The goal is to make the smoothie bowl properly balanced, and not 100% fruit. Make sure your smoothie bowl has four components: 1. Fruit 2. Vegetable 3. Protein and 4. a Healthy Fat Component. This will keep you fuller for longer, and prevent blood sugar spikes! I created for you 4 Mythical Creature Smoothie Bowl recipes that are both balanced and beautiful! 🙂

1. Unicorn Bowl




Recipe: Blend Together…

4 Balanced Components 

  1. Fruit=Banana, Blueberries, Raspberries
  2. Vegetable= Cauliflower
  3. Protein= Protein powder, Hemp Seeds
  4. Fat= Hemp Seeds, Macadamia Milk

2. Siren Bowl




Recipe: Blend Together…

  • Dark Green Side: 1/2 Frozen Banana, 1 tsp Spirulina Powder, 1/2 tsp Moringa Powder, 1/4th Cucumber, 1/2 cup Green Melon, 1/2 cup Baby Spinach, 1/2-1 cup Coconut Water
  • Light Green Side: 1/2 tsp Matcha Powder, 1 Kiwi, 1/2 Frozen Banana, 1/2 Avocado, 1/2-1 cup Coconut Water
  • Toppings: Avocado, Hemp Seeds, Pistachios, Kiwi, Cucumber 

4 Balanced Components:

  1. Fruit= Banana, Kiwi, Melon, Cucumber
  2. Vegetable= Spinach
  3. Protein= Hemp Seeds, Spirulina, Moringa, Pistachios 
  4. Fat= Avocado, Hemp Seeds, Pistachios 

3. Yeti Bowlyeti



Recipe: Blend Together:

  • Dark Blue Side: 1/2-1 cup Hemp Milk (unsweetened plain), 1/4th cup Almond Yogurt, 1/2 Banana 1 Tbsp Butterfly Pea Flower, 1 tsp Maca Powder
  • Light Blue Side: 1/2-1 cup Coconut/Almond Milk (unsweetened plain), 1/2 Banana, 1/2 cup White Stem of Bok Choy, 1/4 cup Raw Cashews, 1/4th cup Almond Yogurt (plain unsweetened), 1 tsp Butterfly Pea Flower
  • Toppings: Fresh Coconut Meat, Dried Coconut Flakes (unsweetened), Chia Seeds, Blueberries, Blackberries

4 Balanced Components: 

  1. Fruit=Bananas, Blueberries, Blackberries
  2. Vegetable= Bok Choy Stems
  3. Protein= Hemp Milk, Almond Yogurt, Cashews, Chia Seeds
  4. Fat= Cashews, Coconut Milk, Coconut Meat, Chia Seeds

4. Phoenix Bowl




Recipe: Blend Together…

  • Pink Base: 1/2 cup Frozen Mango, 1 Tbsp Pink Pitaya Powder, 1/2-1 cup Cactus Water, 1/4th cup Cashews, 1/2 Frozen Banana
  • Purple Base: 1/2 cup Frozen Blueberries, 1/2 medium Purple Carrot, 1/4th cup Purple Cauliflower, 1/2-1 cup Cactus Water
  • Toppings: Dried Goji Berries, Cherries, Raspberries, Hemp Seeds, Apple Slices

4 Balanced Components:

  1. Fruit= Bananas, Blueberries, Raspberries, Apple, Goji Berries, Cherries, Mango
  2. Vegetable= Purple Carrot, Purple Cauliflower
  3. Protein= Hemp Seeds, Cashews
  4. Fat= Hemp Seeds, Cashews


Peace, Love, Superfoods ❤ Colleen Poling, RD

Low-Sugar Strawberry Almond Oat Pizzas. Vegan+GF

31 Jan


Reducing the amount of added sugar in your diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Even if you just reduce it 10%, it can have a significant effect on your health! Reducing the added sugar in your diet can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, decrease risk of heart attack, keep your brain sharp, decrease risk of developing dementia, keep skin looking younger and clearer, lower your risk of diabetes, reduce certain cancers, fewer cavities, balance hormones, reduce anxiety, give you more energy, help you maintain a healthy weight and have fewer crashes!! I highly recommend to challenge yourself, and start reducing the added sugar in your diet today!! Know though, that it is possible to go through a type of withdraw from added sugars, and it can take a week to start feeling better.



So, what is a person with a sweet-tooth to do? No worries, you can still enjoy yourself! Check out this delicious low-sugar recipe:


Low-Sugar Strawberry Almond Oat Pizzas:



  1. Blend Oats, almond flour, baking powder, oil, Lakanto and salt into a food processor until cookie-dough consistency.
  2. In a 9 inch circular pan lined with parchment paper, press down the dough evenly.
  3. Top with Jam, and evenly coat to desired thickness
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust lightly browned.
  5. Once cool, cut into pizza pieces!


❤ Colleen Poling, RD

Bring these Vegan Treats to Your Next Holiday Feast!

23 Dec

ally_07About the Author: My name is Ally Kuehn. I am a 21 year old, senior at Ohio University majoring in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics. I am preparing myself to graduate in May 2017. My goals are to become happy and healthier person through nutrition, health and wellness.   Instagram: Kuehnhealth Website: Click Here to see KuehnHealth Blog

The holidays are a time full of beautiful, glorious, food! Tables of side dishes and sweets from your friends and family! I have prepared these delicious vegan treats for your enjoyment.

Bring one of these vegan desserts to your next holiday gathering! I recommend to attempt to eat these in moderation. I am a big dessert person, so curb that sweet tooth with something with real ingredients! Each recipe has instructions and ingredients to make it yourself. I also have provided reviews from close friends and family members on their opinion of the vegan treats! Let’s take a bite!

Recipe One: Black Bean Brownies

These were so easy to make. I was able to find a brownie mix that contains no milk or eggs at my local grocery store. Just blend those black beans with water and fold them into the brownie mix. WOW they are very yummy!

Here’s the recipe card: 

Black Bean Recipe.PNG


What’s in these? Wait there’s beans in there? What, so good, is there more?”

“Very Dense, Moist. I would make these again. Really Easy to make.”

“I was hesitant at first because that doesn’t sound good at all. Pretty Good. I usually don’t like chocolate, this is rich, moist and I would eat these again.”

Recipe Two: Lemon Larabar Bites

Again a very manageable recipe. Next time I would double the recipe if I made it for a large holiday party. This is perfect for a small family gathering. The original recipe called for dates which I replaced with dried cranberries. I used my Magic bullet to grind up the almond, cashews and cranberries.  This treat is very simple because you put everything into the bowl mix it up let it harden in the fridge. Then, roll it up and add a little lemon for pizazz! Instant crowd pleaser.

Here’s the recipe card: 

Lemon Recipe.PNG


Needed a little more lemon, good consistency, I enjoyed it”

“Perfect for on the go snacking, I would use these as a mid day pick up!”

“Wow what a nutty, great treat, I would give these to my grandpa. He’s a lemon fan!”

Recipe Three: No Dairy Ice Cream  

Fruit Popsicles with Coconut Milk

This recipe I make for myself, a fruit popsicle with coconut milk! A must try! Checkout this website that provides 14 vegan recipes for banana ice cream to frozen “fro-yo”. Thanks Reader’s Digest for compiling all these ingenious recipes in one place.

Enjoy ❤ Ally Kuehn



The 411 on Protein

16 Dec

Ally Kuehn Kuehnhealth

About the Author: My name is Ally Kuehn. I am a 21 year old, senior at Ohio University majoring in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics. I am preparing myself to graduate in May 2017. My goals are to become happy and healthier person through nutrition, health and wellness.   Instagram: Kuehnhealth Website: Click Here to see KuehnHealth Blog

Why Protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient that everyone needs in their diet. No if, and’s, or buts about it, because its such an important energy source for your body! It’s involved in muscle, hormone, blood, skin and bone development. Fun fact, hair and nails are mostly made up of protein! How much protein do we need to consume daily? According to the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake), 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. For an average male who is sedentary  this calculates to about 56 grams per and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.

I personally am adopting a more plant based lifestyle. In the beginning stages of transitioning, I was personally so closed minded. My thoughts were “I couldn’t eat meat, welp there goes all my good protein”. Now, through the help from my nutrition and dietetics professors at Ohio University I was able to see that protein is in so many various food sources. Which blew my mind! Now, I get to share all of my knowledge with all of you!

Say What?

When people think about protein, they think meat, beans, and nuts.  Contrary to popular knowledge fruits and vegetables are sources of protein too! Fruits provide less protein than vegetables, but, are still a good source of protein! Who knew? I researched some of the top five high protein fruits:  thumb_600

  • Blackberries
  • Guava
  • Dried Apricots
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Any Many More Fruits!


Its very important to your body to consume adequate amounts of protein. I have attached a very informative info graphic to assist in the explanation of good sources of protein!

Protein 1.PNGProtein 2.PNGProtein 3.PNGProtein 4.PNG

How can you add more of these protein sources to your diet?

This is very achievable for everyone! From the tips from the ” Be Creative” portion of my last post called How to Start Food Budgeting with Less Than $100 A Month. Get inspired and add these alternative protein sources to your meals today!

Are you making rice for your taco night? Maybe add some beans, or switch to quinoa “fried rice”  Click here for an awesome recipe! (for vegan version subtract the eggs).

Are you making a salad? Add some crunchy pumpkin seeds, fresh spinach, kale, or mushroom for some added protein to that delicious salad!

In the morning, jazz up your toast with some almond butter! Maybe add  a little healthy monounsaturated fat to your toast  from avocados!


Who to talk to about protein if you still need more assistance!

Consult with Nutrition Translator Colleen Poling RD, or a registered dietitian in your local area. With the new year coming up, a healthier you will never go out of style! Invest in your self this year and seek out some assistance from a Registered Dietitian.

❤ Ally Kuehn




Top 15 Plant-Based Proteins

6 Oct

















6 Quick and Handy Home Health Remedies

15 Jun

Home remedies are becoming much more popular and for a very good reason. Not only are you more aware of what you are putting in your body, chances are high that you already have these things in your own home. So if you’re like me this sounds absolutely perfect! Saving money and going the natural route, it’s a win-win. Today I am going to tell you about 6 kitchen staples from your refrigerator, pantry and spice cabinet that have many uses outside of the kitchen

The Fridge.
1. Lemons: I find it common that most people store these in baskets at room temperature. If this is you I suggest changing it up and place them in a sealed bag in the refrigerator (I promise they will last you a whole lot longer than leaving them out in the open.)
– Do you suffer from stomach issues? Every morning before eating drink warm water with lemon. This will help digestion and elimination of toxins.
-Looking for cheap natural way to help whiten your teeth? Mix lemon juice and baking soda until it bubbles. Using a cotton swab, apply the mixture to your teeth and let sit for a minute before brushing off gently. (DO NOT leave on for longer than a minute, it can erode the enamel on your teeth.)

2.Beer: I know what you’re thinking, but I promise there is more to beer than drinking.
– Pour a beer over your hair in the shower (make sure it’s a light beer, like a lager, and that it is flat. Try other kinds at your own risk, and let me know the results if you were brave! Beer can help remove a build up of product on hair and leaves the hair smoother and fuller. Rinse with cool water.

The Pantry.

3:Apple Cider Vinegar:-Its common with the Standard American Diet to experience constipation. Instead of running to the drug store take a look in your pantry. Along with adding more fiber to your diet add apple cider vinegar. Drinking a few teaspoons mixed with 8 oz of water in the morning should show results within a few days.

-Maybe you’re like me and ridden with allergies, or you’re just suffering from a cold. Either way congestion is a factor for us both. Warm ¼ cup water (about 30 seconds in the microwave should do the trick) and then add ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp honey (I personally don’t use honey so I use about ½ tsp agave to sweeten) and juice from a lemon wedge. Before drinking/ gurgling breathe in the steam. This can be done twice a day, but I do not recommend any more. You should feel some relief in your congestion in sinuses and a loosening in mucus in the throat.

4:Coconut oil (organic and virgin): This is probably my favorite multi-use item in my pantry. I will give examples that I personally use but I recommend you to look into its other amazing uses!
-No matter what skin type you have coconut oil can help in many ways.
One way is to mix it with baking soda to exfoliate and moisturize your skin. Its best to experiment to see what the best measurements are for your skin type. I have combination skin so I do equal parts of both (summer I up the baking soda for oil control and in winter up coconut oil to prevent drying)
Another way is my favorite use on the face. Break off a piece of Aloe Vera plant, spread evenly over your entire face and leave on for approx. 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. Once rinsed rub approx. 1/8 tsp warmed coconut oil on your face and neck. Your face will look and feel firmer and more radiant.
-Finding cruelty free shaving cream has been basically impossible. So instead spread coconut oil on the area you’re shaving before shaving and use it as the “shaving cream.” It gives you a closer shave and moisturizes at the same time.

Spice Cabinet:
5:Turmeric: Not only is it great for its anti-inflammatory properties and mood enhancing qualities, but it has some great home remedy uses as well.
-Making turmeric milk can help with stomach pain, colds and sore throats.

  • 2 cups of organic almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, or soy. (whichever you have on hand)
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • small pinch of black pepper and grated ginger (fresh is best)
  • 1 cinnamon stick//or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. local honey (I use agave, but stevia is also a good choice)

1.Simply pour all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a light boil, reduce heat and drink warm.
2.You may also consume this chilled, but warm is best. (Especially for sore throats)
3.Strain if you have large pieces of ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, etc.
Sip and enjoy!

6: Cinnamon: Not only is cinnamon delicious its great for you!
– When its that time of the month cramps can be sometimes unbearable. Adding a stick of cinnamon to a cup of hot chamomile tea works wonders (it can help you avoid needing Midol)
-Not only can adding cinnamon to tea help cramps it can also ease the symptoms of stomach illnesses and help with sore throats.

The uses of these items is much more vast than I have covered above. These are just some of my personal favorites and ones that I have found to work best for me. I highly recommend researching and seeing what works best for your body.


Bridget Newman, nutrition and dietetics student at The University of Akron

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

8 Jun

Being a vegan in an animal product based society poses more challenges than just finding a restaurant to eat at. Chances are if you’re a vegan you’ve been asked, “where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat, eggs or cheese? ” Every person who finds out I’m vegan asks me this question. Many people think that meat=protein and that’s the only way to obtain the proper daily amount of protein. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but that is not the case! Keep in mind that the average woman requires about 46 grams of protein, and the average man requires 56 grams.)

1) Green Peas: One cup of peas contains about 7.9 grams of protein. Peas are no longer just for the dinner plate, they are now made into protein powders as well. Sunwarior Protein Powder is a combination of pea and hemp protein. 

2) Quinoa (KEEN-wah): This one is a personal favorite. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. Not only is it packed with protein it is contains high amounts of all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that the body can’t produce and must be taken in through the diet. 

3) Beans (legumes): Beans are perhaps the biggest staple food for most vegans. With there being such a wide variety and uses its easy to see why (how affordable they are helps as well.) Just one cup of black beans contains a whopping 42 grams of protein! That is nothing to sneeze at. Every bean has a different protein amount and a different use, but they are all great sources.

4) Nuts: A great source of protein and healthy fats. They are a quick source of protein when on the go. A half a cup of almonds contains 15 grams of protein. Most commonly people ingest nuts in their “butter” form. 2 tbsp of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein. Other nut butters are on the rise in popularity, cashew, hazelnut and almond butters are also great sources of protein.

5) Soy: There is always controversy around soy but one thing is certain it’s a good source of protein. Tofu contains 10 grams of protein per half cup. But soy protein doesn’t just come in tofu form. Tempeh is another form of soy protein that contains 31 grams per cup. Both of these examples have an endless array of uses.

It’s easy to see where vegans get their protein. The sources aren’t even limited to these, there are so many other plant based sources to choose from. Every plant has protein, these are just sources with higher amounts. The next time someone goes to ask you where you get your protein you’ll have a good response.


Bridget Newman, nutrition and dietetics student at The University of Akron

What You Can Do To Help the California Draught.

1 Jun

Right now the draught in California has been a hot topic. Blame has been placed on Nestle, the residence of the state all the way down to growth of almonds. While these are all factors, and I will not excuse Nestle for their actions, a huge culprit has been seemingly neglected by the major media sources. This culprit are the dairy farms. I know most people may be thinking that this can’t be a huge contributing factor, but it is. Currently California is the United States largest producer of dairy, exceeding Wisconsin by approximately 700,000 dairy cows (California as of 2014 records have approximately 1.8 million dairy cows). Milking dairy cows drink about 30-50 gallons of water per day. So while yes avoiding bottled water is a fantastic idea and watching how much water you use at home is still something I believe we all should do no matter which state you live in there is more you can do. There are many dairy alternatives that I can personally vouch for as being even better than the real thing.

So you’re a big milk drinker, cereal eater or even a big baker replacing dairy milk is easy in all instances. My personal favorite is unsweetened vanilla almond milk. With only 30 calories per serving you’re not only helping the environment but cutting calories as well. Plus, did I mention it’s delicious in cereal or on its own?

Maybe you’re looking for a thicker milk for baking, we’ll I’ve got you covered. There are two great options, both are great for drinking alone as well. My favorite of the two is cashew milk. If you’re looking for a rich creamy milk this is where you find it. With it being so creamy its hard to believe that its only 25 calories and actually has less grams of fat than almond milk. But let’s not forget the perhaps most well known dairy milk alternative soy. Soy is hands down my favorite milk for baking. You want a fluffy muffin or biscuit this is the milk for you.

The most common thing I hear among people who consume dairy is that they could give up everything but cheese. I am not going to lie this was personally the hardest dairy product for me to pass up. I mean pizza, who doesn’t love pizza? Giving up cheese doesn’t mean that pizza has to become something you used to eat. Daiya cheese shreds are the absolute perfect non-dairy cheese for pizza. They aren’t just good for pizza either. You name it the shredded or sliced form of Daiya will be a perfect substitute. But maybe you’re into the melty nacho cheese, fear not Teese has you covered. Trust me it’s better than the real thing by far.

While these are the two largest categories of dairy alternatives that doesn’t mean they are the only ones out there. Honestly you name it there is probably a dairy free version of it. There are yogurts, ice creams, mayonnaise, ect. Options are honestly endless. So if you don’t already live a dairy free lifestyle its time to give it a shot with the endless alternatives there’s no reason not to.


Bridget Newman, nutrition and dietetics student at The University of Akron