Tag Archives: vegan

💜Purple Sweet Potato Pie💜

19 Oct

PurplesweetpotatopieVEGAN SWEET POTATO PIE WITH COCONUT, ALMOND CRUST

This beautiful, purple sweet potato pie is vegan, paleo, low sugar, and is made with an outrageously delicious almond crust. Wow your Thanksgiving guests and start a new tradition this year with this unique pie!

IMG_58281
INGREDIENTS
For the crust:
  • 1/4th cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/8th cup organic agave syrup
  • 2-3 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
For the pie filling:
  • 2 lb. organic purple sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds (about 4 cups worth)
  • 3/4 cup canned full fat organic coconut milk
  • 1/8th cup organic agave syrup
  • 1/8th cup Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (add more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the coconut whipped cream:
  • 1 can of full fat, organic coconut milk (make sure it does not contain guar gum)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″ pie pan with coconut oil. You can also use 4-5 small tart pans for personal pies.
  2. Mix all the crust ingredients in a food processor then transfer them to the prepared pie pan. Press down the crust making sure it is even on the sides and bottom.
  3. Set in the fridge to cook while making the filling.
For the filling:
  1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add the purple sweet potatoes and boil for 10 minutes, or until the yams can be pierced with a fork. Drain the sweet potatoes then put them in a food processor.
  2. Add the rest of the pie filling ingredients and blend on high until everything is smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the pie filling into the pie shell and smooth out the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the pie has set but still has some jiggle in the middle. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.

IMG_58481

For the coconut whipped cream:
  1. Set the can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight. You want the cream and the milk to separate, and this is easier if it is very cold.
  2. Separate the hard cream from the watery milk. Put the cream in a mixing bowl. Using electric beaters or Kitchenaid, beat the cream for 2-3 minutes. Option to add some Lakanto monkfruit sweetener and organic vanilla extract.
  3. Keep in fridge until ready to serve with your pie!

IMG_57821

💜 Colleen Poling, RD

Advertisements

Veganalysis: The Most Comprehensive Blog Post Available on Examining and Optimizing Your Vegan Diet

28 Sep

veganalysis

A vegan diet is about living more compassionately and more consciously. It is a lifestyle of pure intention. This purposeful way of living will bring you inner peace, and if done right, provide complete nutrition your body has never seen before! In this blog we explore the latest science in vegan nutrition. The complex science will be explained in an easy to understand way through infographics, easy to understand explanations and recipes. You will learn how to examine and how to optimize each of your organ systems by eating only plants, and apply it to your everyday life!

Part One: Examining Your Vegan Diet

1.1 Why are you Vegan? To be a healthy, balanced vegan you must Nourish the Body, Mind and Soul

  1. For a Nourished Mind: Chances are if you are vegan you are more intentional with the food you choose. Ask yourself these questions to see where your intention is. Do I know where my food comes from? Is it organic, local, fair-trade? Where was my food grown? Upgrade your choices, and choose foods that benefit your environment, community and the people who grow it. Are you connecting with your food? Know that after you eat your food it becomes a part of you. Try mindfully eating your food, enjoying every flavor and texture. Examine how you feel before and after eating and monitor the trends. Do you crave certain foods such as sugar? To nourish the mind we have to detach ourselves from the wanting of certain foods. Look at your food beyond the immediate gratification. The goal is to form a healthy relationship with food. Knowing that food is here to heal us, not harm us. We must see food for what it really is, a healing, energy source.
  2. For a Nourished Body: We hear in the media stories about celebrities like Beyonce going vegan for a month for health reasons. This can anger many long-term vegans, because it can portray the vegan diet as more of a diet than a lifestyle. I argue that this is a great place to start. You can still call yourself a vegan and eat potato chips, orange soda and Oreos all day, but why are you treating other animals with love and respect, but not yourself? To nourish the body, we have to feed it the right nutrients it needs to thrive. It can be done on a vegan diet, but must be managed thoughtfully with professional guidance. 
  3. For a Nourished Soul: Believe it or not, the type of energy put into your food makes a difference. Try pouring as much positive energy into your food when growing and creating it as possible. Look where your food has been created, has it been lovingly created, and assembled? Or has your dinner been put together by disgruntled, underpaid food workers? Continue to choose non-animal dishes. Today’s factory farms are not like the ones most of us learned about in school; they are mechanized factories where an animal’s welfare is of little concern compared to profit. Veganism emerges as the lifestyle most consistent with the philosophy that animals are not ours to use. By eating this suffering, you are ingesting the energy of that animal who has suffered.

Whyareyouvegan.png

1.2 Are you a good role model?

Being a good vegan role model means being kind and leading by example. I understand that it can be frustrating to see people eating meat, visiting zoos and sea world, or wearing fur. The biggest impact I find is that when you are kind, compassionate and live your own life with conviction, others will see your transformation and want to learn more. Don’t put anyone down because of their choices. Chances are you ate meat and animal products at one point in your journey, so you should not judge others. Kindness is the key.

Beagoodrolemodel

1.3 Are you getting enough variety?

  1. A varied diet makes sure you are covering all your nutritional bases. It keeps you safe and helps you avoid over-exposed to hazardous chemicals, or overexposure to one specific nutrient. For example raw spinach everyday in your morning smoothie may over expose you to too many oxalates. 
  2. Veggies and Fruits/Antioxidants: Goal at least 6-11 cups/day of organic vegetables like asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cabbage, cucumber, collards, kale, spinach, radishes, squash. These should be a mix between cooked and raw. 1 cup raw=1/2 cup cooked. Goal for at least 1-2 cups/day of low sugar fruit like fresh strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries for adequate antioxidants and polyphenols.
  3. Beans and Lentils/Protein: Choose at least 2-3 cups of whole plant based proteins like red lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, red lentil, green lentils, mung beans. Be sure to sprout your beans and lentils to maximize the nutrients. Sprouting also helps to neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which aids in better digestion and absorption of important nutrients like zinc copper, iron, magnesium and calcium.  The goal is to completely avoid processed fake meats. To calculate you protein needs take your body weight in KG (divide pounds/2.2 to get KG), and that will be approximately how much protein you need per day in grams for the average person. Multiply your weight in KG by 1.2-1.5 if you are an athlete, or wanting to build muscle. If you need more protein try a plant based protein powder like Sunwarrior or Vega Sport
  4. Nuts and Seeds/Fat: Get in 2-4 servings of nuts and seeds like, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds for fiber, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals. Choose sprouted varieties when possible. We will talk more about fat when we get into optimizing 2.1, 2.7 and 2.9, but I want to encourage you to NOT shy away from fat. Getting enough healthy fat (30-50% of your total calories/day) will help absorb certain nutrients like Vitamins A,D,E,K, sustain a healthy brain/nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, healthy functioning mitochondria, and prevent mood disorders. Getting enough fat will help your body and mind stay energized all day long. Choosing a total fat intake of 5-9 servings per day including the 2-4 servings of nuts, seeds, and also including also avocados, olives, walnuts, olives, and oils like extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, algal oil, Brain Octane by Bulletproof are all great choices. It is a good idea to avoid all vegetables oils like canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and peanut oil. These types of fats (PUFAS) are now showing a higher connection with heart disease due to the high amounts of Omega-6’s in them. Completely avoid margarine that contain trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils.
  5. Grains/Carbohydrates: Don’t go overboard on grains. The goal is to keep our blood sugar and insulin levels from spiking all the time. Sometimes on a vegan diet we can lean more toward a grain/carb centric diet. Ideally only 1-3 servings of grains per day. Choose wild rice, forbidden rice, quinoa, brown rice. When possible, instead of grains, choose other carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, plantains for complex carbs, additional vitamins and minerals, and variety. Try to avoid gluten if you can. There are so many other types of grains to choose from than gluten! Give amaranth a try, for example! Do you best to limit added sugars, even in the forms of agave, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Try a natural sugar alternative like a monkfruit sweetener, or non-GMO xylitol, or non-GMO erythritol. Lakanto makes a great one with a combo of monkfruit and erythritol.

VarietyVariety2 (1)1.4 Are you deficient?

  1. Being on a vegan diet requires special attention and proper managing to get the right nutrients. There are too many stories to count with vegans who start off feeling great for the first couple years, but then start to experience fatigue, sickness, hair loss, anxiety, diminished sex drive, and mental breakdowns. As a solution to this, a properly managed vegan diet can provide “gene therapy in the kitchen,” and keep you feeling amazing for a lifetime! 
  2. Ask yourself, How do I feel on a regular basis? Am I tired, sluggish and dragging towards the end of the day? Am I experiencing brain fog, or reduced concentration? Do I have mood swings, or bouts of depression? Am I an athlete with increased fatigue? These are all examples of possibilities that you are not getting enough of the right nutrients, and/or your mitochondria are not functioning properly. 
  3. It is important to look at your blood work to monitor trends, and to see what is going on inside. Get these nutrients to get tested yearly-
    1. 25(OH)D, CMP, CBC, ferritin, Total iron binding capacity, Cortisol, Omega 3 (DHA, EPA), RBC magnesium, RBC Folate, Copper, Zinc, B12, Homocysteine, CRP, Serum Methylmalonic Acid, Iodine, T3, T4, TSH, Lipid Panel

Bloodtests

Part Two: Optimizing your Body Systems

2.1 Brain Power: Nervous System

  • DHA: Many if not all vegans are not getting enough of this vital omega 3 fatty acid. If you are getting omega-3s in the form of hemp seeds, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds for example then great! However, you will not be able to convert enough over of this ALA form, to the DHA and EPA forms. If you are insulin resistant, deficient in certain vitamin or minerals like zinc, magnesium, biotin, Vitamin B3, B6, C, stressed, male, or at an advanced age, you will be converting over even less. DHA is such an important nutrient because a deficiency can result in serious mental and physical health problems. DHA is the primary structural component of the brain and the retina. Especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding, your baby is dependent on the omega 3 from your diet, which can impact the brain and eye health of your growing child. DHA helps to protect the vascular system, combats cancer, adequate learning and memory, prevents Alzheimer’s, and increases the production of the master antioxidant, glutathione in the body. It also turns on a gene to make a growth hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is known for making new brain cells. Most people and especially vegans are consuming far to many omega 6’s than omega 3’s which causes inflammation. So do your best to reduce or eliminate vegetable oils in your diet, and get omega 6’s in the whole forms of nuts/seeds. Please start incorporating a EPA/DHA supplement in the form of algal oil daily to raise your levels of omega 3. Pure Encapsulations makes a great vegan supplement. Also Pure One and Dr. Furman do as well. 
  • Curcumin: The ancient Indian healing spice turmeric is capable of improving cognition, mood, alertness and contentedness. It also has been shown to significantly improve performance on sustained attention, working memory tasks, and preventing/fighting depression. Turmeric has a powerful compound in it called Curcumin which has the ability to: Protect against oxidative stress caused by physical or emotional stress. Oxidative stress causes damage to our cells and genes that can result in certain types of cancers. Chronic inflammation makes you feel lousy, it stops your body from working as well as it could, and it can also contribute to other problems like insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome down the line. Curcumin is neuroprotective, promotes neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. This basically means you get smarter and improve your memory. It can improve the functioning of your neurotrasmitter systems. So, this means it can improve your mood. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit a type of degenerative brain plaque found in Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure to get in turmeric in at least 3x a week. If you have a lot of stress in your life, or are an athlete I recommend taking a curcumin supplement with black pepper and a fat source for the best absorption. 
  • Folate and B-12: Adequate levels of folate are essential for brain function, and folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders, such as depression and cognitive impairment. Getting enough folate in conjunction with other B vitamins such as B12 has been shown to be effective at preventing cognitive decline. Supplementation with B12 is essential for all vegans to help prevent functional folate deficiency, prevent elevated levels of homocysteine, prevent macrocytic anemia, and irreversible neurological damage . Recommended 1 mg 2x a week. Please do not rely 100% on fortified nut milks, cereals for your B12.
  • Other important nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Choline, Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin C, Copper, Iron, tyrosine, polyphenols, caprylic acid.
  • Summary: Take a DHA/EPA supplement everyday, and aim for 1000-2000mg of combined DHA/EPA daily split between 2 doses. Have at least 3 recipes with turmeric a week, with a goal of 7-10 tsp/week of organic turmeric powder combined with black pepper and fat source. Supplement with curcumin if you are highly stressed or an athlete, 500-1000mg/day with black pepper included in supplement, and fat source. Take a B12 supplement daily or weekly minimum 1-2mg/week in supplement form, bonus with nut milks, and fortified foods. Consider a vitamin C supplement boost the conversion from dopamine to norepinephrine. Be sure to create weekly recipes with foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, almonds, beans, leafy greens, avocado, Brazil nuts, cashews, broccoli, chickpeas, black-strap molasses, black pepper, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, dark, chocolate, pomegranates, berries, grape seeds, coconut milk, brain octane oil, and lentils to hit the important brain-boosting nutrients like choline, flavonoids, antioxidants, B Vitamins, Vitamin C and E. For a bonus include the medicinal mushroom lion’s mane for increased creativity and memory.

Recipe: Brain Boosting Buddha Bowl

roasted_sweet_potato_cauliflower_rice_buddha_bowls_with_turmeric_tahini_dressing_1

Bowl: 1 serving

  • 2 cups Leafy green mix of spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula
  • 1/4th cup cooked Quinoa
  • ½ Avocado
  • 1/4th cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • ½ cup cooked and chopped Sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup shredded Carrots
  • ¼ cup sliced Strawberries
  • ½ cup chickpeas or black beans, drained from can and rinsed

Dressing 6-8 servings

  • 1/2 cup Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons organic sesame tahini
  • 2 tablespoons organic turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of Celtic or Himalyan Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thrive Oil
  • 3-4 drops Pure One or Dr. Fuhrman’s EPA/DHA purity  
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Directions:

  1. Mix all the Buddha bowl ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing. Keep leftover dressing in container with a lid. Enjoy!

Brainpower

2.2 Gut Health: Digestive System

  1. Your health depends on your gut bacteria! Did you know that you have about 3-5 pounds of microbes in and on you right now? The bacteria in your gut are especially important, and we need to take a closer look at them. These resident microbes within the body, collectively called the microbiome, regulate inflammation, digestion, immunity, production of various vitamins, detoxification, carbohydrate metabolism, and even the production of important neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Researchers are now also able to identify patterns in the types of bacteria in the gut that may either correlate with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Increasing the diversity of the gut bacteria can help to manufacture some of the vitamins and cofactors needed for building bones, including B6, B12, and K. Scientists also suspect that a healthy gut flora helps the body properly digest calcium, and increases vitamin D receptor expression. You want to try to avoid antibiotic use unless it is absolutely necessary, and also include more prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet.
  2. Prebiotics:  These feed the good bacteria in our gut. Prebioitcs include garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, dandelion greens, baobab tree powder.
    polyphenols.
  3. Probiotics: These contain the friendly bacteria themselves, such as kombucha tea, water kefir, kvass, rejuvelac, fermented veggies like kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented soybeans like natto.
  4. Summary: By limiting antibiotic use, and including a diet rich in probiotics, and prebiotic foods you will create an extremely diverse microbiome. Also try to limit sugar intake, and choose organic foods or at least non-GMO foods. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup on all GMO foods can disrupt the microbiome. Also do your best to avoid aspartame which can also disrupt the microbiome. Include a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water each day to help improve digestion. 
  5. Recipe: Digestive Drink

download

Ingredients: 

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender. Enjoy!

guthealth

2.3 Strength: Muscular System

  1. Amino Acids: We cannot talk about a vegan diet without going into protein. All cells in the body contain protein. There are proteins in cartilage, ligaments, bones, hair, skin, and hemoglobin called structural proteins. There are pigment proteins such as melanin that determine the color of your eyes, hair and skin. There are clotting proteins that are needed to clot our blood. Certain hormones such as insulin is a protein that acts as a chemical messenger, which regulates body processes and responses. Enzymes are proteins. There are transport proteins such as hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the tissues. And of course we all know that proteins make up the muscles, which enable us our muscles to move. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Think of amino acids like charms on a chain to amino acids make a beaded bracelet. There are 20 different amino acids that can make up these bracelets. There are 9 amino acids that must be supplied by the diet. These are considered essential amino acids. The body can make the rest of the 11 amino acids. However, under certain conditions some nonessential amino acids can become essential. Where should we get our essential amino acids? How can we be sure we are getting enough of the essential ones? If we are vegan, do we need to combine different plant sources together? Great questions! Nearly ALL foods contain some protein, but no natural food is 100% protein. That is right, even strawberries contain protein! Animal products contain high amounts of the 9 essential amino acids. Plants contain all the 9 essential amino acids, but may be lower in one. Does this make plant protein inferior?? NO! because the plants do contain all essential amino acids. As long as your body is getting as much protein as it actually needs per day, and is provided lots of variety, it doesn’t matter what form the protein comes in. You also don’t have to worry that you won’t get enough usable protein if you don’t put together some sort of magical combination of foods at each meal.
  2. BCAA: Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are considered the Branch-Chain Amino Acids. The structure of these amino acids allow your body to transport BCAAs directly from the liver to the bloodstream, while other amino acids are subject to a more complex metabolic cycle. BCCAs perform a number of functions, but compared to other amino acids, BCAAs are more involved in stimulating muscle growth. BCAA supplementation can promote muscle protein synthesis and increase muscle growth over time. Keep in mind too, that muscle growth also requires load and movement. BCAA have also been shown to suppress cortisol levels, reduces inflammation, increases testosterone, and reduces muscle soreness post exercise which helps you recover faster. Good sources of plant-based BCAA are Leucine: beans and lentils, Isoleucine: almonds, cashews, and chickpeas, Valine: peanuts, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils. You can also choose a plant-based protein supplement that contains BCAAs, such as Vega Sport Performance Protein which has 6 grams of BCAAs per scoop.
  3. Magnesium: This nutrient is important for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, is involved in ATP production, and also important for a healthy muscular system. Over 75% of the population is deficient due to soil depletion and poor farming practices. Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem. And because magnesium operates on a cellular level as a “key” to over hundreds of biochemical reactions, symptoms of deficiency may overlap those of alternate causes. Magnesium is important to support muscle recovery after exercise and for ATP production. Taking Magnesium orally can sometimes cause some GI distress, so I recommend using the transdermal method. Spray Magnesium oil, Ancient Minerals, on 20 minutes before your shower. It can be sprayed directly on sore muscles or on the thighs for better absorption. 
  4. Other important nutrients: calcium, potassium, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Sodium, Iodine, and water
  5. Summary: Protein combining is a myth and as long as you have a balanced diet with a variety of foods such as hemp seeds, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, leafy greens you will be meeting your needs. If you have high needs, such as athletes, consider a protein powder or protein bar like Garden of Life or Sunwarrior brands. Include magnesium rich foods like spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, but also consider a topical magnesium spray due to the depletion of magnesium in our soil.
  6. Recipe: Weight Lifting Wraps, 4-6 servings

dsc_0005

Walnut Taco Mix:

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/8 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just to mix. Don’t over-blend, or you will end up with walnut butter!

Cashew “Sour Cream:”

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least 2 hours
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp water (approx.)

Directions: Put all ingredients except water in a high speed blender or food processor and blend, adding water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water, for a thinner sauce, use more. (You will not achieve a perfectly smooth sauce with a food processor, but it is still delicious!)

Wrap:

Directions: Remove stem from Swiss chard and top with walnut meat, favorite salsa, “sour cream” and avocado. Garnish with extra cilantro. Wrap and eat!

Strength (1)

2.4 Fighter: Immune System

  1. Glutathione: is the master antioxidant in the body. It such an important antioxidant because it is inside our cells. Research is showing that it is pivotal to health, and the amount of glutathione in our cells can predict how long we will live. Glutathione deficiency causes cells to be more vulnerable to oxidative stress, which contributes to cancer development, and stresses the immune system. To increase glutathione, eat at least 1 cup of sulfur rich veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, Bok Choy, 1 serving of high folate foods like sprouted lentils, avocado, spinach, garbanzo beans, which which help with methylation. DHA and turmeric will increase your glutathione levels. In addition to eating these foods, taking an absorptive glutathione supplement during times of sickness, travel or high stress can be very beneficial. 
  2. Selenium: Selenium is a potent nutritional antioxidant, that boosts our immune systems. Adequate selenium intake helps to increase glutathione. Selenium can protect the deepest part of your body’s cells – the nucleus which contains your genes (DNA). People who don’t get enough selenium in their body are more likely to suffer with fatigue and swollen glands, as their body struggles to overcome infections. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to obtain sufficient selenium through your diet, as very few foods are a rich source of this important mineral. Our food is an unreliable source of selenium due soil depletion and poor farming practices. So while consuming a variety of foods known to be high in selenium like Brazil nuts, Pinto beans, Shitake Mushrooms, Reishi Mushrooms, Chia seeds, Green veggies, it is also a good idea to add a couple drops of Trace Minerals to your water each morning.
  3. Zinc: Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system. Your white blood cells simply can’t function without zinc. Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity of the common cold in humans and possibly shorten its duration. Zinc also functions as an antioxidant and can stabilize membranes. Zinc is also needed to convert Beta-carotene to Retinol. Like selenium it can be hard to get enough Zinc while on a strict plant-based diet, because our soil is so depleted of these precious minerals. Choose foods known to be high in zinc like pumpkin seeds, cashews, peanuts, cacao, tahini, and almonds. Consider taking an all in one multivitamin like Thorne Research 2 a day to getting adequate cheated zinc for better absorption (note this supplement’s vitamin D is made from lanolin). This vitamin will also include selenium. Be sure to choose spouted foods and to increase absorption. Sprouted foods reduce the phytates that can decrease the zinc absorption. If you have a chronic disease like Chron’s disease, IBS, or diabetes you will want to increase your intake of zinc. 
  4. Others nutrients to boost immunity: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, B6, B12, Thiamine, Riboflavin.
  5. Summary: Along with not smoking, regular movement, maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure, getting adequate sleep, and limiting alcohol intake, be sure to eat at least 1 cup of sulfur rich foods to increase glutathione, and a liposomal glutathione supplement during high stress times (sickness, post-surgery, work, family stress, intense, exercise). Zinc and Selenium are key minerals to get enough of keep your immune system strong. Eat zinc and selenium rich foods throughout the day, and consider a supplement such as a multivitamin that includes both. Vitamin C rich foods are also important for immune strength.
  6. Recipe: Immune Elixir, serves 4-6

22068714_10105556472736014_1665281266_o

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Ground turmeric
  • 6 Lemons, pealed
  • 1-2 tsp 10 mushroom blend Four Sigmatic
  • dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • 10-20 drops of Trace mineral drops
  • 1 grain size amount of Shilajit
  • ½ cup Filtered Water or Coconut Water

Directions:

  1. Blend ingredients in a high powered blender. Serve in shot glasses.

Fighter (1)

2.5 Balancing Hormones: Endocrine System

  1. Thyroid: The thyroid, found in the neck next to your voice box, is the master controller, that regulates nearly every major metabolic function in the body. Your Thyroid hormones affect your metabolism. We need dietary iodine to synthesize thyroid hormones. For those with healthy functioning thyroids, it is important you are eating iodine rich foods like seaweed in your diet daily. Try adding Kelp granules on top of you salads. Or try pan-frying some whole leaf dried dulse in avocado oil over medium heat until crisp, to create a bacon like flavor. Still not so sure? Try this product which has pickled beets, dulse and kale! Take note that some with hypothyroidism, excess iodine can worsen the condition. It you have a thyroid condition do not completely shy away from foods like Bok choy, Kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli. Though they do contain goitrogens, the benefits outweigh the downsides. Be sure to cook them, this can substantially reduce the goitrogenic substances. 
  2. Adrenal and stress management: Stress and overstimulation of the adrenal glands can increase the hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol causes inflammation. In addition to high cortisol levels, those with chronic stress can have low levels of DHEA. DHEA is considered the parent hormone, responsible for creating other necessary hormones within the body. Are you getting enough sleep? How high is your stress level? Are you over exerting yourself with exercise? If so, how can you manage this better?
  3. Blood Sugar Regulation: Eat every 3-4 hours, reduce added sugars, avoid white pasta, bread, flours and aim for whole plant based foods to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day.
  4. Summary: Healthy adrenals, blood glucose management and stress management will all impact the thyroid. So, it is not only is it important to manage these individually for overall health, but also for thyroid health. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, reduce added sugars, reduce caffeine, reduced processed vegan food, avoid vegetable oils, and manage your stress maybe with breathing exercises, yoga or meditation. Consider using lavender oil before bed to help with sleep and stress. Use a red-light app on your phone before bedtime to limit blue light from devices. If you have a well-functioning thyroid then be sure you are eating iodine rich foods like seaweed, and selenium rich foods like Brazil nuts regularly. 
  5. Recipe:Balancing Brazil Nut “Tuna” Serves 6-8

brazil-nut-tuna

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw Brazil nuts – soaked for two hours
  • 1/3 cup canned organic chickpeas
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic – pressed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kelp powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 green onions diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced

Directions:

  1. Drain and rinse Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds. Add all base ingredients except green onions and celery into processor and mix until it is almost a paste. Put paste in bowl and mix in green onions and celery. Eat immediately or let refrigerate. Will keep if sealed for 5 days.

Hormones

2.6 Bones: Skeletal System

  1. Vitamin D3: Unless you are a lifeguard in Southern California, there’s a decent chance you’re deficient, especially if you live at a far northern latitude. We need to make sure we are getting enough vitamin D3 because if we are deficient then we will not be absorbing the calcium from our food. If it is not being absorbed, than calcium will be taken from the bones and teeth. Vitamin D3 is also important for balancing mood so it is connected with brain health and also immune health. I recommend getting you blood tested every year for Vitamin D. If you are low, you will need to supplement. Taking 1,000 units/day is usually a good idea for maintenance. 
  2. Calcium: We all know that we need calcium for strong bones. In addition to making sure we are meeting our vitamin D requirements, eating calcium rich foods on a daily basis will ensure we met our needs. Eating 1-3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables will give you plenty of calcium. Foods also high in calcium are sesame seeds, apricots, almonds, blackstrap molasses, chia seeds and Brazil nuts.
  3. K2: Vitamin K2 is critical for a healthy heart and skeletal system. This vitamin is often overlooked in the vegan diet. Among other things, K2 helps shuttle calcium away from your arteries (where it can contribute to plaque formation), and into your bones and teeth, where it rightfully belongs. Some K1 is converted to K2, but not much. As you are probably learning from this blog, it is not ONLY about what you eat but also what you absorb and convert that really matters. Vitamin K2 is only found in certain bacteria and animal products. We can get it through a fermented food called Natto or a supplement. K2 has incredible dental benefits as well. I recommend all vegans take a daily K2 supplement if they are not consuming natto on weekly basis. Consider trying the protein powder by Sunwarrior called Illumin8 which has natural sources of K2.
  4. DEXA Scan: Consider getting a DEXA Scan done, which is a special type of X-ray to measure your bone density on a yearly basis.
  5. Resistance Training: To keep strong bone density and maintain muscle mass, regularly do resistance training with weights 2-3x a week. 
  6. Summary: The first step to strong bones is to see what level your Vitamin D level is at. From there you can see if you need to supplement. Vitamin D will facilitate the absorption of calcium from your food. If you are low in vitamin D, most that wonderful calcium rich plant food you are eating will not be absorbed, and worse you will be pulling calcium from your bones and teeth. Now, once you have normal levels of vitamin D, and are eating lots of calcium rich plant foods, it is vital you are getting enough vitamin K2 to shuttle all that calcium to the right places, your bones and teeth. We do not want the calcium to go to the arteries. Consider eating more Natto or supplementing with K2. Getting a DEXA scan yearly can help you monitor your bone density trend. Keep your bone density strong with resistance training 2-3x a week. 
  7. Recipe:Strong Bones Stir-Fry, Serves 6-8

bok-choy-mushroom-stir-fry-su

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds baby bok choy
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 small dry red Chinese hot peppers
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms (about 4 dozen), stems removed
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lakanto monkfruit sweetener
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 cans navy beans, rinsed from can
  • 6 scallions, sliced diagonally, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds and almond slivers  for garnish

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cut off and discard stem ends of bok choy. Separate leaves, rinse and drain. Drop leaves into boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until barely cooked. Immediately remove, rinse with cool water, drain and pat dry. Arrange leaves in one layer on an ovenproof earthenware platter, then set aside.
  2. Put a large wok or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and heat until nearly smoking, then add hot peppers and shiitake caps, stirring to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Reduce heat slightly and add garlic, ginger, Lakanto, and coconut aminos. Stir-fry for 1 minute more.
  3. Spoon shiitake and pan juices over reserved cooked bok choy. Serve at room temperature, or if you prefer, reheat covered with foil for 10 to 15 minutes in a hot oven. Fold in navy beans and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, and almond slivers. Serve with a side of natto.

Bones

2.7 Love your heart: Cardiovascular System

  1. Iron: Getting enough iron in your diet, and absorbing that iron is vital to heart health. Low iron can lead to anemia, or a low hemoglobin level in the blood. Iron deficiency can often be linked to heart disease because the heart has to work harder to pump more blood and oxygen through the body. Combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C helps the absorption.
  2. Healthy Fats: Choosing healthy fats instead of damaged, or vegetable oils. Do your best to avoid fried food, and vegetable oils like canola, corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, peanut, cottonseed, which contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. It is ok to have some Extra-Virgin olive oil or avocado oil in your diet, but avoid cooking them at high temps. Use coconut oil for cooking. 
  3. K2: Coming back to K2 again. The K2 will help shuttle the calcium that is absorbed to the right places, bones and teeth.
  4. Spirulina: can prevent LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized which helps prevent heart disease.
  5. Copper: Insufficient copper intake is associated with increases in cholesterol levels, clot formation, and heart disease.
  6. Summary: To ensure you are getting enough iron on a vegan diet, be sure to combine iron-rich plant foods with vitamin C-rich plant foods. For a healthy heart we must make sure our iron levels are within normal limits. Eat healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds and stay away from vegetable oils. K2 will help shuttle the calcium to your bones and teeth where it belongs. Consider a K2 supplement, or make sure your multivitamin has K2 in it. Superfoods Spirulina and Raw Cacao contain nutrients which protect your heath, so consider adding the spirulina and copper rich foods like raw cacao in your diet.
  7. Recipe:Heart Health Vitality Balls, makes 15-20 ballsblog_cacaoballs-00168

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup almonds
  • ⅓ cup brazil nuts
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp spirulina powder (adjust to your palette)
  • 1 ½ tbsp raw cacao
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 8 dried apricots
  • 8 pitted medjool dates (the stickier the better, if too dry soak for 15 min)

Directions:

  1. To prepare, place almonds and brazil nuts in food processor and pulse until it is a rough meal with small bits of nuts still left.
  2. Add pumpkin seeds, spirulina and raw cacao powder and pulse a couple of times to mix and crush the seeds.
  3. Add the almond butter butter, pitted medjool dates and dried apricots and pulse/mix.
    When the mixture is combined but still a little rough, sticking together when you press it between your fingers, remove it from the food processor.
  4. Press/roll into balls, roughly the size of half a golf ball. I
  5. if you wish roll in coconut and keep in the fridge for 5-7 days or freeze for a later date.
  6. Enjoy as a healthy protein packed snack.

Heart

2.8 Beautiful Skin: Integumentary system

  1. Biotin and Vitamin C: Biotin and Vitamin C are nutrients that helps us keep a young, attractive appearance since it plays a major part in maintaining the health of our hair, nails and skin.
  2. Microbiome/Sugar: Keeping a healthy gut flora and diverse microbiome helps with healthy skin. Sugar intake can interrupt the microbiome and also cause spikes in blood sugar which can impact the skin.
  3. Vitamin E: Infused with antioxidant properties it aids in maintaining a youthful glow by warding off free radicals. Vitamin E rich foods help in delaying aging process, and also help in preventing skin pigmentation.
  4. Skin care products: The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it’s the one that receives the most abuse from the sun, the pollution in the air, and destructive toxins we put on our skin.  So choose natural products to put on your skin. The best one…coconut oil!
  5. Moringa: This superfood is high in many nutrients, and also wonderful for the skin. Try making a mask out of it with apple cider vinegar and turmeric or adding it to your morning smoothie!
  6. Spices: Spices like fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, thai basil, rosemary and oregano contain many healthy chemicals as we learned about turmeric. These polyphenols from the spices enrich the skin when added to the diet.
  7. Summary: Your skin is our largest organ and our first line of defense. It is one of the most meaningful ways we connect with one another whether that be a handshake, a hand on the shoulder or a warm hug. So treat it well by including Biotin rich foods like chard, vitamin rich foods like citrus and berries, vitamin E rich foods like nuts and seeds, reducing added sugars, adding in superfoods like moringa and spices. Avoid putting harsh chemicals and skin products on your skin, and choose natural products like coconut oil!
  8. Recipe:Healthy Skin Stuffed Peppers, Serves 4Quinoa-Stuffed-Peppers-SQUARE

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (168 g) quinoa or rice, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • scant 2 cups (460 ml) vegetable stock (sub water, but it will be less flavorful)
  • 4 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) salsa, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup chopped chard
  • 1 Tbsp (4 g) nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans, drained (if unsalted, add 1/4 tsp sea salt)
  • 1 cup (168 g) whole kernel corn, drained

Toppings:

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Hot sauce
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Diced red onion

Directions:

  1. Add quinoa and vegetable stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy – about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Brush halved peppers with a neutral, high heat oil, such as avocado or refined coconut.
  4. Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients – salsa through corn. Mix to thoroughly combine then taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding salt, pepper, or more spices as desired.
  5. Generously stuff halved peppers with quinoa mixture until all peppers are full, then cover the dish with foil.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove foil, increase heat to 400 degrees F (204 C), and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are soft and slightly golden brown. For softer peppers, bake 5-10 minutes more.
  7. Serve with desired toppings (listed above) or as is. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until warmed through – about 20 minutes.

Skin

2.9 Let’s Talk About Sex: Reproductive

  1. Vitamin A: Vitamin A is crucial for healthy bone tissue, vision, proper hormone function and making healthy babies. But plants don’t contain “true” vitamin A—only certain provitamins, particularly beta carotene, that your body converts into vitamin A. Eat Beta-Carotene rich foods with a fat component to help the absorption amount, and be sure to eat beta-carotene rich plant foods daily.
  2. Zinc: This is an important nutrition because it converts the beta-carotene to Vitamin A. Zinc helps promote natural testosterone levels which can enhance your sexual health and sex drive.
  3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen in women, which means low sex drive. It also causes low testosterone in men.
  4. Maca Root: Superfood Maca Root works by releasing chemicals and nutrients that sends message to the pituitary gland, which tells the body how much of each hormone to produce, whether it is producing enough, too much or just the right. It can improve libido, and help with providing relief to symptoms from menopause like hot flashes.
  5. Summary: Along with getting a variety of beta-carotene rich foods it is important to combine those foods with fat for better absorption of beta-carotene. Make sure you are getting enough zinc rich foods and consider using the Trace Mineral Drops in your water daily talked about earlier. If you feel your hormones may be unbalanced, try including Maca root in your diet to help improve libido, and reduce PMS, and menopause symptoms.
  6. Recipe:Maca Carrot Soup

download (1)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups carrot chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion sliced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 16-oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh carrot juice
  • 3 teaspoons of Maca
  • 6 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds for topping 

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot to medium low heat. Add onions and carrot. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add fresh ginger and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. While the soup is reducing, juice the carrots. Add coconut milk to the pot and turn off the heat. Allow the soup to cool slightly and then add in the fresh carrot juice. Season with the Maca, salt and dill. Pour soup into a blender and blend on high for 4 minutes. Serve!

sex

2.10 Powerhouse: Energy

  1. Mitochondria: The powerhouse. Mitochondria is not considered an organ system, but it is probably one of the most important parts of your body to optimize. I saved the best for last! You can live without food or water for a couple days/week, but without your mitochondria you wouldn’t live for more than a couple seconds. It is vital to have these little guys functioning at optimal levels to keep you energized and preventing disease states like cancer. The tiny factories in each of our cells that turn the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe into energy. The more healthy mitochondria your body contains, the better you’ll feel, and the more robust your metabolism will be. A mighty mitochondrial force translates to better energy and focus, and greater ability to sustain high levels of activity without fatiguing. Progressive loss of function in the mitochondria—the cellular generators responsible for nearly all the body’s energy output—speeds aging and death.
  2. Detox: Riding heavy metals and detoxing the body from processed foods, chemicals and the environment can help improve mitochondrial health. Include organic cilantro, and chlorella in your diet weekly to help rid heavy metals.
  3. Shilajit: Long known to Ayurvedic practitioners for its healing power, shilajit is an organic substance harvested from biomass high in the Himalayas. It acts as a powerful adaptogen, providing broad systemic defense against stress and illness. Cutting-edge scientific analysis has isolated humic substances as the principal active ingredients that enhance mitochondrial energy flow. It also contains fulvic acid with helps to carry unwanted chemicals out of the body. I highly recommend the Lotus Blooming Herbs Brand.
  4. Reduce stress/meditation: Stress is intertwined with all systems especially mitochondrial health. Consider the Headspace app or 10 min guided meditation a day.
  5. Healthy Fat: Eat healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds.  Reduce your added sugar intake. Your mitochondria run better off of real food, unprocessed food. Try your best to avoid artificial sweeteners like Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose which can disrupt your mitochondrial health.
  6. Exercise: Movement can increase mitochondrial density= more energy
  7. Summary: I saved the best for last. Mitochondria may be one of the most important parts of your body to optimize. Consider adding in chlorella, cilantro, Shilajit, healthy fats, including moderate exercise, and reducing stress to boost your energy levels.
  8. Recipe: Detoxifying, Energy Boosting SmoothieCleanse the heavy metals and boost mitochondrial health with this smoothie! Serves 2-3Super-Kid-Friendly-Banana-Green-Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 green apple or pear
  • 1 lemon peeled
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 large handful of kale
  • 1 small handful of cilantro
  • 2 dates pitted
  • 1/4th avocado
  • 1 thumb of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of chlorella
  • 1 grain size portion of Shilajit (Lotus Blooming Herbs brand)
  • 2 cups coconut water depending on desired consistency

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

energy

Thank you for reading! If this all seems overwhelming to you, and you would like more guidance on making sure you are meeting all your needs on a vegan diet then let’s work together! Visit my website www.NutritionTanslator.com for more information on my services! 

For my 1 week Detox Meal Plan click here.

❤ Colleen Poling, RD

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

17 Jul
Version 4

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!

 

A “Night Owl’s” Guide for a Good Night’s Sleep!

10 Jul
Version 4

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.

Now that I am in my 20’s, I have noticed that my “peak” and “prime” hours seem to be between 7pm-1am. This is great if I have a massive exam to study for or a 10 page paper to crank out during the school year, but on a regular night? No thank you! I, like many others, take my sleep very seriously. I value those necessary and precious 8 hours, but because of this nocturnal schedule I have fallen victim to the dreaded sleepless-night! Tossing and turning, flipping the pillow to the cool side, and switching positions 50 times, a restless night can be extremely frustrating and detrimental to our health. When it comes to a good night’s sleep, I believe that if we break down our night-time routine into steps that concentrate on decompressing our minds and bodies, even the most stubborn night owls can sleep soundly.

Lets Start With Our Senses!

  1. Sight
IMG_2281

My Himalayan Salt Lamp! I use it every night.

My first tip is probably the most obvious, turn down the amount of light intake an hour before you tuck yourself in! How are we supposed to fall asleep if every source of light (including screens) is on in our house? An hour before bed, start shutting off the big, aggressive lights and turn to lamps or candles to provide light. My favorite light source in my bedroom is the combination of my mineral salt lamp and 2-3 candles. A mineral salt lamp is perfect because of it’s warm glow that is soft on tired eyes while providing enough light for you to finish your final tasks. So light a few candles and create some night time ambiance!

 

IMG_2272

My favorite “positive thoughts” book!

We live in an age that allows us to be connected 24/7. As a result, it is easy to get into the habit of laying in bed, jumping from app to app until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore. I have frequently fallen asleep with my phone in my hand, so I have now traded in my phone screen for a book to break this habit.

Not only is falling asleep with a phone a bad habit, but it can also do some damage. When the wavelength of blue light from the screens of our phones and TVs hits the sensitive cells in our eyes, a signal gets sent to our brains to stop the production of melatonin, the essential hormone for sleep. Without the release of melatonin, we can’t catch those precious “z’s”.

I have found that by shutting down my phone and reading one of my books for at least 20 minutes reduces the strain on my eyes. By the time I am ready to close my eyes, I’m not staring at my ceiling as a result of the blue light, or rolling over onto my phone because I’ve passed out mid-scroll. Free-read novels are great for bed, but I also strongly recommend a book of positive mantras and thoughts before you fall asleep. Your True Home by spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, is full of wise and thoughtful excerpts that will speak to the heart!

2. Sound

One of my favorite things to do is to play chill easy music while I am getting ready to go to bed. Playing soft music enhances and ties together the easy zen environment. Some of my favorite Spotify playlists consist of “Evening Chill”, “Relax and Unwind”, “Rainy Day”, and my playlists that I have put together on my Spotify. Your music choice really does affect your mood, so choose your playlist with relaxation in mind!

3. Scent

Certain scents have effects on us, and when it comes to relaxation  lavender gets the job done. I use this dreamy scent in so many different ways (honestly, I probably go a little overboard, but sometimes you need to go to great lengths for good sleep). Lavender essential oil is great because it’s uses are extremely versatile! My go to uses are direct application and a diluted spray. To guarantee  that I am receiving the benefits from this essential oil I put a few drops on the inside of wrists and my neck as soon as I crawl into bed. If I don’t want the oil directly on my skin, I take a small spray bottle and fill it with water and about 8 drops of lavender essential oil. I use this spray to mist my pillows and bedding with liquid directly from the sleep gods. By the time you crawl under your covers, you’re tucked away in a lavender cocoon.

IMG_2278

My go-to body lavender body lotion and essential oil!

Some other common ways to use lavender are in candles and body lotions. I mentioned earlier that candles are a great way to reduce harsh light, but the scent of those said candles matters. Lighting a lavender scented candle transforms your entire space into a haven for relaxation. Using a lavender body lotion such as “Dream Cream” by LUSH (my go-to), encapsulates your body with the pleasant scent. The scent of lavender no doubt creates a lovely environment for you to decompress and relax in!

4. Taste

My newest habit that promotes a good night’s rest is a cup of hot tea. Search no more I have found the holy grail sleep tea, tulsi tea. Tulsi is the Eastern Indian herb, Holy Basil. Holy Basil is a natural hormone balancer which means that if you have high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), consuming holy basil will help your hormones balance back into equilibrium which leads to relaxation. This tea is not only great for people who have a hard time falling asleep but also for people who have trouble staying asleep.

IMG_2280

My favorite tulsi tea right now!

Bold statement, but I truly believe that this herb has changed my life. A few weeks ago, I was waking up at 2:30am every night, unable to fall asleep until 4:30am (I cannot even describe how frustrating this was). After some research, my theory was that between the hours of 1am and 4am, my blood sugar levels were dropping leading to the spike of cortisol resulting in me waking up wide eyed and bushy tailed at 2am. So I decided to make some changes in the timing of certain foods to see if my blood sugar levels would be altered. I found that my perfect formula is as follows: large amounts of fruit consumed only before noon, a handful of pumpkin seeds or spoonful of almond butter after dinner, and a cup of tusli tea before bed. Night one of this formula resulted in immediate positive change of sleeping soundly through the night! By tweaking just a few things in my diet and adding tulsi tea, my body has found the perfect balance for a good night’s sleep. I highly encourage you look at your diet before turning to medication/supplements for restless nights!

5. Touch

This one is easy! Put on your softest pajamas and crawl into your softest bedding to create a “fluffy cloud” experience.

Now that we have covered all the senses, here are some other tips!

Focusing on the Body and the Breath

Stretch It Out!

If you have had a particular stressful day, I suggest setting some time aside to focus on releasing tension in your body through some light stretching or a gentle yoga sequence. Our bodies hold our emotions and stresses mostly in our shoulders, neck, and back so taking 20 minutes to gently stretch out these tight muscles can greatly increase your body’s ability to surrender into sleep! Gentle stretching and calming yoga sequences allow you to tune into your body and let go of the day’s troubles. My go-to sequence is the basic sun salutation because it is easy to follow and allows different opportunities for all the major muscle groups to be addressed!

sun sal

Just Breathe

breathIf anything from this piece sticks with you, please let it be this last point: the greatest sleep tool at your disposal is your breath. We all have the ability to slow down and switch our focus just by tapping into our breath. Breathing deep has endless benefits including the increase of oxygen levels in both the brain and muscles, the decrease in the production of stress hormones, the release of tension, the lowering of blood pressure, and a focal point for your mind. These are just a few impacts of deep breathing that can affect your precious sleep! With your mind focused on your inhales and exhales, you transfer your concentration from your thoughts to your breathing pattern. I cannot even tell you how many times I have been laying in bed unable to fall asleep when suddenly I remember to breathe deeply and before I knew it I was drifting asleep (pro tip: to keep your attention on your breath, count your inhales and exhales). Our breath is extremely powerful so use it to your advantage!

I hope this post has helped in anyway! Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read this. Sweet Dreams!

Connect With Hanna’s Instagram

Hanna ❤

Top 10 Pieces of Advice When Becoming a Vegan!

5 Jul

 

Version 4

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

IMG_2068

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

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

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!

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

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 ❤

Top 15 Podcasts I am Hooked On Right Now

5 Jun

podcast2

I LOooooVvvvvvEeeee ❤ ❤ learning, and that is a huge understatement! I am unceasingly asking questions, and feel the constant desire to better myself, my relationships and the world around me. If you see me out and about walking my dogs, for example, you will almost always see me with my earbuds in listening to an audiobook or podcast. I aim to read/listen to 2 books a month, and listen to minimum of 2 podcasts a day. I have probably even watched every educational documentary on Netflix! So, if you are curious like me, then do yourself a favor and check out these podcasts ASAP! 🙂 These are in no particular order of preference. All of these except #9 can be found on the stitcher radio app or iTunes.

Podcast

  1. Bulletproof Radio: This podcast distills the knowledge of world-class MDs, biochemists, Olympic nutritionists, meditation experts, and more than $250,000 spent on personal self-experiments. From private brain EEG facilities hidden in a Canadian forest to remote monasteries in Tibet, from Silicon Valley to the Andes, high tech entrepreneur Dave Asprey used hacking techniques and tried everything himself, obsessively focused on discovering: What are the simplest things you can do to be better at everything?
  2. Invisibilia: is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.
  3. Big Picture Science: is a podcast that engages the public with modern science research through lively and intelligent storytelling.
  4. Rich Roll Podcast: Each week Rich delves deep into all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. This podcast highlights intimate, deep and often intense conversations designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock your most authentic self.
  5. The Minimalists Podcast: How might your life be better with less?
  6. The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast: This podcast includes fitness, nutrition, health, diet, wellness, workout, exercise, triathlon, Ironman, swimming, cycling, running, weight lifting, bodybuilding, Crossfit, Paleo, Spartan, vegan, vegetarian, muscle gain and fat loss advice from America’s top personal trainer.
  7. Sex with Emily Podcast: Dr. Emily Morse is a sex and relationship expert dedicated to educating people to achieve the sex and relationships they desire in order to maintain happiness and longevity.
  8. The Tim Ferris Show: In this show, Tim deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use. This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.
  9. Where Should I Begin with Esther Perel: (New series on audible channels, the audible app): The acclaimed therapist and TED speaker, Esther Perel, opens her office door to let you listen in as she counsels real couples. 
  10. Multiamory: is a podcast about out-of-the-box ideas to deepen current relationships, broaden sexual horizons, developing a better understanding of yourself, and provides awareness and education about the ethical practice of non-monogamy. Insights come from research and years of personal experience with polyamory, but the information found here is useful for people in any type of relationship. Whether you are poly, considering diving into it, or just looking to have better monogamous relationships, their tips and ideas will help you to have the healthiest, happiest dating life possible.
  11. The School of Greatness: Lewis Howes is a NYT bestselling author, lifestyle entrepreneur, former pro athlete and world record holder in football. The goal of the School of Greatness is to share inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet to help you find out what makes great people great.
  12. Sword and Scale: This true-crime podcast is an immersive audio experience covering the underworld of criminal activity and the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions, proving that the worst monsters are very real. They cover true-crime stories, high-profile trials, unsolved murders and missing persons cases.
  13. Mastering Nutrition: Chris Masterjohn, who has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, explains complex science and puts it into new, practical ideas that you can use to help yourself on your journey to vibrant health. This show allows you to master the science of nutrition and apply it to your own life.
  14. Risk! : Take a walk on the wild side with the RISK! podcast, with selections from the RISK! live shows where everyone from comedians to regular folks divulge true stories they had always thought they’d keep to themselves.
  15. Smart Drugs Smarts: Fuel Your Brain With the Latest in Neuroscience.

What are your favorite podcasts that you listen to??? 

Challenge: listen to a podcast that you might not normally listen to this week. Learning about perspectives/ideas/stories different from your own will educate you, and keep you open-minded! ❤

podcast (1)

❤ Colleen Poling, RD

4 Tantalizing Mythical Creature Smoothie Bowls

24 May

blog title smoothie bowls

IMG_41861

IMG_41881

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

unicorn

IMG_40341

IMG_40401

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

siren

IMG_40821

IMG_40901

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

IMG_41241

IMG_41211

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

phoenix

IMG_41611

IMG_41471

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

IMG_42091

Peace, Love, Superfoods ❤ Colleen Poling, RD

4 Guilt-Free SuperFood Dark Chocolates🍫

10 May

IMG_37201

These chocolates are so easy to make that you will never want to buy chocolate at the store again! They are infused with superfoods, and have no sugar added! Dark chocolate is very nutritious because it is packed with antioxidants, iron, magnesium, copper, and can improve blood flow,  raise good cholesterol, protect your skin form UV rays, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve eyesight and improve cognitive function…and since these recipes have additional superfoods added to them, and no added sugar, you can feel 100% guilt-free!!

To make these all you do is melt the coconut oil and/or cacao butter on a double broiler, then mix in cacao powder and other ingredients listed, and garnish with the superfoods you mixed in as you please! Then pour into a silicon mold. I used this one click here. Freeze overnight, and there you have it! Best to keep these refrigerated once they are done freezing overnight.

1. 

IMG_37161
🍫Matcha-Reishi Chocolates:

2.

IMG_37361🍫 Moringa-Chaga Chocolates:

3.

IMG_37261
🍫 Blueberry-Vanilla Chocolates:

4.

IMG_37181
🍫 Mint-Chlorophyll Chocolates:

Peace, Love, Superfoods ❤ Colleen Poling, RD

8 Mouthwatering Paleo-Vegan Breakfast Wraps

15 Apr

wrapheader

What is a Pegan Diet? It is a hybrid of the paleo diet and a vegan diet, taking the best of both worlds and combining them together! I take the completely vegan (no meat, dairy or eggs) approach, and apply the best paleo recommendations for max benefits! 🙂 Focusing on: real whole, fresh food in its natural state free of processed ingredients, refined carbohydrates, and additives.

Colleen’s Pegan DOs:

Fruits and Vegetables: Organic green vegetables like leafy greens, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, asparagus, romaine lettuce, and organic low sugar fruits like berries.

High-Quality Fats: Olive, coconut and avocado oils, in addition to avocados, hemp seeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, olives, Brain Octane, and daily algal oil for omega 3’s from a supplement or from a culinary oil like Thrive. 

Healthy Grains: Reach whole grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice or forbidden rice. Keeping this to a very minimum, 1 serving/day max. A traditional paleo diet would not allow for grains. If you include hemp seeds, and even a protein powder like Vega one then will have an excellent essential amino acid profile while still limiting, or eliminating grains.

Beans and Lentils: A nutritional powerhouse and great source of protein. Choose only sprouted beans and lentils. A traditional paleo diet would not allow this, but vegans need beans and lentils in their diets.

Colleen’s Pegan DON’Ts:

Sugar: Added sugar should be kept to a minimum, if not completely eliminated. Watch out for sneaky sugars, even in the forms of agave, maple syrup and coconut sugar. A lower carbohydrate, low glycemic load is what to aim for. Sugar subs like Lakanto is a great alternative.

Gluten: Gluten free grains are recommended when following a pegan diet.

Dairy: On a vegan and paleo diet there is no dairy allowed! There are plenty of substitutes!

Franken-Foods: No processed vegan meats allowed! No chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, or artificial sweeteners. No vegetable oils like canola or safflower. Choosing organic, non-GMO foods whenever possible.

all2

Here are 8 easy Pegan Wraps I created that you can make for breakfast, or enjoy at any time of the day! All wraps are made with Seite Almond Flour Tortillas. Click on the underlined ingredient to learn where you can buy it, or how to make it!

1.Fat-Adapted Wrap:

fat wrap1

 

2.Galaxy Wrap:

galaxy3

 

3.Crunch-Wrap Supreme:

  • Organic Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Heirloom Tomatoes, Organic Avocado, Watermelon Seeds

crunch2

 

4. Fermented Wrap:

ferm1

 

5. Forest Wrap:

forest1

 

6. Lizard Wrap:

lizard1

 

7. Buddha Wrap: 

buddha2

 

8. Bob Evans Wrap:

bob3

Which one is your favorite????!!!?

all1

❤ Colleen Poling, RD

One Bowl Dark Chocolate Walnut, Pecan, Banana Bread. Vegan, GF, No Sugar Added

3 Apr

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 4×8 -inch loaf pan with parchment paper. 
  2. In a food processor blend together all ingredients except pecans and walnuts. Pour Batter into lined loaf pan.
  3. Add nuts on top and cook in oven for 60 minutes or until fork inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Let cool. Slice, Serve and enjoy! Works great as a snack in between meals!

bread2

bread