Better late than never! Happy Birthday FSTS & Happy 8th Veganniversary to me

So I am a little late for my annual birthday/veganniversary post. February was a busy month and the last year has been full of trials and tribulations, but in the end, things just work out OK…

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Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The plan for 2018 is to keep on truckin’ and keep on with the whole food plant-based health info. Go back to basics, and ask yourself the following questions before you put it into your body:

Is this the closest to nature that I can get this product?
Does it have an ingredient list?
Does it have less than 5 ingredients?
Is it free of sweeteners in the first 5 ingredients, including “natural” sweeteners?
Will this help me hit my 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Will this increase my intake of fiber?
Is this a fat with fiber?
Can I challenge myself to try something different every week?

If the answer is no then put the item back on the shelf, it’s not worth the money. I’ve decided this is going to be the year of the antioxidant, in celebration of that here is my recipe for a super antioxidant smoothie – I have personally been having this for breakfast and it really is a great way to start your day.

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Super Antioxidant Smoothie

1 cup plant-based milk
1 cup frozen mixed berries
3 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp whole flax seeds ground in a grinder
1 tbsp cacao powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp clove (or less if too strong)
Fill rest of blender with watercress and mixed greens

Blend until smooth, the beauty of smoothies is that you can switch out the ingredients, I love dandelion greens in addition to kale and spinach.

 

New Year, Better You

Oh I know, you have probably had your fill of “New Year, New You” posts. I don’t want to change you, I just want you to be the best you, you can be. Let’s make 2018 that year where the baby steps lead to real accomplishments.

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Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

January baby steps:

Make a note of what you want your 2018 to look like. It can be anything from flossing more to running a marathon, it’s your list, your rules. Next to each action item write out how you plan on making this happen, buying floss or training, you get the idea. Make sure it’s realistic because this is your plan for the year. Commit to this plan and hopefully by next January you will be a much better you!

 

 

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This is the perfect time of year for a healthy hearty bean soup. This simple whole food dish is made with the slow cooker so you can set it up in the morning and have it ready by dinner time with minimal effort.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Soup

Ingredients:

2 cups pinto beans soaked overnight
4 quarts low sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp red miso paste
1-2 bunch dandelion greens chopped

Place the beans, broth and spices in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours. Once the beans are soft to your liking pull out 1 cup of the liquid and whisk in the miso paste, add liquid back to soup, add the dandelion greens and serve.

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Back to My Roots

So I am doing a cleanse this week with a really good friend of mine. I have gained weight, and am still trying to get my groove back. As part of my cleanse I wanted to make some raw kale crackers and was looking for inspiration through an older blog post from about 5 years ago. Wow, I was really enjoying life and living in a way that I felt was right for me. I need to get back to that, back to my roots! (Don’t you love it when the title is mentioned in the movie, TV show, blog post!)

This week I’ll begin the journey to what this blog was always intended to be about: health; wellness; gardening; veganism with an emphasis on whole foods plant based. I let myself get lost in the shuffle of relationship bumps that I am very happy to say have smoothed out. I have let school and work cloud my vision. I also had an interesting experience that made me realize what a wonderful life I have with amazing people and that I am truly lucky because I know that people who try to cause pain are usually in pain themselves. For me right now, life is good…

Oh and here’s an updated recipe for those kale crackers:

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Kale Crackers
1 cup ground flax seed + 3/4 cup whole seeds
2 cups water
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups kale
1 apple
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 small pepper
1 red onion (optional if you don’t want it too strong)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt

Directions

Soak the whole flax seeds and pumpkin seeds in 1 1/3 cup water for at least 3 hours

Day of: In large bowl mix ground flax, flax, salt, garlic, onion, remaining water, and ingredients, mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes

Spread thickly on 1 teflex tray (or on parchment paper if you don’t have teflex trays) smooth out into an even square about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Dry at 104 degrees for 4 hours or 3hr at 115 degrees

Flip & score crackers into desired sizes

Dehydrate another hour, before serving. Serve warm.

The longer you dehydrate the crispier the cracker.

Happy 7th Birthday FSTS & Happy 7-Year Veganniversary to Me!

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Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I started this blog 7 years ago I had no idea that my life would be so different today. I didn’t know I would be vegan, it wasn’t even an idea in the beginning of February 2010. I would never have thought I was going to leave the corporate world to go back to school for nutrition or enjoy teaching nutrtion so much. I didn’t think I would have lost my mother and one of my beloved cats too soon or that I would have had more dogs than cats in the house. I also didn’t know that my husband had a child and how that secret would affect me, our relationship and my faith in people to do the right thing.

I like to think of the last 7 years as a time of growth, not just in the garden but also in me. I see that life will always have challenges, the latest with a sick kitty, and no matter what it throws at you, you have to rise above it. Like I said in January, I don’t really know where I will end up this year, but I do know that it will include my garden. According to High Mowing Seeds, the time to start onion seeds is now, or about 12 weeks before transplant – so that will be my next project. The garden plan will be to plant lots of greens, garlic (got that started in November) peppers, eggplants, herbs and maybe a few other things. Nothing too ambitious, last year squash borers killed ALL of my squashes so this year I will take a break from them. I’m also done with tomatoes, I like them but I am not in love with them and I want this to be a garden I love that will hopefully love me back.

Goodbye 2016, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

I really wanted to write something witty, upbeat and thoughtful about the last year, however, it was a truly difficult year for me. Emotionally, it was on par with 2010, the year I lost my mother, my cat and my job… while not as catastrophic, certainly full of highs and lows.

I’ve come to realize just how complex relationships are and appreciate the importance of honesty, accountability, sincerity and remorse. I’ve also learned how an apology can make a world of difference and how we show respect in the little things we do too, when that is missing things can really fall apart. I’ve also seen how shame can beat a person down and make him feel small and insignificant.

During all of this I let myself get drawn away from the things that are important to me, the self-care rituals like journaling, meditation, yoga and exercise. I can feel the neglect both in my mental and physical state. Every day I find myself putting it off for ‘tomorrow’ and more often than not tomorrow never comes, and things don’t feel any different or get any better.

I can say without a doubt that I have absolutely no idea what 2017 it going to bring. My one sign that things just might be OK, whatever that means, is that my kitty Lola, who has been moored on the dining room table for the better part of the last year has started to venture out and has spent that last few days on my lap in the living room. She came to me in a time of need for something light in this world and showed me that no matter how dark I may feel, I will at least have a fat cat purring in my lap.

Beauty Evolution

Happy 2016 – Now What?

I hope everyone had a healthy and happy New Year. We have kicked 2015 to the curb, Now What?

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We have a few exciting things to look forward to this year:

  • Leap Year! We have an extra day to do something fabulous for ourselves or someone else.
  • Elections! We have an opportunity to participate in a democratic process that so many of our brave young men and women have fought for.

Many use this new time of year to reflect about changes, however, I don’t understand why we don’t do that every day. So I ask again, Now What?

What makes this year the one that you will lose 25 pounds, finish that book, clear out the clutter, or join the gym?

Intention. Make 2016 your year of Intention. Do things with a purpose and focus on the things that you really want to do. Start small because you can’t climb Mount Everest if you haven’t walked out your front door.

A few ways to set Intentions:

  • A vision board lets you create a visual space to see what you intend to do for the year.
  • Affirmations help you laser focus on the things you want to work on
  • Calendar reminders help keep you on track and can help with measuring metrics, unless of course you intend to unplug more :).

You get the idea, surround yourself with what you intend to do this year and instead of asking yourself Now What, you can say Now Yes, with Intention.

Healthy Holidays 2015

The holiday season can mean a time of high stress for many people. For some people the holiday season reminds them of lost loved ones, for those in college with finals it can overwhelm and anyone with debt or financial problems the idea of having to buy extravagant gifts for loved ones can make the holiday less than a time for festivities.

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In addition to gift giving stress we also have holiday parties with too much eating and drinking, putting stress on our bodies and fueling more overall stress.

Don’t let this holiday season bring you down, the following tips can help:

1. Missing Lost Loved Ones
The holidays suck after people die. There I said it. No magic pill exists to take away the pain, especially the first year, however, you can honor them in special ways. Family photos are a great gift to share, watching home movies, talking about the funny things they did, and making their favorite dish to bring to a potluck can also help honor them. The goal is to resect your feelings and doing whatever you have to that feels right, getting drunk and miserable may not be the best option.

2. Finals Not the End of the World
The mere thought of starting school again (YAY Rutgers Coordinated Dietetics Program – BS Nutrition/RD exam eligible) has brought back the anxiety of classes, tuition and test-taking. For those students that have finals all the way until the week before Christmas, during Hanukkah or whatever end of year festival you observe, the idea of coming up with a thoughtful gift may not rank very high or at all. No worries, school-inspired gifts can help educate the masses. Books, science kits, jewelry-making and painting kits can entertain while building a skill for old and young.

3. Not Getting Into More Debt
Setting a budget for each gift can help control holiday spending as can letting your loved ones know that you can’t spend as much as you have in the past. If they have a problem with that then maybe they need a refresher on the spirit of the holidays. Also, by saying something you might be expressing what others feel as well and they may welcome an opportunity to avoid spending money on frivolous items that no one really wanted in the first place. A family grab bag can also help keep holiday gift-giving costs down and fun. Pick a name out of a hat, set a limit and have at it.

4. Healthy Body
To compound the emotional stress of the holidays the body also takes a lickin’ with all the party food and cocktails imbibed. A few ways to ease the overindulging include water between drinks, this way you don’t drink as much, you avoid embarrassing yourself (especially at a work party!), and you have kept yourself hydrating helping to avoid or lessen the hangover. Before you get to a party you can decide to only have a certain number of alcoholic drinks and once you reach that number switch off to non-alcoholic beverages. To handle food intake you can eat a light meal before a party to avoid over-eating. No need to skip dessert, split it with a friend or just have a one bite policy. Take one bite’s worth of everything offered so you can have a taste without feeling like a glutton.

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Don’t let the holidays get you down or drive you crazy. Keeping a clear head will help you make better decisions when it comes to gift giving and holiday parties. The spirit of the holiday should make you feel joyous, not miserable.

Have a great holiday everyone!

Xo Evelyn Continue reading