Category Archives: Self-Help

How will you celebrate Earth Day this year?

On April 22nd we will be celebrating Earth Day. This is the day when everyone goes out and cleans up a park or plants a tree and thus proclaims they love the earth… yeah whatevs!

"Eco Concept - Earth In Hands " by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Eco Concept – Earth In Hands ” by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What about the other 364 days of the year? If you really love the earth then do a little more, lord knows it needs it. Some of the easy things to do include recycling, not idling your car, walking, biking. The not so easy things include reducing your consumption to reduce waste, reusing items before getting rid of them, not replacing items that aren’t broken… you get the idea.

So now that we’ve healed the earth, how are you doing? Spring is the time for renewal, shedding layers (YES IT WILL GET WARM AGAIN) and a time for new growth. It’s also a good time to review what you have been doing with yourself for the last four months and re-evaluating. Do you need to fix your eating habits? Do you need to add more activity into your life? Do you have enough love and friendship in your life – all those little things that add up to make you that wonderful you that you are.

So while you’re helping to clean up litter on Earth Day don’t forget that there are 364 other opportunities to clean up the earth and yourself.

PS if you haven’t seen it I have launched a YouTube easy cooking series. Tell me what you think and what you want to see more of! April’s episode should be coming soon.

It’s National Nutrition Month!

It’s National Nutrition Month! Now what?

"Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

I bet a lot of you had no idea that there is a  National Nutrition Month and that it’s in March. I know I didn’t until I started  my dietetics program. Isn’t that a shame. We get an entire month to celebrate beautiful dishes and healthy eating and hardly anyone knows about it.

How am I celebrating NNM? Well I like to think that I celebrate nutrition and healthy living all year round so I will keep doing what I am doing plus a few other things including trying new foods and new recipes. I have a NNM challenge for all of you. Try four new recipes and four new foods. So far I have made vegan tofu cream cheese and vegan chocolate chip cookies, I have also made mung beans which, believe it or not, I have never prepared.

mung beans

You may be wondering what to try, I think a trip to an ethnic grocery store could be a lot of fun. We have tons of Asian grocery stores and there’s always something interesting to try. I’ve been hooked on cassava, also known as yuca. I’m used to seeing it frozen in the bag but lately I have been buying the root and preparing it in the steamer. Something as simple as that will count for the challenge.

I saw and tasted a ton of great products at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, I don’t have any photos because I was too busy eating everything! Yay me! I have two more recipes to try and thanks to vegfest two new foods to taste.  Yikes and we only have a few weeks left, I have to think of what else I want to make and try, so do you! I would love to hear what you tried and made for my  NNM challenge. Please feel free to share in the comments section. And yes, the recipe and the new food can be part of the same dish.

PS I’ve launched my cooking show on YouTube here’s the latest episode!

Love yourself & Happy Veganniversary to me!

February always brings out the lovey dovey in me. Even though we have a good foot of snow in the front yard and another coming over the weekend I can’t help to feel the love.

San Francisco 3.2008 007

This marks the 4-year anniversary of my going vegan, the 4-year birthday of this blog and the 3-year anniversary of when we adopted our beloved Luke. So with all of the crap out there I have something good to hold on to.

Surrounding yourself with great things and appreciating what you have I think begins the journey to loving yourself. We all focus that Valentine’s Day love on so many others that some of you forget to focus on the one that needs the most love –  YOU!

So go ahead and love yourself a little harder this month, and find those things that make you happy and keep you going because you will project those good vibes on to others and I promise you that the lovefests will ensue.

PS: Stay tuned for monthly recipes shows on my YouTube channel. I am excited to launch the January (yes a little late) Episode this weekend!

New Year, New You, NO! BETTER YOU!!

The new year means getting bombarded with New Year, New You messages. I know because I have sent them myself. It also signals a time when people feel free to let you know that you just can’t cut it and a “New You” armed with resolutions looks so much better…

I say the heck with all those people who want to change you. I don’t want to change you, I want you to get BETTER!! A better you wants to make positive changes and improve on what you have already accomplished. A better you has goals, SMART* goals at that, and knows that the little things complete the big picture.

I don’t want to hear about your resolutions, I want to hear about your GOALS. I’ll share some of mine to get you thinking. Keep in mind that goals are very personal and really only matter to you. So go ahead and think about what you want to improve upon for 2014.

GOALS:

  • Fitness: Continue with fitness 45 min at least 3 times a week and add 10 min of yoga for flexibility; find a regular workout time by Feb.
  • Health: In conjunction with fitness, monitor food intake to reasonable levels (I can eat like no body’s business!) Keep a food journal and track intake 5 days a week.
  • Business: Work consistently and acquire additional clients (virtual assisting & wellness coaching) before March. Becoming more visible, somehow…
  • Family: Spend as much quality time as possible with my fur babies and stay in touch with the kids.
  • Social: Try to keep the social connections even if it means a quick text to say hey how ya doin? (This one is tough because of school and work).
  • Creativity: Read books for pleasure – read at least 2 books per month. Writing a book will come next year 🙂

Your turn! Sometimes it helps putting things “out there”, makes you more accountable

*SMART: Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Timely

A Nice Fall Recipe

With fall here in full force, maybe a little too full force, I realize I haven’t given you guys a recipe in a while and thought that a nice recipe would make the season a little brighter.

20131118-232213.jpg

Autumn Japanese Maple by porbital

I love squashes, now I have to admit that I have not had the opportunity to try a lot of the vast variety out there, the old standbys have worked well for me.

So using an old standby, I wanted to make something easy with only a few ingredients, and came up with this amazing dish.

White Bean and Escarole with Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Garlic

Ingredients
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Bulb of Garlic
1 Head of Escarole
4 Cups Cannellini Beans
Olive Oil as Needed
Salt To Taste
Fresh Ground Pepper To Taste

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut the edge off the garlic bulb – the one that doesn’t have root. Drizzle oil all over the squash and the garlic (keep bulb intact with peel). Bake for 30 minutes or until soft.

In a large saucepan sauté escarole, use the whole head since it will cook down a lot. Squeeze the garlic out of peels and add to the escarole. Add beans and more oil, white wine or homemade vegetable broth to sauce it up. In a separate dish take the squash and run a fork through it to get the spaghetti like strands.

Serve the beans over the squash and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Fitness

Some of you may have noticed that I have started posting my fitness regimen on my social media. I usually get like this a few weeks before a birthday – you know, gotta look good… But fitness has so many more benefits than just looking good.

"Dumbbell With Water And Towel" by Naypong

“Dumbbell With Water And Towel” by Naypong

According to the Mayo Clinic there are at least 7 benefits to being physically active and they include:

Weight control
Improving health to fight disease
Improving mood
Boosting energy
Better sleep
Better sex life
Fun

Exercise also helps raise HDL, the good cholesterol and it can help strengthen your body. I’ve noticed my knees and back don’t hurt as much as they used to.

I really enjoy doing interval workouts – I use the Interval Timer free app to help me keep time (check out my review of it here). The fact that I can control the workout keeps it fresh for me since I am always switching up the exercises. Another tip: great music can make or break a good workout – make sure you have tunes that will get your butt moving.

Here’s the workout I am doing today:

photo (2)

Everyone needs me time, make your workout or physical activity time non-negotiable. What do you do to keep yourself fit?

My thoughts on the Food Industry

The development and marketing methods of the food industry have drastically changed over the last seventy-five years. The spokes that make up the wheel that is the food industry works together to keep it a billion dollar business and like any business there is pressure for growth and making the bottom line is its main goal. Unfortunately, what suffers is public health.

Source: Guardian UK

With advances in food science companies have the means to pinpoint the exact formulation at which the food product has reached maximum satiety of the general population. It would be a foolish food company that would not create foods to taste as pleasing as possible. By formulating foods this way they are intentionally created to make it easier to overeat (Moss 2013).

While on the GMO front the industry has been pouring millions of dollars to block labeling efforts, the momentum of public awareness is putting pressure on local and state governments to begin labeling initiatives. With increased consumer demand labeling will most likely be required in the next five to ten years. Maine is the most recent state to tackle GMO labeling legislation with it passing in their house. Although it is a small victory since the bill will also have to pass in their senate and a final vote in the house (Stone 2013).

The states that have instituted ag gag laws are doing so under pressure of the businesses that supply food, by prosecuting whistleblowers there will effectively be no regulation changes in animal agriculture processes. Since the animal agriculture industry is largely self-regulated they are not likely to report cases of animal abuse and improper handling that can lead to foodborne illnesses (“PBIS Non Compliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table). One of the largest recalls of beef in U.S. history was the result of an undercover investigation done by an animal welfare group (Martin 2008). The ag gag laws are specifically intended to prohibit these kinds of investigations.

Marketing to children has been an issue since the 1970s. With a government that will support the industry it has been difficult to make sufficient change. While the industry has made some improvements in marketing to children on television there is less incentive to restrict online and mobile marketing to children (Nestle 2007).

Works Cited
Martin, Andrew. “Largest Recall of Ground Beef Is Ordered.” The New York Times [New York] 18 Feb. 2008: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013.

Moss, Michael. Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. New York, NY: Random House, 2013. Print.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. 2007 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. Print.

“PBIS NonCompliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table. Foodandwaterwatch.org. Foodandwaterwatch.org, n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/PBISResponseRecords.pdf&gt;.

Stone, Matthew. “Maine House overwhelmingly supports GMO labeling requirement.” Bangor Daily News 11 June 2013: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/11/politics/maine-house-overwhelmingly-supports-gmo-labeling-requirement/&gt;.