Browsing Category

Health

Health, Recipes, Review

Adaptogens + The Healthiest Smoothie in the World

April 29, 2017

Adaptogens are a unique class of herbal plants used as tonics that help balance, restore and protect the body. Generally, they are used to increase resistance to disease and stress, increase energy, and increase physical performance and endurance.

               

Here are some of the more common ones and their top benefits:

Reshi

Resihi is a a mushroom (fungus). Boosts the immune system, protects against heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, kidney disease, cancer, and liver disease. It is also used for HIV/AIDS, altitude sickness, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), trouble sleeping (insomnia), stomach ulcers, poisoning, and herpes pain. Other uses include reducing stress and preventing fatigue. In combination with other herbs, reishi mushroom is used to treat prostate cancer (Webmd).

Cordyceps

Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars (!) in the high mountain regions of China. It can be reproduced in a lab setting so that’s why it can be widely available. It is used to treat respiratory disorders, kidney disorders, nighttime urination, male sexual problems, anemia, irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, liver disorders, dizziness, weakness, ringing in the ears, and unwanted weight loss. It is also used for strengthening the immune system, improving athletic performance, reducing the effects of aging, promoting longer life, and improving liver function in people with hepatitis B (Webmd). It may also have a positive effect on inhibiting growth of certain cancers.

Astragalus

Astragalus is an herb and the root is the medicinal part. It may be useful in treating common colds, upper respiratory infections, allergies, fibromyalgia, anemia, HIV/AIDS. It is also used for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Generally, astralagus appears to stimulate and increase the immune system.

Ginseng

Ginseng is a root that also helps boost the immune system and may lower blood sugar levels and improve mental performance. One type of ginseng is called eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng. Eleuthero is used in Korean and Russian folk medicine to increase stamina and improve athletic performance. In Chinese medicine, the root is used to invigorate qi (chi or energy), strengthen and nourish the spleen and kidney and to balance vital energy (Mountain Rose Herbs).

Schisandra

Schisandra is a plant and the fruit is both a food and a medicine. Schisandra is used for preventing early aging and increasing lifespan; normalizing blood sugar and blood pressure; and stimulating the immune system and speeding recovery after surgery. It is also used to treat hepatitis and protect the liver from poisons. Other uses for schisandra include treatment of high cholesterol, coughs, asthma, sleep problems (insomnia), nerve pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), chronic diarrhea, dysentery, night sweats, spontaneous sweating, thirst, erectile dysfunction (ED), physical exhaustion, excessive urination, depression, irritability, and memory loss. Some people use schisandra for improving vision, protecting against radiation, preventing motion sickness, preventing infection, boosting energy at the cellular level, counteracting the effects of sugar, and improving the health of the adrenal glands (Webmd).

The chemicals in schisandra improve liver function by stimulating enzymes in the liver, thereby promoting liver cell growth.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a plant and the root is medicinal. Rhodiola may be effective in improving athletic performance, shortening recovery time after long workouts, improving sexual function; treating depression; and for heart disorders such as irregular heartbeat and high cholesterol. Rhodiola extracts might help protect cells from damage, regulate heartbeat, and have the potential for improving learning and memory. However, none of these effects have been studied in humans. The root is native to the arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and Alaska and has a long history of use as a medicinal plant. In fact, it is mentioned by the Greek physician Dioscorides as early as the first century AD! (Webmd)

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a plant and both the root and berry are used as medicine. It has a LOT of uses but there is not enough information to tell if it is effective for any of them. Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, and chronic liver disease. Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging. It is also used for fertility problems in men and women and also to increase sexual desire (!). Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling (inflammation), lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system (Webmd).

The name Ashwagandha is Sanskrit and means “horse smell” haha which is pretty accurate but I can’t taste/smell the little bit I put in my smoothies at all!

Tocos

Something else I add to my smoothies are tocos, which is derived from the bran of brown rice. Tocos is a rich source of fat-soluble natural vitamin E which is great for the skin, connective tissue and healthy muscle function. It’s almost white, very fluffy and light and looks like fake snow and makes drinks and oatmeal creamier and really has no taste! I get mine from Sun Potion and it contains: Vitamin A (Beta Carotene), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline, and Inositol. It also contains naturally occuring Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Iodine and other Trace Minerals (Sun Potion).

WOW amazing benefits huh? I want to know why these herbs aren’t more popular! However, it should be noted that not everyone should take any of these herbs if you have medical issues (or clear it with your doctor first of course) and I heard you want to kind of cycle the herbs so you are not taking them ALL the time. I usually do 3-4 weeks taking them and then 3-4 weeks off of them and I mix up which ones I add to my smoothies as well.

My favorite adaptogen smoothie

This taste like a chocolate peanut butter milkshake and you instantly feel good after drinking it!

  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach
  • 1 tablespoon powdered peanut butter (sub regular nut butter if desired!)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 serving sprouted brown rice protein powder (I use Moon Juice Deep Chocolate – Activated Brown Rice Protein* Maca* Cacao* Stevia* Cinnamon*)
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon Moon Juice power dust (Organic Astragalus* Ginseng* Organic Eleuthero* Organic Schisandra* Rhodiola* Organic Stevia*)
  • 1 teaspoon Sun Potion Anandamide (Raw Cacao* Tocos * Mucuna Pruriens* Ashwagandha* Reishi Mushroom* Astragalus** Suma** Moringa* Rose Petals* Cardamom*  Turmeric* Cayenne*Cinnamon* Black Pepper* Himalayan Salt Crystals* Love!*)
  • 2 teaspoons Sun Potion tocos
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen (one of nature’s most completely nourishing foods, it contains nearly all nutrients required by humans)
  • 4-5 ice cubes

                

Since I have started cycling this tonics, I honestly have noticed my mood is better and I have been less stressed and anxious! I think that is all I have noticed so far but I’m sure my body is healthier on the inside too. If you try any of these, I would love to hear how they have effected you!

In other news, I’m really excited today because I just bought my study guide stuff for the NASM personal trainer exam! I can’t wait to start studying (somethign I’ve never said before) and I have already signed up for my exam date- September 30th! I technically have 180 days to study so until the end of October but there were no exam dates available later than the 9/30 so hopefully I’ll be well-prepared by then.

XOXO

Health, Review

Currently crushing on…

January 10, 2017

Cheesy kale chips – I made kale chips in the oven a couple years ago but I kept burning most of them and I got sick of that burnt taste so I hadn’t eaten them since. I was at the Capitol Hill farmer’s market recently and a guy was handing out samples of kale chips with nutritional yeast “cheese” and they were amazing and tasted just like a cheez-it! On my next grocery haul, I grabbed a bag of this brand and they are really tasty. I plan on making them homemade also. The ingredients are: Kale, red bell peppers, cashews, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, sea salt, chia seeds, lemon juice.

Image result for cheesy kale chips radiant foods

Perfect bars – I just got a box of these at Costco and they are quite filling and dense with some pretty interesting healthy ingredients! They do have kind of a lot of sugar though. My favorite flavors are the peanut butter (obvi!) and the cranberry crunch. Costco only has the variety pack with pb, cranberry and almond butter. Downside is that they have dairy and eggs so not great for people with allergies but they have a lot of cool stuff like tomato and dulse – probably like 1/100 of a tsp per bar but still cool! The label below is from the peanut butter one.

Image result for perfect bars

Image result for perfect bar nutrition label

Simple Mills banana muffin mix – I am so in love with Simple Mills, everything they make is incredible! It’s all made with paleo flours (almond and coconut) and grain, dairy and gluten free. I love their pizza dough mix, chocolate cake mix for brownies with my fav Enjoy Life chocolate chips. I just tried this banana muffin mix and it is definitely my current favorite. I added chocolate chips and ate all the muffins in record time!

Image result for simple mills banana

Image result for simple mills banana nutrition label

Pressed Juicery Freezes – Pressed just opened a juicery in downtown Seattle last month (in Westlake mall) and I couldn’t be more excited. I even went to the grand opening and waited in line for a freeze and a juice. A lot of health nuts I follow on Instagram are obsessed with the freezes which are like a healthier soft-serve frozen yogurt but non-dairy and super healthy and I have to agree-they are delicious. I had the chocolate one and I’m not sure what it is made of but it’s all 100% fruit, nuts and veggies. It tasted like a delicious chocolate almond milkshake!

Image result for pressed juicery freeze

 

Now on to non-food items..

Native deodorant – I’ve always felt uncomfortable about the aluminum compounds in generic deodorants as they potentially may be absorbed by your skin and some believe it could cause cancer. Even if it doesn’t cause cancer, it can’t be good to have any chemicals near your sweat ducts. I tried natural deodorants but they never worked and I wasn’t a huge fan of the scents and always went back to my ooh-la-la lavender Secret clear deodorant. My coworker told me about Native deodorant and I decided to give it a go so I ordered the coconut vanilla scented one. I had low expectations but it turned out to work amazingly well and I am hooked for life honestly! I always smell fresh and vanilla-y and just one application is plenty for a day. The only downside is that it’s not clear so I get those darn white marks all over everything but that’s a small price to pay for a great natural deodorant. Native is a San Francisco based company and you can order just one deodorant for $12 or subscribe and get one every month or two months.  The general ingredients are: Caprylic/capric triglyceride ( which is a fancy way of saying fractionated coconut oil ), arrowroot powder, stearyl alcohol, baking soda, shea butter, coconut oil, hydrogenated castor oil, polyglycerol-3 beeswax (which is a fancy way of saying cera bellina wax), jojoba esters, tocopherol (which is a fancy way of saying Vitamin E), L. acidophilus (which is a natural bacteria found in your body already), dextrose, glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate.

Radha Beauty Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser – I read an article about how essential oils can help relive stress and are generally good for you so I got this little diffuser off Amazon for $20 and some lavender essential oil to try it out. I love this little thing. It has a mist function so every few seconds you get a lovely mist of scent and this diffuser can change colors too! It’s really relaxing to start this up for bedtime and I am excited to try some other scents. I also want one for my office so I can de-stress at work too!

 

FreePrints App – this is one of the best (if not the best) apps ever! Basically you download the app on your phone and then within the app you can select photos from your camera roll, cloud, one drive, Facebook, Instagram, etc. and then you choose the size you want and they ship printed photos to you! You get 85 FREE 4×6 prints per year and you can buy whatever other sizes you want (they are cheap too). I know, I know it sounds too good to be true but it’s not! I’ve used it once already and my mom has used it a lot too. It’s so nice to have printouts of Instagram photos for framing or gifts. Oh and the app is free to download too!

 

What are food or other products are you currently crushing on?

Health, Recipes

Top Ten Tips for the Whole30

August 13, 2016

whiteblank

My friend Morgan started the Whole30 this month for the first time and I have been thinking of doing it again so I thought I’d post some things/recipes I found helpful during my first round!

  1. Meal planning – I set aside Sunday afternoons to prep my breakfast and lunch for the week and then I make dinner everyday
  2. Don’t buy foods you lose control around – for me this is dried fruit and dates, I just can’t limit myself if I have things in the cupboard so I realized that and stopped buying them about halfway through
  3. Always have an emergency snack – apple and Rx/larabars work great! Trader Joes sells RX bars now!
  4. Get creative – look up recipes on Pinterest and spend the time/$ learning a new recipe
  5. Pick a month that doesn’t have any very important social engagements or events (i.e. a wedding, special vacation etc.)
  6. Don’t eat a whole Costco-sized bag of dried mango in two days  ( I think you can guess why this is a bad idea)
  7. Eat more than you think you need or you’ll end up snacking a lot! I started making my breakfasts bigger and it really helped stay full until lunch
  8. Make sure to have a fat, protein and veggies (+ optional fruit) at every meal – helps you stay full forever!
  9. Eat protein before a workout and a carb after, this works for me at least, I tried eating fruit or dates before my runs but I crash faster than if I eat two hardboiled eggs pre-workout and a sweet potato post-workout
  10. Read all labels carefully – I got some cashews at Whole Foods and didn’t realize until I bought them that they were roasted in oil not dry roasted, lesson learned!

fruits-and-vegetables-BANNER-e1442447554981-600x148

My Top Favorite Whole30 Meals/Foods as a Pescatarian

  1. Eggs with salsas, sauerkraut and avocado
  2. Cauliflower fried rice – tastes indulgent but you can eat like 5 cups because it’s so healthy and low-cal!
  3. Shrimp zucchini patties
  4. Baked cod with pesto and sweet potato fries
  5. Scallops with any vegetable
  6. Sweet potato kale muffins
  7. Tuna with homemade mayo in lettuce wraps
  8. Deviled eggs with homemade mayo
  9. Sweet potato roasted with guacamole
  10. Comfort food: hashbrowns (sweet potato or white potato) with scrambled eggs and avocado
  11. Zucchini fritters
  12. Apple with TJ’s crunchy almond butter
  13. RX blueberry bars – only flavor I’ve had but I’m sure the others are great too!
  14. Mangos
  15. TJ’s sliced jicama
  16. Cashews
  17. Pistachios
  18. Pesto on spaghetti squash or zoodles
  19. Brussel sprout chips – more amazing than they sound
  20. Plantain chips
  21. Dates and almond butter
  22. Dried fruit

whole30header1

Health, Recipes

How to Make Buckinis

July 31, 2016

Buckwheat is a plant with grain-like seeds. Despite it’s name, it is not related to wheat at all and is in the sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb family.  This gluten-free plant is called a pseudocereal because the seeds are eaten and it is a complex carb. Russia, China, Ukraine and the United States are currently the top growers/producers of buckwheat.

Japanese_Buckwheat_Flower

So why should you eat buckwheat? Because these seeds are packed with nutritional benefits! They are low on the glycemic index scale, high in protein and high in nutrients like magnesium. Many studies have also shown that consuming buckwheat lowers the risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat also keep you very full and also have shown to control blood sugar and help prevent gallstones.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 1.55.27 PM

Buckwheat is either hulled or unhulled. Hulled means that the tough outer shell has been removed and unhulled means that it has not been removed.

Buckwheat groats (hulled buckwheat) can either be raw, toasted or sprouted. Roasted groats are known as “kasha” and are very popular in Russia/Eastern Europe. They are plump, tender and nutty. Unroasted groats have more flavor and can be easily sprouted or used raw to make a sort of grits cereal.

Buckinis are the sprouted/activated groats (not to be confused with bikinis :)) I have heard this term used by Australians and Europeans only so maybe this is a foreign word to Americans but I like how it sounds. Sprouting is the stage between a seed and a plant. Sprouting literally opens up the seed which allows you to absorb more nutrients out of it, therefore making the nutrients more bioavailable. My favorite phrase I’ve heard to describe the sprouting process is “it’s like a mini treasure chest, you just have to open it up.” Sprouting also aids in digestibility because it helps breakdown some of the complex carbs for you.

buckwheat-forms

Here’s a quick summary of the different terms:

Hulled – Tough outer shell has been removed

Groats – Hulled or crushed grain

Buckinis – Sprouted buckwheat groats

Sprouting – The process of soaking, draining and rinsing seeds, legumes and grains until they germinate or sprout

Here’s a closer look at unhulled buckwheat seeds. Not too tasty looking huh? Unhulled buckwheat can be used to grind into flour. It produces a grayish flour with dark specks (from the shells) and will be stronger in taste than hulled buckwheat flour. Sounds delightful :0. I have yet to try uhulled buckwheat flour.

Unhulled_Buckwheat_Grain

Recently, I got some raw buckwheat groats and decided to give sprouting a try and it worked out great!

What you’ll need:

~1 cup dry, raw buckwheat groats (I did a large batch so it will look like less than less)

~ 1 medium/large fine mesh strainer

~ 1 medium/large mixing bowl

~A fine cheesecloth

DSC_0318

Here are my pre-sprouted groats:

buckwheat

Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of the process but it’s pretty easy to describe and follow.

Step 1: Rinse your groats in the mesh strainer for about a minute before soaking.

Step 2: Put the groats in the medium/large mixing bowl with about 3 cups of water and soak for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Put the seeds back into the mesh strainer and rinse very well under cool water (60-70 degrees) until the gooey starch water is all off.

Step 4: Leave the seeds in the mesh strainer for the sprouting process, I just put the strainer in a large bowl to catch the water drips. Set this out of direct sunlight and 70 degree room temp is best. Then cover the sprouts with a breathable cheesecloth. They like air circulation so don’t suffocate them with too many layers of the cloth.

Step 5: For the next two days, twice a day, rinse and drain the buckwheat. I do it at breakfast time and at dinner time.

Step 6: After the four rinse and drain sessions over two days, you should see little tails have formed on the buckwheat groats. This means it’s time to stop the sprouting process, if you keep sprouting the seeds will get bitter. After the final rinse and drain session, drain them very well and lay them on paper towels to dry.

Step 7: Once your sprouts are dry you can store them in the fridge and sprinkle them on salads, smoothies, etc.!

Step 8: If you have a dehydrator, you can dry them at 115 degrees for 4-6 hours or until dry and then store them in an airtight container for granola, yogurt or porridges.

Here are my dehydrated and sprouted buckinis:

sprouted 2

I put them in a mason jar and add them to smoothies, oatmeal and homemade granola for an extra crunch! I have also seen recipes that caramelize them for a sweet topping.

buckinis last

What do you think about buckwheat seeds? Will you try them?

Health

Whole30: Day 30!!

April 20, 2016

I did it! 30 days of healthy food. I can’t believe I lasted this long without my daily oatmeal and without baking any cookies. This experience felt like it flew by so fast but it also feels like it has been a long time since I had a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie 🙂 Reintroduction of non-gluten grains starts tomorrow and I’ll be doing a whole reintroduction post so look for that! I’m still going to be eating my delicious savory breakfasts, now I have grown to love them!

dinner whole30

PROS:

  • If someone offered me a cookie right now, I could say no easily. Not sure exactly how but the Whole30 has made my cravings for desserts decrease a lot, in fact, cravings for all non-Whole30 foods like oatmeal and pasta are pretty minimal. I did smell my favorite pizza place that is next door to my apartment wafting down the street on my way home yesterday and it did make me hungry. And maybe after I start eating more food groups, I’ll go back to my need-dessert-daily mindset, who knows!
  • Skin is clearer and less groggy in general
  • Whole30 meals never leave you feeling super weighed down like if I were to eat a bunch of pasta
  • Discovered some new ways to cook veggies and some new meal favorites!
  • Taste buds are “cleansed” and I am more sensitive to added sugar tastes
  • My runs have been going really well, not sure if this has anything to do with it but it might!
  • Overall a great experiment for your body and mind!

CONS:

  • Super hard to go out to eat/be social obviously and a bit awkward to explain to people who don’t understand it
  • Super hard to get over not relying on fruit for ‘dessert’
  • I actually gained a couple pounds…too much fruit? I didn’t eat many nuts and ate normal portions otherwise so it must be the fruit. There are lots of carbs in mangoes and I ate a ton of those over the 30 days. I ate more regularly though and probably all together more food than before or at least higher calorie foods.
  • Expensive, food prepping and grocery shopping constantly! I can’t imagine doing this with a family, just by myself it was a lot and I’m even a pescatarian!
  • No fun for foodies who love trying new foods and baking

Even with all the cons, I definitely recommend doing this at least once in your life, just to reset your system for a bit and maybe learn something new about yourself.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?

Yes, for sure! In fact, I’ll probably continue to eat Whole30-ish after my reintroduction, adding the foods my body seems to handle well (and the smoked salmon in my fridge that has been waiting for me for weeks because it has brown sugar in the seasoning!) I mean, everyone should be eating veggies at every meal and eating healthy like 90% of the time. Of course I am going to bake and eat cookies but probably less often than before and I’ll really think about whether a sugary treat is truly worth it before diving in next time. I sometimes forget that nature has already provided us with candy, in the form of fruits and dates (or my homemade dehydrated bananas below)!

dried banana snack

If you are interested in doing the Whole30 Program, here are some resources I found useful:

Whole30.com – the official website, tons of info, shopping lists and a forum for questions

MelJoulwan.com – great recipes

It Starts with Food – book by the Whole30 creators, a good read!

I found most of my recipes on Pinterest or blogs. Be sure to check out my other Whole30 posts!

Health, Life

Whole30: Day Twenty

April 10, 2016

It’s already time for my day twenty update on the Whole30! It came around so fast, I can’t believe I’m almost done with this program. If you are a newcomer, get caught up on my initial Whole30 post as well as my day five update and day ten update.

How I feel right now:

Good! I feel pretty healthy. The only bother I have right now is remnants of a cold that I got last week. I ran 9 miles yesterday and it felt pretty good so my running doesn’t seem to be suffering. I have been sleeping good as well.

What I’ve been eating:

A ton of eggs, veggies and fruit. I also tried making my own mayo and it turned out perfect (shout-out to my vita-mix), it became so fluffy that my blender stopped being able to blend! I followed the instructions on this recipe. Be sure to read all the tips like using light olive oil (not EVO). This came together in about 2 minutes and is super easy to make!

IMG_4327

I mixed the homemade mayo with chives and lemon juice and put it on some cod o bake with sweet potatoes.

IMG_4322

I also used the mayo to make deviled eggs for one lunch, so amazing! On the side we have a roasted sweet potato with guacamole.

IMG_4326

My current favorite kombucha flavor is this superfruit one. It has yummy black currant juice.

IMG_4323

My favorite weekend breakfast consists of homemade hashbrowns (throw some potatoes in the vita-mix to shred and then pan fry with olive oil) with scrambled eggs, TJ’s salsa verde (the best!!), TJ’s regular red salsa, sauerkraut and half an avocado. Mix everything together and enjoy the most flavorful, filling breakfast ever! I like to have a side of fruit as well, my oranges have been gross and dry lately so I have moved on to strawberries and bananas.

IMG_4386

Another use of the homemade mayo: tuna salad with green onions, avocado and kale salad. I LOVE tuna but I try to only eat it once a week maximum because of the mercury content.

IMG_4389

A new favorite snack: jicama! Well, not really new actually, I used to eat jicama all the time when I was little but I forgot about it for twenty years or so haha. I love jicama because it is almost like a fruit to me, it’s kind of sweet, crunchy and mostly water but it’s a vegetable so I can eat as much as I want! It’s basically like a less-sweet watermelon. Yesterday I went to Whole Foods to get some fruit and veg and I asked if they had jicama and the produce guy said “wait a second, I’ll go look in the back”. He came back out with this enormous root (jicama is a root) the size of my whole head! I was a little shocked because I have never seen jicama in its natural form so I asked how much it was since it felt like it weighed ten pounds and he said $1.99 a pound which would make it around $20! We both laughed at the crazy thought that I would spend $20 on one vegetable and I asked him to take it back to the “back”. Sorry jicama root, one day I’ll be able to buy you but for now I’ll be sticking to TJ’s $2.99 snack box.

IMG_4392

Improvements?:

Still eating an ungodly amount of fruit…I could try to control it more I think but  fruit isn’t bad for you and I love it so I’m going to keep eating it. I finally decided to stop buying dates for a little bit because I was eating a lot of them with almond butter and it’s supposed to be an occasional snack not an every single night snack so if I don’t buy them I won’t be tempted.

In other news, I went to the tulip festival with my dad last weekend, so beautiful! It was cloudy but still amazing to see. If you are in the Skagit Valley area of Washington sometime in late March/April you should check it out for sure!

IMG_4342 IMG_4340 IMG_4336

IMG_4366

I’ll see you in 10 days for my final Whole30 update!

XOXO

Health, Life

Whole30: Day Five

March 25, 2016

If you didn’t see my first post, I am doing the Whole30 this month. Today is day five and I have to say, it’s not as hard as I though it would be (so far!) but I haven’t had any social outings that involve restaurants yet or any work functions with food. I have just been eating at home and bringing lunches so that has been relatively easy so far.

How I feel right now

Good. However my workouts haven’t been totally on par. I was supposed to run 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday (treadmill). Tuesday was tough but I pulled through and did all five. Yesterday was awful though and I felt pretty weak and only did 4. My body is probably still adjusting, even though I’ve been eating lots of carbs so I’ll give it another week of training before I come to any conclusions.

Other than the workouts, I feel pretty good! A little more awake in the morning and less brain fog I think. Also I have been falling asleep faster than usual. I have been eating a lot of fruit (along with my meals as required!) so I have felt a little bloaty from all the fiber I think. On another note, my skin has been a little softer and better than usual with no new blemishes! Interesting…

What I’ve been eating

This week my menu was: Kale and olive egg frittata muffins and strawberries for breakfast (I did have a banana also some days…); Trader Joes kale and cabbage salad mix (no dressing, forgot it everyday!) with avocado and coconut shrimp patties and pineapple for lunch and salmon with broccoli and a roasted sweet potato with some salsa and guac for dinner with a whole mango afterwards (obsessed with mangos right now). Before my runs and workouts I either had some pistachios, an apple with a little almond butter or two dates with almond butter -> these are amazing! You can see the recipes I used in my first post!

IMG_4251 IMG_4252

Improvements?

I ate a bit too much fruit I think and today I had a snack at 11am of just pistachios instead of the suggested “mini-meal” which should have a protein, veg and a fat. Oops! I just love fruit so much but I don’t want fruit to replace veggies so I’ll add more veggies next week.

Today I am going to my grandparents house for the Easter weekend. I let them know about my program and they were very supportive. Rumor has it we’ll be having scallops and coleslaw. Yum! Also for lunch today I ran out of coconut shrimp patties so I’ll be having a delicious kale salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, walnuts and a few raisins with half an avocado mixed with a can of tuna. Now I have to run to the grocery store to get my tuna! Once I have my meal plan for next week I’ll post another update.

Eating, Health, Life

I’m doing the Whole30!

March 22, 2016

I decided I need to do something new and refreshing and instead of quitting my job and moving to Thailand…I am experimenting with my diet for 30 days! (doesn’t sound as fun as Thailand huh?). Today is DAY ONE of the Whole30 program. I had read about the Whole30 before but originally nixed the idea because I thought you had to be an omnivore to do it. However, upon further reading, they have programs for vegans/vegetarians as well and since I am a pescatarian I can balance between the two perfectly. For those of you that have never heard of the Whole30, below is the omnivore shopping list which shows exactly what you should eat. The big no-no’s are no added sugar, dairy, alcohol, grains, legumes, carrageenan/MSG/Sulfites, and no re-creating baked goods or treats with approved ingredients so you can continue your junk foods ways in a way.

The vegan/vegetarian one allows some tofu and tempeh. Since tempeh is fermented and more easily digested than tofu or soy products in general, I will be allowing it.

Capture

As you can see, as a pescatarian, I will be eating a lot of eggs, seafood and veggies with a side of nuts and fruit. Honestly it’s pretty similar to my normal diet except the added sugars (I love peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!) and grains (my daily oatmeal..kinda awkward since it’s the name of my blog lol!). Anyways, I’m pretty excited because I have never cut out anything for 30 days and I am looking forward to some of the good results the program is known for like more energy, better sleeping, less mood swings, etc. One thing I want to be clear on, this is not a diety diet! Meaning it’s not to lose weight or anything. You are not supposed to weigh yourself and eat as much as you like to be full during the 30 days. I am not doing this to lose weight but I do hope that I feel less bloated which happens after I eat certain foods like PB, dairy and legumes.

Mostly, the reason I’m doing this is because I have been feeling really sluggish and kind of run-down lately. Since I started running more and going to the gym 6 days a week, I eat a lot more of course but I have been picking sugary foods instead of real food and now I’m feeling the results. I’m really good at following schedules generally (out of the fear of failing!) so I think I will stick to this very well and thus feel really good and healthy in 30 days.

Here are my day one meals:

Breakfast

Strawberries and veggie egg frittata muffins, based on this recipe.

day 1 bfastbreakfasts!

Lunch

Coconut shrimp patties with avocado and kale salad mix and pineapple

day 1 lunch

shrimp coconut patties

Dinner

Salmon patty with steamed broccoli

dinner day 1

Snacks

A delicious mango plus un-pictured pistachios and a la croix water

mangos!

 What do you think about the Whole30? Would you try it?

Health

Spotlight: Amaranth (amaranthus)

March 7, 2016

amaranth-fb

I’ve decided to do ‘spotlights’ on various whole foods reviewing their health benefits and uses. I think I’ll learn a lot by doing this and hopefully you will too!

Amaranth was domesticated over five thousand years ago in Mexico and was a sacred food for the Aztecs until the Spainards came and forbade its cultivation (the same fate as the Inca’s beloved quinoa). Fast forward to today, the United Nation Food and Agricultural organization has encouraged the use of amaranth because wherever it is consumed there is little to no malnutrition. Within the amaranth family, there are more than 60 different species, mostly wild, on five of the seven continents in the world. It’s considered one of the world’s most successful weeds (a pretty weed!).

Amaranth has an earthy, nutty flavor. It is also naturally gluten free and really isn’t a grain even though it looks like it. Therefore it is known as a “pseudocereal”.  It is often grouped into the grains category because it has a similar overall nutritional profile.

70026.adapt.768.1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One cup of amaranth, cooked, has 252 calories, 3.9g fat, 46g carbs, 5g fiber, 9g protein. It also has 28% of your daily value of iron and 40% of your needed magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps you to maintain good blood pressure, strong bones and a steady heart rhythm. People who don’t get enough magnesium (which is common in the U.S.), have higher levels of inflammation in their bodies, which is never good. Besides being high in protein, fiber and minerals, it is also a good source of the amino acid lysine which is an essential amino acid, meaning the body cannot synthesize it so we have to get it from our diet. L-“Lysine plays a major role in calcium absorption; building muscle protein; recovering from surgery or sports injuries; and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies” (Wikipedia).

There are also rumors of it being cancer-preventing and helpful against cardiovascular disease.

Amaranth recipes:

These curried amaranth patties from Tartine and Apron Strings look divine

Epicurious has the right idea with this walnut honey breakfast porridge

Have some fun and pop it!

 

 

Health

What I learned from oil-pulling for a week

July 31, 2015

There has been quite a bit of chatter recently (around me at least!) about the potential benefits of oil-pulling, so I thought I’d give it a shot! Oil-pulling is not a new idea. I’ve been hearing about it since I was a little kid but I thought it was just swallowing oil and that disgusted me so I never tried it.

How to oil-pull: Even though it’s called oil “pulling” there is no “pulling” involved! It just basically swishing oil around in your mouth like mouthwash for as long as you can stand it before you wanna puke (you’re supposed to do about 10 minutes). And this doesn’t have to turn into some sort of jaw-Olympics, just gentle swishing so you don’t get tired. I read that about a tablespoon of oil is a good amount. Also, spit it in the trash when you’re done not the sink because it’ll solidify and clog drains!

Here are some of the touted benefits:

                       -Prevents/cures tooth decay                             -detoxes the body                                       -heals bleeding gums

                       -helps  prevent gingivitis                                     -aids hormonal changes                          -prevents heart disease

                       -helps prevent plaque build-up                         -reduces headaches                                   -reduces inflammation in the body

                      -whitens teeth                                                            -keeps skin clear                                         -boosts immune system

                      -increases energy                                                     -improves general oral hygiene            -strengthens gums and jaw

So I tried it for a week and this is what happened.

Day 1: I decided to use coconut oil because I felt like it would taste the best. I get my coconut oil from Amazon. My oil was room temperature but halfway between solid and liquid so I plunged my tablespoon into the jar and came up with about half a tablespoon, which was plenty to start for me. I swished it around in my mouth to make it all liquid because the chunky texture made me want to hurl. At this point it’s warm, thick and slightly coco-nutty which makes it sounds more pleasant than it was. Because it wasn’t pleasant. I made it about 4 minutes before I had to gracefully spit it into the garbage. No benefits occurred.

Day 2: It was hot today so my coconut oil was totally liquid, which made it a lot easier to handle! Made it about 10 minutes, mostly thanks to the fact that I was mesmerized by The Bachelorette while I swished. Not feeling or seeing any benefits.

Day 5: I’m skipping ahead a few days because from day 2 continued until day 5! Now it’s getting easier and easier to swish and I am noticing my teeth look a little whiter for sure but nothing else.

Day 7: Teeth look whiter and cleaner. I haven’t notice any other results yet but my teeth do feel good and my skin has been looking  good lately. However, it probably hasn’t been long enough for the benefits to develop so I shall continue swishing and give y’all an update in a  couple weeks!

In the meantime, you should give it a try. Just don’t forget to spit it out in the trash instead of the sink, I don’t want all your drains to get clogged. Let me know your record swishing time too, more than 10 minutes is Olympic-swisher status!

xoxo