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Fall = PUMPKIN!!!

(I totally wish that was my street… but alas, google images comes to the rescue since I keep forgetting to bring my camera with me when I go out)

But ohhh how I love fall!! The cool crisp air, the beautiful colors of the trees, the crunching sound of leaves beneath your feet and the amazing smells of all of that combined and……. of course the A-MA-ZING smells of squash and pies!!!

 

   There is nothing better then curling up on the couch with your fuzzy slippers (or knit moccasin booties like I wear) with the blanket wrapped around you and nice warm cup of tea, hot chocolate or apple cider and warm slice of apple pie… or wait no… pumpkin bread… or wait… no maybe pumpkin cookies?? pumpkin muffins?? AHHH!!!! so many amazing things I can’t decide!!!

   But before I delve into all that, as I still have the rest of october to decide on what I want to make, I’ll start myself off with a nice power pumpkin smoothie!! Now mind you I don’t have the best camera, I’m workin on a cheap budget these days so the photos plus my awful apartment lighting dont do these yummy concoctions any justice! 

   Oh how I love pumpkin, not to mention all of the amazing benefits that pumpkin brings with it!

It’s high in the following:

  – Fiber

 – Vitamin C & E

 – Potassium (for those runners out there HOLLAH!!)

– Magnesium

 – Zinc

   So the other day I had gotten a couple cans of pureed pumpkin, merely because I wanted to make something with pumpkin but didnt quite have it in me to disect a whole pumpkin, bake it etc..  Anyway, so I’m standing my closet sized kitchen (I’m not kidding, literally only one person can fit in there at a time, which makes dinner time when both my roommate and I are home a bit of a circus. )   Anywho, so I wanted to get re-energized to go for a run in the brisk fall air and I decided why not make a scrumptious pumpkin smoothie!! I had just recently seen Angela’s Pumpkin Pie Monster over on Oh She Glows (LOVE HER!!) and I decided to tweak it a lil.

  Pumpkin Power Smoothie

1 cup Almond Milk

1/2 cup Canned Pumpkin

1 tsp Blackstrap Molasses

1 scoop Amazing Grass Vanilla Chai

1 frozen Banana

  *Blend ingredients together until a nice smoothie like texture appears

 mmmmm so yummy!   It’s sweet and delicious and completely good for you as it’s packed with amazing nutrients.  Did you know that molasses (my new best friend) has amazing health benefits?! I had no idea until quite recently.  

Health benefits of Blackstrap Molasses

 – Iron for increasing energy

– Excellent source of calcium

– It has copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium

  For more awesome info on all the benefits check out this site

  There are so many exciting recipe ideas I have brewing in my head that I want to experiment with… perhaps this weekend! The green festival is coming up on saturday so maybe I’ll draw inspiration from there too! maybe even get a few job offers! (crossing fingers and toes!!!!!!!!)

   Thats all for today! 

 

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Eating Vegan Part II – Health Benefits

The health benefits that come with eating a vegan diet are phenomenal. Research has shown that making the transition to eating a plant based diet significantly reduces your risk of heart disease, reverses diabetes, lowers cholesterol levels, and in general, improves your overall health. 

Health Benefits:

  • Reduces Cholesterol
    Reverses diabetes
    Gives you a nice glow
    Clears complexion
    Reduced risk of heart disease
    Reduced risk of various diseases, such as osteoporosis, dementia, diverticulitis,
    and rheumatoid arthritis
    Increased energy
    Reduces stress
    Aides in weight loss
    Lessens food cravings
    Raises your bodies ability to absorb nutrient and proteins
    Stronger immune system
    Longer life expectancy
    Turns the aging clock backwards!


If you are game for a food experiment you should try this two day experiment:

Day 1: Eat only whole foods – meaning lots of fruits and vegetables that are in their purest form, not processed, as well as whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice.  Throughout the day really focus on how your body is feeling.  Write down in a journal everything  that you notice, for example, how is your energy level? how are you feeling about yourself? how is your confidence level? and most importantly, notice how long it takes you to eat your meals, and how long it takes until you feel full.  Then ask yourself; what types of food choices do I feel like making? Good ones or bad ones? Am I still hungry after a meal?

Day 2: This should be fairly fun, eat mostly processed foods.  Try to make good decisions, but for the sake of the experiment eat highly processed foods like chips, cookies, pasta, etc.  Throughout this experiment you will ask yourself the same types of questions as the previous day.  Take notice of your energy levels, how long it takes you to eat your meals, and notice how your feeling after your meals.  Are you still hungry? Do you feel like working out? Are you energized or sleepy?

The purpose for this experiment is to show you the difference between how processed foods and whole foods digest in your body. You will most likely realize and notice that when you eat foods that are highly processed they break down really quickly, because all of their nutrients have been stripped out of the food and instead you have sugars and fats, which break down really fast.  In turn, what ends up happening is a sort of downhill domino effect.  You, the consumer, end up eating faster because the food breaks down in your mouth much quicker, which leads to you eating more since your body has not had time to register that it is full.   Therefore, in the long run, you end up both gaining weight and spending much more on food.

Have you ever questioned how its possible to chew as many times as dietions recommend you chew your food for? For example when eating pasta or other processed foods, you may notice that it does not take very long to chew before it is ready to be swallowed.  But alternatively, when you eat more whole foods, like kale or ancient grains (such as kamut, quinoa or wheatberries) you chew your food for much longer before it is broken down enough to swallow.  This is all just a little food for thought (pun totally intended) and meant for you to slow down!  Take time to enjoy your experience of eating, and to take pleasure in eating nutritious foods which fuel your body to give you the energy you need to live a healthy life.

   Please do share if you decide to take on the two day eating experiment and detail what your experience was and what all you noticed.

Eating Vegan – Why so many Celebs are making the jump

The word “Vegan” or “Vegan Diet” has been a lot more prominant in the news lately. This is due to more celebrities deciding to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle due to its many health benefits. When I refer to eating a vegan “diet” I put the word diet in quotations because it is not a diet like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or South Beach. Becoming a vegan is a lifestyle change. You do not become a vegan for only a short period time just to lose weight. It a complete shift in how you view your health and wellbeing. Some people also go all the way vegan, meaning they do not wear any type of clothing that is made from animals, such as leather, and do not buy any body products such as make up or lotions etc… that have been made from animal parts or tested on animals. However, for the purpose of this article, I am only discussing its health benefits from food choices.


Eating a vegan diet means that you obstain from all animal products such as: meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. When most people hear this they often are shocked and the next question is always “well then what do you eat?!” This is not a shocking response as most of us often get confined to our comfortable little bubble of what we usually eat. We all have our routines in the grocery store of particular staples that we stock our kitchen with. But for me personally, when I turned vegan it opened me up to a whole other world of interesting vegetables that I’d never realized packed so many nutrients! The same went with other kinds of grains that had protein as well as nuts and beans.

It is of no surprise then, with all of the many health benefits that eating a vegan diet brings that both President Bill Clinton and comedian Robin Williams, who have both had heart problems, have become vegan to better their health. President Clinton reported in an interview that he could feel himself healing from eating a plant based diet.

  • Other celebrities that have made the jump to being vegan are:
    Alicia Silverstone
    Ellen and Portia Degeneres
    Mike Tyson
    Chelsea Clinton
    Lea Michele
    John Salley – NBA athlete
    Hugh Jackman – is currently making the transition
    Anthony Kiedis – from Red Hot Chili Peppers                
    Bob Harper – trainer from Biggest Loser
    Andre 3000
    Sandra Oh
    Casey Affleck

It seems that every day there are more and more vegan products coming out that make being vegan much easier for those days when you are either too busy or too tired to cook.  But it should also be stated that being vegan also makes you a much more adventerous cook and makes cooking (and food) in general much more exciting.


If you are interested in giving veganism a try be sure to check out Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which is a great website for all kinds of health information regarding vegan/vegetarian lifestyles.  They also have a 21 Day Kickstart which helps those interested in making the switch, see that it really is not as hard as they may think.

    Stay tuned for Part II of Eating Vegan