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A classy sign off…and a few helpful hints!

Kudos to my sister.

Thanks to her eagle eye, she caught a typo in my last blog. Oh, the horror! If you’ve noticed, when I sign off on each blog post, I sign off with “Veg in, don’t veg out.” Yes, I realize it’s not as awesome as Jerry Springer’s sign off  “Take care of yourselves, and each other,” or Walter Kronkite’s signature, “And that’s the way it is.” But mine is mine and here’s what it means:

Veg in. Getting more veggies into your diet is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. Veggies are full of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Looking for some sneaky ways to get those veggies in?

1. Add veggies to your pasta dishes. In a pinch for a quick dinner? Make your pasta, open a jar of spaghetti sauce and add some peas, sauteed zucchini, broccoli, etc.

2. Add avocado to your smoothies. TRUST ME! If you mix it with sweeter add-ins such as bananas and cacao powder, you won’t taste the avocado, and it will give your smoothies a really creamy, interesting texture

3. Use your veggies as a vehicle to get to the dip. No, not commercial, fat-laden ranch dressing; try cutting up some cucumbers, or open up a bag of baby carrots and dip them in delicious hummus.

4. Pair your veggies with something sweeter. Slather a healthy nut butter onto celery. Want a fun treat for the kids? Add some raisins on top. I call it, “ants on a log.”

5. Like eggs for breakfast? Jazz them up with veggies! Make an omelet and toss in your veggie favorites, or, make this healthier version of eggs Benedict

Asparagus Benedict

1 bunch of asparagus

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 TBSP mayonnaise or veganaise

1 tsp champagne vinegar

1 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp lemon juice

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until tender.

For the sauce, combine mustard, mayonnaise or veganaise, vinegar, and mustard powder in a bowl.

Cook two eggs over easy (or, anyway you like them).

Plate your asparagus, top with eggs, drizzle on the sauce, and there’s your breakfast! It’s like a five star hotel brunch in your own kitchen!

Now let’s talk about vegging out. When you think of vegging out, you probably think of lying around on the couch watching TV (Sharknado, perhaps?) And to be sure, rest is important for your body, but too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Make sure that you get plenty of exercise. Find something that you like to do, and don’t be afraid to shake up your routine to avoid boredom. I am a marathon runner, a martial artist, and I’ve dabbled in yoga and Pilates. We all know that exercise improves your health and helps manage your weight, but exercise also helps combat stress and is good for your mind. Here are a few easy tips to help you keep up with your exercising:

1. Schedule your exercise like you schedule all your other appointments; you must make time for yourself.

2. Keep a set of exercise clothes in your car so you can run to the gym or the park when you have some unexpected downtime.

3. Enlist the help of friends. It’s a lot harder to bag your morning run when you know your friend is out there waiting for you at 5 am.

Well, that’s all for today. Time to sign off with my signature (and this time) correct sign off.

Stay well my friends, and veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

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You’ve Been Struck by a Smoothie Criminal

It’s hot! I mean, HOT! Awful hot! Dangerously hot! It’s so hot I saw a black cat asking for sunscreen! Okay, so you get the picture. It’s also so hot that making anything that requires turning on the oven or stove top is out of the question. So I thought this was a good time to bring out some of my favorite smoothie and juice recipes.

Smoothies and juices are a great way to get tons of nutrients quickly. They are nice and cold on a hot day, and require no cooking. They also usually don’t require a lot of prep, which means less time in the kitchen and more time sipping and swinging on the front porch, or in my case, sipping and sitting in the air conditioning.  

Smoothies are also great for those of you who tell me, “I can’t stomach eating breakfast in the morning!” Smoothies and juices go down easy, there’s no chewing, and it’s easier on your digestion, so if you have trouble stomaching a solid breakfast in the morning, please give a liquid shot of nutrients a try. The other nice thing about smoothies and juices is that you can adapt them to your own tastes. Like strawberries instead of blueberries? Substitute them! Like a smoothie that’s a little on the thicker side, reduce your liquid. Really, you can adapt these to be just the way you like them. So screw that Burger King, this is REALLY how you have food your way!!!

So, stay cool. Please remember to check on your loved ones, and for the love of God, please look after your pets! Don’t leave anything, not even a house plant, in the car, and if you feel sick from the heat, please seek help.

Enjoy the recipes below. If you end up making any, and especially if you “tweak” any of them to suit your own tastes, please comment below and tell me all about it.

Stay cool, and don’t veg in, veg out!

Pineapple Protein Power Packer

1/4 small pineapple cored

1 apple

1/2 banana

2 cup yogurt

1 scoop protein powder

Ice

You can add water or a splash of coconut milk (or milk of your choice) if you prefer a thinner smoothie

Put everything in the blender, blend, and enjoy!

Healthy Chunky Monkey Smoothie

1 banana (freeze banana ahead of time for extra thickness, a great way to use up those really soft bananas)

1 TBSP Cacao powder (notice it does not say cocoa powder. Don’t buy that Nestle-type crap in the grocery store. Invest in real cacao powder, you can find it in the health food store, and it’s actually good for you!)

1 TBSP ground flaxseed

1 tsp honey

1 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice)

If you didn’t use a frozen banana, go ahead and throw some ice in there too!

Blend in the blender and enjoy!

Orange You Glad You Made This Smoothie

1 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice)

1 orange

Zest of 1 orange

Scoop of protein powder

1 tsp of honey

dash of cinnamon

Ice

Blend in blender and enjoy

Karen’s Strawberry Limeade

1/2 bag frozen strawberries (about 5 ounces)

2 big handfulls of kale

1 apple

Juice of 1 lime

Run ingredients through a juicer. Don’t have a juicer, do it all in the blender and strain into a glass. Add ice and enjoy!

Orange Cinnamon Lassi

Lassi, an Indian yogurt-based drink is refreshing and satisfying on a hot day, or, when paired with a hot and spicy dish.

2 C plain yogurt

2 TBSP honey

1 Scoop of protein powder

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1 large orange

Ice

Blend everything in the blender, blend, pour into a glass and sprinkle some extra cinnamon on top for show. Enjoy!

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Long Live the Twinkie

No, seriously, long live the Twinkie, it’s probably going to be around long after you and I are gone!

People are always asking me for quick tips or “rules of thumb” for eating healthy, so I’m happy to share with you one of my favorites.

If a food can go bad, then it’s good for you. Think about that for a minute. If a food can go bad, then it’s good for you.

Tape that to your refrigerator, put it on a post-it-note to keep in your wallet, write it at the top of your shopping list each week!

If a food has a long shelf life then it’s likely to shorten yours! Why? Because it’s NOT FOOD! It’s chemicals.

Here’s one of the biggest issues I see, people have stopped eating real food and are eating chemicals instead. People are more particular nowadays about the type of gas they put in their cars then they are about what they put in their bodies. Does anybody else see anything wrong with that?

There was so much going on in the news this week; shootings and killings in cities across America, protests continuing on gay marriage, uprising in Egypt. The verdict came in on the Trayvon Martin case and people are still reeling over it. Glee star Cory Monteith died at the very, very, too-young age of 31.

But what’s been all over the news? The return of the Twinkie! The media is hyping this up like crazy! People are rushing out to stand in line at Wal-Mart like it’s the release of the new XBox. We’re one step away from women fainting in the aisles as if Oprah were giving them away. Could you imagine? “You get a Twinkie,  and you get a Twinkie, and YOU get a Twinkie!”

So here’s a challenge for you. It’s an easy one, I promise. Before you eat ANYTHING this week, pause for a moment and ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. What exactly am I eating?

2. Where did it come from?

3. Why am I eating it?

4. How will this make me feel?

1. You need to know what you’re putting in your body. And please don’t say, “I do know, it’s a Twinkie!” I get that, but what exactly IS that Twinkie made of? What’s in it? If it has a list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce you should probably back away from it!

2. Where did it come from? Did a farmer  harvest this from a lovely field or did some dude in a chemical suit push it through a conveyor belt?

3. Why am I eating it? Are you eating for entertainment? Are you bored? Are you fueling up for a Yoga class or a long run? Am I craving salt, sugar, fat?

4. How am I going to feel after I eat this? Will I feel satiated? Will I feel guilty? Is my stomach going to rumble all night? Is it going to give me gas?

Once you start to understand what and why you eat, you’ll start to see the benefits of eating real, whole foods that make your body feel fantastic. As one of my wise friends once said , “People don’t know what it feels like to feel good.” And it’s so true, because once you know what it feels like to feel good, trust me, you’ll never want to go back to eating crap!

So, long live the Twinkie, but for those who choose to eat them, short live you!

Veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

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What the heck is your blog about?

Welcome! 

I know it was the title of this blog that made you stop and want to read it; and that’s a good thing! I took a short course on blogging and the first thing they suggested was to have a catchy title. So now that you’re here, I’m sure you have two big questions:

1) Why this title?

2) What the heck am I going to find on here?

Excellent questions my friends, so here it is…

I went to school to be a pastry chef; a far cry from where I am now, studying to becoming a Health Coach, and trying to help people live a healthier life. Even though my primary focus was on the pastry arts, I still had to know how to cook a variety of other foods. In one class, the seafood class, we boiled live lobsters. Now, some folks will tell you that lobsters don’t actually scream when you boil them, but I know what I heard, and I’ll leave it at that.

In the years to follow, I dabbled in the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. I’d eat meat every now and then, but would always think about my food and where it came from, and I’d always think about the lobsters. I recall once going to a Red Lobster and walking past the lobster tank. It occured to me what it would be like to go to the tank and pick out my lobster, knowing that I was basically sending him off to be executed. I thought about the other lobsters in the tank saying, “Yeah, there goes Uncle Louie, it’s a shame he had to go, but he had a good run.”

Today, I live a vegetarian almost vegan lifestyle, and I love it.

So what will you find here? You’ll find tons of great vegetarian and vegan recipes, lots of pratical tips to get healthy and stay healthy, how to shop, cook, and eat healthy on a budget, lots of great exercise tips, and some (what I think) are funny stories that will keep you entertained and “hungry” for more (see, see what I did there?)

What you won’t find is a crazy judgemental PETA-throwing-urine-on-you blog that belittles the carnivores out there, so if you are a meat eater, please don’t give up on me just yet! You’ll still find lots of great health and exercise tips, and if you are interested in non-meat recipes, I’ve got you covered.  

So, to all of you, I say…WELCOME! I hope you enjoy the posts! 

Veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen 

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