Lettuce Does Not A Great Salad Make

That Was Then!

A few years ago, whenever we would go out to a restaurant, I would cringe at hearing our server say “I can make you a salad” when I told them I was vegan. I knew their idea of a salad was dropping several leaves of lettuce on a plate, popping a cherry tomato on top, and serving it with a pitying smile.  My response to these meager attempts was usually “Don’t you have any veggies? Why not slice up some red pepper, raw broccoli and cauliflower, add some red onion and pop in a few seeds or nuts.” Inevitably, I would end up with a plate of veggies whose presentation looked like a platter for the kids’ table at some holiday celebration.

This Is Now!

Today most restaurants have “discovered” fresh produce and are creating innovative, delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes to please the palate of even the most ardent carnivores. We are no longer hard pressed to find a restaurant meal worthy of our hard-earned dollars and I am not afraid to order a salad anymore, knowing that most chefs have learned lettuce does not a great salad make.

Looking for some ideas on a sumptuous salad to enjoy at home or take to work? I made this salad today from bits and bobs I had in the fridge.  That is the greatest thing about salads – they don’t need to be rigid; just use what you have on hand to make your salad interesting. There really are no rules.

Bits & Bobs Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Bits & Bobs Salad

A great salad incorporates lots of color, textures and flavors. Try using dandelion greens, arugula, red or yellow peppers. Spice things up a little with some hot peppers. Add some beans - garbanzo and red kidney beans work great! I used sunflower seeds in this recipe but pumpkin seeds would be great too. Got some beets in the fridge? Add those for some sweetness and awesome nutrition.

The bottom line is there are no rules. You are only limited by your imagination and the ingredients you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower Florets - Chopped
  • Carrots - Shredded
  • Cucumber - Seeded & Diced
  • Celery - Diced
  • Radish - Diced
  • Chard - Chopped
  • Spinach - Chopped
  • Green Leaf Lettuce - Torn
  • Microgreens
  • Pine Nuts
  • Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Vegan Salad Dressing

Instructions

  1. Wash ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Chop & Toss.
  3. Add salad dressing just before serving.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/lettuce-does-not-a-great-salad-make/

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Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Fresh CarrotsSummer is the best time of year to find fresh, crisp, delicious carrots at your local farmers’ market. While they are available year round, there is nothing like the taste of picked-today veggies; not to mention these wonderful foods are at their peak nutritionally during the summer months.

Some people think carrots are not very exciting.  They often see them as low-calorie snack foods to endure or merely some “color on a plate” rather than the incredibly versatile food they truly are. Carrots are indeed a great snack food (and they are certainly a low calorie option) but they are also excellent when made into soup, included in a stew, roasted with some herbs as a side dish, added to muffins and, my personal favorite, as the lead actor in my Carrots, Cumin & Coriander raw summer salad that is so full of flavor you’ll want seconds.

For my salad recipe, I happened to use the more common orange carrots; but you can certainly use a variety of colors: red, purple, yellow, white and orange to make your salad a beautiful rainbow of color on  your plate.  Make sure you select the freshest, brightest carrots available – the ones with the tops still on are a good bet!

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

The dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated (covered) for up to 24 hours. This will allow the flavors to blend together and will save time when ready to serve. Make sure the avocado is not too soft - you want it to be a little firm so it will hold up. While the cayenne or chili pepper is optional, it does add a lovely little kick to this salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh carrots
  • 4 stalks fresh crisp celery
  • 1 medium avocado
    For Dressing
  • 1/4 cup organic EVOO
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 Tsp chili powder or pinch of cayenne (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim carrots. There is no need to peel. Shred in food processor and remove to large bowl.
  2. Finely chop celery and add to bowl.
  3. Chop avocado into small pieces and add to carrots and celery IF serving immediately. Otherwise, prepare avocado just before serving and toss into salad at last minute to avoid any browning.
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Add dressing to veggies and toss.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/carrots-cumin-coriander-salad-a-trifecta-of-flavor/

Why Carrots Make a Healthy Food Choice

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A – especially important for eye health as well as having overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. In fact, 1 cup of carrots provides 113% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.

Carrots are also a very good source of biotin (an important B Complex vitamin that helps convert food into energy), Vitamin K for cell health (particularly brain cell health), molybdenum to help our bodies detoxify, 14% of our daily requirement of fiber to keep our digestive tract in good shape, 11% of our daily potassium requirement, and 10% of our Vitamin C requirement.  Carrots are also a high water-content food so they make a great addition to your hydration needs. NOTE:  Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated – foods like carrots, celery and watermelon are awesome supplements.

BONUS:  Carrots are a low calorie, nutritionally awesome, very affordable food. They are easy to prepare and very portable.  Take them on a picnic, add them to your lunch, enjoy them after fitness class or school…. they are a healthy whole food to enjoy every day.

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Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Summer

Hooray, it’s picnic season! Who doesn’t enjoy packing a picnic basket full of delicious summer foods and heading to your favorite park, or beach, or a secluded hilltop to enjoy the great outdoors and break bread with friends and family or maybe even spend some alone time to destress from a busy week? It is easy to work up quite an appetite when enjoying the outdoors: swimming, building sandcastles, hiking, playing games etc; so the temptation to fill up on empty calories from salty chips, sugary sodas, and fat-filled sweets is very strong; however, taking good care of your health by eating nutritious foods is just as important on a picnic as it is every day at home. Yes, your choices need to be fairly portable, easy to prepare and serve, and packed safely to prevent food-bourne illness; but this is pretty easy to accomplish with a little preparation.

There are many great recipes available for simple yet nutritious picnic fare. One I particularly love is my Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad.  Should you want to “cook” while enjoying the outdoors, my Black Bean Burgers are a great choice. They will sizzle in no time on a grill or outdoor cooktop and I know will be a big hit with everyone. A delicious staple of picnics everywhere is a potato salad but it can come with some hefty calories and often unhealthy ingredients.  Here is my recipe for a delicious but healthier, plant-based version of this picnic favorite that is truly easy to prepare.

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wash, halve and steam potatoes until just fork tender (about 25 minutes) Drain and rinse gently with cold water to stop cooking process. Cut potato pieces in half again. Let cool.
  2. Use the Healthy Saute method to slightly soften and bring out the flavor of the chopped peppers (Healthy Saute: bring 3 Tbsp of vegetable broth or water to bubbling, add peppers, cover and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Drain.) Let peppers cool.
    For Dressing:
  1. Combine Just Mayo, Yellow Mustard, smoked paprika, dill weed and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to blend into potato mixture.
    To Pack or Serve
  1. In a large bowl add potatoes, celery and sweet peppers. Add dressing. Mix gently.
  2. When serving, sprinkle potato salad with small amount of dill weed and paprika.

Notes

Keep all picnic foods cold with ice packs/bags of ice in your picnic basket/cooler until ready to serve. Serve only when ready to eat. Do not let foods sit out in the sun/heat.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/picnic-perfect-potato-sweet-pepper-salad/

Plant-Based Nutrition Information

potatoesPotatoes are the stars of this recipe.  Often considered inexpensive comfort food and frequently consumed as unhealthy fast food; potatoes can actually provide awesome nutrition if they are prepared in a healthy way! This recipe calls for steaming the potatoes rather than boiling them.  This prevents the nutrients from being boiled away into the water and ensures the potatoes do not become too soft. Leaving the skins on the potato also increases the already high fiber content of this important food.

Potatoes are a very good source of Vitamin B6 – the cell-builder vitamin. B6 is very important for keeping our brain cells functioning and for supporting our nervous system. Our body’s production of serotonin (happiness), melatonin (sleep), epinephrine and norepinephrine (for stress management) needs vitamin B6. B6 also supports our cardiovascular system by helping to keep homocysteine levels low (homocysteine damages our blood vessels). Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, copper, Vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Sweet Bell Pepper

Sweet Bell Peppers are AWESOME! One cup of these incredible veggies has only 29 calories – pretty incredible for a food that tastes so good, right? Sweet Bell Peppers are an outstanding source of Vitamin C – just one cup will give you 157% of your recommend daily intake of this important vitamin.Sweet Bell Peppers are also a very good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and folate. BONUS: these peppers have 30 different carotenoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support to our bodies. Good things do come in small packages!

The nutrients we derive from these delicious veggies are at their peak when the peppers are fully ripe.  How do you know if they are ripe?  Your best evidence is in their color: when the color is deep and vivid they are likely ready to eat.  Another bit of evidence is if the pepper feels heavy for its size and if the pepper feels firm but yields very slightly to pressure.

celeryCelery is an awesome veggie that adds great texture (crunch) to my potato salad and a lovely color against the white flesh of the potatoes. Celery has been a go-to veggie for anyone trying to keep their caloric intake in check; but I wonder how many people really understand how valuable this veggie is to our daily nutritional requirements!

Celery is an excellent source of Vitamin K – a vitamin necessary for blood clotting. Vitamin K is also very important for our bone health.

Celery also has very special anti-inflammatory benefits – particularly for our digestive tract.  Celery is an important source of molybdenum – a mineral that helps our bodies detoxify by keeping the sulfer in our system in balance. Celery is a good source of folate, potassium and manganese as well.

I’ve talked a lot about the need to stay hydrated – especially in the summer – and celery can play a role in this essential task. Celery is 95% water – and while just eating celery won’t keep you hydrated, every little bit helps.


NOTE:  If you are unable to find Just Mayo from Hampton Creek for this recipe at your grocery store, Veganaise from Follow Your Heart is a very good alternative. In fact, I use both these products regularly.

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Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Black Bean Burger

It’s The Unofficial Start of Summer

This Memorial Day Week-end please take time to honor our fallen heroes. Freedom isn’t free – we need to pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Country.

Summer is the perfect time for gathering friends and family for a casual dinner particularly if you live in a climate suited to dining outdoors. Burgers are a summertime tradition and plant-based options for burgers are delightfully plentiful. Vegetables, grains, nuts and beans make for incredible flavor and texture; and of course, they nourish our bodies with important protein, vitamins, and fiber. It is a familiar ritual at our home to enjoy each other’s company, sipping a refreshing beverage, and lounging on the patio while the grillers commiserate over the perfect time to “flip”. The sound of laughter and conversation always gives me pause for thought about the pleasure we take at sharing a meal together. Preparing food, for most people, is a true labor of love; and the love of those gathered around our table is clearly evident.

The primary ingredient in this recipe, black beans, is a very low cost, high value food source; and, the availability of fresh produce to accompany a summertime favorite like burgers, makes it an especially delicious, nutritious and budget friendly complete meal. Our recipe below for Black Bean Burgers is not difficult to prepare and affords a wonderful opportunity to get everyone into the action. Many of the ingredients for this dish can be prepared ahead, so when your guests arrive, and you are ready to cook, very little time for assembly is required. But first, enjoy our Jazzed Up Veggies video of “Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Twist”.

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Twist from Berry Creative on Vimeo.

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Ingredients

  • Black Bean Burger Patties - Serves 6
  • 1 cup cooked rice (I use black rice, red rice and flax cooked in veggie broth)
  • 1 15oz can organic black beans (1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup shredded onion
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (more if you love garlic like we do)
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • olive oil
  • celtic sea salt
  • black pepper
  • Chipotle Sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 1/4 cup cashews (soaked for minimum of 2 hours)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • water or non-dairy milk to thin if needed
  • Pineapple Salsa
  • 2 small avocado, diced
  • 1 cup fresh (not canned) pineapple, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Patties: Mix smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, and Harissa, salt and pepper together. Add small amount of tamari and olive oil to make a somewhat thick paste. Set aside.
  2. Prepare rice. Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine shredded carrot, onion, diced celery and diced red peppers. Sprinkle with a small amount of olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread on grill pan and roast for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. Drain and rinse black beans. Place in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork or masher. It is good to leave a few beans whole.
  5. Once cooled, add all ingredients into bowl with black beans. Combine well by hand or with a mixer. You do not want to over mix so use care with a mixer.
  6. Form mixture into 6 patties. Place on plate, cover, and refrigerate while preparing sauce & salsa.
  7. Chipotle Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until very smooth. Add very small amount of liquid if needed. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Pineapple Salsa: It is best to make this salsa just before serving. Mix pineapple and avocado together. Squeeze fresh lime juice over ingredients. Toss gently. If making ahead, cover to prevent any air from reaching the avocado and refrigerate.
  9. Putting it All Together: The patties can be cooked on a grill-pan on the BBQ over medium heat; or on the stove with a small amount of non-GMO oil. Avoid crowding. Patties should be allowed to get crispy on one side before flipping (about 4 - 5 minutes).
  10. Place a green leaf of lettuce on your plate. Place burger on lettuce, top with chipotle sauce and salsa. Serve with tomato and avocado slices and baked sweet potato fries.
  11. Buen Apetito!
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/05/449/

Enjoy this delicious meal with a classic Mojito or some mint & citrus infused sparkling water.

Can’t wait to hear how you like it.

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The Queen of Spices – Cardamom Transforms Muffins from Everyday to Exotic

cardamom cardamom pods

Cardamom, known as “The Queen of Spices” is a wonderful aromatic spice that you’ve probably tasted but didn’t know it. If you have ever enjoyed the exotic flavor of Chai tea, (and if you haven’t you really need to because it is just that lovely) then you have enjoyed the unique and deliciously Eastern flavor of cardamom. This fragrant spice is also a key element of garam masala one of my favorite Indian cooking spices. Cardamom plays nicely with other aromatic spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg, so it is no surprise it is a good spice choice for baking. BONUS – baking with any of these spices will make your home smell so marvelous too. Cardamom not only adds a wonderful, exotic, citrusy flavor to your food; it also offers some great health benefits.

Awesome Health Benefits of Cardamom

Cardamom is full of important nutrients that have been shown to be helpful in improving cardiovascular health including improving blood circulation and controlling cholesterol levels,  relieving sore throats and upset tummies, supporting urinary tract health and respiratory health, and inhibiting the growth and spread of microbes that cause food poisoning.  Minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc are abundant in cardamom as are vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and B6 and C. Cardamom is also a good source of dietary fiber and protein while being low on the caloric scale.  Cardamom pods and seeds can also be chewed to keep your breath fresh. Cardamom has excellent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties and Cardamom essential oil is also credited with having anti-depressant properties. Cool, right?

Cardamom Apple Muffins – Plant-Based Deliciousness

Cardamom Apple Muffins

Muffins are a great breakfast food, are a healthy snack especially with a hot cup of chai tea, and are easily transported for a picnic or sports outing – so what’s not to love! With muffins, size does matter even though they have nutritious ingredients. Monster-sized muffins can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake – especially the ones you find at your local coffee shop or bakery; so keep them on the smaller side to manage your caloric intake.

Cardamom Apple Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 23 minutes

Total Time: 43 minutes

Yield: 12 medium sized muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Cardamom Apple Muffins

These muffins are delicious. The fresh apple pieces add some light crunch, great flavor and additional moisture - not to mention more fiber (and who doesn't need more fiber, right?) Apples are definitely a food you should only buy if they are organic due to the use of pesticides in non-organic orchards. Fill your muffin tin to just below the top to make the perfect sized muffin.

Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
    Wet Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil - melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 apple cut into small pieces (leave peel on)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your over to 350 F
  2. Lightly grease muffin pan with small amount of coconut oil
  3. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. Make sure they are combined well.
  4. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except the apple and mix well.
  5. Add apple to wet ingredients and mix again.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently stir until mixed. Be careful not to over mix as that will make your muffins dense and tough.

Notes

Let your muffins cool on a rack. They are delicious warm or cold. Freeze any muffins you won't be able to eat in a couple of days. To add additional protein, substitute 1/4 cup of quinoa flour for 1/4 cup of the spelt flour.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/03/the-queen-of-spices-cardamom-transforms-muffins-from-everyday-to-exotic/


EARTH DAY 2016-2

Earth Day 2016 is April 22; but don’t wait till then.  Plant a Tree for Earth’s Sake now!
Go to www.earthday.org to learn more about the things you can do to help our planet get healthy.  There will be events all over the world – so hopefully there will be one in your community. If not, plan one – www.earthday.org has all the tools you’ll need to make your event a great success.

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Asparagus – I adore this awesome antioxidant-rich veggie

IMG_3538

Asparagus is one of my very favorite veggies.  As a warm side dish or a cold snack, fresh asparagus is so delicious, has a satisfying crunch, and for a bonus, is packed with awesome nutrition. I even loved asparagus as a child – mom didn’t need to keep telling me to eat this vegetable!  Fresh asparagus is now available in many farmers’ markets and shops, and as this is the season for asparagus, the price is great. I purchased 2 pounds of fresh organic asparagus for a dinner party this week and paid only $1.99 per pound.  There was plenty for all six of us and enough left over to send in my husband’s lunch the next day.

A POWERHOUSE OF NUTRITION

  • Excellent source of Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C & Vitamin A
    Vitamin K supports bone health, helps your blood to clot normally, and protects your cells from oxidative damage. Folate supports our circulation and prevents our blood from high levels of homocysteine (associated with cardiovascular disease). Folate also helps make red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our bodies, supports cell production( i.e. skin cells, intestinal cells), and provides critical support to our nervous system. Vitamin C offers excellent antioxidant protection, regenerates our vitamin E supplies, assists with iron absorption and is believed to lower cancer risk.
  • Protein and Fiber
    Yes, asparagus is a very good source of protein – 4.7 grams per cup. The cool thing is, this awesome plant food also supplies 2.9 grams of fiber per cup – animal protein does not offer any fiber (just sayin’).
  • Other Nutrients
    Asparagus is a very good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin and Niacin – important B vitamins; phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.  It is also a good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium and calcium.

It is remarkable that such a small, unassuming plant can be so powerful, right? Now, here’s even better news: asparagus is a very low calorie food too.  There are only 43 calories in a 1-cup serving.  So to recap: you get great flavor and texture, awesome nutrition and almost no calories. Who wouldn’t like that?

The best way to prepare asparagus is to cook only until it is al dente. Asparagus is great on the grill, but I like it roasted. Here is my simple recipe for delicious roasted asparagus that is awesome warm or cold.  Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6

Serving Size: 4 - 5 stems

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest

Roasted asparagus is great cold so add it to your packed lunch. It is delicious in a salad too. Of course, it makes a wonderful side dish for a light lunch or dinner. For a slightly fancier and even more nutritious side dish, toss the cooked asparagus with slivered almonds.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh, organic asparagus - washed and thick ends removed
  • Organic Virgin Olive Oil (only enough to very lightly coat asparagus)
  • Lemon Zest ( I prefer to use Meyer Lemons)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean-up)
  3. Add oil and lemon zest to glass baking dish
  4. Add asparagus and coat evenly
  5. Spread evening on baking sheet - leave room between each stem for even cooking
  6. Roast for 10 minutes - until just al dente
  7. Serve warm as a side dish or cool and refrigerate for a snack

Notes

Don't overcook asparagus. Cooking too much will deplete all the incredible nutrients this wonderful vegetable offers. No one likes mushy asparagus so less is definitely more when cooking.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/03/asparagus-i-adore-this-awesome-antioxidant-rich-veggie/

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Heart Health Matters So Listen Up!

 

A heart shape held in handsFebruary is National Heart Month. Over the next 28 days, you will hear a lot about how to get and keep your heart healthy; but here’s the thing, February has been designated as National Heart Month since 1963 and heart disease is still the leading cause of death so we are clearly not taking this seriously!  Heart disease does not discriminate between genders. It has long been thought that heart disease was mostly a “male” problem; but the reality is heart disease is an equal opportunity health problem. In the US, more than 610,000 people die each year of heart-related disease and nearly half of those are women.  (stats for Canada are equally alarming).  We can fix this but it will take commitment and real effort to get heart healthy. Are you ready to make this a priority?

Heart disease causes premature death and, for the most part, these deaths are preventable. It is not just the unnecessary loss of life that is staggering; it is the astronomical economic costs that should get our hearts beating harder too! In 2011, heart disease cost the US economy over $320 Billion in health care costs and lost productivity. In 2011 the cost to the Canadian economy was $21 Billion. This is money that could be going toward solving other problems like food insecurity and homelessness. By the way, this is not just a North American issue, it is world wide – although my friends in Chile seem to be doing something right as they have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world.

What Can You Do to Get and Keep Your Heart as Healthy as Possible?

Start by eating a healthy breakfast every day. Your body needs fuel to help you power through a busy schedule. You wouldn’t leave home without gas in your vehicle, don’t leave home without healthy, nutritious food in your body. Check out my 5 Healthy Plant-Based Breakfasts for some simple ideas.

Heart Month

 

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5 Healthy Plant-Based Breakfasts that Taste Great

Eat Breakfast

Breakfast really is important; but, let’s be honest, most households most mornings are chaotic.  Am I right?  Getting everyone up and dressed, collecting homework and briefcase contents, and coordinating school drop-off and pick-up takes a lot of energy, and if your home is like most, it is a wonder any of us get out the door on time and with matching socks and shoes! (A first world problem, to be sure!) But, here’s the thing: our bodies need the right fuel to get the day off to a good start and to sustain us through the first several hours of what’s to come. Therefore, starting your day with breakfast needs to be on top of your daily priority list.

 


Tip: Get in the habit of “mise en place”,  which means to organize and prep what ingredients you can in advance so putting your meal together is easy and efficient.


 

5 Easy, Plant-Based Breakfasts That Taste Great

 

Jazzed Up ScrambleJazzed Up Scramble  This is a really nutritious and delicious breakfast scramble that really doesn’t take very long at all.  You can prepare veggies the night before, add some delicious vegan bacon or sausage, or maybe “cheeze it up” with some delicious Heidi Ho (my favorite is the Creamy Chia Cheeze).

 

Chia Seed Breakfast PuddingPudding for breakfast! Trust me, this is so delicious and the nutritional benefits are great. Chia seeds are packed with goodness and are one of the most nutrient dense foods available: a 1 ounce (28 gram) serving has 4 grams protein, 11 grams of fiber, is rich in Omega-3s, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Chia seeds also provide since, vitamins B3, B1 and B2 along with potassium.

I make my own plant-based milks. It is really very easy and very, very budget friendly.  My post “Why I Love Homemade Soy Milk and You Should Too” My video will show you just how easy it is.

 

Steel Cut Oats

Porridge, or as some call it, oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts. I use steel cut oats (picture here) because they have a chewy texture and don’t get mushy when you cook them. Oats are a great source of protein, many minerals and very importantly, fiber.  I cook porridge with homemade almond or soy milk because it is lovely and creamy and it adds some extra protein and calcium. Add some fruit and nuts and a pinch of cinnamon to make this a super-delicious breakfast. Bonus benefit of porridge is it will keep you feeling full all morning!

 

 

fruit-smoothieA smoothie is full of nutrition, filling and delicious. Cool thing is there is no limit to the variations you can make. I love to use spinach and kale as my base – green is such a beautiful color and oh-so-nutritious!  I add in some frozen blueberries and whatever other fruit I have available (banana makes it really creamy). I use a cup of homemade soy or almond milk, add a tablespoon of chia seeds and a teaspoon of ground flax seed too.  Pineapple is awesome in a smoothie. You might like to use coconut milk and maybe some organic raw cacao powder.  I also like to add some soaked goji berries from time to time.

IMG_0005

Yogurt and fruit, as a side to a small bowl of ancient grain cereal, is a quick and easy option when time is really a challenge.  I love Kite Hill artisan almond milk yogurt. 1 serving provides 5 grams of protein. Add a chopped apple for fiber and vitamin C and maybe a tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds for vitamin E. Any berries would make a great addition too.

 

Take A Food-First Approach to Health.

Hippocrates

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Decision 2016 – Prepare for a Healthy Future

PREPARATION-1

Jumping in with both feet is an exciting part of most any adventure. Being spontaneous is thrilling when it comes to travel and entertainment and yes, even shopping.  Yet, there are events in our lives, like making a major lifestyle change for example, when taking the time to lay the groundwork is critical to success.

Here are some tips for helping you get started on your journey to good health.

Purge: Take some time over the next day or two to clean out your pantry and refrigerator.  Determine if the food you find promotes optimal function and healing for your body or if it will create damage. Read the ingredient list carefully. Whole foods (1 ingredient) are best but, if you have any packaged foods, remove items that have a laundry list of ingredients – especially if there is a lot of sugar and/or sodium, and particularly if they contain additives and preservatives.  Keep in mind that sugar isn’t always called “sugar”; if the ingredient list includes words that end in “ose” those ingredients are a type of sugar. Additives and preservatives are listed at the end of the ingredient list. They are chemically produced to significantly increase shelf life, change or add color, and alter flavors.

Finger Food FunPlan: Put together a shopping list that will fill your pantry and refrigerator with healthy, healing, delicious plant-based foods.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.

*Pantry Items: brown rice, oats, quinoa, lentils, dried beans (pinto, black beans, chickpeas), dried fruit (apricot, dates, raisins), peppercorns, sea salt, extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, grape seed oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, tamarin or soy sauce, nut and seed butters, nutritional yeast, dried herbs, spices.

*Produce: lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads,

Procure: There are several important things to be aware of when shopping for the best quality foods. Being prepared for your grocery shopping excursion will help you avoid the pitfalls that await in every grocery stores. Know before you go!
*Grocery Store Design is very scientific. Most of the good-for-you foods are located around the perimeter of the store. This is designed to get you to have to see and hopefully purchase all the packaged, not-so-good-for-you high margin foods along the way. Packaged foods that have your health in mind are located on bottom shelves while the foods that are again high margin, low value are located right at eye level.  You can’t miss them! Then you have all the high sugar items placed right at the cash register so while you’re waiting you can be tempted to pop them into your cart.  Don’t do it!!

Organic

*Organic vs Conventional Whenever possible, choose organic foods. If organic is not available or the price difference is too much, refer to the Environmental Working Group’s 2015 Clean Fifteen Shopping Guide to Pesticides in Produce and 2015 Dirty Dozen Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. These guides provide information about the level of pesticides in produce and will help you decide to either forgo a purchase or choose an alternative. The EWG website is a good one to bookmark.
Grocery Cart Fun*Tactics for Shopping Success Make a list and stick to it. Your goal is to satisfy your need for plant-based proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber and fats. Know the layout of your store so you can avoid the aisles that don’t contribute to your goal of healthy eating. Buy produce in season – it will be higher in nutrients and lower in price. Ask for help! The managers in your store are good sources of information. Take advantage. If your store doesn’t carry something you would like, ask them if they can get it.  More and more stores understand the shift that is taking place with respect to healthy food choices making them much more receptive to carrying products that matter to their customers. Shop two or three times a week. This will mean your foods will be fresher and you will reduce or eliminate the risk of having something spoil before it can be eaten.

Get ready to eat with your future in mind. Prepare for an epic year!

 

 

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Decision 2016 – Pledge Allegiance to Better Health

PLEDGE

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The start of a new year is always exciting. Looking forward to all the possibilities this new year has in store for us instills a sense of hope for the future. We don’t need to look back, what is done is done: we need only look ahead and dream big.

“Your imagination is your preview to life’s coming attractions.” Albert Einstein

I hope my recent post The Real Reason Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail helped you figure out what really matters to you; and I am truly hoping that you have decided to make living a healthy lifestyle your #1 commitment.

“DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED”

Healthy living is a life-long journey. Nourishing your body with healthy, plant-based foods; exercising regularly; and nourishing your soul through practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and life-long learning are the vehicles that will help you along the way.

” To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha

To join our 2016 Plant-Based Diet Challenge, sign-up for our free email subscription program. Fill out the form on the right and you will be on your way to receiving information, recipes and lots of encouragement. You will be glad you did!

May 2016 bring you good health, much happiness, and prosperity.

Vegan Challenge

 

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