Choosing the “Diet” for Your Lifestyle

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, lactovarian, fruitarian, pescatarian, or have no preference, a diet isn’t something that should be equated to a temporary intake or quick fix to lose/gain weight. Your diet should be your way of life, in other words it should be consistent and beneficial. I personally think that we should throw away this whole idea of “going on diets” and transition our intake to foods that are more reasonable and responsible. Your diet should consists of foods that makes you comfortable (tastes good & makes you feel good), caters to your health, and provides a balance to your digestive system. Labeling yourself as vegan, vegetarian, or whatever doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily “eating right” or that you even feel 100% good about the decision that you made. At the end of the day the food that you consume should benefit you, be eaten in moderation, and shouldn’t make you feel bad or create side effects. And by side effects I mean acne (most commonly caused by sodas, white bread & rice, & dairy), high blood pressure (most commonly caused by fried food, sodium filled food & canned food), and digestive issues (most commonly caused by red meats, dairy products & high amounts of fructose). What we eat not only affects our bodies, but our minds and spirits are heavily influenced as well. So you should always take into consideration the foods you choose to intake because they certainly play a major role in the future of your health, just saying! Which is why transitioning to the plant-based diet is the most realistic, comfortable, beneficial, and effortless decision that one can make. Think about it, by going plant-based you don’t have to restrict yourself to certain foods or even refrain from the ones you enjoy (just as long as you eat it occasionally or at MAX in moderation). To be plant-based simply means that you’re eating MOSTLY delicious, naturally grown products given to us from our bountiful and beautiful earth (beans, grains and oats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, soy, etc) but with a the option of flexibility. Basically you won’t have to cut off animal products but definitely cut back on them. If you’re someone who eats meat or any animal product (milk, cheese, eggs, honey, etc) everyday then start by going a few days without them, and eventually attempt to only eating animal based products a few times a month or every once in a while (every couple of months or so). It’s challenging (only in the in the beginning), but not impossible. Remember that your health is wealth, and that without it you won’t be worth a damn, (I said what I said🤷🏽‍♀️)!

 

Need help with plant-based recipes?

Use the search bar below and type in “recipes” for some of my favorite plant-based meals, feel free to add your spin on them!

 

D.I.Y. Black Charcoal Mask

Black charcoal masks are the internets latest skin-care trend, but when I tell you that they really live up to the hype please believe me! Unless you’ve been lost in the Himalayas there’s no way you haven’t seen a picture or a video involving the infamous black charcoal facial mask. These trendy masks are known for giving your skin an instant glow and detoxing your top layers of skin but, the benefits go wayyy beyond just a little glow. Black charcoal masks help to remove acne-causing dirt that gets clogged in your pores, they exfoliate the skin (removing old dead skin cells when you peel it off), and they also regulate and balance oil secretion of your skin. They are very vital to my personal skin care regime, so much so that I’ve created my own version of black charcoal masks. My version is fresh, 100% natural, it’s also fun and easy to make! Sure you can go out and buy a pack of it already made but you never know how long it’s been sitting on that shelf & don’t forget about all the extra ingredients they include to extend that shelf life. Now I don’t know about you but I’d rather fully know what I’m putting both on and in my body. If I can’t read the ingredients 9/10 I will not purchase it lol. But anyway below you will find my ingredient list along with instructions on how to make and use the mask and also how to preserve the leftovers!

Ingredients:

Activated charcoal powder (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make), Aztec or bentonite clay (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make), one pinch of baking soda (one pinch per mak you plan to make), apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make), coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon per mask you plan to make)

How to make the masks:

  1. In a medium bowl (glass preferably) mix in charcoal powder and baking soda
  2. Pour in ACV and oil, mix together well
  3. Mix in clay
  4. Mix for about 60 seconds
  5. Let mask settle and thicken

How to apply to the masks:

  1. Wash hands and fash (use a gentle soap-free cleanser)
  2. Pat face dry
  3. Apply mask by even spreading it all over your face (be careful to avoid eyebrows and hairline)
  4. Allow mask to dry and tighten (15-20 mins)
  5. Start peeling the mask off (upwards) at lower cheek or jawline
  6. Wipe face with a lukewarm rag to remove leftover particles
  7. Pat face dry
  8. Moisturize face

How to preserve the masks:

If you have leftovers scoop them into a ziplock bag and put them in the refrigerator. Can’t be kept in fresh for up to 3 weeks. If the mask is too thick, add a 1/2 teaspoon of lukewarm water and squish around until it softens to desired texture.

SN: These masks can be a great way to bond with your spouse, family, or friends, having a spa or self-care day at home! Make the masks together, apply them together, laugh at how silly you look, laugh at the screams and looks on each other faces when taking them off (won’t lie sometimes they get super tight and hard to peel off…haha),  just enjoy a nice simple time with those that you love! Oh and don’t forget to moisturize afterward 🙂

Tomayto, Tomahto: 5 Undeniably Tasty Tomato Based Recipes

Before we get started…question! Have you really heard anyone pronounce tomato like “tomahto”? Yeah me neither lol. But no matter how you pronounce it, nothing can take away from the savory, tangy, deliciousness of this lovely “fruit” we call the tomato! Thanks to tomatoes we have pizza, pasta sauces, better salads, chunky chili, and several delicious dips, just to name a few things! But I have to be honest here for a quick second, growing up I could NOT stand tomatoes lol. Aside from ketchup, I would not eat anything with tomatoes in it. But as I grew older somehow my taste buds started to evolve and I can now happily say that I love them, mostly cooked though; I still can’t eat too many raw lol smh but hey baby steps right? After giving them a second chance I realized that they can be used in many ways and I thought it’d be cool to share a few of my favorite ways to enjoy them along with detailed recipes! Click the link below 😋

  1. Spicy pico de gallo & tortilla chips
  2. Creamy tomato & sweet basil pasta sauce
  3. Fried green tomatoes with vegan ranch
  4. Stewed tomato spinach grits
  5. Ricotta tomato toast (can be made vegan)

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ThbcgvD2l7lpuPzkemtvLQjhP3oGPEUIlH5oICmp5jU/edit?usp=sharing

The Versatility of Beans/Peas/Lentils: 6 Un”bean”lievable Recipies

The legume family, also known as bean, pea & lentil family are an affordable source of protein, fiber, and vitamins that also happens to offers many health benefits. Such as being natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, stabilizing blood glucose levels, reducing digestive issues, lowering cholesterol, and providing zinc, iron, magnesium, and fiber. And on top of all the many benefits, they’re so versatile and delicious! Oh, the tasty things you can do with beans/peas/lentils. The endless possibilities, limitless flavor combinations, and the guarantee of a filling satisfactory ending. 100% natural, gluten-free, (unless you’re eating canned beans…another topic for another day) yet savory, scrumptious, and nutritious. From old fashioned red beans & rice to garlic n’ herb string beans to spicy black bean burgers to curried lentils to mediterranean style roasted chickpea salads, to teriyaki glazed sugar snap peas, the bean, lentil, & pea family can be used as a protein replacement in almost any meal you can think of. I just made you hungry huh? Well no worries, I won’t leave you hanging. Allow me to share with you a few recipes that you will want to make, then fall in love with & end up wanting to share with the world!

Click the link below to full recipes and instructions:

  1. Old fashioned red beans & rice
  2. Garlic & herb string beans
  3. Spicy black beans burgers
  4. Curried lentils
  5. Mediterranean roasted chickpea salad
  6. Teriyaki glazed snap peas

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PimCkZPyjh3OOSCF0oVB2VnvVgKs4yvXaRlpZxv34Ps/edit?usp=sharing

Benefits of Raw Eating|5 Snack/Meal Ideas

Taking a break (3-7 full days minimum) from processed and cooked foods at least every other month is something that you should really take into consideration. Now allow me to give you a few reasons why; a raw diet helps to reverse chronic diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes, it reduces heartburn, gas, constipation, and indigestion, it increases energy levels, it gives you the full amount of needed nutrients, it strengthens the immune system, it balances PH levels, it clears skin, and so much more, the benefits are infinite! A raw diet consists of uncooked, fresh, dried, sprouted or fermented vegetables and fruit, grains, seeds, nuts, smoothies, and water. When you’re on a raw food diet it gives your digestive system a break from having to work so hard, and it also gives you a lot more energy because you are now preserving enzymes. Your PH levels start to naturally correct themselves because of all the antioxidants, alkaline, and nutrients your blood system now has access to. Your skin becomes clearer because the raw diet is helping to reduce inflammation and opening up clogged pores. The higher fiber intake reduces any digestive issues such as constipation and gas. Many raw vegetables and roots, specifically broccoli, garlic, and ginger contain natural cancer-fighting and blood pressure lowering properties and compounds that won’t be as productive if the foods are cooked. When you cook vegetables whether it’s by boiling, sauteing, steaming, or grilling, the vegetable becomes 22-34% less nutritious. Once vegetables reach a high temperature the nutrients, vitamins, fibers, and minerals immediately start to diminish. The same goes for grains and oats, they are the most beneficial and nutritious when consumed raw. You have nothing to lose by giving your body a break and consuming food just as nature provides it, natural, raw, unseasoned, and without oil. It’s the perfect diet for weight loss, stops cravings, raises your spiritual awareness (we’ll talk more about this another time), and it’s awesome for the environment! So the next time you’re feeling clogged up this diet would be a great way to detox and give your body a good flush and re-boost. Below I have listed a few of my favs along with a link for the recipes, feel free to re-make them and let me know how they turn out!

5 of my Favorite Raw Meal/Snack Ideas:

  1. Smoothies, Smoothie Bowls, Smoothie Pops
  2.  Apple-Peanut Butter Granola Bars
  3. Raw Veggies Dipped in Tzatziki sauce
  4. Raw Taco Wraps
  5. Sweet Chili Cauliflower Bites

For complete recipes to these snacks/meals click the link below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dOgnUSzDC9gYAKgDnRXrPORI0CM3jVBU44nBhtSsCMw/edit?usp=sharing

Delicious Recipes At Your Fingertips: The Food Monster App

The Food Monster App is the perfect app for beginners looking to transition into the plant-based lifestyle. With over 15,000 delicious plant-based, gluten-free, allergy-friendly recipes and counting you will never run out of meals to cook! The recipes themselves are personally crafted, created, and approved by the team of http://www.OneGreenPlanet.org. If you haven’t heard of OneGreenPlanet they are a team of amazing individuals that are helping to save the planet in countless ways. Their website is filled with knowledgable and interesting information revolving around lifestyle wellness, the well being of animals, and worldwide news regarding what’s currently going on with planet Earth. The co-founders Nil Zacharias and Preeta Sinha of OneGreenPlanet came together and launched the Food Monster application in 2015 and it has been flourishing greatly since then. Food Monster is now considered the largest plant-based food app in the market and it’s absolutely free in both the iTunes and Google Play stores unlike most of its’ competition. The Food Monster App has saved the day for me so many times and although I love being creative with cooking, sometimes I run out of ideas or I just want to try something new. And that’s when I simply pick up my phone and browse through the thousands of recipes located on this wonderful application! The website and the app are both fantastic resources for beginners and even veterans in this plant-based lifestyle. So if you’re looking for a little help and guidance on your journey make sure you download the app today or visit OneGreenPlanter.org. To learn more about the founders of this organization and all of the incredible information they have to offer they can be found on twitter at @NilZach and @PreeTweet, on Facebook @OneGreenPlanet, and of course on their website!

#EatForThePlanet

Smoothie Bowls & Gluten Free Pancakes

I haven’t dedicated a post to breakfast yet and just randomly decided to choose this week to do so. I am a big breakfast person, I have to eat or at least drink a smoothie before starting my day. I don’t always have time to eat the type of breakfast I would like but when I do these two (Smoothie Bowls and Pancakes) are my favorite to eat. They are super simple to make and heavenly to consume! 100% healthy and 100% tasty guaranteed. I love taking foods as simple as these and dressing them up with all types of toppings and interchangeable ingredients to keep from getting bored with the recipes. Find the recipes for these below! 😋😋😋

Smoothie Bowls:

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup of almond milk sweetened or unsweetened (water, rice milk, hemp milk, etc any type of milk you want to use)
  2. 1 cup of spinach (or desired greens)
  3. 1 frozen banana (unpeeled)
  4. 1 cup of desired frozen fruit (I prefer berries or kiwis & strawberries)
  5. Toppings: nuts, seeds, sliced fruit, granola, coconut flakes, etc….(options are endless)

Instructions:

  1. Put milk/water, greens, and fruits in blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Pour evenly into a bowl
  4. Use a spoon to smooth it out
  5. Place toppings on top of smoothie mixture
  6. Grab a spoon and enjoy

Gluten Free Pancakes:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 1/4 cup of GF flour
  2. 1 tbsp of sugar (brown or white)
  3. 1/2 tsp of GF baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp of salt
  5. 1 tbsp of vanilla extract (optional)
  6. 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
  7. 1 cup of almond milk (water or desired milk)
  8. 1/4 cup of olive oil
  9. 1 smashed banana (optional, add 1/4 more almond milk if too thick)
  10. Margarine (vegan) or butter

Instructions:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon into a large bowl
  2. Add milk/water, banana, vanilla extract, olive oil
  3. Mix until evenly combined
  4. Heat skillet or griddle to medium heat
  5. Add margarine/butter and allow for it to bubble
  6. Add pancake mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes
  7. Flip pancake and allow other side to cook
  8. Remove from heat and plate
  9. Add toppings such as fruit, nuts, syrup/agave, and enjoy

3 Delicious Meatless Fall Recipes

Eating plant-based is not only salads and smoothies…the possibilities are literally endless! You have no idea how many times I hear “I don’t see how you get full eating only vegetables” or “vegan/ vegetarian food is boring or nasty” along with one million other uneducated closed-minded comments. When I first started eating plant-based it was actually much easier than I expected! I simply recreated my favorite meals by including more fresh ingredients and excluding the processed ingredients such as dairy products, canned foods, and etc. So not only is the food I cook and consume comforting and fulfilling but it’s also fresh and if I say so myself delightful.

I’ve put together 3 fulfilling meal yet simple recipes guaranteed to make your tastebuds smile this Fall season…thank me later 😉

  1. Mexican Inspired 3-Bean Chili

Ingredients: 1/2 cup of Kidney beans, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup of pinto beans (soak beans overnight before, it’s ok to soak them all together), 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of tomato puree, 1 tbsp of olive oil 1 packet of chili powder, paprika, cayenne , salt, pepper, 2-3 medium tomatoes diced, 1 finely chopped clove fresh garlic, 1 finely chopped small onion, 1 cup of corn (frozen or freshly cut from cob), jalapeños (optional), 1/3-1/2 cup of fresh bell peppers (red, orange, yellow or green any will do)

Instructions: Serves 3-4

  1. After boiling beans, drain excess water and pour into a bowl for later.
  2. Heat a large wide pan on medium heat, add olive oil, onion, garlic and peppers to oil and sauté for about 10 mins.
  3. Add tomato puree and stir for 30-60 seconds, then add cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper to taste and stir fry for about one minute.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, corn and soy sauce, bring to a simmer, cover and leave on low heat for 10-20mins, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, beans, packet of chili powder, corn, and jalapeños then stir and bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes until beans are hot. Keep an eye on the chili and add a couple of tbsp of water if it starts to become dry.

Add toppings if desired and enjoy!

2. Veggie Shepherd’s Pie (Pot Pie)

Ingredients:  Store bought or home made biscuits or pie crust, 1/2 of cup of unsweetened almond or soy milk, 1 cup of chopped mushrooms, 1 small onion chopped, 1 clove of garlic chopped, 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn, 2 small potatoes peeled and diced, 1 cup of chopped carrots, 1 cup of fresh or frozen peas, 1 chopped celery stalk, 4 cups of vegetable broth (store bought stock or boil 4 cups of water with a few bullion cubes), 1 bay leaf, 2 tbsp of margarine, 3 tbsp of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of unbleached flour, seasoned salt to taste.

Instructions: Serves 4

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat then add garlic, onion, mushrooms, a pinch of salt of pepper and then stir for about 3 mins.
  3. After stirring add carrots, celery, and potato and saute’ them until tender,  so about 5-8 mins then add flour.
  4. Slowly mix in the broth, then add almond milk and bay leaf and stir well.
  5. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook until it thickens, about 5-7 mins.
  6. After mixture starts to thicken add peas and corn, seasoned salt to taste, and cook for an additional 5 mins then take from heat and let settle.
  7. Roll out the dough or biscuit and cut into 4 equal pieces. Place the dough flatly on base of mini pan, or if using a cup or bowl to make individuals cover inside with dough (if there is excess trim off and use for the top covering)
  8. Once pan(s) are lined with dough add filling to each and add more dough on top.
  9. Press the edges slightly and brush the tops of the dough with melted margarine and cut 1-3 slits in the top for venting.
  10. Place the pan in oven and bake until the dough is a flaky golden brown for about 45-40 mins.

Allow pie(s) to cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy! ( If there is left over filling it may be frozen)

3. Creamy rosemary tomato soup 

Ingredients: 12 small tomatoes (not cherry tomatoes), 3 gloves of peeled garlic, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1/3 of hot water, 1/3 cup of almond, coconut or soy milk, 3 tbsp of margarine, salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste.

Instructions: Serves 2-3

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree
  2. Cut tomatoes in half, remove any hard sections and place on baking sheet evenly spread out
  3. Add rosemary and garlic cloves, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and onion powder on the pan and drizzle with olive oil all over.
  4. Roast the tomatoes, rosemary and garlic for 35-40 mins (the tomatoes should look very soft and should be starting to turn brown)
  5. Add tomatoes, garlic, juices from pan, hot water, almond milk, and margarine to a blender and blend until it is completely pureed.
  6. Boil 1/3 -1/2 cup of water or milk depending on the flavor and thickness you’re going for and add mixture from blender to the boiling water/milk along with more pepper, salt, and onion powder if desired.

Allow soup to cool and enjoy with toast or crackers on the side.

If you decide to try a recipe make sure you comment and let me know how if turned out for you!