Kale-Navy Bean Mix in a Green Pepper Bowl

Plant-Based. Fast. Flexible. Delicious. Four principles I strive to bring to every Juice Junky post. And this meal hits the jackpot! A quick, delicious, vegan entree that doesn’t call for any fancy schmancy ingredients or some 50 hour prep time. … Continue reading

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Plant-Based Chapters + CocoBeet Concoction Juice!

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What happens when a light sleeper gets bombarded with 23 texts at 3 in the morning?  An overly productive morning and a Rent sing-a-long.  Oh, and lots of juice!  I’m a big advocate for making use of everything in my kitchen, and that includes the stalks of broccoli I saved after using the florets for soup the other night.  Using broccoli stems as the base, I threw in some beets and carrots, and a whole bunch of cilantro.  To top it off, I added some coconut water to the end product. Holy yum!

CocoBeet Concoction

  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 beets
  • 2 stems broccoli (or 1 whole head broccoli)
  • 8 oz. natural coconut water

Add the coconut water after juicing all vegetables.  Enjoy!

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Does your kitchen look like this at 3:30 in the morning?  I think my neighbors are hating me through our very thin walls right now.  At least Bran isn’t terrified of the noise anymore.

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I’m so chill while mom juices.  Sometimes I get to eat the pulp!

Last night, I had dinner & drinks with a good friend who has been a vegan for years, and we got to talking about things that changed for us when we made the transition.  She started talking about different “chapters” in the life of someone adopting a plant-based diet, and seeing as it’s been almost a year since I fully dedicated myself to adopting a plant-based lifestyle, I’m seeing truth to her theory.

One of the big changes we talked about was the amount of alcohol we consumed.  I thought I was just out of the “college phase” and that was the explanation for my abrupt drop in tolerance for cocktails.  Nope.  Turns out a plant-based diet can lower tolerance over time, and it makes sense.  Lowering processed food intake and eliminating animal products altogether makes for one very clean and efficient machine of a body!  Nothing to clog up digestion or block absorption of nutrients; this holds true for alcohol as well.

You can take one of two approaches with your attitude in regards to this.  You can be upset about the fact that keg-stands are probably not going to stand in your life much longer, or you can get as stoked as I was about not having to buy 3 or 4 beers since I’m satisfied with one or two now!

Sorry for the short post, but I’m off to enjoy my juice and save the world one puppy at a time.  I’ll be posting more this week, so don’t worry!

Happy Juicing!

How to Make Time For Juicing in Your Already Busy Life

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Now that the Polar Vortex of 2014 is finally over (fingers crossed!), 14 degrees on a Wednesday morning is practically Spring Break weather!  I’ve been doing my best to stay healthy during this cold and icky germ season, and one of my most powerful weapons (besides the holster of Purell on my belt) is juice.  Not Day-Quil.  Not a packet of Emergen-C.  Just good ol’ veggies and fruits and all the goodness they provide.  

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It’s not easy to think about health when it looks like this outside!

I’m not gonna lie; I woke up Monday morning feeling foggy, with a tickle in my throat and pressure in my ears.  I pretty much dove towards my juicer as soon as I woke up and made a couple “shots” of Flu Buster Juice (1 lemon, 1-2 inches ginger, 4-6 garlic cloves, dash of cayenne on top)..  Hands down, better than any cough syrup I could have tried, and immediately my throat was like “thank you, thank you!”  I also made a big pot of green vegetable soup, which I swear will cure anything you’ve got!  I’m still working on perfecting the recipe, though, so look for an upcoming post about it!

It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of “I don’t have time to juice”.  I’m not criticizing; I’ve been there too!  As a part of my New Year’s Resolution, I decided that I needed to make a conscious effort to juice more.  Now, I’m not saying every single day, because things happen.  I’m not going to set myself up for failure, and neither should you.  I want to get as close to that mark as possible, though, and I know that the “time” factor can definitely affect anyone’s juicing habits.  Lucky for you, I did a little experiment in my kitchen this morning to help debunk (even to me) the “I don’t have time for juicing” myth.  

Steel-cut oats have been my go-to breakfast lately, so I started the water boiling to make some.  These take about a half hour to cook, so after throwing in the oats, I started prepping my veggies:

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I was already throwing carrots into the juice, so I cut up a few extra to bring as a snack to campus with me.  Then I juiced my delicious concoction and scrubbed down the juicer.  Surprise, surprise, my oats were still cooking by the time this was all done.  I had time to make a bag of trail mix for class as well before my oats were ready to go.  Within 40 minutes of waking up, this is what I had to show for myself (on top of making hot lemon water, drinking my supplement, and taking my vitamins):

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Not too shabby if I do say so myself!  I know some of you are thinking “I don’t have 40 minutes between waking up and leaving my house to get all this stuff ready.”  Okay, but in all fairness, the juicing took ~15 minutes total, and the rest of the time went to making tea, mixing trail mix, stirring my oats, and cutting up veggies for my midday snack.  You can always stick to doing the juicing alone, but my morning routine requires some waiting around (like when I’m cooking breakfasts like steel-cut oats or an apple bake), so why not spend that time being productive?  I even got some packing done!  Side note: I’m so happy I’ll be moving into an apartment without such crappy lighting soon! My pictures are going to look so much nicer.

What I’m trying to say is that everyone can sneak in healthy habits where they might not realize they’ve got a little time to kill!  When I’m not using my “oat-cooking” time to make juice, I spend it practicing yoga or meditating, or even reading for school.  Whether you juice, sneak in a workout, read the paper, or write in a journal, making choices that are kind to your body & mind, especially in the morning, can really set the tone for the kind of day you want to have.  I find that when I take the time to make myself a yummy juice like the Broccoli Citrus Blast I’m about to share with you, I feel good about myself, and I radiate that goodness and project my positive attitude onto others.  Try it! You will feel great, I promise!

Time for the juice!

Broccoli Citrus Blast

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery

Juice and Enjoy! It may not be the prettiest of colors (orange and green don’t exactly mix to create a sparkly rainbow) but it’s delicious, I promise!  Feel free to add a granny smith apple as well; I didn’t have any on hand but I’m sure it would have been delicious!

Stay Well & Happy Juicing!

Plant-Based Plan: Week 3- 5-Bean Chili (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

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Baby, it’s COLD outside! It’s shaping up to be a winter for the record books, and everyone and their mother is thinking of how they would trade ANYTHING to be on a beach right now working on their suntan (with plenty of SPF of course!). While that sounds like a pretty tempting aspiration, it’s days like today that make me happy to live in the midwest. It may be -12 degrees out, and my car battery may have froze, leaving me stranded for the time being, but I’m in my bed under 4 or 5 blankets, cuddling with my kitten and savoring a big bowl of steel-cut oats and blueberries while I write to you all. Hello SNOW DAY! If I lived in Hawaii or Mexico or LA, the ever-elusive-but-joyfully-decadent-when-it-happens snow day would be non-existent. I don’t think I could give days like this up! How have you been spending your snow days? (assuming of course that you’re not essential emergency staff and assuming you live in the CLE like I do!)

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I planned my food out again this week. Three weeks in a row; I think this is becoming a habit and I’m not upset about it! Actually, I’m really proud of myself. I’ve been sticking to my budget (5$ over this week on groceries but that’s not bad!) and I’ve been prepping all my meals from scratch! It’s good to praise yourself and give yourself credit when it’s due, and I am really happy with how well I have been following through with this plan.
Last semester, I lived of Clif Bars and pita bread from the BRB cafe (@ CWRU). Three weeks into this semester, I haven’t had to buy a thing from the cafe! Unless coffee counts. You all know I’m very anti-caffeine, but between 40+ hours at work and 30+ hours spent on campus, Starbucks and I have been getting pretty chummy.

Okay, let’s get to the FOOD! I’ve been trying to come up with new and creative “pre-packaged” meals that aren’t REALLY pre-packaged. Sorry, no juice this week. It just wasn’t in my budget, and though the old Kate would have just gone over her budget and rationalized it, Present Kate is trying to be better than that! Next week there will be some yummy juice recipes though, I promise!

Sunday after work, I ran up to Giant Eagle (I wish Earth Fare had FuelPerks) and did my grocery shop for the week. When I got out of my car though, a bitter gust of wind ripped my list from my hands! I had to do the whole shop from memory, so that may have contributed to being a few dollars over budget. I did all my food prep Sunday night and thought of my friend @allisoninwellnessland since she always has her “Sunday Food Prep” posts! Two big recipes: I made a big bowl of salsa chickpea salad to make lettuce wraps with, and at the same time I had a huge pot of chili simmering (hot chili and a little nutritional yeast is sounding really delicious right now!). The chili fit perfectly into 5 small mason jars and perfectly encompassed my “pre-packaged” food goal! Still trying to figure out how to pack the lettuce wraps, but since today’s a snow day, I get to enjoy them from home and their logistics have become a non-issue today.

Okay. You want this chili recipe? You ready to warm your bones? I know I am! use whatever beans you have on hand. This is a loose recipe, so add in or omit as you see fit! Go where the flow takes you!

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Obviously Bran-approved! Cats love nutritional yeast!

5-Bean Chili (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 3 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • cayenne pepper to taste (if you like your chili to have a little kick!)

If you’ve got a slow cooker/crock pot, then 1) just throw everything in there on low for 4 hours and 2) when can I borrow it? For everyone else out there using their stove, start by sauteing the vegetables and spices. Add in everything else after about 7 or 8 minutes and cook on low-medium for about an hour. Stir occasionally.
I know some people like corn, but I am not one of those people. Feel free to add in anywhere from ½ to 1 cup of corn if that’s something you’re thinking needs to be a part of your chili-devouring experience. Also, if you are a non-dairy consumer like I am, feel free to throw some Daiya cheddar shreds on top, or be like me and dump a pound of nutritional yeast into the bowl! I love nutritional yeast. So much. I could talk about it all day every day! some chives would be good in there too. When pulling out my individual jar to reheat, I filled the empty mason jar about a third of the way full with water and added it to the chili since it was a little thick. This also helped me get all the stuff stuck to the sides of the jar into the bowl!

Until next time, be healthy, be happy, and happy juicing!

14 Popular Juice Recipes

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2 posts in one day… I’m a wild woman!  I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and I’ve had a few readers requesting these juicer recipes for a couple months now.  Being my uber-productive self, I finished one of my deadlines early this afternoon (I believe Starbucks may have contributed), and what better study break is there than blogging?  I know this blog is for “The Juice Junky” in all of us, but my new-found discovery of plant-based vegan recipes and holistic health practices can sometimes overshadow the juicing aspect you all come here for!  

I have compiled a list of the 14 most popular juice recipes to share with you.  Keep in mind, these are the most common recipes that I use myself, but there are obviously thousands of recipes that others may see as more popular than the ones listed here.  Also to keep in mind for those new to the juicing practice, these recipes are only a guideline.  Don’t be like “I have everything but the apple for this recipe so I guess I can’t make that one…”  Feel free to mix and match!  Once you get the hang of this crazy awesome world of juicing, you may move away from the recipes (I know I definitely have)  and follow the general 80/20 rule while creating your own delicious concoctions!  

The 80/20 Rule: You are not only allowed to make up your own juice recipes, you are encouraged to!  Like I said before, you may not have all the ingredients for a specific recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sub out apples for oranges or cucumber for celery, or even just omit an ingredient altogether (I can’t handle juicing radishes, no matter how many times I try!  I leave those suckers out of any recipe calling for them).  This brings us to the 80/20 rule: When creating your own juice recipes, the general guideline is to make your creation ~80% vegetables (preferably greens!) and ~20% fruits. You can ALWAYS up the vegetable percentage!

Fruit juice is okay in moderation (I mentioned making apple juice in my previous post), but it’s something that should be done as a “once-in-a-while-treat” basis.  When fructose (fancy word for fruit sugar) is consumed without being coupled with fiber (fiber is removed during the juicing process) there is nothing from stopping the fructose from flooding the liver in one heavy hit.  Eating an apple is okay, because the fiber combats the fructose and acts as a sort of “time-release” mechanism.  Drinking apple juice, there is no fiber, so the digestive system is hit with all that fructose at once, which can be detrimental in high doses.  I can go into detail on this in a later post if you’d like; just comment below and let me know!

Okay, enough science junk.  I’m the one in school, not you.  Time for the yummy part of juicing!  Without further ado, I give you my list of the 14 most popular juices in my kitchen! That’s one new juice a day for two weeks! Please share your juice recipes and experiments in the comment section below!

Heavy Metal Detox

  • 1/2 pineapple core
  • 1 small Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Lemon (peeled of not organic)
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 small head of Romaine
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1/2 bunch kale

When the liver detoxifies, it sends those toxins to the intestines with the intention of getting them out of the body.  Many heavy metals going through this process end up being reabsorbed into the bloodstream repetitively.  Cilantro binds to these metals in the body and carries them through the intestinal tract so they are excreted once and for all, and don’t get reabsorbed, or stay in risky places like the brain.

ABC (a.k.a Fruit Punch)

  • 2 apples
  • 2 beets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pear (optional)

Ultimate Beet

  • 1 beet
  • 2 carrots
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 apple

Mean Green (Original)

  • 2 small apples
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 1/2-1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 4 stalks celery

Carrot Cucumber

  • 4-6 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 beet
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 1 inch ginger root

Flu-Buster (I swear by this!)

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 inches ginger root
  • 4-6 whole cloves garlic

JUST SHOOT IT!  You will feel instantly invigorated; I promise!  Shoot it even when you’re not sick.  When your throat is sore though, this shot will coat it and you will feel improvement within minutes.

Cucumber Beet

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 beet
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)

Simple Cucumber Love

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 lemon (peeled if  not organic)

Cucumber Apple

  • 2 stalks fennel
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 handful mint
  • 1 inch ginger root

Perfect Skin

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (I prefer yellow, but red or green work too!  Purple is not my favorite)

Operation Detox

  • 1 tomato
  • 5 spears asparagus
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon

Hangover Cure

  • 1 bunch dandelion greens
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)

Mango Salsa (my favorite “dinner” on a juice cleanse!)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 mango (pitted)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 jalapeno (discard seeds)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 lime (peeled if not organic)

Greens on Greens on Greens (my personal concoction)

  • 1 bunch celery (~10-11 stalks)
  • 1/2-1 bunch kale
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 2 inches ginger root

When all else fails, there is this awesome infographic from CrazySexyJuice.com to help guide new juicers on their own juice-creation journey.  Definitely check this website out; Kris Carr is amazing and she is a true inspiration to anyone looking to improve their health through nutrition.

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Again, please feel free to comment and tell me about your favorite juice concoctions and kitchen experiments!

Happy Juicing!

Planning Ahead: a Plant-based Plan

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Happy Tuesday everyone!  Has it really been 4 months since my last post?  I sincerely apologize; with a full time job and a full time class schedule, life can definitely get in the way of everything else sometimes.  And I won’t lie to you: these next four months are going to be even more hectic and insane than ever, so bear with me.  We will make it out alive; I promise!  

Classes officially began yesterday, though I was in and out of meetings last week as well.  Some exciting changes in my life since last we spoke:

  • I will finally be getting out of this horrendously-lit apartment at the beginning of February!  Goodbye outskirts, hello downtown!  I can’t wait to be in the heart of this great city and take part in all it has to offer!
  • I adopted a kitten!  What’s crazy is that I’m a self-proclaimed “dog-lover” to a fault, and one day at work my heart just told my head that this little guy was mine.  His name is Bran (after the character on Game of Thrones).  I figured since Bran Stark is in a wheelchair and my little one is missing a leg, they had a bit in common!  My Instagram feed (Khaleesi_Kate) is now all food/health photos and tons of pictures of Bran.  Hashtag “crazy cat lady”!

Okay, now to the good stuff!  Balancing work, school, and a life are going to be more challenging than ever in these next few months, and I know that in order to succeed, I need to make sure I make things like meals and shopping as organized as possible.  I created a meal plan for the week and hung the clipboard next to my stove.  Now I don’t have to stress about “What do I bring to campus for lunch today?” or “What the heck am I having for dinner?”  It only took me about a half hour to write it all down, and that made the shopping trip 100x easier.  With a few staples already in my kitchen, I managed to keep the bill under 30$… not bad it I do say so myself!

The menu for this morning included my hot lemon water (as always) and a kale-banana smoothie with the almond milk I made last night.  I’m a creature of habit, and I always know it’s going to be a good day when I am able to stick to my routine in the mornings.  Again, planning is key.  My morning routine looks something like this:

Stumble out of bed and wander blindly to the kitchen to turn on the stove and heat my water.  glance at my meal chart and see that a banana-kale smoothie is what’s happening this morning.  Wash 1000 mg Vitamin C and 1000 mg niacin down with a full glass of water while I pull out everything I will need from the fridge.  My counter looks something like this:

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Bran wanted to help photograph the food this morning.  He’s hiding in most of my pictures now, so be on the lookout!  As you can see, I’ve already cut up lemon slices, and everything has been prepared (I did chop the kale this morning though).  If you look in the right corner of the picture, you can see the edge of my clipboard hanging on the wall!  I sip my hot lemon water while checking emails and once I finish, I head to the kitchen to make breakfast.  If I make something like an oatmeal bake or roasted apples, I take that oven time to get my yoga on. This banana was not nearly as ripe as I prefer (the browner the better!) but the smoothie was still delicious and I always feel good about making a meal from ingredients I have prepared myself.  The jar of brown stuff in the back is almond meal.  If you remember my post about making almond milk (refresh your memory here)  I talk about making almond meal from the leftover almond “pulp”.  It’s quick, easy, and I added it to my kale-banana smoothie to up the fiber content, which is never a bad thing!  Feel free to omit this if you are using store-bought almond milk, since prices of almond meal at the grocery store are a bit outrageous.  

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1 ripe banana
3-4 leaves kale, chopped
2 tbsp almond meal (optional)
1 cup almond milk

To reiterate what I said in my previous post about almond milk, I can’t stress enough how easy and effortless this process is!  Yes, the almonds need to soak beforehand, but I did that while I was in class.  And the almond meal has to go in the oven for an hour or two… which I just read and did work for my classes while that was happening.  All in all, you probably only will spend about 10-15 minutes doing actual work.

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Today’s menu includes brown rice & broccoli for lunch, mashed sweet potatoes and steamed kale for dinner, and some carrots and hummus as a mid-day snack.  I’ll try and post as often as I can this semester, so let me know if there’s a certain health topic you want covered or an ingredient/recipe you’d like to see on here!

Wellness Wednesday: Blue

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Conflicted.  That pretty much sums up my entire Wednesday.  This morning, I got up to go for a run (after my hot lemon water and some stretching of course!).  I got less than a mile into my run before I turned around unexpectedly, deciding I just wasn’t feeling that particular trail.  So then I run all the way back to the beginning and set out in an entirely different direction, thinking that would solve everything.  It didn’t.  Over a mile into that route, that path wasn’t right either.  Exasperated with indecision, I ended up running over to the high school and doing laps around the football field until I was good and spent.  My pace was decent according to my Nike app, but my mentality wasn’t.

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Then came time to decide which delicious blue food recipe I was going to feature today, and again I was met with conflicting emotions and indecision.  Since only one “blue” food really exists in the natural food world (with the exception of some very rare blue potatoes), blueberries were the obvious food choice.  There’s no variety in the blue category, and I hate when I’m left without a choice!  Blueberries are super delicious, though.  But what to make with them?  I usually just eat them raw, or I add them to juice and use the pulp in popsicles.  I didn’t want to juice them since I was in too much of a hurry to really be able to preserve the pulp today, so I went for a smoothie.  I don’t have a specific recipe for this one, but basically a few (like 3 or 4) heaping handfuls of spinach went into my blender, followed by my pint of blueberries from the market and some silken tofu (about half a brick).  I added about a cup and a half of unsweetened almond milk and blended that sucker till it was creamy and totally liquid.

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Man was that just what the doctor ordered after an hour of running!  Feel free to add your own sweetener to this blend (agave, honey, stevia, etc.).  A lot of people don’ t think my smoothies or juices are sweet enough, but I personally am not huge on super-sweet concoctions (I understand I’m pretty much alone in this!).  Since my first juice fast in July 2011, my cravings for sugar have gone down significantly, and I don’t always use sweeteners. Currently, I don’t even have any type of sweeteners in my home.  Like I said though, a couple tablespoons of agave may be just the key to making this smoothie your new go-to breakfast concoction!

If you head over to my good friend Allison’s Allison in Wellness Land, you’ll find some rockin’ info about blueberry nutrition on top of another awesome blueberry recipe with only two ingredients!  Allison shows how to make Blueberry-Chia Jam, and it’s crazy good! Can’t get more simple/healthy/delicious than that!

Not every day is perfect.  I’m not always a 100% up-and-at-em, vegany power superhero (as some of my friends would put it).  Some days, I wanna say screw it, just like you do, crank up Alanis Morisette, and scream at every car I see on the road, even though I know they can’t hear me.  We all have those days. While I can’t say I got a whole lot of emotional satisfaction from today, I am able to reflect on the fact that despite my moodiness, I was able to run over five miles, contribute to a very satisfying inter-professional meeting at Case, and eat some very healthy meals.  Being able to see those accomplishments in print makes my day a bit more satisfying than I thought it was!

What do you do when you’re having an off day?  Are you able to see positive actions even in the midst of conflict and indecision?  Comment below and let me know how you get over your less-than-perfect moments.

Here’s to hoping tomorrow holds less conflict and more clarity.

Stay happy, stay healthy!

Wellness Wednesday: GREEN

 

ImageHappy Hump Day!  Honestly, Wednesdays are the Mondays of my life right now, since I work from Wednesday through Saturday.  That’s okay though, I won’t be bound to that schedule forever!  I kind of like having Tuesdays off right now.  Since most everyone is at work or school, I’m pretty much free to do as I please, traffic and line free.  Who can complain about that? I got a nice 3 mile run in today after work, too.  Can you spot the heart in the trees?

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On top of Hump Day, looks like it’s GREEN Wellness Wednesday, too! Make sure you head over to Allison in Wellnessland to get a killer kale pesto recipe this week and hear about her adventures with kale in the kitchen!  Okay so not only is this my favorite color, but it’s the color of most of my favorite foods!  What to choose?  There’s kale, broccoli, spinach, celery, cucumbers, chives, tomatillos, cilantro, parsley, avocados, artichokes…. I could be here all day people.  Each are delicious in their own right and each bring their own unique nutritional benefits to the table.   Anyone who knows me knows I am indecisive to a fault (don’t think you can fix me!) and won’t be surprised when I say I chose a veggie combo for you all to enjoy this week.  Hey, at least I’m consistent.

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1/2 jalapeno, de-seeded
1 lime
1 cucumber
1 mango
2 scallions
1 bunch cilantro

This recipe is probably my most favoritest juice of all time.  Yeah, FAVORITEST. Like, if there was a juice law that said this was the only juice allowed forever, I’d drink it all day every day and never complain about it. Ever.  It’s called mango salsa, and I’ve mentioned it on here several times, but it’s a drink that’s worth the extra attention.  It’s health benefits parallel it’s foodgasmic flavor (yep, I said it), making it a win-win.  You seriously CAN’T go wrong here people.  Unless you don’t like cilantro.  Which makes you a communist.  Meaning that YOU are the one that’s wrong, and not my precious juice.  Can you tell I really like cilantro?  How could you not, with all it’s amazing benefits? 

Did you know that cilantro is one of very few foods which actually bind to metals in the body and are able to carry them through the digestive tract to help our bodies get rid of them?  Pretty cool, huh? 

And oh, the jalapenos.  Capsaicin is what gives the pepper its spicy kick, and researchers have found that capsaicin releases endorphins. Maybe that’s why this drink makes me so happy.  Some studies are even in the works to study capsaicin’s effect on weight loss, but I’m not terribly concerned with that, and you shouldn’t be, either.  Here’s the way I see it: “I got so fat by eating vegetables” said no one ever. Does it really matter if something inside a vegetable speeds metabolism to weight loss?  Who cares! 

Cucumbers are another green item found in the mango salsa drink, contributing to most of the concoction’s bulk.  Something you might not know is that cucs contain about 20% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and the distribution of calcium.  Basically it’s your “injury prevention” nutrient, and cucumbers are full of it! 

Mangoes are not green by any means, but the limes in the juice definitely are!  Limes, on top of being delicious, carry almost 30% of your daily vitamin C in them.  Not too shabby! 

Add all these power foods together, and you will be ready to take on just about anything.  I guarantee it.  Please make sure you de-seed the jalapeno before throwing it through the juicer, though.  Oh, and wash your hands after touching the jalapeno.  Like right after you put it down.  Do not, I repeat, do not rub your eye with your jalapeno-y fingers while drinking your juice.  Not that that’s something I’ve ever done, but you know, it just sounds super painful.  Like, you might spill your delicious juice on your way to dive into your shower, fully clothed.  Again, not saying that actually happened to me last week, I’m just saying you should be careful…

Okay!  That about wraps up Wellness Wednesday! Stay well, stay happy!

And get your juice on!

Blogging For School

So I has an assignment in class this week: to present a topic in which pop culture ties to public health, and then to blog about said topic on the class website.  Well, obviously I chose going vegan, but in my post to the class’ website, I fear I may not have been as professional as graduate school may require.  I wrote in my own language, not unlike any post on here.  I’m posting my article below, so let me know what you think!  It’s entertaining, if anything!  Here’s to hoping my professor agrees with me!

You’re a what?  What’s a vegan? Is that some kind of weird new religion?     Until a few years ago, “vegan” was not in many people’s vocabulary.  Sure, we all know about vegetarians.  Vegans take their dietary restrictions to a whole other level, though.  Like vegetarians, they don’t eat meat, but they also don’t eat/use any products coming from an animal.  That means (among other things) no butter, milk, eggs, honey, cheese, yogurt, leather, furs, or even jello!   Diets like veganism and other phytonutrient-dense eating habits have become all the rage among celebrities within the past year or so.  Being a vegan myself, I opted to report on a topic close to home.  Go with what you know, right?  I became a vegan for my own reasons, though much of the public are becoming aware of such eating habits through pop culture icons. Famous vegans like Joaquin Phoenix, Ellen Degeneres, Bill Clinton, and Brad Pitt are bringing the vegan lifestyle to the masses, hailing it as the new “it” diet trend.  In doing this they are bringing plenty of attention to the the 0.5% of Americans already identifying themselves with the title.  Gwyneth Paltrow even released a cookbook of her favorite vegan recipes a few months ago.  Back in February of 2011, Oprah took a vegan challenge for one week, and encouraged her entire staff to join.  Of course, if Oprah does it, it must be the new “it” thing!  Whether these advocates prove the effectiveness of the vegan lifestyle, or the opposers expose chinks in the armor, one thing is certain: veganism and its health benefits have been made popular subject matter and common vocabulary in this country thanks to media intervention.

Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Couples Retreat)was voted “Sexiest Vegan of 2013” by PETA, bringing celebrity status to their cause and making healthy eating “sexy” in one swift move.  With celebs like Carrie Underwood, Anne Hathaway, and Casey Afleck backing veganism, who wouldn’t want to hop on the band wagon?  The media uses their images as well as provocative images of others to draw people in and listen to the vegan hype.  What girl doesn’t swoon at the image of a shirtless Brad Pitt?  What?  He’s vegan?  Where do I sign up?  While Kristen admits her choice was based more on health focuses than animal cruelty concerns, PETA is still able to get their message to the masses with her indirect support for their cause.

Even celebrities such as Steve-O from the popular Jackass television show and films can be found in internet pop-up ads nowadays, directing users to websites exposing harsh realities of factory farm procedures in an attempt to guide them towards a diet consisting of less animal products.  The film Vegucated also exposes viewers to factory farm techniques in an attempt to promote veganism, and does so using humor and a fun premise to lure in viewers.

Okay, so we’ve got celebrity endorsement.  Now it’s time to put some content behind those famous smiles.  You see the pretty, successful famous people getting on board, and you’re ready, too, but you need a little more information.  Documentaries surfacing within the last few years such as “Forks Over Knives”, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, and “Hungry For Change” have become wickedly popular as they help spread the popularity of plant-based diets to the public through interviewing famous researchers such as T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  They, among other medical professionals, explain the medicinal benefits of a vegan (or mostly vegan) diet.  They hail a vegan diet’s ability to halt and even reverse coronary artery disease, startling evidence since the CDC reports a whopping 25% of Americans meet their demise each year in the form of heart disease and coronary heart disease accounting for over half of those deaths.  With this information being delivered through popular media outlets, lead researchers in the field of nutrition such as biochemist T. Colin Campbell gain access to a valuable platform to deliver their critical research to a large population. They are able to advocate for dietary change as a highly effective form of preventive medicine, and with celebrities endorsing health, people are eager to listen.

Is going vegan truly the future we all should be heading towards, or just the next in a long line of celebrity fad diets?  That’s not tremendously important.  What is important is that celebrity endorsement of a plant-based diet has allowed researchers a platform to deliver pertinent and valuable information about food production and health concerns to the masses.  Now that eating healthy is sexy (thank you shirtless Brad Pitt and bikini-clad Olivia Wilde) the population is becoming more engrossed in where their food is actually coming from and how to make better choices when it comes to fueling their bodies.

 

Back to School: Morning Routines & Juice

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Loving this chill in the air!  Autumn is on its way and my apartment smells FANTASTIC with all these Autumn-y additions!  I bought cloves and squash yesterday and got so excited!  Pumpkin smoothies are just around the corner!  Currently, my entire apartment is smelling like the vegetable stock I’ve got on the stove, and it’s making my mouth water.  If you haven’t seen my post on making vegetable stock, check it out here.  It is so simple and easy, and if you don’t have juicer pulp, you can always save up your kitchen scraps in an airtight container and use those!  That’s what I did today.  I made ratatouille last week as well as some vegetable soup, and had plenty of scraps to make stock this morning.  I also used basil, rosemary, and thyme from my herb garden.  I may never wash my hands again; they always smell so divine after picking fresh herbs! 

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I’ve started to get into a morning routine now that classes have resumed.  For those of you who don’t know, I am in graduate school at Case Western Reserve University pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health.  I like to wake up, shuffle into the kitchen to put the teapot on the stove, and drink a nice, hot glass of water with a lemon wedge squeezed in.  I find that if I do that before anything else, even breakfast or a workout, it really makes me feel invigorated and ready to start the day!  After my lemon water is downed and I’m caught up on important things like Facebook and Pinterest news, I do a 30-50 minute yoga routine.  My favorite place to find at-home yoga routines is here.  All the routines are free, and yoga is my way of creating an oasis in what I know is going to be a crazy day!  Then it’s juice time.

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My juice today was very reflective of this mildly chilly weather.  I also used other vegetable scraps to make it, like broccoli, zucchini, and tomato.  To add a bit of sweet, I juiced the apple cores I saved from a couple of apples I ate yesterday.  Pretty yummy and not too sweet, and very green!  Not to mention, the perfect fuel for my studies!

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For those of you resuming classes, may the curve be ever in your favor!  For everyone else, keep doing what you’re doing!  Just because the weather is changing doesn’t mean it’s time to slack on your health!

Stay healthy, and stay HAPPY!