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!

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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!

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!

Wellness Wednesday: YELLOW!

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I was approached by fellow health blogger Allison In Wellness Land a few weeks ago about participating in a weekly posting called “Wellness Wednesdays”.  The goal is to highlight a different colored food each week in an attempt to promote the great advice to “eat a rainbow”!  Well, obviously I was on board, but if you notice, today is definitely NOT Wednesday, and last time I checked, the rainbow starts with red.  Okay, so I’m a few weeks late to the party, which accounts for the fact that Yellow is now the highlighted color of the week!  As for my tardiness, that’s all on me.  I woke up Wednesday fully prepared to talk all about the healthy benefits of lemons and lemon water as a part of a daily morning routine, but that clearly didn’t happen.  I received some unfortunate news about an old friend yesterday, and as a result was very distracted. 

Things work out, though.  This morning, I woke up feeling slightly off, and after being at work a mere 2 hours, a headache, clogged sinuses, and a wicked sore throat were threatening to derail me.  School was all but unbearable as I struggled to remain conscious during a 3 hour lecture on disease outbreak and transmission.  By 6 pm, my day was done and I was finally able to focus on getting over this horrendous cold.  

An old boyfriend once told me that the best way to beat a nasty bug like this is to “sweat it out”, and what better way to do so than to sweat this cold out in the sweatshirt he left at my place?  Big, baggy, comfy, and definitely got me feeling like a sauna. 

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Yeah, I may be sick as a dog but I’m still rockin’ the trophy hoodie, don’t deny it! I bet you’re wondering how yellow food plays a role in this.  Well, I’ll tell you!  My go-to flu buster juice just happens to be lemons, garlic cloves, and ginger root, all three of which are very yellow foods with very healing properties!  Mix in some cayenne pepper, and my throat feels so much better.

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I’ve also taken to nibbling on some raw yellow onion, which has notorious anti-inflammatory properties as well as plenty of B6. They are also alliums, which means that yellow onions (as well as the raw garlic I was juicing) are natural antibacterials and anti-fungal foods.  

Hippocrates once said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  By eating a rainbow, we can do just that, and expose our bodies to a plethora of phytonutrients and vitamins essential to thriving health and a flourishing life! 

Stay happy, stay healthy, and stay juicing!

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!

Clean Eating Cleanse Wrap Up: Eating Clean On The Go

All right!  The 10 day Clean Eating Cleanse ended yesterday, and for the last four days of it, I was on the road.  No kitchen and no farmer’s market-stuffed fridge to grab meals from.  How in the heck did I do it?  

Well, I made sure I stayed plenty hydrated.

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I also went to fresh-friendly places, like Mongolian BBQ!  I picked out all fresh veggies like snap peas and broccoli and sprouts, and had the grill masters whip up a delicious stir-fry of vegetables!

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I also made sure to get my work out in!  Running and lifting with old friends was the perfect way to switch up my routine!  A couple runs at the park, and of course a stop by Planet Fitness to get my Lunk on!

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I spent quite a lot of time in the car this weekend as well, and my favorite healthy “fast food” is Chipotle!  I wasn’t mad about it!  Black beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes, salsa, and a big hunk of guacamole! yummmmmmmm.

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I can’t tell you how refreshed I feel after 10 days of unprocessed, homemade meals.  Yes, it was a bit more time-consuming, but I’d do it again in a heatbeat!  Our bodies need to be nourished, and the closer we can get to natural, fresh, REAL ingredients, the better.  As I found out this weekend, those foods can even be found on the go.  I even was able to get fresh juice at a Jamba Juice at the mall!  I can’t wait to incorporate these delicious whole-food recipes into my regular meal plans, and continue experimenting with more!

Day 6- Clean Eating Cleanse: Stuffed Green Peppers

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What?  No post yesterday?  I know, I’m sorry!  Yesterday was an absolute whirlwind, and I did not stop moving until about 11 o’ clock last night.  It was a kitchen scrub-down kind of day, so I mainly juiced yesterday and focused on the cleaning to be done.  I did get in a solid 3 mile run though, so not too shabby!

Tonight however, I did get into the kitchen to make a little magic!  I diced all my veggies and, after nearly losing a thumb, got down to business and cranked out some KILLER stuffed green peppers! Just to be clear, this wasn’t “mama’s home cooking” stuffed green peppers.  I don’t know how your mama made it, but mine threw in plenty of beef, cream of mushroom soup, and white rice.  I don’t think I have any of those ingredients in my kitchen right now.  I’m on a CLEAN EATING CLEANSE for crying out loud!  I did the next best thing, though.  Quinoa, cooked in homemade vegetable broth.  Garlic, onions, celery, and chopped kale.  Plenty of cumin and just a teeny bit of nutritional yeast.  Oh yeah, now we’re in business.  Tasty AND clean-eating approved!

Side note* It makes things a hell of a lot easier if you prep your veggies in advance!

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Stuffed Green Peppers (makes 10 servings)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes cut in half + ½ cup vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • A few healthy shakes of cayenne pepper (only if you want it spicy!)
  • ¾ cups quinoa, dry
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 5 green peppers, sliced lengthwise & seeds removed

Cook your quinoa in the vegetable broth and set aside.

Sauté the onion, garlic, and celery for about 5 minutes, and then throw your diced tomatoes and spices into the mix.

Add in your kale, and stir until kale is wilted.  Then throw your nutritional yeast, quinoa & black beans into the mix! Simmer for 10 minutes.  (At this point, if the whole mixture seems a little dry, add an extra quarter cup of vegetable broth to the mixture.)

Preheat the oven to 350 while your mixture is simmering.  It is at this point that you want to add the 3 vine-ripened tomatoes and ½ cup vegetable broth to your Ninja (or blender) and puree the mixture.  Pour contents out onto baking sheet and spread around evenly.

Your pot on the oven should be done simmering by now. Remove from heat and begin stuffing your peppers!  Fill each pepper with a heaping amount of the quinoa/veggie mixture.  I filled 5 peppers (10 halves) with this amount.  Place each pepper onto the baking sheet, on top of the tomato puree.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Enjoy the hell out of your amazing dinner and be proud you made it from scratch!

Not only was my dinner tonight totally healthy (seriously, name ONE thing in this recipe that isn’t good for you!), it was made using all locally harvested ingredients! Minus the canned black beans. It truly was a win-win situation tonight in my kitchen, and the veggie scraps were all thrown into Joey, my trusty juicer, along with a couple apples, to create the perfect cleansing juice!  Now, some of you are probably wondering why the hell am I making 10 servings of this meal when I live alone!  Well, one possibility is that I was extremely hungry… okay, even I couldn’t eat that much, no matter how ravenous I was.  So the only logical explanation is… yep, you guessed it!  I’m freezing the leftover peppers in individual serving sizes so I can have a quick and easy meal on-the-go whenever I want!  Winner winner chicken vegan dinner!

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Green Juice made from kitchen leftovers:
1/2 tomato
2 stalks celery
3 small apples
1 cucumber
1/3 zucchini
2″ ginger
1/2 lemon
3 kale leaves

I would absolutely recommend a clean eating challenge to anyone looking to look good, feel healthy, and just totally RADIATE awesomeness!  I can’t tell you how great I feel, and how empowered I am by cooking from scratch!  Making something out of nothing is a thing of beauty, and it’s just so dang satisfying!  I will admit, tomorrow will be a tricky day since I will be on the road straight after work heading for Toledo.  Eating clean on the road is hard, and fast food or even eating out in general is not my favorite activity.  I may do a post from the road, though, so be on the lookout!

Day 4- Clean Eating Cleanse: Roasted Cabbage and Fresh Salad

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I have to say, one thing I love about a fridge stocked with whole foods is the versatility I have with meals.  Combinations, portion sizes, and prep time are all totally in my control.  Sometimes, I get home and I’m ready to take on that intimidating new ethnic recipe I’ve wanted to try.  Other times, I want to branch out on my own and do a little experimentation.  And other other times like tonight, I just want something fast, light, and satisfying. Cooking from scratch means the fridge is always full, and the possibilities are truly endless.  While I did plan on tackling a particularly interesting recipe tonight, I came home from work mentally exhausted, and was able to throw together a dinner that was much more suited to my mood. 

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Roasted cabbage is something literally ANYONE can cook.  All I did was pre-heat the oven to 375 and toss a couple hunks of cabbage in.  I lightly drizzled some olive oil, and completed the dish with some garlic and onion powder, pepper, and basil.  Pop those suckers in the oven for a half hour and you’re in business!

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I also threw together a salad with produce from my trip to the farmer’s market last Sunday.  Chopped romaine, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, & pepitas with a little balsamic drizzled on.  That’s the stuff.

All in all, dinner took about a 20 minutes to prep (the cabbage obviously took a little longer than that to cook, but prep time was super short!).  Yes, my salad WAS prepared in a pot.  I just threw all my dishes in the dishwasher and had to improvise!  Still tasted amazing though! 

I know foods I post sometimes have lengthy prep times, or seem complicated to reproduce, but hopefully today’s post proves to you that eating a clean, unprocessed diet can be both healthy AND simple! Food is either as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, and tonight I ate a clean, vegan, totally unprocessed meal that I was able to enjoy less than 40 minutes after walking in the door after a long, crazy day of work. 

What healthy meals do you prepare when you’re short on time?