Raw Food Detox

Raw Food Detox

Today is the fifth day of my July Raw Food Challenge. I have eaten a raw food diet before for a short period of time. The biggest difference I see this time around are the detox symptoms. I did lose weight this week (4.6 lbs) but parts of my body are covered in red rashes. Apparently, it’s a common symptom  that I never experienced before. I had fatigue and headaches in the past but watching myself breakout like this has been jarring. I think because of my psoriasis the thought of my body being covered in something I can’t control unnerves me.

It doesn’t mean I will stop. I am telling myself that it will go away in a matter of days. I just have to wait it out. I am holding onto the benefits and staying excited about my results at the end of the month.

Your turn:

Have you ever experienced any detox symptoms? If so, how did you cope with it?

Meatless Mondays: Creamy Raw Tomato Soup and Avocado Pesto Butternut Squash Noodles

Meatless Mondays: Creamy Raw Tomato Soup and Avocado Pesto Butternut Squash Noodles

Today is Day 2 of my raw vegan challenge for the month of January. It was surprisingly easy. I enjoyed mangoes, Go Raw bars, raw slaw and a satisfying green smoothie Hubby brought me home on a break.

For dinner tonight, I decided to make a creamy raw tomato soup and avocado pesto butternut squash noodles. I have made pesto before (vegan but never raw) so I won’t post the recipe but the soup is new.

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I am glad I started off this challenge with something besides a salad. Raw food can be so much more interesting.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Six small tomatoes
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Avocado
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Garlic or Herbs ( I used garlic powder)
  • Cherry tomatoes

Chop tomatoes, peel avocado and blend all ingredients together. I garnished the soup with sliced cherry tomatoes.

We both loved the soup! I can’t wait to try another raw soup this month. Thanks to lovingitvegan.com for the recipe!

31 Days Raw

31 Days Raw

In July, I am embracing a raw vegan diet which is fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. I have tried it before but could never make it stick long-term. I am not interested in adopting it long-term but hoping this challenge will springboard me into incorporating more raw foods. Over the past year, I realized I depend on vegan processed food a bit too much. That has been harder to let go of than meat and dairy by far.

This past week, I lost 2.8 lbs. I still ate a mixture of raw, cooked and processed food. And it was all great–the vegetarian festival, the vegan potluck with friends and our regular meals at home.

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At the veg fest this past weekend

However, I know if I don’t cut back on processed foods I may never heal the conditions I sought to in the first place. I am excited to see what this month brings–one raw meal at a time.

Your turn:

Have you ever tried a raw vegan diet? If so, what did you think?

Meatless Mondays: Legume Kitchen and Bar

Meatless Mondays: Legume Kitchen and Bar

After speaking to a group of young writers, hubby and I visited Legume Kitchen and Bar in Fredericksburg, VA. We had meant to visit on Valentine’s Day but I wasn’t feeling well. We always meant to make the trip and since the restaurant was only 15 minutes away from the library, it was a perfect time to visit!

Although Legume isn’t a vegan restaurant, they had plenty of plant-based options available. We started off our meal with vegan nachos. For my entree, I ordered the Meatless Ball Sandwich and a side salad. It was a hearty sandwich made with garbanzo bean fritters, marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella. My husband ordered the coconut-green curry rice noodles meal with shitake mushrooms, tofu and bok choy.  We ordered dessert, too: dark chocolate cake with rasberry torte and for him, a mango sorbet. Even though the chocolate cake wasn’t my favorite, I definitely indulged in a few bites. Everything was well-made and I am planning a trip back to Legume in the very near future.

Keep Going

Keep Going

 

On Saturday, I went to a women’s health fair where the focus was on physical and mental health. There was a plethora of great advice on how often to keep active (150 minutes a week), the importance of an accountability partner, fitness activities such as Zumba, walking or kickboxing and the health benefits of incorporating more plant-based and unprocessed food into your diet. I loved that it was from the perspectives of a nurse, Destinee King and a holisitic wellness coach, Yvette Leverette. What better way to bring traditional and alternative methods together?

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Pictured from left to right: Tyrell Clayton, Jamia Mills, Yvette Leverette and Destinee King

What was particularly impactful for me was Tyrell Clayton and Jamia Mills’ (Heart to Heart Mental Health Services– www.heart2heartva.com) presentation about the importance of taking care of your mental health. I especially loved how they stressed treatment measures by asking us if we had cancer, would we wait to get help? Would we put it off, hoping it would go away? Then why do we do dare do that with depression and anxiety disorders? These conditions have the potential to spiral into something else entirely that could threaten not only the quality of our life but our very life. They also outlined the 8 dimensions of wellness and spoke about how mental health is the origin of everything (positive and negative).  I was moved that I was hearing about treatment being a fully integrative approach from a clinical social worker, a young Black man open to talking about his experiences on his mental health journey. Jamia’s perspective and story was valuable, too as women are 40% more likely to develop depression.

After leaving the fair, I had many thoughts come up (some influenced by the event and others were a reflection of what’s going on with me) and I want to share them here:

Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.

Keep going to the events (sometimes you can’t make it but you know what I mean).

Keep educating yourself.

Keep supporting others’ events.

Keep buying others’ books and products.

Keep writing.

Keep exercising–even if it’s marching in place or dancing around the living room like a maniac.

Keep praying.

Keep trusting that you will find your place.

Keep confiding in trustworthy people.

Keep working at your relationship, marriage, friendships..even if you have to put your pride aside to ask something as simple as…”What happened?”

Keep reading.

Keep taking classes.

Keep getting help whenever you need it and keep giving whenever you can.

Keep your ears open even if you have to close your mouth.

Keep shouting..there’s a place for silence and there is a place for a VOICE.

Be open to whatever this world has for you….it will let you down, lift you up and teach you over and over again until you become the lesson.

Rediscovering the Old and Enjoying the New

Rediscovering the Old and Enjoying the New

Thursday wellness update time! This past week I lost 1.2lbs which felt amazing to me. I worked hard even when I slipped up and ate too much on some days. There were many reasons why this week felt amazing to me. For one, I rediscovered some belly dance videos on YouTube I used to do several years ago featuring the Bellydance Twins Veena and Neena. I spent many hours doing their workouts and learning routines which led to classes I eventually took years later. I had a ball doing their intense Arms & Abs video. It reminded me how much is available for me to do even when we don’t make it to the gym.

Veena and Neena

Another reason is that I just attended a networking event for women at an awesome juice bar this evening. I spent the evening learning about how to brand yourself led by a photographer and business coach. Their presentation was dynamic and interactive. We even got a chance to learn about the origin story of Ginger Juice, the venue where the event was held. It was incredibly encouraging to listen to this woman recount how she left the corporate world to take the risk to found a business where she is contributing to the health of her community and spending more time with her children.

I am grateful for rediscovering old joys and having the chance to surround myself with new, enterprising women.

Your turn:

Have you revisited anything you used to love doing lately? Or had any new experiences lately? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Meatless Mondays: Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing

Meatless Mondays: Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing

The days are getting longer and hotter and it’s the perfect time to try new salads. I found this recipe at the minimalistbaker.com. I was especially excited to try making another salad dressing. The fact that it includes oranges made me even more curious. Instead of mixed greens, I chose spinach leaves. I also used the sweet Cara Cara oranges in the dressing and to adorn my plate. The sweetener brand used was Truvia. We loved the combination of sweet and savory on the plate and will definitely try again!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
SALAD
  • 5-6 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (red or white)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or canned corn
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (seasoned with equal pinches sea salt, cumin, chili, + garlic powder)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped or torn
DRESSING
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 large lime, juiced (~4 Tbsp)
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1-2 tsp sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, cane sugar, etc.)
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder (or sub extra hot sauce or chipotle powder)
  • Healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper
  • optional: 1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro
  • 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

Instructions

  1. Begin preparing quinoa first by thoroughly rinsing 1/2 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer then bringing to a boil with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare salad ingredients by chopping vegetables, segmenting orange, and warming black beans and seasoning with salt, cumin, chili and garlic powder.
  3. Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more hot sauce, orange juice and salt. TIP: if you prefer a vinaigrette, leave out the avocado and simply whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Either plate salad and serve with dressing on the side, or toss with dressing before serving. Pairs well with salsa, fresh lime juice and tortilla chips.
  5. Leftovers keep for up to a few days, though best when fresh.

 

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli and Hot Italian “Sausage”

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli and Hot Italian “Sausage”

I had a full day and when I stopped over at Whole Foods for lunch. While I was shopping, I saw Beyond Meat has started selling a few flavors of their “sausage”. I also spied an almond milk, soy an dairy-free version of ravioli by Kite Hill. I chose the Hot Italian flavor of the sausage and the spinach and ricotta for the ravioli. When I ate dairy products, cheese was one of my favorites so I have always been willing to explore the alternatives. Most brands get it wrong but I love what Kite Hill did with their nut cheese filling. The consistency and the taste were better than I expected. Tonight, I kept it simple. I boiled the ravioli and cooked the Beyond Meat sausages on a stick-free pan. I added some tomato sauce and basil and I was satisfied. As much as I love discovering new recipes, some nights call for discovering new products to cook quickly and have the rest of the night to yourself.

Meatless Mondays: Easy Vegan Taco Bake

Meatless  Mondays: Easy Vegan Taco Bake

In our effort to do more gluten-free vegan dishes, I chose a vegan taco bake dish from buildyourbite.com. It was a relatively easy recipe that also did not use oil which I am also trying to get away from cooking with so often. Outside of the flavor of the dish, squeezing half a lime over it provided just the right amount of acid. I am so glad the recipe called for it. I would definitely bring this to our next vegan potluck. We also ate some broccoli to make sure we got our greens in tonight. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 large bag of tortilla chips (13 oz)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 of a lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups of salsa
  • sliced lime, for serving

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Directions

  1. In a bowl, add drained black beans, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and the juice of ½ of a lime
  2. Stir ingredients until well combined
  3. Get out a 9 X 13 casserole dish and lay down an even layer of tortilla chips
  4. Spoon evenly half of the bean mixture over the tortilla chips
  5. Cover with ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
  6. Add 1 cup of salsa, spreading out evenly
  7. Repeat steps of chips, beans, nutritional yeast, and salsa
  8. Top with remaining tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until browned
  10. Serve hot with fresh lime juice squeezed on top
  11. Be sure to reheat any leftovers in the oven for best results

This was such a life-saver tonight as allergies are currently sapping my energy. I am going to have to look into more recipes from buildyourbite.com.