Three Super Easy Kid Approved Nut-Free DIY Milks

Healthier alternatives to milk are a huge deal right now. You can find several non-dairy alternatives to milk at any given grocery store! It’s a wonderful thing!

Why not REAL milk?

Cow’s milk is breast milk to grow baby cows into two-ton animals, It was never originally intended to be consumed by humans. I believe cutting dairy is one of the most important things people can do to feel better. It’s life changing! This article has more reasons why you should cut dairy, and it links to several more within it. In our own family, this has been the #1 biggest success story for each one of us, as is the case in many people’s homes! Maybe even yours! 

And I wish we could all just go to the store and grab a carton of milk alternative and call it a day. But unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect system. These alternatives still contain many questionable added toxic ingredients. 

I’ll briefly list them here…

 

GMOs

Processed oils

Carrageenan

Synthetic Vitamins

Added Sugar

Gums and Gelatins

 

These ingredients can have highly adverse effects on your gut over time.

But is making alternative milks yourself too much work?

Yes it is one extra thing you have to do. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you about that, it does take additional effort, and often I do wish I didn’t have to do ONE MORE THING! So I give myself grace. I will allow store-bought milks into the house, if you find them non-gmo and organic and purchase unsweetened versions – hey, there are ways to make that ingredients list look a little less offensive. So give yourself some grace.

But know this – the TINY bit of extra effort is so worth it. YOU are worth it! Your HEALTH is worth it! Never reach for the junk just because it’s “easy”. Show your body The respect it deserves.

But ultimately, the healthiest way to ensure you’re getting a good clean version of a milk alternative is to do it yourself.

Honestly, you can make “milk” out of anything. Blend it with water… it will probably turn creamy white…and there you have it. Crazy, right? It seems like the most popular “milks” are almond, soy, and coconut. We won’t dive into why one may be better than another, everyone has a preference.

But I typically choose a nut-free “milk” for myself and my family, especially for my kiddos.

So without further ado, these are my three current favorite milk DIYs! What makes these three even better, is that they’re safe for little toddlers! A great way to keep them hydrated and provide a little nutrient boost in the meantime.

 

Hemp Milk

  • 1/4 c raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 24oz filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup or a few drops of stevia (raw pure stevia, NOT Truvia or other store brand alternative)

Blend all ingredients together for about 30 seconds in a high-speed blender. Strain the seed pulp out with a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Store in refrigerator – some sources say it’s good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, I wouldn’t know because we always use it up in less time than that. Ha! But when you take it out of the fridge, give it a good shake before pouring.

Honestly, I usually just blend the hemp seeds and water, and that’s it! The other ingredients are just for fun, or if you need the extra sweetener. Hemp does have a strong seedy flavor. This recipe is awesome, and I use it so very often for most of my non-dairy needs. And it’s kid-safe! That’s the best part.

Hemp packs a big nutritional punch. They’re actually an excellent source of Omega 3s, and essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, folate, even B vitamins!… Hemp will ALSO probably promote good healthy bowel movements in your kids – just saying! But if you have a problem with this in your home, cutting out dairy may be your savior. That was the GAME CHANGER in our home, seriously.

Great for: baking, cooking, drinking, cereals, even in coffee and tea! Can be heated. 

Oat Milk

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1.5-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener or pitted dates), to taste
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt (enhances flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional, but nice)

This recipe is from Oh She Glows, Homemade Oat Milk, Easy fast cheap. This is my favorite recipe, and I love Angela Lidden’s blog and cookbooks and all things “Oh She Glows”, so I’ll promote her any day!

Great for:  pretty much anything, but *Do not heat oat milk if you want it to stay liquid! It will goop up. 

 

Banana Milk

Literally, all this recipe is, is a ripe spotted banana and water.

1 Banana (quite ripe) per 8-10 oz of water, and blend in a high-speed blender. DONE.

This recipe is perfectly delicious poured over oatmeal or dry cereal. It’s also great to give to your toddler in a cup! A great way to sweeten the deal when keeping busy little ones hydrated. It obviously has a rich banana flavor, so not everyone will adore it as much as we do, but it’s seriously an awesome alternative for many things.

 

What is your favorite milk alternative?

Let me know in the comments below!

susan-blog-signature

 

Continue Reading

Inspiring Real Wellness

Restoring the day. What does that look like? Real total wellness, what does that look like? It’s a journey, right? An intensely personal one, at that!

When I started this blog, I was toying around with making it a food blog for plant-based lifestyles. I follow several of those and I refer to them often. There’s always a need for good resources like that, always! And that may become a reality in the future as I grow.  But Restoring the Day is more about realizing and supporting our quest for restoring real wellness. Creating a healthy, safe space from which we can live and thrive and benefit others! Real wellness encompasses so much more than just healthy eating. 

When looking at true, real wellness we have to look at the food we eat, the environment we live in, the people we surround ourselves with, our self-talk, our spiritual health, our physical activity, emotional health… we could go on! And then of course within those categories, whatever activities we partake in to flesh this wellness thing out in real life is where we start to see results.

Actively CREATE Your Healthy Space

If you’re like me, I need consistent encouragement and inspiration to keep fighting for my wellness. Let’s face it, our environments are not aways a healthy place. We have to actively create that healthy space, and sometimes that takes some hard work and discipline. But we know it can be fun. We love it! Right? We love how we feel when we take good care of ourselves and make the better choices.

But how do we keep that momentum going the next day and the next when it’s so easy to give up and give in? (I say this in total realism!) For me, the key is staying inspired. We need to support one another, surround ourselves with encouraging people, things, and situations so that when life inevitably gets tough, we are well enough to stand up to it. Support slower healthier living that encompasses more than diet, also stepping into the mind and emotions, our environment and our relationships. I think this is total wellness.

I want to inspire all of us to bridge the gap of all these diets and wellness fads, to cut through the clutter of all of this “advice” available to us, and just remind us all to “restore the day” as best we can to peaceful, compassionate, healthy living. To bring life back to being as close to the earth as we safely can.

What did “the day” used to look like? What should it look like? Well, this is not an ideal world –  but don’t you think that in an ideal world, we would be touching the ground a little more often? We would be more active, we would eat better foods, and yes, we would be less anxious and less busy?

No one can argue that the closer we stay to nature, the healthier we would be. We live in a world where nearly everything we do is artificial. We live in apartment highrises instead of in huts on the ground; maybe we sleep on multi-thousand dollar mattresses, we work out on treadmills for heaven’s sake! We drive cars to our workplaces where we sit within four walls and communicate with one another through wired (and wireless) devices. A bit odd, when you think about it, right!? 

 

We may never truthfully know which diet or wellness modality is the absolute healthiest on the planet. And I am not in a place to suggest that one is, over another (although I’ll cheer for plants all the way!) I’ll leave that to those more educated than I am. 

But as we learn more about how we can create that safe space for wellness in our lives, we talk about practical tips and the benefits of each, let’s remember to embrace our wellness journey as our own, tune out the external noise, and create our own journey.

susan-blog-signature

 

 

Continue Reading

Family Friendly Natural Cold & Flu Remedies + DIY pedialyte drink

It’s no secret that winter in MN can be a big old germ pot. And to be quite honest, for us moms of young ones, living here from January through March can be downright miserable. I chatter back and forth with family and friends about how wonderful it would be to escape this part of the year altogether and head south for a few months. Enough people do! Maybe someday, eh? But in the meantime, let’s talk about surviving and thriving the cold season.

We held out for a long time this year without catching any colds at all, even when those around us were picking up viruses! I was keeping my fingers crossed. I wish we could report we have stayed virus free all season, but that is simply not the case – one sorry day, it happened. Papa came home from work with a cold. At least, I think that’s how it happened…. (sorry, hubby, no one is blaming you.)

I feel silly, but I often have to remind myself how to treat viruses. This year when the kids came down with their first cold, I stood there in shock like “uhhh what do I do, again?”So I started repacking my brain with good holistic tips and tricks. And remembering back to my mom’s good old fashioned go-to’s.

fruits and flowersEating a diet full of whole foods, as unprocessed as possible, is, of course going to be our best defense in keeping our immune systems armed and ready. So before we go any further,  we need to all start here. 

I personally have been able to kick each set of viruses (we are now on round three in our household, regrettably, as are many other families I know!) within 24 hours each time, so I’d like to be able to attribute much of that to this plant based lifestyle! In the past, if I was near a virus, I expected to come down with it myself within a day or two. So this is a HUGE turnaround for me, and I’m certainly not complaining. I’ve never had this good of an immune system. That being said, I’ll be sure to let you know if I just jinxed myself!

Why not just reach for the Tylenol and Nyquil? I think it’s important for us all, especially mothers, to self-educate on why we may not want to be ingesting these drugs. But without getting into that, my biggest problem with modern western medicine is that we seem to have this mindset that the body doesn’t know what it’s doing and that we need to help it do EVERYTHING by medicating it. This is simply untrue. Our bodies are brilliantly created and know how to take care of self better than we could ever imagine. Of course, having OTC drugs and clinics available to us is a wonderful safety net we wouldn’t want to be without, but for most of us who are generally healthy, we need to just trust our bodies and feel confident using natural remedies.

If you’re like me and are looking for some extra ideas on treating common viruses naturally at home, I hope you enjoy this post! As always, don’t take my ideas as professional advice, and if the virus worsens, make sure you see a doctor. Do I need to put that disclaimer in there? Probably safe to do so.

Treating the Common Cold/Fever

A mother’s back rub, snuggles, and loving touch gives the child (or anyone!) the confidence they need to be able to bravely endure through the virus and let their body do its work. Remind your children what their body is doing what it knows best how to do to help them recover! Kid’s Health has this great explanation of a fever that I used to coach my son through understanding what a fever is and how it helps him.

And when the sick one is myself or my husband, going out of our way to show kindness, bring water or a snack, are great ways to keep showing love. The ill person’s energy will lift naturally when shown love and affection. Easier said than done, to remain the cheerful caregiver – the very thought of someone being sick and having to stay home just sounds so inconvenient, doesn’t it!? But, I have to adjust my focus, put down my to-do list and be extra intentional. Cliche as it may sound, I believe a body can heal faster with love.

Here are my other favorite remedies. Oh! And as always, they’re all Vegan-friendly!

  • Mama’s massages. A little back rub, neck rub, or gentle back scratch can make a world of difference. I wish someone STILL did this for me whenever I felt sick!
  • Oil of oregano, essential oil, is highly effective in kicking a virus to the curb! We’ve had enormous success with it. There’s controversy on the best way to use this and whether or not to use it around children, but I’ve found that a single drop mixed in some shea butter and applied a couple times a day to the feet can greatly reduce cold fever or flu symptoms. It has tremendously worked for all of us! But again, never use my ideas as medical advice and know that I am not a doctor or medical professional. Also note that I use very safe, pure essential oils, and be advised that Oregano is very potent and should never be applied to the skin directly, especially on children.
  • Thieves oil, essential oil. This is another oil that can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the bottoms of the feet, in very small amounts. It packs an immune boosting punch!
  • Warm baths with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and lavender oil are so soothing, and safe for kids and adults alike. Some say this will “draw out” a fever. I do not know for sure, but it does seem to work. I’ve used this method regularly! One cup of ACV in a shallow bath with a couple drops of lavender and not only does it feel great, there’s been a significant decrease in body temperature following, and a lovely night’s sleep!
  • Sleeeeeeping & staying in bed can’t be over-rated! But hang out with them and keep them company best you can.
  • Brothy veggie soups with fresh onion and garlic. Emphasis on the onion and garlic being fresh and organic, I’ve made some mighty tasty vegetable broths with these, and the stems and ends of organic carrots, celery, and mushrooms! Oh, they are so delicious, nutritious, hydrating, and pleasantly easy on upset tummies.
  • Diluted fruit juice or squeezed berries and a dash of sea salt in water can help replace electrolytes and be a fabulous replacement for things like Pedialyte drinks, which have added ingredients we don’t need in our bodies! I use this recipe for a cold, rehydrating drink! (I also use this or a similar one post-cardio workout to replenish electrolytes!) And go ahead and eat the thawed out berries after you’ve finished the drink! Mmmm!
    • A mason jar or glass of pure clean water, 8-10 oz
    • 1/2 cup frozen berries, blueberries or frozen mixed berries are our favorite
    • 1/2 to 1 Tbs pure maple syrup (or <Tbs organic cane sugar)
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt (or liquid trace minerals)

 

Re-boosting Immunity

  • Probiotic drinks like kombucha or water kefir can be very beneficial for the immune system! Not to mention a great way to get extra fluids in! Healing begins in the gut!
  • Green & red smoothies. My favorite recipes contain a banana, spinach or kale, a raw greens powder, and fresh or frozen berries! This is our go to.
  • Ginger, onion, garlic, when freshly minced and grated, add to your main dish for a powerful immune boost.
  • Elderberry syrups or lozenges. Where do you buy these? Whole Foods carries elderberries in their dry bulk herbs section!  The lozenges I also picked up from there were from on a great sale and my son thinks they’re candy. This link here takes you to my and my sister’s favorite Elderberry Syrup Recipe.
  • Keep to whole unprocessed foods!

 

There are dozens other great ideas out there for naturally giving colds and flus the kick in the pants. And if you’re like me, more reminders and new information is always helpful. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of some of the tips and tricks that we know work best.

One of my dreams is to have an extensive education in family friendly herbal remedies. Wouldn’t that be fun?!  I have signed up to take a Homeopathy workshop here locally and cannot wait to get my hands on a homeopathy kit! There are so many holistic modalities available to us when illness strikes! We definitely don’t need to feel like we are forced to reach for OTC drugs and medications. Let’s celebrate the body’s incredible intuition to heal and help it along, trusting it all the way.

I’m sure many of YOU may have a much more extensive knowledge than I do in some of these areas! What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for your family?

susan-blog-signature

 

A Note on Essential Oils:

There are so many many ways of using Essential Oils Medicinally. However, if you’re not confident in your use of them, it’s always a good idea to refer to your essential oil’s company website to check on recommended uses. I would also recommend this course, which I am not an affiliate for, but which I have had the honor and joy of going through! I use this resource guide from this course regularly since enrolling! https://my.draxe.com/essential-oil-transformation

 

 

Continue Reading

Too Many Nuts Bothering Your Digestion?

Nuts are a great way to pack on extra calories when you’re eating a healthy diet. Paleo plans and plant-based plans encourage nuts as a great source of protein fats and minerals. Nut butters are great for subbing out oil in baked goods, peanut butter is the most delicious thing on the planet, and then there are the alternative milks made from every single nut you could think of. Oh! And every recipe for healthy baked goods seems to contain almond flour these days.

Especially when you’re first transitioning to a healthier diet from something less optimal, it can be tempting to keep reaching for the nuts. Why? Because you’re quite possibly feeling hungry, and you know those nice crunchy little calorie rich nuggets of yum will be there for you. That is until you perhaps start experiencing tummy upset and start sprinting to the bathroom on a regular basis. Along with fiber, nuts contain a defense mechanism, as most plants do, called phytic acid. Because when nuts and seeds particularly are eaten by animals, they need to somehow survive so that when they come out the other end… ahem… they still hold the nutrients to grow into a new plant, even after all they’ve been through. It’s quite remarkable actually.  But phytic acid can actually interfere with our body’s mineral absorption.

So before we get mad at the nuts, it’s not their fault. It’s simply part of nature.  But since phytic acid can interfere with our body’s mineral absorption, this is where it becomes necessary to limit our consumption and prepare them properly. When we cannot absorb minerals well enough, this can weaken teeth and bones and make us more susceptible to decay and injury. Nuts are not only food containing this antinutrient, phytic acid. We’ve got a whole lineup of plants that contain this in order to survive.

Good news is, soaking, sprouting, fermenting, roasting, and cooking are great ways to help reduce phytates, depending upon the plant product you’re dealing with. Especially with grains, legumes, and nuts. You can drastically reduce phytates in these categories with soaking and sprouting.

There is so much we could go into here, but I’m not going to address it all, for fear of getting in over my head and saying things I’m not totally sure about. I’m no expert on these things. But there is such extensive research on this issue, and enough of us seem to have trouble with digesting these foods, so I thought it important to share with you like-minded healthy people.

Here are my thoughts on nuts. I absolutely love nuts. I mean really – I go for nut butters like gangbusters. Creamy goodness right there. And when I’m stressed, we can really plow through the peanut butter around here. Organic peanut butter, of course. But is it always a good thing? I experience some pretty foul digestive side effects when I OD on the nuts, you guys. I just have to be honest.

When I first started making the switch to a healthier diet, my digestion actually got a little bit worse. What!? Now I have learned (though it took me a while to figure it out!) that cutting back on the nuts really helps, if not eliminates the issue completely. Yes, I’m talking about foul gas. Let’s get real. Nuts are high in fats as well, and too much of a good thing isn’t always good.

Have you ever read the serving size suggestion on the nut package or nut butter container? 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter. Or almond butter. Alright… so let’s say I eat that (or a little extra, c’mon…), on some sprouted toast. Then I have almond milk creamer in my coffee. And later that day I make an almond milk smoothie, and we make a creamy cashew or tahini dressing for our salad for dinner. A healthy day, right? Woah! My digestion would be in total uproar.

So, soak em, sprout em, soak em again… your body will thank you.

Practical ways I live this out:

  • I love oatmeal, but I always soak my oats overnight with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and then I can lightly cook them in the morning. The ACV is key because it’s an acid that helps break down the antinutrients. It’s pretty cool. Oatmeal seems to be lower in phytic acid overall, to begin with.
  • Gluten Free. Yes, it’s a fad, but there’s a lot to it, as many of you know. Wheat is extremely high in phytic acid!
  • Soak, rinse, soak, rinse your beans, and maybe even sprout some of them. There are many tutorials for how to do this on the internet. Oh yes, that also means that I don’t reach for the canned beans too often. And if I do, in a pinch, I rinse them very thoroughly.
  • I Cut back on alternative nut milks. Actually, I nearly completely cut them out. Alternative milks are often fortified with essential vitamins and minerals which is one reason they can be helpful – so just be mindful that you’re getting those nutrients someplace else in your diet. But for me, my personal favorite way to eat nuts is in the form of nut butter. So figure out your favorite way to have them, and have them that way.

But in spite of all this, let’s not forget the great benefits that we CAN reap from consuming nuts! When eaten in appropriate quantities (maybe a serving a day instead of six, for example?) we can enjoy them for being actually quite high in minerals, and they are a good source of healthy fat.

But seriously, do you experience digestive upset when you OD on nuts? Lets get real. TMI? Go for it, I think it’s high time we “health nuts” (no pun intended) start taking it easy on the nuts.

susan-blog-signature

 

 

Disclaimer: Please do not take my story and my opinion as medical advice. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. I’m simply sharing my research and observations with you, my readers in hopes you can identify with me and maybe glean some tips and tricks every once in a while!

 

Articles on this topic I find helpful:

http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/health/is-soaking-grains-and-legumes-necessary-and-how-to-properly-soak-and-prepare-them/

https://chriskresser.com/another-reason-you-shouldnt-go-nuts-on-nuts/

https://authoritynutrition.com/8-benefits-of-nuts/

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/

https://wellnessmama.com/59139/soaking-nuts-seeds/

Continue Reading

A Blog Refocus: It’s A Personal Health Journey

A snapshot of my health journey:

Shortly after my oldest son’s birth, I woke up, looked around, looked at myself, and decided that things were going to change. I wanted to keep him healthy, feel more attractive, have more confidence, figure out my digestive issues and balance my hormones. Things had to change. I needed them to change. I felt unpredictable and on edge.

I called one of my sisters who at that point had begun naturally healing some of her own physical issues, and I asked her some questions. I didn’t know then that I would totally embrace this holistic way of life in every way.

Up until that point, “healthy” to me had had a pretty basic meaning. I didn’t think much about it… until I started to notice little annoying problems with my health and I had this longing to see what true total body health would really look like. How would it make me feel? How would it propel me forward in my relationships, in my career, and even in my parenting? I hadn’t had a good relationship with food for a long time before that. And my relationship with myself? Well, it was a struggle. My marriage had threatened to end in a pile of ashes that year, but by grace, it didn’t. And as most parents find, when that first kid comes into the world, you’ll do whatever it takes to create a healthier more beautiful life for them as well, and that, no doubt, means it’s time to start taking better care of yourself!

So I started on a mission. I hit the gym, decided to start running, did a Whole30 cleanse, starting self-educating on how I could really take care of myself and prevent bigger health issues. Autoimmune diseases had started to pop up all over in my family among my close relatives… so I was on a mission to prevent any of my current ailments from getting any worse. I already knew I had a compromised gut and I knew I needed to focus on three main things: lower my stress, eat closer to the earth, and exercise.

Today…

I’m thrilled to be 45 pounds lighter than I was at my heaviest six years ago. I’ve had two children, trained for two half marathons, and my hormonal acne has disappeared. I’m totally Whole Foods Plant-based now. And this is still just the beginning of my journey to total body wellness! And I’m LOVING the journey.

I don’t believe achieving perfect health is the “end-all, be-all”. But I do believe that to effectively play my role in this world, I have to feel well. I have to feel like I can pour out of myself, spill out into others, and to do that, I want to feel my very best. I want my healthy way of life to be contagious. Infectious.

On this blog, I don’t ever want to pretend I am an expert in anything because we are all already too confused by all the information available to us, much of it even conflicting! I want to be a learner. An innovative thinker. A Discoverer. A forerunner in this health journey. The cheerleader, I suppose!

Mapping out my life goals, yes I have big huge goals this year and the next. I want my life mission to involve creating and being a support system for all of us on this health journey together, and I’ll continue working toward that, furthering my education and my passions! But today, I want to share a tiny bit of my story with you. Why do I feel the way I do about health? How did I feel previously and why have the decisions I’ve made toward better health been so life changing?

I’d like this little space on the internet I call Restoring the Day to be a bright spot in your health journey as well.

I want to be as transparent as I can be with you because personal health journeys are about finding balance, being realistic with ourselves, and taking small steps, one at a time so that we can effectively change our habits with the ultimate goal in mind – being able to feel our best so we can live our best.

Restoring the Day is about to get awesome(er) in 2017 so stay tuned. I have the privilege of working alongside over twenty wellness professionals this year and I can’t wait to learn and grow as we share value with one another and work toward enhancing the lives of ourselves and everyone around us. Yet another step in my life and health journey I cannot wait to embark on!

What does your health journey look like? Where are you at right now? Are you ready to make big changes? Or brave enough to take one small step toward success? Go for it. It’ll be the best decision you could make to benefit yourself and those around you.

susan-blog-signature

 

Continue Reading

Oil Free Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

Rice Crispy treats are delicious if they’re done right. Nobody likes a dry crumbly rice crispy bar. I’ve made my fair share of those… I’m constantly looking for ways to make treats healthier… and sometimes, let’s face it, my attempts fail miserably, as in a rice crispy treat… you need that oil, or that butter, to get them to stay soft and chewy. Or DO you?

I searched the internet high and low for a recipe like this… and maybe it’s out there…  but for the life of me, I could not find it! Not a very simple one anyway. Why did I want an oil-free version? Oil is not a food I want to ingest regularly. I know, I know, we all hear that olive oil and coconut oil are good for us… and then there are avocado and grapeseed oils…. And they’ve all been praised as heart healthy foods for years. But my experience with oils has not been a positive one. They make my gut queasy and even when I use them at home, I didn’t like the way I would feel after eating them. I’ve cooked oil-free through the winter so far this year and have had fabulous success with it- I feel great. I get my healthy fats from whole food sources, no need for the isolated fat contained in cooking oils. No need whatsoever.

I know I mention “oil-free” quite a bit and occasionally add links in my posts to other posts about the health benefits of eating oil-free, especially on a plant-based diet. Here are yet more links on the topic!  Why It’s so Worth it To Go Oil-free and The Calorie Density Approach to Nutrition and Lifelong Weight Management.

That being said, having searched high and low, I came to the conclusion that I was just going to have to try and see what I could do, and make up my own!

Now, I have a deep love for peanut butter. Maybe I love it a little too much love… I know many of you are right there with me! If I can put peanut butter in any recipe, I’ll probably try it. Thus this recipe was born!

In the future, on this site, I can’t wait to upload fancier looking recipes that you can print and save… bear with me, I’m learning as I go! I’m in the process of learning about that currently! But for now, we are going to do this the old school way. Just read it, jot it down, or heck, I supposed you could just come back to this blog post when you need it! But make sure you pin it to your favorite recipe board, as well!

I realize that the photo of these beauties isn’t so… well, beautiful. You see, this plate was full of them before the party and they were neatly squared and stacked. But by the end of the night, this was all that remained and I thought to myself “I have got to upload these to the blog”! So this is that far-from-glamorous photo I took right then and there… and yes, that half-eaten piece you see there? I finished that chunk off after taking this photo.

image

Truly, these are so chewy and delicious, so I hope you give them a try. Two thumbs up by all our party guests, grown-ups and kiddos alike.

Oil-Free Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

6 cups Rice Crispy Cereal (Veganic Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps are a great option!)

1/2 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (ingredients “just peanuts”, organic is always best!)

1 10oz bag Dandies Vegan Marshmallows

Directions: on medium-low heat, melt the marshmallows and peanut butter together in a pan. Stir CONSTANTLY so that you don’t burn the mixture. This mixture will not melt together and get runny, it will start to turn into a sticky marshmallow peanut butter glob and that’s OKAY! You want that. At the first signs of it starting to look like a glob, maybe a tiny bit of melted marshmallow in the bottom pan but not much, the mixture should be WARM, but not completely hot – remove from heat. (This may seem strange, but trust me! You just need it warm enough to squish together!) Plop that globby sticky mixture on top of 6 cups of Crispy Rice and – and now for the most important part – with clean hands, squish and combine the mixture together BY HAND. A spoon will not work well for you here. Knead the mixture relatively quickly while it’s still warm, till all ingredients seem well combined and well formed and press it into an 8×8 pan. (Feel free to nibble the extra mixture off your fingers before washing it off – I did!) I let it set in the refrigerator for a couple hours before cutting and serving and that worked out splendidly.

 

These really are chewy and addicting. I hope you find time to give them a try! Note about Dandies Marshmallows, they’re NOT a whole foods source of nutrients. However, in a pinch, these do make some tasty treats and they make this recipe SO incredibly easy.

This post contains affiliate links to my partnership with Thrive Market to bring you more affordable prices on healthy foods and natural living! January’s Featured Offer:  a free jar of Thrive Market non-GMO Creamy Almond Butter + 30 day trial for only $1.95 shipping! Existing members can receive a free jar with any offer over $50. Get your free almond butter by clicking here, and hey! I haven’t tried but you could probably sub out the peanut butter in this recipe for almond butter if you’re not a peanut butter fan! Let me know if you try that, eh!?

Can you appreciate a good oil-free option like this? Have you had a chance to try them or another similar recipe? Let me know below!

 

Continue Reading

Zesty Cashew Lime Dressing (oil free, vegan)

Okay, so I’m actually quite giddy to share this recipe with you. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s my first real recipe I’m posting on the blog, I’ve worked at refining for you, and people have been LOVING it so far, so let me know how you like it! Today someone licked the dressing bowl, so I’d call that a hit. And I couldn’t be happier.

Making my dressings oil-free gives me a great peace of mind. The healthy fats in the cashews in this recipe makes this dressing nice and filling and nutritious, no processed oils needed.

 

img_9153

I love a good a mock “chicken salad” made with chickpeas on crunchy romaine. This dressing seriously was made for this, but of course, it goes with any green salad as well, and I love to drizzle it on freshly roasted root vegetables and potatoes. It’s quite versatile. Vegans love to use cashews to make creamy anything- it truly is amazing. So this is my variation. And since I love the taste of “chicken salad”, I wanted to make it really tasty for everyone.
img_9067

Romaine is seriously the best… I can never get enough of this wonderful leafy green. Romaine tacos, wraps, salads… all day everyday! So crunchy and water dense, and jammed packed full of vitamin A and C and even some B6, magnesium and potassium… oh! And a gram of protein. Now that’s impressive! It also contains some iron, and is, of course, a most excellent source of fiber. So next time you think lettuce is nothing more than crunchy water, remember this. Now you know. You’re welcome! recipe

 

You may need to add more water if you want a runnier dressing that’s easier to pour. Feel free to adjust that ratio to your liking!

Coconut Aminos and Bragg Liquid Aminos can be found and purchased by clicking on these links. They’re an awesome price on Thrive Market. What are they? Basically, a healthier alternative to soy sauce. Why is traditional soy sauce such a bad idea? This article by Dr. Axe will help shed some light on the issue, and also give you some information on how healthy it can be to add some antioxidant-rich coconut aminos into your life!

 

And as promised, here are some of the recipes of treats we DID make this week! Super simple, so even though the holidays are mostly over, I’ll whip up more of these for new years I’m sure, and they make for excellent snacking for whenever! They seem to freeze alright so I may try that. My husband likes to pull out snack bites like these when looking for a late night snack.

Confession: I didn’t follow any of these recipes to the letter when I made them. Not a one. Ha! So I was trying desperately to come up with a unique recipe to share with you… until I decided to just quit trying, share these ALREADY WONDERFUL recipes with you all, and quit stressing about it! So that’s what I’m doing!

Maple Pecan Pie (Raw Vegan) This recipe is already amazing of course, but since we choose to be oil free, I subbed out the coconut oil and added a ripe banana. Because I did this, we refrigerated/froze them, and ate them the same day. It worked great for us! (I also tried a variation of these that turned out rather well- pumpkin pecan pie – it turned out well, but I’m not yet prepared to share it with the world. This recipe, however, is someone else’s tried and true, so it’s already wonderful.

You may have seen me post these on my Facebook or Instagram… they were delicious…img_9046

No Bake Banana Bread Bites and Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites  are the recipes I found and I made my own variation of the two combined! Ha! I made it work and they were delicious. But once again, I refer you to original versions of these recipes for best results!

 

No, I did not get to make many fancy vegan dishes for the holidays! About half way through the week I thought to myself “this and this would be fun to make and do… but nah.” So we just kept things simple! This was a good lesson because the holidays are very special to me and if I could, I would always go way overboard during each and every holiday, celebrate it to the max, spending way too much money on gifts and festive things and totally spend entire days in the kitchen making all things fancy and festive….

So keeping things simple was a good thing for me this year. Of course, we made some tasty holiday vegan cookies but not many, and kept them in the freezer. I didn’t even plan my week well enough to get my vegan loaf made for Christmas Day! But I was alright with that. I just grazed on what was vegan and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Let me know if you try the dressing recipe, or have suggestions or variations that you love!

Do you have any favorite oil-free dressings that are staples in your home?

Continue Reading

Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part III}: A Simple Meal Plan

Alright, my busy friends, I thought it would be a fitting way to close out this series on “Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy” by laying out one of our family’s simple meal plans to help give you some inspiring ideas. So the following is our REAL TIME meal plan that I used for this last week, I didn’t just make it up. This worked for us – it was super simple and affordable. Enjoy! I hope you glean some ideas.

It’s very important to me to not make a huge mess every time I make a meal. Especially since I make pretty much every single meal from scratch in my tiny little kitchen. So all of the following tips take very little assembly, and most of them contain elements that I prepare ahead of time.

You’ve read in my previous posts I little tiny bit about how I prepare ahead of time, and I use a lot of no-cook recipes in my meal plans (you know we love our smoothies!) This really does keep my stress levels low, I have enough things to keep me busy during the day. And it just so happens that this low stress meal plan also does my body lots of favors and is serving our family very well! So I’m sharing it with you! Certainly not because I am an expert, but because if I were you, I’d be interested in getting some ideas, so here goes!

This is only one week’s worth of meal ideas, in real time with what’s in our kitchen right now! Next week will be a little different, of course. We eat a huge variety of produce and prepare a wide variety of foods, so this is what one of our simple weeks looks like. It’s the week before Christmas, so we need meals to be low stress, streamlined, and still perfectly nutritious.

This Week’s Meal Plan

6AM*

(*times are always approximate, we eat when we are hungry, but to help break it down for us, I list times of day)
  • img_8931 A warm glass or jar of water with fresh lemon and apple cider vinegar.

(Click Here to get a free bottle of Thrive Market Apple Cider Vinegar + 30 day trial for only $1.95 shipping! Existing members can receive a free bottle with any offer over $50.

 

8AM 

The Family can choose from Raw Soaked Oats with banana milk (A banana and water blended to a milk-like consistency. Add a vanilla protein powder if you wish, it’s so good!), a Smoothie of Fruit and Greens, or a Melon. Melons are very hydrating and should be consumed alone, not combined with other foods if you adhere to some of the principles of proper food combining – see this for a very brief explanation: Healthy Food Combining. (other weeks we have different fruits to choose from, it’s not always melons).

My omnivore husband (who is taking steps toward being more and more plant-based, of his own accord) still eats eggs occasionally, farm fresh from free range chickens.

We also take our supplements at this time, which are very simple, I take these highly absorbable forms of vegan vitamin D3 and B12. img_8952Baby, who is still regularly breastfeeding, takes an infant vitamin D and my preschooler takes a whole foods multivitamin to ensure his bases are covered.

 

10:30-11:30AM

The Smoothie. I don’t know why, but this is my favorite time to have a smoothie. I pack it with raw fresh greens or This Raw Greens Powder because it is absolutely the best, bananas, and berries or an apple… sometimes I go crazy with all the produce… Ahhh I want one right now, I don’t care what time it is. Oh! And I throw in some chia, pumpkin, or hemp seeds usually as well, or a raw vegan protein powder like this one by SunWarrior. My kids always join me for smoothie time – however, I usually don’t add the extras for the baby, I’ll pour some of the fruit and greens blend out for her before adding any nuts or protein powders. Seriously SO stress-free and takes just a couple of minute to assemble one of these bad boys.

If we are not home at this time, this is also the perfect take-along. I blend it ahead of time and bring it with me in a jar or in my hydro flask.

Fresh cut or whole fruit is also PERFECT any time in the morning. Fruit is best digested alone and in the first part of the day. (following this tip has helped me so much!) The kids ALWAYS love fresh fruit and ask for it.

These options are also incredible Post-Workout! I love a smoothie or cut fruit right after I hit the gym.

 

1:30-2:30PM

Lunch has been pretty late these days, and it’s very casual! This week we enjoyed some sandwiches on sprouted bread – we choose the Ezekiel 4:9 brand (this wouldn’t work if you have a gluten sensitivity, however, it does digest well for us. (conventional bread does not, and even some gluten free bread does not digest well for us either, considering most brands are usually still loaded with additives.) My son likes his sprouted bread with almond butter and organic fruit spread, and this week I also baked thinly sliced organic tofu to act as a “lunch meat” and loaded my sandwich up with fresh veggies and fresh guacamole (guac and hummus are my favorite easy oil-free alternatives to mayonnaises or oil-based dressings.)  I stay largely oil free at home, I’ll write about why in a later post if you’re interested, or you can message me with questions, but it has been monumental in my journey to better digestive health!

See also below where I talk about healthy snacks we had this week – sometimes we aren’t hungry for a full lunch, but will grab some of these snacks to carry us through till dinner.

5:30PM – ISH

  • Organic, non-GMO tofu was on major sale. Right. So I made something inspired by this recipe for Asian Garlic Tofu. It was delicious, and I LOADED it up with protein rich broccoli (yes, it’s protein rich!) and served it with some white rice. It was delicious, but since I’m not experienced in making recipes with tofu, it could have been better. I get my protein from greens, legumes, nuts and seeds mainly. (Note: I used to think I reacted adversely to soy – very adversely. But I don’t always – and I’m not a medical doctor so I will not share my opinions here, but let’s just say the jury is still out on soy, and I would like to continue my research on it. That being said, we may never know. To make my long story short, I’ve been incorporating some high-quality soy into our diet here and there (organic, non-GMO, no added ingredients…) and we have all handled it just swimmingly. So… yeah. More on that another time. If you have additional resources I don’t already know about, please pass them along! Fellow vegans out there – what’s your take on the big soy debacle?!)

 

  • Burrito Bowls…img_8942 I LOVE them and could eat them every single day. My beans have been pre-soaked and cooked, I just add a little cumin chili powder and Himalayan salt, thyme and fresh cilantro. We had these TWO times this week because they are so delicious and filling. We chose to serve ours over white rice. The question is – is white or brown rice is the healthier choice? We may never know. We like to eat both, this week we had white on hand.

 

  • Roasted sweet potatoes with beans and guacamole. This is the week of fresh guac! Can you tell? Ha! Seriously, though – I roast sweet potatoes whole (or a regular baked potato for those of you who aren’t sweet potato fans, like my husband…) until they are tender, split them open, and top them with black beans, greens, guacamole, fresh herbs like cilantro… I mean, YUM.

 

  • LARGE romaine salad with oil-free dressing and Ezekiel Toast and avocado slices on the side? Yes please! (for the dressing I usually mix together raw tahini, coconut aminos, and the juice of a fresh lime or lemon. I also love this raw red pepper dressing recipe by The Rawtarian, but I replace the olive oil with a fresh zucchini or other vegetables with high water content).

 

  • We did lots of vegetable soups this week! My kids love them, we all do. Especially when it’s twenty degrees below zero in Minnesota. I made some type of soup that was a little like the filling of a pot pie, it was so good! I need to make it again so I can attempt to replicate it. To make soups creamy I do not use traditional cream sauces, or just fill them in with non-dairy milk. I typically will use a base like a squash, a bean pulse, or potato puree that thickens the soup, adds flavor, and boosts up the nutrition. This week it was butternut squash and a white potato to make it taste less “squashy”. Everyone loved it!

 

All of these meals really are stress-free. They all require only using one pan, pot, or bowl, or just our plates to assemble!

Prep work included presoaking my beans and rice and boiling those until tender, then keeping them in the fridge for meal assembly during the week. Smoothies were already made into freezer packs, or I just threw fresh produce a couple scoops of the “extras” into the blender. Raw soaked oats were just that… recipe prepared and soaked overnight in the fridge, ready to in the morning.

Healthy eating can be SO simple! Healthy food helps restore our days to their full potential so we can feel our best and live our best! We need to invest in what goes into our body, no matter what. But we DO get busy, especially during the holidays, and there are so many fantastic, easy ways to streamline things and put healthy eating on autopilot when you need to!

 

Low mess, no stress snacks

This week’s snacks included…

  • apples with almond butter (or this delicious raw date caramel dip )
  • bananas
  • oranges
  • Skinny Pop popcorn
  • LaraBars (you can purchase them here, and Costco also has a slightly {better} price.
  • home brewed kombucha (incredible source of B vitamins -energy!!- and is also very satisfying between meals!)

 

Holiday Extras

This is Christmas Week! So, of course, we are throwing in a couple extra fun treats here and there in amongst all the festivities! If you follow me on Instagram or have liked my Facebook page you have seen these! (If not, links here in the sidebar and at the top of this site!!) We baked gluten free vegan cookies to take to a Christmas program and enjoyed Sunday morning brunch with vegan nog french toast… yes, it was so delightful. I put some extra holiday coconut milk nog into coffee for a mock version of an egg nog latte and … I need to stop or I will be going to make another one right now. So good. img_8930

 

 

I am NOT a doctor or dietician, but I have done my research and have drastically improved my own digestion issues, my son’s as well, and decreased my husband’s cholesterol and enhanced athletic performance, we all have great energy, great bloodwork, and have arrived at very healthy weights for our bodies. So when I share my meal plans on my blog I am sharing what works for us! I hope you glean some helpful tips and ideas and make it work for you!

Some of the links in this post are affiliates! I choose to be an affiliate for Thrive Market and I link to these products because I use these products myself and highly recommend them!

Did you get any good ideas? I hope so! What are some of your favorite go-to plant-based recipes? Do you meal plan ahead of time? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Continue Reading

Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part II}

In part one of this series about beating the stress of healthy living I talked about how I choose to keep things as simple as possible in our home surrounding our meal times, and how I keep new recipes to a minimum, all these things reduce my stress as a mom trying to keep everyone in the house happy and healthy! You can catch up with part one here.

On a personal note, I’ve noticed my appetite decreasing lately as my daughter transitions to eating more solid meals each day and breastfeeds a little less often. Life is always changing, especially when you’re a parent! Little ones also love one kind of food one day, and the next day it’s a total no-go. Does this stress you out like it does me? I always think “great, I just bought a whole bunch of that and now you’re not interested?!” Well, that’s alright. Life is ever changing and we need to be flexible and go along with it.

Then there’s all our own emotions. I don’t know about you, but some days are tougher than others to carry on with gusto. For me, my kryptonite is when my kitchen is empty and I’m hungry. I absolutely NEED to be prepared with healthy ideas at all times. This also means keeping the kitchen absolutely free from foods that are less than optimal. No I don’t get cravings for lunch meat and cheese. Ha! But Oreos? (yes, they’re vegan.) I’m just going to ask that you don’t bring them into my house very often, alright?

Let’s talk about some of the reasons you may be getting stressed out by a healthy diet and lifestyle.

1. It’s Expensive

True, it can get expensive. And I would be lying to you if I told you that this didn’t threaten to stress me out on a regular basis as well. The truth is, I have to make do with what we have. We choose to cut costs in quite a few other areas so that we don’t have to settle for eating mac n cheese every day. We live on very little, actually. It’s a little remarkable how little we find we can live on. But we think in terms of longevity when it comes to making choices about where our money goes. At this point we don’t have a house payment, we rent for a very reasonable amount, drive inexpensive vehicles, have no monthly payments besides the basics, and most of our hobbies are relatively inexpensive. Our health would totally tank if we ate mac n cheese everyday, no matter how comforting that may sound, it comes with a great cost to your body. So let’s think longevity. You may have to make some adjustments, yes. In truth, I first started thinking about plant-based diets because I was desperately trying to find ways to cut costs in our life, yet again, and when I arrived, once again, at groceries, I did find that by not purchasing animal products, I could afford to buy more variety of foods for our health, which is awesome! So keep that in mind as well. High quality animal products can be very expensive, (I emphasize high quality, because if you’re eating animal products it’s very important to purchase high quality ones) and you can fill your diet with a wider variety of micro-nutrient dense foods when you focus on getting your nutrients from plants which is what you need to focus on if you’re looking at longevity. Even eating animal products less often, you’d notice a difference in the budget! You don’t need to include meats in your diet every single day. How do I get enough protein? The ever present question. This article by the Vegetarian Resource Group is a good resource with a list of protein rich foods.  I personally stay away from most soy products because they’re usually genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides and MSG. So no thank you! But there are SO MANY other protein options out there, and we load up on them all, especially greens. (for those of you wondering, too, how we eat so many legumes, there are soaking and preparation methods that are essential to making them more digestible.) I highly recommend THIS ARTICLE! Giving up grains and legumes is a huge fad right now, and while I believe it has credibility, please read this article if you have questions on that. There are many other resources out there on this topic, this one  just lays it out briefly and clearly, I think.

That being said, getting back to grocery budgeting, when we’re in between paychecks and things get a little tight, we’ll have a few extra bowls of oatmeal (refined sugar free, sweetened with organic bananas)! Keep it simple, keep it healthy, it doesn’t have to break the bank. We eat very simply, and if we can afford it, we’ll go for a little something extra special on our days off.

I’m learning all the time, but check out my previous post on Plant-based Goodness: how I shop plant-based on less $$ for some extra tips and tricks. I will be writing another post, or series of posts on affording healthy eating in early 2017 as well! I’ve learned more since this post was published, as always, and an excited to share!

 

2. You’re Shopping More Often

Eating more produce can be an art, because you have to ripen it, enjoy it at its peak, eat all of it so you don’t waste it, and then it’s off to the store again to get more. Well this is somewhat unavoidable. But we find ways to make it work. I purchase a lot of {organic} frozen fruit, especially right now that it’s the winter months and fewer fruits are in season. And I’ll purchase more of the fresh fruits that are in season such as some melons, pomegranates, persimmons, mangoes, the ever faithful banana… And when my bananas are perfectly spotted and ripe, I peel them (peel and quarter, then freeze… easiest thing ever) and freeze them in a large container where I can take them out when I’m ready to use them. Plus, when a banana is frozen, it doesn’t taste as banana-ey. So it can be easier to flavor however I like whether it’s for banana nice cream or throwing into smoothies. Believe it or not, I do not shop more than once per week. Can you believe it!!?? That’s right, I don’t. I am learning the art of planning out my fruit ripening, and learning the life of vegetables, and I have a pretty good no-waste routine going on and I’m pretty happy with it. I do keep a raw greens powder and a raw protein powder on hand. So if I do run out of produce, we’re not left in a lurch without our greens. This has saved me some weeks when I can’t get to the store, but my greens powder is safely stored in the fridge.

3. It’s a Whole New Way of Cooking and Preparing You’re Not Used To

Don’t fret, loves! There’s this little thing called the internet that is filled with lovely souls offering their tips and tricks. Fill up with info… but not so much information you get overwhelmed. My personal favorite (besides blogs!) is you tube… I follow a couple of vegan chefs and oh my… eek, how fun. But there again, I make sure I only try a new recipe once in a while when I have the budget for it and when I have the time. And you, you have friends like me! I’m no expert but I’m working on some valuable resources I’m very excited and eager to share with you. When will they be ready? I can’t really say, but please stay tuned! I’ve got friends I follow on a regular basis, you can find a few of them in my Resources tab in the above menu. I’m adding more resource library often… I don’t list my favorite you tubers on there… I probably should. They’re some of my favorites.

If you’re on instagram, you can also Follow Me! I post usually once a day about what we’re eating, how I prepared it, or general inspiration. On the sidebar here you’ll also see a link to like Restoring The Day’s facebook page where I also share useful tips and articles and information I find particularly helpful or educational!

 

4. I ‘ll Have To Deny Myself Everything I Enjoy

Am I striking any chords with you yet? I have learned to NEVER tell myself “NO, you CAN’T have that.” Because if I ever say that to myself my strong will rises and I respond “Aw heck no! You can’t tell me what I can and can’t have!” And just out of spite, I’ll succumb to indulgence. But I’ve learned that indulgence comes at a great cost and that cost is not one I’m willing to pay. As my relationship with food continues to improve with each year, I no longer seek it out as a fix to my problems. Sure, on a really rough day, I’ll reach for the peanut butter. Straight up. And I am okay with that sometimes. I mean, peanut butter is  delicious. I’m being totally real with you. Truthfully, since transitioning to a whole foods plant based diet I have not craved sweets nearly at all. There’s some science behind this, but I’m not prepared to give you that with confidence quite yet. But my point here is, I have learned to never tell myself “no you cannot today” and instead to ask “what’s in it for me tomorrow?” and this has become habitual, and it’s very easy for me to say “no thank you” when offered things I used to always snatch up. Something about me has changed as well and my thoughts on what is truly delicious has completely changed! I thoroughly enjoy my food, folks. No joke. I have NO desire for cheap thrills. (Can I use that phrase without getting in trouble? Thank you, Sia. Ha!)

 

So let’s let loose a little bit, friends. There’s no need to stress. We are all busy, life moves at a breakneck speed, so we need to take charge of our health in a joyful way and not let it be one more thing to stress us out. That does seem a bit counterproductive, doesn’t it? Just as I quoted Sid Garza Hillman last week in Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy, “No matter how healthily you’re eating, if it’s causing you stress to do so, you’re not eating healthily.” 

On a semi-daily basis you will see me break some kind of dance in my kitchen over my smoothie. My kids are picking up my total white girl moves, and I think we can all be okay with that. If you struggle with any kind of stress or anxiety, like me, one more thing to add stress to your life can seem like you’re living in a prison, it can feel like you’re limiting your freedom. But for me, my lifestyle choices provide the most freedom of any physical decision I have ever made. I can feel “me” coming back into my life. Does that make sense? Adulthood can be a reality check we aren’t ready for. At least it was for me. I lost a little bit of my zest for life. Not to get too deep on you, but there’s a deep connection between the food we eat and the condition of our soul. I think God intended it to be this way. To think that we can ingest whatever we want and carry on with life wondering why we are the way we are is ridiculous. Our food needs to be the first place we look to address issues. Without food, we cannot sustain our life for long. Food is what gives us physical life. So the quality OF OUR LIFE depends on the quality of what’s giving us that life. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

How do you stress less about healthy eating and living? How do you embrace it on a day to day basis so you can stay strong? How do you stay motivated and excited about it?

Share your inspiring words below!

Continue Reading

Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy

How do you create a routine with healthy food when you’re constantly busy and on the go? A question I get very often is “What should I even make? What should I eat? Can you give me some recipes?” And to that I say, of course! Because I, like you, love recipes and they can be the perfect inspiration and catalyst to keep me motivated to consume healthier food on a regular basis!

There are SO MANY great recipes out there!! So many healthy recipes to choose from, many of them from world class chefs dedicating their lives to making healthy food as delightful as possible. And I love being in the kitchen, creating delicious recipes, I truly do. It’s so much fun to make delicious food with REAL food ingredients, especially fresh, plant based foods. So fun. And so super nutritious.

That being said, sometimes it totally stresses me out! I see that one amazing vegan recipe I just have to try tonight, but in order to make that recipe I have to go shopping and buy things I may rarely use in any other recipe, make a gigantic mess in my tiny little kitchen, everyone is hungry and just wants to eat and I have one million other things I need to get done today… Ugh. Stress. Stress just isn’t healthy, no matter how healthy that recipe may be, is it worth it?

Constantly trying new recipes can be kind of tough for a couple of different reasons. First of all, I always think about the ingredients I may need for that recipe. Will I use them again in other recipes? Or will I use them this once and then allow them to take up space in my kitchen cupboard for the rest of the year, totally forgetting about them? This isn’t super ideal for your grocery budget or for even just minimalist kitchen reasons.

Once you have your healthy eating down to a routine, feel free to settle into it! See what works for you! Saving new recipes for nights when guests come over or on the weekends. (Everyday Health has this to say about having a healthy routine that works for you and its effect on digestion). Eating a variety of healthy foods is important of course, but don’t let it totally stress you out. One of my current favorite podcast interviews covers this. Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete asks Sid Garza Hillman about this and he replies, “No matter how healthily you’re eating, if it’s causing you stress to do so, you’re not eating healthily.” You can find this podcast series Here!

So for me, right now in my life, this means cutting down on the number of “new” recipes I’m making each week. I need to do this in order to stay sane, keep my kitchen clean so it doesn’t totally stress me out, and honestly, stay the healthiest and feel my best!

So if you’re just getting started and you DO need some recipe inspiration to even know how to begin cooking and eating in a healthy way in the first place, by all means, create a pinterest board for your new recipes or check out a cookbook from the library and copy down a few. It’s such a smart idea. But after you’ve established some favorites, it’s okay to have what you might call staple recipes in your diet! I can pretty much guarantee you it will reduce your stress. You don’t have to impress anyone.

If you’re starting a new healthy diet that is pretty new to you, make sure that you’re getting the nutrition you need, maybe keep track for a couple of days just to double check that you’re getting the necessary vitamins and minerals your body and brain need to function optimally, and then kind of set things on autopilot, and find out what works for you and your household!

 

What Does Stress-Free Eating look like in our home?

I focus on meal planning and preparation in advance to make sure I have less cooking time during the week. This equals cleaner kitchen (yay!) One or two days of meal planning and prepping instead of coming up with and making a big new recipe every single night from start to finish. Lifesaving.

We eat when we’re hungry! If you’re not hungry, you certainly don’t have to make a big gigantic meal for the whole family. Have fresh organic fruits and vegetables ready to be picked up and eaten when hunger hits! Eat until you’re satisfied and then put it away! This works very well for me and my family.

We don’t have all of our mealtimes together. Because of scheduling, it’s not possible for us to eat dinner together every evening, for example. But we are fine with that, and have adjusted, and it actually works quite well for our family. Sometimes we have breakfast together, sometimes it’s lunch, and a few times a week we are able to all sit down together and we do enjoy that very much.

I find that I am my absolute hungriest at 3 or 4 o clock in the afternoon. Strange? Maybe. You know how many of us feel that afternoon crash around that time? Well for me, that’s my body telling me its ready for dinner, usually. So I might go ahead and eat my larger meal then. At first this made me feel guilty and I thought to myself, “Is this okay? This seems wrong.” But no! I feel the freedom to do that because I’m listening to when my body is hungry! I find that if I eat well at that time, I’m pretty good to go for the evening, maybe just a handful of nuts at 7pm, and then I’m done for the day and I feel great.

Get into a good system where you find a set of recipes you can make consistently for a while, using up the ingredients you have. For example, on a Sunday I’ll prepare a pot of soup to heat up throughout the first couple days of the week. Or I’ll steam some quinoa or rice and put that in a large sealed container in the fridge and add that to salads or as a side throughout the week. In my freezer I ALWAYS have smoothie packs, bags of frozen bananas, and also bags of frozen beans that I’ve already soaked and boiled so they’re perfect for throwing into just about anything.

Right now I’m making lots of curries, soups, chili, and salads, and of course at least one smoothie a day. Smoothies are super versatile, of course. There are endless combinations of fruits and greens for loading into your smoothies. I never get bored of them.

For this next week I told my husband I would make some vegan breakfast burritos on sprouted wraps and throw those in the freezer for him to heat up on his early mornings so he doesn’t wake us all up with the blender at 5am! I’ll load these bad boy burritos up with potatoes, black beans, organic chipotle salsa and some vegetarian fat free refried beans to make them all stick inside, and they’ll be ready to go! Nix the additives, preservatives, oils, and hormone laden dairy products, and you have wholesome delicious wonderfulness.

This is the first of a three week series on how I make healthy eating easy and stress free in our family. So stay tuned! 

What healthy habits or practical tips do you have for yourself or your family for healthy eating when life gets busy? Let me know below!

Lastly, maybe this is totally an unprofessional way to do this, but I have an AUDIO VERSION of this blog post available! If you’d like access to that, please contact me! I can easily email it to you for you to listen to on your PC or Smartphone. (I need to upgrade this site before I’m able to directly upload audio files! eek! But this is something I will be offering in the hopefully near future!)

 

Continue Reading