Food, Health

Getting Your Body Ready

Last week I told you guys the month of May is National Pregnancy Awareness Month. Since I am fully aware that I am NOT in fact pregnant. I thought I would dust off some Sprouting Wellness tips and talk about getting pregnant.  It’s funny, as women we tend to spend the majority of our early adult lives trying our hardest not to get pregnant, then somewhere around our late 20s to early, mid or late 30s we realize we do in fact want to get pregnant.  We try like hell and realize, it’s not so friggin easy!

While each path to conception may be different one thing everyone can do is take proactive steps to get their body ready for conception. Many parent’s to be think caring for baby begins at conception; once you see the little blue line, or the pink plus on the stick, it’s time to quit smoking, stop drinking and start buying organic. The truth is, prenatal health begins with preconception and fertility health.

Another important (often unrealized) fact to remember: it takes two to tango.  Even in the world of artificial insemination, it still takes two to tango.  And what I mean by this is, the health responsibility doesn’t solely fall on us women folk! Our men need to get healthy too. You don’t want their little swimmers crapping out before they reach the finish line, right?!

The ability to get pregnant, carry a child, fetal development, give birth naturally and breastfeed are all intertwined. Each is dependent upon lifestyle choices, diet, stress and yes, our environment. As many as one in six couples will experience fertility problems within the first year to trying to conceive, however, you can increase your odds of conception by making a few nutritional and lifestyle changes.

Fertility and preconception health awareness should begin with both parents, ideally six months to one year prior to conception. This starts with two basic tenants; the removal of toxins and the infusion of nutrients. Both male and female reproductive organs are highly susceptible to free radical or oxidative damage from environmental toxins. Environmental toxins include additives and preservatives in our food, toxics in household cleaning products as well as the products we use to clean our bodies and guilty pleasures such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

Simple changes in our diet will boost your fertility and bring your body into top baby making shape. The diet of both men and women trying to conceive should be high in folic acid, vitamin D, Vitamin E and Zinc. It’s imperative that both parents eat clean, organic foods free from pesticides, fungicides, additives and preservatives.

Men and women eating for fertility should incorporate the following foods into their diet:

Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal are good for insulin function. Refined grains (bleached flour, rice and pasta) should be omitted as they cause insulin spikes.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard and conifers such as broccoli, cauliflower and rabe are high in folate, which is important for conception and fetal development.

Protein. Vegetarian protein from sources like beans, peas, legumes and nuts are high in iron and preferred to animal proteins. You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but meat should be limited to small occasional portions.

The right fats. Omit trans fats and saturated fats from your diet, but include monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These will reduce inflammation and any insulin sensitivity. The can be found in avocados, nuts, chia seeds and salmon.

Fresh organic fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that will promote general, and fertility health. Many fruits such as citrus, oranges, strawberries (and green leafy vegetables) are high in folate.

Taking a conscious approach to fertility simply by adjusting your diet and lifestyle will increase your chances of conception. Removing environmental toxins and making positive, organic food choices has been shown to increase the chances of having a healthy, happy and comfortable pregnancy, a positive, safe birth with little or no intervention, a shorter postpartum recovery period and a baby who is healthy and present.

Health

Pregnancy Awareness Month

You guys know I’m a Doula, right? You know prior to Live. Breathe. Grow. I used to work directly with women.  Women wanting to get healthy for baby making, women with buns in the oven, and postpartum mommies wanting to get back into shape.  I taught natural family planning and fertility awareness in my Fertility Diva series.  And I taught fertility yoga, prenatal yoga and mommy and me yoga.  (That’s a lot of baby making for someone whose only baby is a 90lb great dane puppy!)  I still do some “baby making” health coaching on the sly, but not very often!

Well, if you didn’t now you do. Why am I asking you if you know these things about me??? Well, it’s basically a LONG winded way of saying I am in awe of pregnancy.The ability that we, as women have to create life is crazy amazing. One day I hope to experience it personally. It has been a while since I have done anything fertility, pregnancy, baby belly related and I was just reminded (literally 15 minutes ago) that MAY is Pregnancy Awareness Month.  I can’t not do anything for Pregnancy Awareness Month!  I HAVE to squeak in a few informative articles!

Soooooooo salt and peppered through my normal musings this month I will be posting a three-part series on Food and Fertility as well as a couple of other prenatal and pregnancy gems.  If you want something specific, just drop a comment. Otherwise I will be digging into the 3 Healthy Chick archives.

Anyone have taco and margarita plans for Saturday??

Health

Glamorous Hydration

Cucumber & Lime Water

There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it…you need to drink water to stay fit and healthy. It’s estimated that up to 70% of our body is made up of water! Our blood is mostly water and our muscles and brains contain lots of water. We need water to assimilate vitamins and nutrients into our body, to transport oxygen to nourish our cells, to remove waste and to protect our organs and joints! Without water our bodies cannot function properly. Water is also in our lymph (nodes and fluids) so the amount of water in our body directly affects our immune system. If you want to boost your immunity, stay hydrated!

Oftentimes we don’t realize that the symptoms we’re feeling are the result of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration can include chronic joint and muscle pain, lower back pain, headaches and even constipation. If there is a strong odor or color to your urine it’s a big indication that we’re not giving our body enough water! Our bodies needed the water long before we started to feel thirsty.

For years people have followed the old adage that one should have 8, 16oz glasses of water per day. This may seem like a lot. For some it may be too much, for others too little, it all depends on the person. Size and activity levels should be taken into account. We lose water through every day activity including urination, sweating and even respiration. The more active you are, the more water you will lose, therefore the more water you need to take in!

We have found that a good estimate is to divide your weight by half to give you the number of ounces of water your body needs. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink at least 70oz (around 8 glasses). The water equation is complicated by variables! For ever 20 minutes you exercise you should add another 8oz. If you’re having an adult alcoholic beverage, you should have at least equal the amount of water (hangover prevention!). If you live in a hot, dry climate, add another two glasses!

Up to 20% of your water intake will come from the foods you eat. The rest must come from the beverages you drink. If your head is spinning trying to figure out the perfect amount… take a breath. Better yet, take a sip of your water and relax! We have a few tips that will help you up your water intake without even realizing your doing it!

~ Ditch the soda pop and energy drinks. While carbonated beverages and energy drinks contain water, they also contain high levels of caffeine, sugar and sodium. Not only are these drinks packed with empty calories that we don’t need, but the high levels of caffeine causes dehydration! If you drink a caffeinated beverage, tack on another 2 glasses of water to make up for it!

~ Give it a kick! Spice up your water with a hint of flavor. Flavored waters are all the rage these days. We say, “why waste the money when you can make your own?” Fill up a pitcher with water and add orange, mint, cucumber, lemon or lime to give it a kick! Experiment with favor combinations! One of my favorites is orange and clove!

~ Switch out your java for herbal tea.
 I know this one may be tough for you die hard coffee drinkers….but again with the caffeine! There are so many great herbal tea flavor options out there. You can drink it hot with a lemon or steep the tea and pour it over ice! Just be sure that the herbal tea you choose isn’t a diuretic! Diuretics trick your body into thinking you have more water than we need…thus resulting in the need to drink more water!!

~ Add some bubbly and feel like a rock star! Try sparkling water with a splash of juice (my favorite is pomegranate) with a twist of lime. This is a delicious bubbly daytime cocktail that will make you feel like a rock star!

~ Get funky with some sexy style! Seriously, ditch the plastic water bottles. They’re bad for the environment and how sexy is BPA? You got it, it’s not! BPA has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals and has been linked to diabetes in humans! But we still drink out of it? Preposterous! Shell out the $30 to buy a new Sigg bottle or other BPA free reusable bottle. I personally have a collection of Sigg bottles to choose from depending on my outfit and mood! You can even go to Café Press and design your own!

~ Get glamorous!!!!!!!!! If you are anything like Jersey Girl, you have cabinets filled with amazing stem ware. Beautiful wine goblets, snappy martini glasses and frosty pint glasses lifted from your favorite college joint. Who says they have to be filled with wine, vodka or beer? They’re fabulous glasses and there’s no reason for them to be collecting dust in your china cabinet! Dust off that hand painted (non-toxic!) martini glass and have some H2O on the rocks with a twist of lime and sprig of mint! Hell, put on your favorite Jersey Girl, Joan Rivers style sunglasses and embrace the healthy rock star that you are.

Cocktails before noon? Definitely!

Food, Health

Jersey Peaches and Eco-Skin Care

I feel a little bad about ripping on Jersey’s lack of peaks in my Touching the Button post so I decided to give Jersey a little credit where it’s due. I am after all, a Jersey Girl(right now).

Jersey Fresh Peaches

One of the most amazing things about living in the Garden State is the bountiful produce to be found here! Beginning in May, farmers markets and road side stands start to burst with life and the bounty of the first crops. Until you’ve lived outside the Garden State, you don’t realize how lucky you actually are!

New Jersey has more than 9,500 farms state wide on more than 725,000 acres. In addition to corn, tomatoes, soybeans and other vegetables, New Jersey produces five major fruit berry crops including apples, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and peaches.

New Jersey ranks 4th in the nation for peach production. So why buy a Georgia peach when you can get a Jersey peach right in your own back yard?! Gloucester County alone grew 36 million pounds of Peaches in 2007. Peaches come into season in Jersey July through September. They sweeten the air in the farmers market with their delicate sent luring customers in for their first bite of summer. By the time mid-August rolls around you will be able to find delicious and ripe Jersey grown peaches every farmers market in the state.

Peaches are more than just a summertime treat, they’re a guilt free dessert that pack a nutritional wallop! Peaches are rich in Vitamin A which has been shown to prevent cancer. Research even suggests that peaches have good to excellent antioxidant activity, some antimicrobial activity and good to excellent tumor growth inhibition activity. Since Apples officially don’t come into season until September, fill your summers up with a peach a day to keep the doctor away! They are comprised of more than 80 percent water and are a good source of dietary fiber, making them good for people trying to lose weight. Peaches will also help with that healthy summer glow. They’re packed with antioxidants that help make the skin healthy and also add color to the complexion.

To enhance your peaches and cream complexion after a long day relaxing at the shore, try my  Peach & Strawberry Facial Mask: 

Ingredients
1 ripe Jersey Peach
2 ripe Jersey Strawberries
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oatmeal

Pit and dice the peach. Then mash the peach and strawberries to a creamy pulp. Add a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of oatmeal. If the mixture is a bit too thick, add a few drops of water to form a thin paste. Apply to skin and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well with cool water.

Peach peels exfoliate gently and contain large amounts of alpha-hydroxy acids. The natural exfoliation removes dead skin cells and speeds up cell renewal, leading to healthier skin tone. It softens wrinkles, sun spots, age spots, blemishes and unclogs pores leading to a healthier and brighter skin tone. Oatmeal is hypoallergenic and it helps to soften skin. Clinical studies have shown that oatmeal healps to heal dry, itchy skin. This mask will calm your skin and leave you with a beautiful, hydrated glow.

If you want to double the recipe you could put half on your beautiful face and eat the other half for breakfast! Now that’s a cosmetic that I want to use. Nothing unnatural, nothing toxic and everything earth friendly!

There you go, pretty!

Health, Yoga

IMperfect(ions)

IMperfect(ion)

One of my greatest challenges as a yoga instructor is my personal practice. Sounds silly. When I was teaching, I taught 5 yoga classes a week. You would think a personal practice should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. oh so very wrong. One of the biggest reasons I scaled-back on teaching was the decline of my personal practice. The busier my teaching schedule got the less “time” I left for my own personal practice. Teaching yoga is not a personal practice. It is a gift you give to another person, but it is not a gift you give to yourself.

Right now, I am transiting from full time yoga instructor and Fempreneuer to a 9-5er with two (growing) small businesses and a personal yoga practice.

Personal. Yoga. Practice.

I have taken a long time to think about my personal asana practice.  In a recent blog post by my friend, Lana said “Labeling the way I feel at this current moment is more of a question-I’m questioning myself. Introspection. Svadhyaya perhaps.  It’s possible I’m just in a “winter” of my life-a dip-there’s highs, lows.”  Her blog post resonated deeply with me. After teaching so many classes for so long, I am ready to go within.  I chose to scale back my teaching because my asana practice, and yogic education (which should be never ending) seemed stagnant.

Svadhyaya Practice on the balcony in the sunshine.

So, while I am not longer teaching I have consciously made the choice to dive head first back into my yoga practice. My yoga and asana practice has become more personal. I haven’t felt a connection to community classes in a while, so I stopped going. This has been challenging since my social life tends to revolve around yoga studios but it’s what I personally need right now. And lets face it, until the new salary kicks in, I can no longer afford to pay $18-$25 for a drop in class.

Each morning as Stella sleeps, I spend time in meditation and light asana on my sunny balcony. With all the changes I am facing, it’s time for me to look within. For me, self-reflection always comes on the mat. One thing that keeps coming us is IMperfect(tion).

In many ways I struggle as a yoga teacher and a wellness coach over my lack of perfection. It’s the Virgo in me to want to fit in to the perfect healthy yogini mold. I want my belly to be flat, my arms and legs long and lean and I want not to reach for the salty and sweet snacks when emotions run high. But I am human and not always perfect. Even though my clients are successful and my students deepen their practice, inside, sometimes I felt like a failure. Which was not easy for the Virgo in me to accept. Virgos are perfectionists.

The perfectionist in me also struggles on the mat. In almost each yoga class I have taught, I reminded my students “this is your time on your mat. Let go of judgement. Dive into yourself and love your practice.” Coming back into my personal practice is helping me, yet again let go of my IMperfect(ions).

Health

Rebel Race Confessions

Rebel Race beer reward!

It’s the morning after, and I’m not feeling too bad. I have a few scrapes and bruises and my triceps are a little sore but I made it through Rebel Race! It actually wan’t as bad as I thought it would be. The hardest part wasn’t the mud (because there was very little mud to be found!), it was the dust.

We started the race in a crowd of 50-75 people. It was impossible to run without stepping on the heels of the person in front of you. The Pine Barrens were so dry, the dust we kicked up was noxious. It felt like my nasal passage and lungs were coated in sand.  We had to wait in line, as if we were at Disney for the first 3 and last 3 obstacles of the race.

The scariest part of the race was the last obstacle, the wall climb.

We made it over!

We waited in line a good 5 minutes for our turn up the 15ft. wall and it seemed like every other person up the wall froze on top. Once I got to the top I realized why! It’s not so scary on the way up, but once you’re there and have to hoist your legs over and climb down it seriously intimidating. Fear conquered! Running this race definitely built my confidence and made me realize I do have what it takes to make it through and I realized that it’s necessary to step up my game if I’m going to make it through Tough Mudder in October!

After the race we were thirsty and starving. Thirst was quenched by 2 bottles of smart water and a few beers. The hunger was a bit more of a challenge. Everywhere I turned people were noshing on smoked turkey legs.  It was grossing me out and driving me crazy at the same time. We made our way to the food vendors in hopes of finding suitable (vegan) nourishment. Veggie burgers sold out. Corn on the cob dripping in butter and “fruit” smoothies made with sugared fruit syrups and energy drinks.  I ate a bag of chips. Totally disappointment. And that’s where my fall from grace began.

Good vegan food is oftentimes hard to come by. After a 5k in the dust with scary obstacles I was driving myself crazy thinking about a juicy burger. Not a veggie burger. Not a turkey burger. A char-grilled beef burger. I caved and got one at the pub down the street from Tracy’s hotel.

I was riddled with guilt making the decision to order it. I was riddled with guilt when I took my first bite and I was riddled with guilt when I took my last bite. I ate 1/2 the burger. The taste was delicious. The physical and emotional effects of eating it were terrible.  It’s a fight between the taste on my tongue and the feeling in my body. Even now, knowing how bloated and awful it made me feel, I am seduced still by the taste buds.

There are thousands of vegan athletes of every kind from body builders to marathon runners. They have no problem refueling after their workouts and races. I need to figure out how they do it, because I couldn’t even think straight. Every thought was consumed with animal protein.

If you have any ideas, lay them on me!

Environmentalism, Health

Touching the Button

I “hike” 3-4 times a week with Stella. We usually wander through Hartsorne Woods or Huber Woods. It’s nice to be on the trails in the woods, meandering up and down little hills, watching the chipmunks scamper around. H&H Woods are both within 4 miles of our home, making them extra convenient.  I’ll be honest though, wandering through the wooded parks of Monmouth County, NJ is a little like walking in circles, blindfolded, around the base of Coon Mountain.

Whiteface Summit

Coon Mountain is not one of the 46 Adirondack Peaks, which means it doesn’t have a geodetic survey marker. Every time I hike one of the 46 ADK peaks, finding the marker and touching it with my hand is like icing on the cake. When you get to the top of the mountain and touch that little button you know you’ve accomplished something.

Coon Mountain is only a mile to the summit and while there is no surveyor button to touch in triumph, you are rewarded with an amazing view of Vermont, the Adirondack Coast and the High Peaks.  I adore Coon Mountain. It’s the hike you want to do when you don’t have it in  you to go 4000 feet.  Aside from it being in my home town, the thing I love so much about Coon Mountain is the view. When you get to the top, you actually feel like you accomplished something, you can stand on its little bald summit and still feel like you’re Queen of the World.

I have yet to find anything in Jersey that makes me feel like I am Queen of the World.  Hiking here just seems to be so anti-climactic. There’s no button to touch and thus far I haven’t found a peak or a summit anywhere. I remember when I was in law school (in Delaware) my professor, Jim May told the story of the first time he drove into NJ. It was night, he was driving on 95 from the GWB and he saw what he thought were the “hills of NJ.” Only they weren’t hills. Well, not natural ones anyway.

I don’t mean to harsh on NJ. If I hated it, I wouldn’t live here. But sometimes, and by sometimes I mean daily, this Adirondack Mountain Girl longs for the mountains…or at least something that resembles a mountain.

Last week I posed a question to my Facebook friends… ok Jersey. Tell me where I can go for a good hike. I am willing to drive an hour + to find something that resembles a peak. HELP!  I received tons of replies including Highpoint State Park, Bear Mountain, Garret Mountain, Harriman State Park and Worthington State Park.  We settled on Worthington State Park because I’ve driven through the Delaware Water Gap many times, it’s so pretty. I presumed there would be some great vistas and I would have a sense of accomplishment even though there was no button to touch.

We settled on a hike up Mt. Tammany, a 3 mile hike (round trip) to the top of an actual Mountain! We got to Worthington State Park (about a 90 minute drive from the Shore) and it was jam packed with hikers and tourists. In the chaos of the people, we accidentally started up the wrong trail head. I knew we were supposed to follow the red dot trail markers, but all I saw were white dot trail markers. I figured there would be a trail split somewhere along the path. Little did I know the red dot Mount Tammany trail was on the opposite side of the parking lot.

Sunfish Lake, Worthington State Park

We followed the white dot trail, (a portion of the Appalachian Trail) makers for almost 4 miles. The Hubs wanted to turn around numerous times, knowing it was the wrong trail and we were embarking on more of a hike than he bargained for, but I’m obsessive about trails and hiking. I need to reach my destination. Turning around to me is too much like failure! After coming upon a beautiful meadow and AT camping site we finally reached the trails destination, Sunfish Lake. It was absolutely beautiful, (yet totally unfulfilling as far as summits, peaks and surveyor buttons are concerned).  We had 2 options to get back to the parking lot; back down the white dot trail or the green dot trail. A gentleman we met along the way told us the green trail followed a little river back down through the valley. So that’s the one we settled on.

Hubs and Miss Stella

The hike “down” was a bit more challenging than the hike “up.” It was riddled with small rocks that kept making themselves known through the soles of my shoes. And there were no less than 4 stream crossings. I love hopping rocks across streams, but it’s a new scary challenge for a 5 month old great dane!

In the end we hiked about 7 miles through Worthington State Park. It was beautiful but the Adirondack Girl in me was still left unfulfilled. There was no peak, no summit, no beautiful vista to look out over and feel like Queen of the World.  Dare I say it’s like sex without the orgasm? Fun enough, but just not WOW.

The Hubs wasn’t happy with me for my trail choices so I had to appease him with grilled, processed meat.  We went to Hot Dog Johnny’s post hike (he fell off the Vegan Challenge wagon after day 5).  I ate french fries (a total nutritional failure) and Stella slept in the car.

Next weekend (if I make it through Rebel Race tomorrow) we’re going to head back and actually hike the Mount Tammany trail. It will be nice to see what sort of vistas Jersey actually has to offer.

Health, More Life...

It’s the FINAL Countdown

The count down is over, Rebel Race is here. I am totally intimidated and totally under-trained!  For the readers that aren’t sure what I’m talking about, Rebel Race is a mud-endurance-obstacle race. It’s a little like a mini-Tough Mudder.  Tough Mudder is on my 40 before 40 list and I have never officially taken steps to cross it off that list. Registering for Rebel Race was my first official step towards my Tough Mudder goal.

My business partner Nancy and I signed up in January with lofty goals of serious training for the race. Our follow through was not so strong.  I have been trail running and hiking 3 days a week with Stella, but I have not been strength training and this is what makes me nervous! As yogis, we develop upper body strength through chatturanga and arm balances. For me personally,  these postures are neither my strongest nor my favorite.  Not to mention the fact that I am teaching 6 less classes than I usually do and my personal practice has declined since I started “training” for Rebel Race!

Rebel Race consists of 15 obstacles spread out over a 5K (or a 15K depending on which you register for). The obstacles I am most nervous about are the Gamble with Gravity (a 180 degree rope wall climb) and The Great Wall of Rebel Race. Both involve some serious upper body strength. My upper body strength is not what it should be.

Finishing Rebel Race is going to be a rude awakening to all the training that I must do to run the Mudder. And there’s no backing out of the Mudder as my crazy friend Tracy already signed me up for the NJ race in October (to ensure that I wouldn’t back out!). The only viable excuse I could ever come up with is pregnancy. Maybe the Hubs will knock me up between now and October!

Have you ever attempted something you were totally scared of? 

Food, Health

Greening your Smoothies

Greens are everywhere – power greens, supergreens, fresh greens, wheatgrass shots …but what are you supposed to do with them? Greens can be a little bit overwhelming when you’re first trying to incorporate them into your diet. People always ask me how to add them and what to do to make them taste good. The first thing I look to when answering this question is my Blendtech!

Adding greens to your favorite fruit smoothie is a fabulous way to get the power packed nutrients that greens offer. Now I know, the color that greens turn smoothies can be a bit off putting. Most of us aren’t used to drinking something that looks like toxic sludge or worse, something bright green *gasp!* – it looks like slime, not food!! Well, it is food…and it’s food that’s great for you. My simple advice, get over it! And if you just can’t get over it, do what my boyfriend Stephen does, drink it with your eyes closed.

Ok, so now you’re going to take the green smoothie plunge, but you’re not sure how. Well, it’s super easy! You can start by adding fresh greens to your smoothie or a super greens supplement. If you’re adding fresh greens, the ratio for a green smoothie should be 60% fruit and 40% greens (collard, spinach, mustard, kale, or swiss, green or red chard). You really can’t make a mistake, more fruit, less greens and add your favorite liquid and blend. I often use coconut water or just plain water. Sometimes I use fruit juice, but this does up the calorie content of the smoothie. I also like to add my own nutritional boosts to the smoothie like maca powder, acai (pronounced ah-sa-eeee, which is available in the freezer section at Whole Foods or your local health foods store. I usually choose the sugar free acai), flax oil, hemp seeds or almonds. You can add a little honey or agave for sweetness.

Pineapple Mango "SuperGreens" Smoothie

You can find a number of fabulous supergreens in Whole Foods or your favorite health foods store. They range from froze wheatgrass shots to powdered supplements. When buying supergreens supplements it’s important to choose organic. Supergreens are super concentrated which means, if they’re not organic, you’re also going to get super concentrated pesticides- yuck!! I use Green Magma Barley Grass Juice Powder or Pure Synergy.

There really isn’t a specific green smoothie recipe to follow, it’s kind of like a stew, a little of this and a little of that to suit your tastes. Just experiment and see what works for you!.

Terra’s Favorite Green Smoothie

1/2 c. Diced Mango
1/2 c. Diced pineapple
Coconut water
1 Frozen Wheatgrass Shot
1 tbsp of Green Magma Barley Grass Juice Powder

Put it all in the blender and blend! This smoothie will come out electric green with a sweet tang because of the mango and pineapple. It’s my favorite!!

Food, Health

Food Updates and the Processed Vegan Trap

So it’s day 4 of our own little vegan challenge and and I must say that I am insanely proud of the Hubs. He’s still going strong and even starting to get excited about vegan cooking. The Hubs loves to cook and he loves to cook meat so it’s pretty amazing that vegan cooking is getting him excited! I’ll be honest, I had my doubts that he would even last 24 hours!

Day 1 of the vegan challenge started with Sunday morning breakfast. Sorghum flour pancakes and tofurkey breakfast sausage.

The Happy Hubby Cook

I topped mine with a little organic peanut butter, fresh sliced organic strawberries and bananas.  Hubs topped his with Earth Balance and Eaton’s Vermont maple syrup. I think VT maple syrup is the Hub’s third true love (next to myself and Stella of course). Thankfully,  we still have more than 30 mini bottles left over from our wedding!

peanut butter, strawberry and banana vegan pancakes

I am not much for eating the processed faux-meats, but the Tofurkey breakfast sausage was really good. Hubs LOVED it. I learned early on in my first vegan challenge in 2009 that just because something is vegan does NOT mean it’s healthy.  I spent the first challenge trying to replace the things in my diet I thought I “needed.”  Of course I really didn’t need them. Eating processed vegan crap is just as bad as eating processed normal crap. After the first 20 days I realized that I had actually gained a significant amount of weight. Since that first challenge I have been extremely conscious about what sort of processed meat/dairy substitutes I choose. Vegan challenge 2 and 3, I eliminated the processed stuff entirely.

The Hubs is making it a bit more challenging for me this time around. This is his first time attempting a vegan diet, and he feels he needs the substitutes (just like I felt I needed them!) so I want to support him in any way I can!

Dinner on night one was my vegan stuffed peppers. Recipe here. I love these peppers and could eat them more than once a week. Hubs? Not so much. He doesn’t even like regular stuffed peppers. (I don’t get it. But there are LOTS of taste differences that we have that I don’t get – and that’s another blog entirely). Night 2 I compromised and we had veggie burgers on sprouted grain english muffins with Daiya cheese. I could have made healthier veggie burgers from scratch, but we all lead busy lives and we wanted quick and easy. Frozen it was.

Southwest Organic Sunshine Burger on a 7 grain sprouted english muffin with Daiya cheddar cheese and honey mustard accompanied by a fluffy garden salad.

Hubs had his veggie burger with chips and apple sauce (such a kiddo!) and I had a leafy green salad (boston lettuce, mesclun mix, cucumbers, tomatoes, red bell peppers and carrots). The entire meal was delicious.

I am trying to get Hubs to eat more veggies and less processed stuff. It’s not an easy task. We’re taking baby steps. I’m just grateful he agreed to do the challenge with me, it really makes life SO much easier when I don’t have to drool over his Friday night pizza!  This morning I made him drink a green juice consisting of a head of kale, 4 celery stalks, a cucumber, an apple, a lemon and some ginger. If he won’t eat the fruits and veggies, I’ll make him drink them! I can be sneaky about navigating the processed vegan traps! 🙂

Tonight we’re having vegan mac & cheese, sauteed broccoli and carrots and a garden salad. I’m excited to test out the vegan mac & cheese recipe I found. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Any new vegans get caught in the processed vegan trap?  How did you find your way out?