Quick Snap Shot!

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Just a little bit of everything in this vegan lunch. I have my green juice, a big bowl of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. That’s what I love about eating a plant-based diet, there are no rules. Mix it all up and it’s still healthy.

Excerpts from the Spring 2013 Kaiser Permanente Journal says,

“Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.”

Get on the bandwagon!

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Sugar Snap Peas Are Back!

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My favorite snack is back at my local farmers marker. Sugar snap peas, I think is the perfect healthy and raw on-the-go snack that exists. They’re easy to tote around, sweet, and best of all, they’re not messy.

Sugar snap peas are high in vitamin K, which activates osteocalcin and helps keep calcium in bones. They also contain vitamin B6, another vitamin that improves bone health by reducing the buildup of molecules that can cause osteoporosis.

The peas are low in calories, containing less than 70 calories per half cup. The high amount of fiber makes them a wonderful filling snack or side dish. I prefer to eat them raw because they’re sweeter and crunchy.

How do you enjoy eating sugar snap peas?

Resources: West Virginia University – Snap Peas

Fresh Beet Juice

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Ingredients:
3 beets
Handful parsley
8 carrots
2 apples
1 pinky length ginger

Beets are high in folate. Foods high in folate supports red blood cell production, helps prevent anemia, and allow nerves to function properly. Folate supports cell production, especially in your skin.

Other excellent sources of folate includes romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, lentils, cauliflower, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, and collard greens.

To read more on the benefits of folate and other food sources check out whfoods.com.

Vegan Salad: No lettuce Required

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Who says, you need lettuce to make a salad? I know, but I won’t mention who for the sake of his reputation. A salad doesn’t need lettuce in order for it to be considered a salad. A salad can be a combination of any fruit, vegetable, or grain.

This particular salad I’m showcasing doesn’t have any. It’s just a simple organic salad I put together at work. It has tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, peaches, apples, and a baked sweet potato. Most of these items, came from my local farmers market. It’s important that everyone go out and support their local farmers market.

It’s really an awesome feeling meeting and buying foods from the actual growers. Plus, the freshness and flavors of the fruits and vegetables are amazing. There’s also dairy farms, turkey farms, organic bakery’s, honey farms, fresh eggs, wine, wild fish and so much more.

Grocery store foods are highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Buying from local family owned farms the food is generally grown organically while using methods that minimizes the impact on the earth, and the food is fresher and healthier. Please go out and support your local farms.

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Here’s a picture of everything before it was cut up. There was no reasoning behind selecting these items. They were randomly selected with only one goal in mind, “I’m not paying for another city lunch!” Buying lunch in Manhattan can be very costly, so I try to bring in my lunch as much as I can. Plus, its healthier preparing and cooking your own meals.

Find out below where you can locate your local farmers market. Go out and support them!

Other Reads:
Farmers Market in NYC: Grownyc.org
My Farmers Market
Find Your Local Farmers Market Here

No Meat Required!

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The misconception in the United States is that you need to eat meat (animals) to obtain protein. Well according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, coauthor of The China Study with his son, Thomas Campbell, II, MD., spinach, kale, walnuts, quinoa, oats, and many other whole foods have about twice as much protein, per calorie, as a lean cut of beef.

Dr. Campbell also wrote Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (a must read). These books will teach you about proper nutrition and how different types of foods affect your body’s ecosystem.

I don’t need to eat a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted bagel for breakfast. I use to though, a very long time ago. I was brought up under the wrong pretenses. My apples, blueberries and walnuts is full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, protein (yes there’s protein in blueberries too), fiber, carbohydrates, omega-3’s, vitamins, and minerals. The benefits of eating a whole food plant base (WFPB) diet outweighs the benefits of a bacon and egg sandwich.

The closer we get to a WFPB diet the healthier we (Americans’) will be. CHOOSE wisely with your forks.

My #1 Tip for Eating Healthy

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My number one tip for eating healthy would be to substitute one processed meal either breakfast, lunch or dinner for a raw food meal. Take my lunch here for instance, it’s a bowl of organic, raw vegetables, and fruits. It has vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Eating processed foods can decrease your body’s ability to function efficiently. According to Dr. Campbell, (author of The China Study), a diet that consist of processed foods are suggested to be related to the development of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, aging, shorter lifespan, psycho-behavioral conditions, cancer and many more illnesses. Processed foods like refined sugars, white flour, processed meats, packaged foods, flavored noodle mixes, packaged mac and cheese, soda and other processed foods are notorious for containing questionable levels of phosphate-laden ingredients as well as genetically engineered ingredients, which are destructive to your health.

According to the American Heart Association, we down about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day; that’s why diabetes and obesity are high amongst American’s.

I recommend eating a diet that consist of mostly plant-based with whole grains, nuts and fruits. These foods are rich in fiber, omega-3’s, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and so much more vital nutrients our body needs to be healthy. After changing my diet, I can honestly say, I feel wonderful. The biggest change was my energy level especially, after eating my meals. I didn’t feel bloated, lethargic, or groggy. Instead, I felt refueled and ready to tackle the rest of my day.

The main idea is to stay away from anything unnatural or processed. I think by adding a raw meal into your daily diet will help to propel you to make wiser choices. By doing so, you’ll have more energy, and the most important one of all, your body is getting the proper nutrients it needs.

If you can, stick to organic foods. Since organic standards ban the use of artificial food dyes, genetically engineered foods, and additives it’s safer. Now I don’t buy everything organic. I definitely follow the, Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list. According to their website, the Dirty Dozen generally have the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally because they’re more prone to pesky bugs. I also shop at my local farmers market.

The EWG also recommends peeling fruits and vegetables or removing outer layers of leafy greens. That is also a great way to cut back on pesticide intake. That said, certain fruits and veggies might be more important to buy organic than others.

Be selective and do your research.

Day 5: Breakfast and Lunch

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Breakfast this morning consisted of my usual as you can see 7 whole grain bread with peanut butter, my berry/spinach smoothie, organic grapefruit, and a cup of organic white tea. This was very filling although it doesn’t look like much.

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I decided on Indian food for lunch today. My favorite Indian restaurant is Agra. The food is authentic and amazing. There’s also a business lunch special that’s very reasonable. I got the curry vegetable dish (eggplant, carrots, potato, and cauliflower), 2 potato samosas appetizers (I ate one before I took the pic), curry cabbage, and basmati rice. I went a little off my diet today. I had white basmati rice and I shouldn’t have. I tried to get brown but they didn’t have. It’s not the worst thing. I figured it was Friday, so why not!

Day 2: Dinner

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Surprisingly, I don’t feel hungry. My salad is still holding me down. I also had some pistachios and one slice of multigrain bread with peanut butter around three o’clock today.

It’s almost ten o’clock and I’m finished cooking dinner and my lunch for tomorrow. My children Justin (11), Nicholas (9), and daughter Lily (2) are fast asleep. I’m going to have my grapefruit and a cup of organic chamomile tea for now. I’ll head off to bed around 11:00 and say my prayers. I’ll thank God for my health and strength, my loving husband, and beautiful children.

Here’s a sneak preview of my lunch. I just finished cooking it.

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This is my barley mixed with asparagus, black bean, kale, cranberry, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, black pepper and sea salt. It’s so good!

A Healthier SNACK: Organic Popcorn

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Organic popcorn is healthier for you but, only if it’s air-popped. You can use a regular pot which, I’ve used many times over, or you can buy an air popper. They’re sold at Macy’s, Sear’s and Amazon for under fifty dollars. To jazz up your popcorn drizzle extra virgin olive oil over it and sprinkle a ittle sea salt for more taste.

How many calories you end up with depends on how much olive oil you use.

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One cup of air popped popcorn, for example, contains only 30 calories or so. Olive oil contains about 250 calories per ounce (2 tablespoons).

Many American’s buy the microvable brands and it’s actually not healthy for you. Remember the corn is a grain however, it’s the type of corn you buy (Organic or GM Corn) and how you prepare it can really affect your health. A new study at the University of Minnesota showed diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease.

Diacetyle is an artificial butter flavoring added to microwave popcorn and other snack foods; many microwave popcorn factories have already stopped using the synthetic diacetyl because it’s been linked to lung damage in people who work in the factories. Now imagine popping your microvable pocorn and this chemical goes into your blood stream which the study shows.

Removing Diacetyl from Microwave Popcorn Doesn’t Make it Safe…
As mentioned, diacetyl is known to cause serious, sometimes life-threating respiratory illness in microwave popcorn-plant and flavoring plant workers. Many companies therefore began to stop using the chemical in their products, replacing it with another ingredient called 2,3-pentanedione (PD), which is also used to impart a buttery flavor and aroma.

Now researchers have revealed that PD, too, can lead to respiratory toxicity similar to that caused by diacetyl. The chemical was also capable of pathologically altering the gene expression in rat brains, leading to neurotoxicity. The study’s lead researcher noted:

    “Our study is a reminder that a chemical with a long history of being eaten without any evidence of toxicity can still be an agent with respiratory toxicity when appropriate studies are conducted.”

Not to mention, perfluoroalkyls (PFCs), which are chemicals used to keep grease from leaking through food wrappers, are widely used in microwave-popcorn packaging. These chemicals migrate into your food and are processed by your body, where they can disrupt your endocrine system and affect your sex hormones. PFCs have been linked to infertility, thyroid disease, cancer, immune system problems, and more.

It’s obviouse we’re living in a world where we want things bigger and faster. That doesn’t always mean it’s healthier and better for us.

Source:
WHOLEfoods! Popcorn
University of Minnesota Study
Dr. Mercola – Buttered Popcorn Linked to Alzheimer’s
Study – Respiratory and olfactory cytotoxicity of inhaled 2,3-pentanedione

My smoooooothie!!!

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Blueberries, strawberries, mangos, raspberries, ice and almond milk. It’s soooo delicious. I love this! I feel awesome eating healthy and clean.

This is a great way to up your antioxidants intake. Juicing and drinking smoothies just makes consuming your fruits and vegetables easier. It supports a healthy immune system. Plus, your body is getting all the raw enzymes, valuable vitamins and nutrients it needs.

Juice on!