Avoiding “The Plague”

Let’s be honest here, we all get sick, well at least most of us. And sometimes sickness plagues us at the most inopportune times, like finals week. Times like these, call for extra measures. Being sick during finals week just makes everything harder, but there are some things that you can do to help keep your immune system healthy and ward off any inklings of sickness.

  1. Drink Water. I cannot stress this enough. Dehydration can cause a myriad of issues, including lowering your immune system.
  2. Eat Healthier. Again, I say this all the time, it’s not about eating completely healthy and clean, it is about balance. Yeah, you can totally stress eat some cookies and chips, but make sure to have plenty of fruits and veggies to off set those treats.
  3. Garlic Pills. Garlic has been shown to help your immune system fight off colds and my Calc Professor always told me to eat raw garlic if I was getting sick. If raw garlic isn’t your thing, I would recommend taking Aged Garlic Pills if you think you are catching a cold.
  4. Oregano Oil. It has been shown in some preliminary research to be an anti-viral agent, so once again, if you feel a cold coming on, then it worth taking. I put two drops into a glass of warm water and drink 2-3 times a day.
  5. Vitamin C. I never really have a problem getting enough of this in my diet, but if you think that you are low in Vitamin C, it might not hurt to take a supplement or two.
  6. Vitamin D. If you live somewhere like Washington, you probably aren’t getting enough of it. You have two options, get outside on those sunny days and/or supplement with a good vitamin D supplement.
  7. Exercise. It is good for your body and for your overall mental health. Stress = higher cortisol levels, which in turns means a lowered immune system. But exercise has been found to be a really big stress reliever due to the endorphins released.

Now the trick to these things, is that they aren’t quick fixes. Yes, start them as soon as you think you are getting sick, but things like healthy eating, exercise, and staying hydrated are things that you should try and incorporate into your lifestyle. It isn’t easy, but slowly it will become part of your daily life. And taking one dose of oregano oil or garlic pills won’t cure your cold, but studies show that taking them consistently can help reduce the duration of the cold.

Also take all this info with a grain of salt, I am not a health professional and the things that I have told you are based off of personal research and personal experience. So yeah, don’t come after me with pitch forks if you find it doesn’t work for you.

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trash panda’s delight

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Trash panda’s delight, a vegan’s take on the garbage plate. So it is pretty far from the actual ingredients of a garbage plate, but I like to think the concept is similar. And in all honesty I didn’t know what to call this. So trash panda’s delight it is. An ode to my favorite neighborhood alleyway trash pandas.

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baked potato slices + vegan “meat” + broccoli + avocado + cashew cream + avocado 

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the vegan “meat” in the making [tempeh, mushrooms, onions, garlic]
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Serves 2-4

  • 1 sweet potato + 1 russet potato (or two smaller yellow potatoes)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 2 crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tempeh
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews*
  • 1/2-1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 avocado diced
  • 1 green onion sliced

Preheat oven to 425°F, clean and slice the potatoes, leaving the skin on for added nutrients. Toss the sliced potatoes in a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of olive oil, then spread evenly on a lined baking tray. (I like to use my Silpat because it’s reusable.) Then place in the oven for 15-30min until soft and slightly crispy.

While the potatoes are baking, dice the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Add the mushrooms and onion into a pan with around a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt + ground pepper. While that is sautéing, crumble in the tempeh and continue to cook for another 2mins, then add the minced garlic and cook for another few minutes. Set aside.

Cut up the broccoli and steam until tender. (Don’t overcook!) Set aside.

Next, add lemon juice, soaked cashews, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of salt into the blender. Blend until smooth, adding more water to achieve desired consistency. It should be creamy, but not too thick.

Now time to build. Start with potatoes, next broccoli, then tempeh mushroom mixture, drizzle over sauce, and top with the green onions and avocado.

*If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I would recommend soaking overnight. Otherwise, 30mins to an hour in boiling hot water should work just fine.

Green Smoothie #1

When I really think about it, I drink a lot of green smoothies, but the truth is most my green smoothies don’t look so green, and that’s ok! Yeah, it is super cool to take an instagram of your bright green smoothie, but I got a little bored of not being able to put berries in my smoothie for fear of turning it brown. Well I fear no more, because lately I’ve been making this not so green, “green” smoothie daily.

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The ginger and the juice in this smoothie isn’t really optional, unless you would like to taste the full earthiness the kale and spirulina have to offer.

Ingredients

  • 2 stalks of kale
  • 1 cup of juice (orange or apple)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1-2 cups frozen berries (blueberries + strawberries)
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tsp barely grass juice powder
  • 1 tbsp homemade coconut yogurt*

Blend the kale, juice, and ginger until smooth. (You can skip this step, but be forewarned, you might find pieces of kale in your smoothie.) Then add in the berries and green powders and blend until smooth. If needed, add more juice or water to reach desired consistency. Top with coconut yogurt + enjoy!

 

lentil curry + crispy tofu

This is honestly one of the most fusion meals I’ve created…but it is so so good. The curry almost feels thai, yet also indian, with lentils which remind me of dal bhat, and then crispy tofu takes us back to thai again. All around its a solid meal filled with acres of plant based protein.

Sautéed green veggies for the side.

This recipe was adapted from Anett Velsberg’s peanut lentil curry.

Ingredients:

– LENTIL CURRY –

2 tbsp coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced

2 carrots sliced

1-2 potatoes diced

1 tsp smashed coriander seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 cup red lentils

2 cups water + 1 tbsp veggie stock concentrate*

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

– TOFU –

1 tbsp olive oil

1 pack of extra firm tofu

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp tamari

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the spices, are fragrant. Add the vegetables, lentils, stock and crushed tomatoes. Stir and place the lid on. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

While the curry is cooking, preheat oven to 400°F. Next, wrap a towel around the tofu and press under something heavy for 5-10mins. Dice into medium-sized cubes and toss with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and tamari. Spread evenly onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20mins until desired crispiness is reached

Add the coconut milk and mix well. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then top with lime juice and crispy tofu. Serve with rice, steamed or sautéed  green veggies, and flatbreads. Enjoy!

*This veggies stock concentrate has a lot of flavor and salt, so I definitely would recommend using it. But if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it then use normal veggie broth (instead of all the water) and add some extra salt.

Things I Do “Everyday” to Stay Healthy

IMG_8935.jpgIt can be hard to stay healthy…When you are busy and stressed, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. I know that I struggle to be healthy the most when I am going through a bout of depression. Either I don’t eat, or I eat something processed that sounds like a good idea, but ends up making me feel worse in the end. So today, I thought I would share with you a few things that I do almost every day to be just a bit healthier.

  1. Drink Water. This one might seem a little obvious, but a really simple way to help your body is to drink water! I try to drink two cups of water first thing in the morning to jumpstart my system. Then throughout the day, I try to drink between 2-3L of water. If you have trouble with drinking water, try adding fruit or lemon slices to add some flavor.
  2. Green Powders. After my water, I’ve been having either a smoothie or just some orange juice with green powders mixed in. Currently, the two powders I am using are spirulina and barley grass juice powder. Spirulina contains 60% protein and is an excellent source of vitamins A, K1, K2, B12 and iron, manganese and chromium. While barley grass juice powder contains beta carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, and folic acid.
  3. Yoga. I like to take 10-15min each morning to do a little yoga outside. It helps to wake up my muscles and get me ready to conquer the day. You don’t have to be a master yogi to do this. I’ve taken a couple classes and watched a few videos, but now I just roll out my mat and move my body. It is that simple.
  4. Consume Fermented Foods. Fermented foods like saurkraut and kombucha will help introduce good bacteria into your gut, which will lead to better digestion and a happy gut leads to better overall health!
  5. Load Up on Fruits and Veggies. I’ve found that personally, I feel the best when eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies throughout my day. I like to drink smoothies, eat whole fruits, and have big salads at dinner or simply just eat some steamed veggies. The more you eat them, the better they will taste and the healthier you will feel!
  6. Eat an Early Dinner. My mom has always had me eat an earlier dinner, and I didn’t really know why until I was on my own. Eating an earlier dinner leads to better digestion and better sleep! And both of those things will lead to you feeling a lot healthier.
  7. Go to Bed Early. I’ve always heard that the hours of sleep that you get before midnight count as double. Unfortunately, this isn’t true, but during the first third of our sleep cycle, we experience our deepest sleep. This is the time that is the most restorative for our bodies, so hop into bed a little earlier and take advantage of your slow wave sleep.

I am by no means perfect. Hence the quotation marks in the title. There are certainly days that involve sleeping in till 10 am, eating frozen waffles for breakfast, skipping all forms of exercise, eating at 10 pm, staying up late, throwing caution to the wind. But I’ve started to realize that by doing these simple things every day, I feel a lot better, even on days when everything else around me seems to be falling apart. There are tons of ways to live a healthy life, so get out there and experiment. Find what works best for you and let me know! I would love to hear some of the things you try to do every day to stay healthy.

June Favorites

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Since last month, I finished my freshman year of college, turned 20, and opened my first Etsy store! It has been a busy month, but definitely a good one. Now, let’s get into the favorites for June!

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First up is this basket I got for my birthday from Salt Shoppe. At first, I was surprised by its size, but soon I fell in love. It is a large basket, but it makes it so useful! I can even fit my beagle inside. 🙂 It is perfect for trips to the produce stand, beach, thrift store, post office. Literally anywhere you need to transport a large amount of stuff. I would 10/10 recommend this basket!

Next is a collection of mostly food that were favorites in June… here we go!

  1. simple mills grain free gluten free crackers – I swear these have crack in them, they are so addictive
  2. Garbology – a book I am reading for my environmental studies class, I highly recommend.
  3. bouldering – the act of climbing without ropes, such a good workout and something that I’ve dearly missed and rediscovered during June
  4. strawberriesssss – fresh, in season, local strawberries were definitely consumed in large quantities. And when they started to go bad we turned them into sweet sugary jam
  5. Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe – If you are ever in Seattle, go to Chaco Canyon. This place is hands down my favorite cafe ever. It is vegan, healthy, tasty, and has tons of gluten-free options… just prepare for it to break your wallet. It is pricey but soooo worth it. 10/10 would recommend.
  6. Miyoko’s vegan cheese – last but not least, Miyoko’s double chive vegan cheese is amazing. Also, it is $10, not friendly for a college student’s budget, but definitely one of my favorite treats during my birthday month.

Sprout Wrap

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This wrap makes is easy, delicious, and transportable! And who doesn’t love sprouts?

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I made this recipe when I was eating eggs, but you could easily substitute the scrambled eggs with tempeh or tofu.

Ingredients

  • wrap – my favorite is Mountain Bread wraps
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • scrambled eggs or your choice of protein
  • kale slaw
  • Brianna’s French vinaigrette salad dressing

Cook your protein source, mix the dressing with the kale slaw, then stack it all into the wrap and roll it up! It is that simple!

 

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | A Note on Sugar

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It has been said that sugar is the cigarettes of our generation and honestly I didn’t really realize how addictive it was until I tried to stop eating it. And this is even after I’d given up most refined sugars. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I’ve always preferred more natural sugars. I’ve had several birthdays during my childhood where I had half a watermelon as my cake, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t consume my fair share of sugar. I often load up on lots of “natural sugars”, like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dates, honey, coconut sugar… And even those are unhealthy if consumed regularly. So in the spirit of health, I’ve decided to share one of my favorite sugarless recipes that can still qualify as a dessert.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 water
  • 6-9 tb chia seeds*
  • 1 lemon zested
  • frozen or fresh berries

Blend the coconut milk and water until smooth. Pour out into a container and mix in the chia seeds and lemon zest. Pour into storage jars and leave in the fridge until the chia seeds have soaked up all the liquid and expanded. Top with fresh or frozen berries.

*depending on how thick or thin you like your pudding

Acai Bowl

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Acai Bowls are one of those standard hip health food things, but they can be really expensive if you buy them at a smoothie bar. Making them at home is less expensive and allows to you make them customizable to your own taste and preferences. It’s taken me many packets of pureed acai to get to this point, but I think I have finally figured out the perfect acai bowl recipe.

If you can’t afford the acai puree, just leave it out. I’m sure that if you had the right combination of blueberries and strawberries, you could totally fake the color and nobody on Instagram would know that you are a poor college student.

Ingredients

1 packet of acai puree (Sambazon is my favorite brand)

1.5 frozen bananas

1/2 frozen strawberries

1/4-1/2 of apple or orange juice and a little small of water

toppings: chopped fruit, buckwheat groats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, granola, flax seed meal… are just a few of my favorites.

Defrost the acai puree under hot water and pour into the blender. Chop up the frozen bananas and add in, along with the strawberries. Start with a small amount of juice and water and blend using the tamper. If your blender is struggling add more liquid. My advice is to start small with the liquid because once you add too much you can’t really take it back. When it is fully blended, transfer into a bowl, and place in the freezer while you get your toppings ready. Then decorate if you so please, otherwise just toss it on and enjoy!

Let me know if you have a favorite acai bowl recipe.

 

Smoothie Recipes

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Smoothies are a really great way to add nutrition into your body fast. Without them, I don’t know if I would be surviving college right now. And the great thing about them, is that once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a master at throwing stuff into the blender and having a delicious smoothie in minutes. But incase you aren’t that good at improvising, I’ve collected a few of my favorite smoothie recipes. And here is a cool green smoothie chart guide. Continue reading