Are you Comfortable Being Uncomfortable?

Are you Comfortable Being Uncomfortable?

A lot of things have happened in my life since the last time I blogged. The biggest news is that I finally took a leap of faith and gave notice at my day job in retail job as a wine buyer two weeks ago, and will be diving into entrepreneurship full time to pursue my passion in health, fitness and transformational life coaching.  A fellow female entrepreneur and colleague told me “Get comfortable being uncomfortable!” A famous Jillian Michaels quote, which I found ironic and yet perfectly suitable, as Jillian Michaels’ online program was what first got me back to fitness after a hiatus of a few years, and I consequently lost 30 lbs.  That line really hit a chord with me, because it is what is necessary in all ways of life, in order to change and grow as a person.  Let me give you some examples below.

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  • why are diets so difficult? It’s because we are uprooting our routines, we are changing the way we eat, and perhaps think, about food, about life, and ourselves.  The food we are used to and have grown to love so much may not be available to us when we want it.  Food is also strongly associated with memories, more so than the actual taste of it. How often have you not thought about that dish your mom made you regularly while growing up you love so much, but when you think about it, was no gourmet meal, and not really THAT great, but brings back a sense of comfort that you crave? Diets are also hard because instead of going for that bag of potato chips or glass of wine (or five) to soothe us when we’ve had a stressful day, or just want to forget about everything and watch the tube and mindlessly snack on junk, we are asked to grab a healthy salad and go for a walk/run. Wtf?! Where’s the fun and comfort in that? Because we, as a society, want to be immediately gratified in that very moment, we don’t think very long term about how our rash choices we make in that instant, can affect our future health and well being.

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  • as most of you know, I’m a big advocate of a whole foods, plant based diet. I do encounter resistance to this way of eating, mostly because people are not comfortable with their lack of knowledge about this lifestyle, and they are threatened because they don’t like that I will take away their favorite foods. “But chicken is healthy”, and “There is so much protein in Greek yogurt and it is my favorite afternoon snack”, “only rich people are vegan”, and so forth… They can’t fathom that plants can actually create far more exciting dishes, that not only taste better, but that are better for your health and easier on your wallet. Health and fitness is not just about what you look like on the outside, but it’s how your body is treated on the inside. I believe the latter is something most people down prioritize, because it’s not something they can see with their eyes, until of course, they become gravely ill and are forced to pay attention.   Eating a whole foods, plant based diet also will help billions of animals each year, as they are being abused, tortured and killed daily for the sake of people’s few seconds of pleasure on the plate. This is highly uncomfortable to think about for most people.  They desperately cling to terms like “grass fed”, “organic” and “free range” and claim that the meat they eat come from animals who have lived a happy life on a romantic farm, while the truth is so far from that. All animals end up in the same, horrifying trucks along with factory farm animals, being denied food and water for as much as up to 36 hours, and end their “wonderful lives” in slaughter houses that reek of blood, horror and death.  All living beings want to live. Nobody wants to die so they can become your steak. Animals feel pain, happiness, love and fear. Yes, this is indeed very uncomfortable to think about for most of us, but I think the animals suffer a much bigger level of discomfort than we do, so don’t we owe it to them to at least look into how the meat and dairy industry operate? How our demand for these products, no matter where they come from, encourages an industry which contributes not just to unnecessary killings, but to global warming and world hunger?  When there are thousands of plants available and only a few animals, why is it so hard to consider going plant based? Oh yes, that’s right… it’s uncomfortable. It takes a little effort. It will break up your belief system, challenge your daily meal plan and make you feel upset. I’m sorry, but get comfortable being uncomfortable. The animals will thank you.

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  • I recently lost my pup, Dallas, to cancer. The day we had to say goodbye was the most difficult day in my life since the day I got notified that my five month old nephew, Mark, had passed away from that very same disease.  “Uncomfortable” is probably not the word to use in these situations, as much stronger emotions were in place, but what struck me , is that I was highly uncomfortable seeing my loved ones around me grieving and in pain. When my husband is going through a difficult time, I immediately want to make him feel better, rationalize the situation, and almost undermine his feelings, and deny him the time he needs to go through the motions, just like I need to do the very same thing for myself. It’s much “easier” to just take all the sorrow and grief on my own shoulders, than to see people I love having to suffer.  It’s uncomfortable, in a big way.  But I have to go through being uncomfortable to give other people the space and the respect they deserve to sort through their own feelings so they can move on in a healthy, timely way.

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  • and lastly, of course – giving up a steady income, risking everything to live the life you were meant to live, to follow your passion.  Not many people dare do this, but I believe everyone wants to do it.  Instead, they come up with a million excuses as to why they can’t. “I’m too old”, “I don’t have the savings or funds to build a business”, “Nobody is going to want what I have to offer”, “My idea is old, it’s been done a million times before,” “My spouse doesn’t support me”, “I’m too busy with the kids”, “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur”, and so on and so on… Excuses are much easier than being uncomfortable right? Not knowing what the next month is going to look like, constantly having to ‘hustle’ to find clients, feeling unsettled and knowing that YOU are the only one to blame if things don’t go well.  It’s easier and much more comfortable to blame others if something in your life goes wrong. It’s more comfortable to throw out one of those lame lines above than to actually start working on yourself, take responsibility for your own life and happiness and stop hiding.

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So think about these points for a few moments, and ask yourself “Why am I really not ready to make a move?”  Is your mac and cheese more important to you than those love handles that you keep crying over in the mirror each morning you put on your (too tight) pants?  Or could you perhaps find the creativity in you to make a similar dish with better ingredients that would make your taste buds just as happy?

Would you rather be on autopilot and go to a job every day that you hate but don’t have to think about much, rather than feeling alive and trying to make a difference in the world?  Or can you devote perhaps an hour a day to “me time” and do things that you love, or used to love, but claim you no longer are ‘able’ to do?  Because trust me, you are!

Are you ok with just living a mediocre life being miserable or slightly unhappy, not feeling like you’ve lived up to your potential? Then by all means, continue what you’re doing and have at it. But don’t complain….We all have the same 24 hours in the day, we all have talents and a purpose here on this earth and the opportunity to pursue what we truly are passionate about… it just takes making a decision, making a plan, and of course… being willing to be uncomfortable for a bit until you achieve your goal.

But if you are in the slightest bit curious about what greatness lies in you that I can help show you how to revive, then get in touch and I would love to chat with you!  I believe in you – and the world needs what you have to offer!!

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Fitness Challenge Progress And Finding Back To The Love of Working Out

I’ve almost finished week 1 of the 21 Day Fit Extreme…. well, technically it’s day 5 for me as I fell sick on Wednesday and did not complete my workout also went off my scheduled plan a bit over the weekend. Not so much because of the July 4th holiday, but it was the last day I had off with my husband before he left for Bermuda today for a month of work so we indulged a little…So I have decided to start from scratch this week and extend my 21 days to 28 days (technically 26 days). It happens. The old me would spend days beating myself up telling myself all kinds of negative things as to why this happened, question my strength, discipline, etc. I now realize the most important thing is to stay consistent, not extreme (even though this particular challenge uses that name!) and to be level headed and keep thinking of the bigger picture.  Which is, of course- leading a healthier lifestyle, incorporating daily exercise, feeding your body nourishing foods, learning new routines and feeling good!

With everything going on, I have to say I LOVE the at home workouts! I thought I would be bored or that they would be lame, but these workouts challenge me, and they are certainly not for whimps!  The convenience of working out from home and having a structured workout laid out for you every day is wonderful. I feel absolutely awesome pushing myself for a short 30 minutes at the beginning of my day, such a great way to start the day! I have not stopped going to the gym, but I typically focus on really heavy lifting there, and will take a couple of hours break in between before I head to my second workout.  Regardless of whether or not you have another fitness routine or not, I highly recommend trying out an at home workout program if you are at a loss for what to do, but know you have to start moving.

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As a fitness coach and personal trainer, I need motivation too, and I’m always looking to mix up my workouts. I have to admit I have been in a recent workout slump the past year.  These past few months I felt a bit unmotivated to hit the gym and lift weights without a scheduled show date where I had to step on stage in a bikini, not a coach to check up on me, etc.  It felt a bit… pointless, and I”m big on having a PURPOSE for everything I do, and a goal! But I knew I had to find back to my love of working out, and it didn’t necessarily involve headed to the gym every day. I am so happy I came across the wonderful, challenging and varied workouts from Beach Body, and now I look forward to working out every single morning (Yes, it’s not a lie!).  Here’s the program I’m following now, which is kicking my butt!

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Whatever it is you love to do – do it! Walk around the block with your dog an extra lap, take your bike out for a ride, or go swimming in the lake – whatever gets you moving, it will always make you feel great, guaranteed! Chances are, once you get into the habit of being active on a regular basis, you’ll seek out new and more challenging activities, and you will continue to improve your fitness level. Try it out!

 

3 Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey + Some Exciting News!

3 Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey + Some Exciting News!

Happy Monday, folks! I always love Mondays, unlike most people, because it’s my day off from my regular day job and I get to work on what I love: my new coaching business, which means the day is filled with health, fitness, mindset and motivation! I am really optimistic about the months to come, so many exciting things ahead, some of which I’ll reveal in this blog post.

Yesterday marked the last day of my 6-week “Eat To Live” program by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, where I followed his plan of eating lots of green vegetables, fruit, bean and legumes, and limited whole grains and tofu/soy products, and no oils, rather just healthy fats in the form of avocado, nuts, and seeds. I enjoyed this way of eating very much, although the “3 meals a day” only (no snacking in between) I found difficult to follow because of my active lifestyle. I sometimes found myself ravenous in front of each meal, and thus it becomes harder to stick to your plan.  I will be including an afternoon snack in the future, but will stick to the “no oil” rule, and include a little bit of whole grain during the day or right after my workouts.  All in all, the 6 week program was a success, I lost 8lbs and my clothes are a little less snug!

I’m now ready for the next step in my health and fitness journey. As with everything, you need to find motivation to keep going and improving yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally – the body and mind needs constant stimulation and inspiration, and we’re responsible for providing this to continue to improve and take it to the next level.  Working with a few of my clients in my new health coaching business, I have noticed a common thread: They are not fond of going to the gym. They either a) don’t have the time, b) are intimidated by the gym or c) don’t like the environment of a gym, and have no idea what to do once they are there.  As a personal trainer, I have spent quite a bit of time designing workout programs for them to do at home, and it sometimes took away the focus from other things I could be doing.  This is when I stumbled across a few of my colleagues who are involved with Beach Body and are fitness coaches full time. It dawned on me: this is a perfect fit for my health coaching business! I can direct people to the BeachBody site, they can order whatever workout program looks enticing to them, and they have me to coach them and I also get to benefit from the great, and HUGE variety of products Beach Body has to offer! The company is filled with inspiring, creative, smart and resourceful women (and men) who are passionate about helping people create a healthy and active lifestyle. I always go with my gut, and this time it said “go for it!” So there you have it – introducing your new Beach Body Fitness coach! 🙂

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I’m really excited to start, as I know people have gotten fantastic results from participating in these programs, and today marks day 1 for my own fitness challenge: The 21 Day Fix Extreme. I just finished the plyo workout, and boy it sure had my glutes and leg on fire!

Do you need that extra little push to fit in exercise and healthy fitness into your life? I would love to help you! In as little as 30 minutes a day you could be on to not just the body of your dreams, but feeling healthy, energetic and happy throughout the day as a result of treating your body with the respect and attention it deserves.  As some of you know, diet is also important, and as a professional chef, I am passionate about making plant based, whole foods not just accessible, but delicious and creative.  I am dedicated to providing both of these services to my clients.

Feeling a little bored with your workouts or uninspired with the way you eat? Try these 3 tips to keep you motivated on your health and fitness journey. As always, it requires you put in some work, but the results you will get will outshine your efforts, each and every time!

1.  Keep variety alive in the kitchen.  There is an abundance of different greens, vegetables, whole grains and legumes out there to allow you to eat a different meal every day of the year. When I was on a traditional body building diet (which is the worst way to eat, mind you), I was told I had to eat tilapia and aspargus five times a day, and yes, that included breakfast (!). Who can in their right mind think that this is a healthy and fun way to live?  No wonder people fall off this diet and end up in a stupor of chips, chocolate, burgers and fries topped with soda, beer, booze and more at the end of that intolerable experience.  No chiseled physique is worth treating your body with such disrespect!

Seek out different spices and herbs that you may never have heard of, stock them in your pantry and add them to your steamed, baked or water sauted veggies, cooked whole grains, beans, lentils or you can even add some of them even into your oats or quinoa porridge in the morning.  Go for Moroccan cuisine one day, Scandinavian the next, Chinese or Japanese the following day and end with Middle Eastern or Spanish another day. Spend a couple of hours during the weekend researching some easy recipes (or hire me as your coach, I’ve got an abundance of quick, easy to make recipes and you’ll never have to wonder about dinner ever again:) and prep up some meals for the week on Sunday night. It takes the guess work out of what you will eat, and you will be excited and look forward to each meal every day. Healthy does not mean you have to suffer or give up flavor or fun, it should be tasty and nutritious and keep you happy!

Produce from the local area fills the isles at the Bremen Farmers Auction August 28, 2012. (Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)
Produce from the local area fills the isles at the Bremen Farmers Auction August 28, 2012. (Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)

2.  Work on your mindset.  We all know the saying “the mind is a powerful thing”, and truly, what you tell yourself each and every day determines how you will feel and what action you will take that day. It takes just as much effort to be miserable and unhappy as it does to choose a positive mindset and decide you want to have great day – so why not choose the latter? Getting in daily exercise is a huge one here, because who feels crappy after a work out? Endorphins are released, we feel stronger and better equipped at taking on the challenges of the day.  Reading books on self development and following inspirational people on social media and surrounding yourself with likeminded, supportive people is also very important to your success.

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3. Hire a coach.  This is not a plug for my own business, but rather – it is a step I included because I myself have had the best results when I reached out to someone who had more experience and knowledge in the field I was trying to improve upon.  I have hired a personal trainer and I had a coach helping me with my diet and keeping me motivated, inspired and not to mentione, accountable, as well as giving me an outside perspective. It is tremendously valuable and only by taking action in investing in yourself will you truly understand this.

Realizing you can’t do it all yourself, and having the courage to ask for help, is the first important step in telling yourself and your body: “I value and respect myself. I prioritize myself because without my health I have nothing.”  I think of my body as my best friend – it tries so hard to keep me healthy every second of the day, even though I may not always make the best choices for it.  Try and think about your body as a person who just wants the best for you – and try to feed it the best, nourishing foods it needs to function properly and make sure you move around every day so it stays in good shape. When things get hard – hire a coach and have an outside friend and supporter keep you on track.  Guaranteed you will never regret it!

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Want To Go Vegan But Love Cheese? Read This!

Want To Go Vegan But Love Cheese? Read This!

I will start this post by saying that I will try anything once, I am not afraid of foods. In fact, there are very few foods I do not like in life, I somehow learn to appreciate every flavor that comes across my palate.  One exception was when I went vegan and people wanted me to try vegan cheese. I don’t care how many great reviews there are for Daiya cheese,  I just couldn’t get down with the funky taste or texture (and I’m pretty open minded!).  I had set my hopes so high, based on friends who were raving about it, the disappointment after I brought home some shredded “mozzarella” cheese to put on my home made pizza, was so big I was in mourning for a couple of days. I felt let down and prepared myself to never be able to experience that familiar cheese taste ever again.  Luckily, my disappointment was short lived, as I have found a couple of brands I am pretty impressed with, like some spreadable nut-based cheeses like Treeline:

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Image is from Treeline’s website: http//treelinecheese.com

Overall I choose to mostly eliminate cheese products from my diet. Luckily it has not been very difficult for me, as I was not a huge cheese eater before going vegan.

For those of you who really love cheese and can’t imagine living without it, there is hope!  Trust me when I say that making your own cheese is wonderfully rewarding, and the taste is fresh and ten times better and more authentic than anything you can buy in pre-packaged form.  Now before you start hyper ventilating or sweat pearls start forming on your forehead, thinking you have to be in the kitchen for days to create your own cheese with all kinds of hard-to pronounce ingredients – do not fret! Making your own “goat cheese” as in the below recipe, is done in literally five minutes (maybe ten if you’re slow…) and only requires ingredients I bet even your grandmother is familiar with.

The other day I posted a photo of a mixed green and bean salad I brought to work (I eat a HUGE green salad every day as part of my “Eat To Live” program, a habit I will continue with for life) on my Facebook page and was asked by many to post the recipe for the dollops of herbed “goat cheese” I sprinkled on top.  You can also use this cheese as a dip for crudite and pita chips, or spreads for sandwiches or wraps. Versatile, flavorful and easy to make – all things I love in a recipe! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do… and please know that being vegan beats eating artery clogging cheese by a million miles and then some… Plant based food simply rocks!!!

“Herbed” Goat Cheese

adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” cookbook

Serves 8

Ingredients:

24 oz extra firm lite silken tofu, divided

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight (or soak in hot water for 2-3 hours)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

2 tsp white miso

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

1 shallot, minced

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme (or oregano)

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

Directions:

In a food processor, place 18 oz of the tofu (reserve 1 cup), the cashews (drained) , the lemon juice, miso, yeast, shallots, and liquid aminos/soy sauce, and process until very smooth. Add the remaining tofu and pulse for a few seconds, leaving some texture similar to fresh goat cheese.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the fresh herbs. Cover and place in a warm spot in your kitchen to “age”, 2-4 hours, then refrigerate. Some liquid does seep out – I drained it, but I imagine putting it in a cheese cloth would make the cheese drier and even more like true goat cheese.

Makes about 4 cups. Will keep for once week refrigerated.

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Eat To Live: Check-in after Week 1

Eat To Live: Check-in after Week 1

Hello beautiful people! I hope you all had a nice weekend! I’m now headed into week 2 of the Eat To Live program by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I am surprised at how excited I am about this journey and how great I feel; I realize I desperately needed a “boost” in my own self-care and this was just what I needed.  Eating mostly raw has given me a vibrant look and feel only whole foods can provide.  Results: I am down 5 lbs, although I suspect most of it is water weight (and honestly it’s weird getting on the scale after a year of not going on it once), but I feel less bloated, more energetic and my skin is glowing. So much so, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments from customers at work from people who don’t even know what I’m doing, thinking I’m just drinking a lot of water, which is true too 🙂

As many of you know, the most difficult part of this for me, is not being able to enjoy wine. As a wine buyer and being surrounded by hundreds of wines every day, it takes a little extra effort to work on my mindset and just focus on WHY I’m doing this.  The first true test was Memorial Day weekend this past weekend, a vacation associated with BBQ, beers, margaritas, sangria and excess in general.  I am happy to report I managed to think the “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels” mantra successfully all weekend, and in the end, didn’t even miss it. Today, I woke up clear-headed and positive – well worth it, as always, in the end.  Instead of sitting around doing nothing drinking, we took long walks down by the river and discovered a new trail (the Hudson Valley in New York is SO beautiful this time of year) and worked in the garden and got our tomato plants in the ground:

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I also made some very tasty dishes, including these mashed black beans with avocado:

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Then I added some veggies, spices and herbs and the mix went into these beautiful lettuce leaves, from lettuce heads I picked up at my local farmer market on Sunday morning:

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Here is the recipe for these beauties:

BLACK BEAN LETTUCE BUNDLES

adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrmans “Eat To Live” book

Serves 4

2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 large, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed

1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup mild or medium salsa

juice from 1-2 fresh limes (to taste, I like a lot!)

2 tsp ground cumin

8 large romaine lettuce leaves

In a bowl, mash the beans and avocado together with a fork until well blended and only slightly chunky. (I season my mix with salt and pepper, although Dr. Fuhrman says no  salt… sorry but I like my food well seasoned and that’s probably never going to change). Add all the remaining ingredients except the lettuce and mix.

Place approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture in the center of each lettuce leaf and roll up like a burrito.

While I am not a big believer of “detoxes” and cleanses, I believe that eating a raw vegan diet for a few weeks to clean up your system is highly beneficial. As you can see, eating like this is very easy and inviting; recipes are not complicated, eat only unprocessed foods that grow in the ground or on trees, drink lots of water, and move a little bit every day to honor your body.  To me, eating a beautiful, colorful salad like this one I had for lunch yesterday, is so much more inviting than having a grey or brown looking slab of meat dripping with saturated fat on a grill:

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I play around with different oil-free dressings to make my salads exciting to eat every day, and I take my time eating now, I don’t just shove it down because “I have to eat a meal”.  Feels invigorating!

So what did I do to celebrate my weight loss and successful first week? The old me would probably celebrate with a cheat meal or a glass of wine, but I am careful rewarding myself with food, as I don’t find that gives me much (except for 2 minutes of bliss) anymore. Instead, I took my babies (my gorgeous boxers, Thor and Dallas) on a long, peaceful walk this morning while most people were asleep and took in these beautiful sights:

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Each morning I write down at least 20 things I’m grateful for, and I meditate on them during my walk. This keeps me going, and reminds me of my “WHY”.  My why is not just about fitting into my old jeans from last year, but it’s about being kind to my body, respecting it and thanking it for working so hard to keep me healthy and alive. What is your why?

 

Mindful Eating: Eat To Live

Mindful Eating: Eat To Live

This week I started following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” program, in order to clean up my diet, shed a few pounds before summer but more importantly; increase my energy as I’ve got a lot on my plate these next few months with setting up my new business, studying for continuing education courses and wanting to feel better all around.  The concept of Dr.  Fuhrman’s ‘diet’ (I hate using that word) is in essence, that when the ratio of nutrients to calories in the food you eat is high, you lose weight. The more nutrient dense food you eat, the less you will crave fat, sweets and high calorie (and less nutrient dense) foods.  It’s essentially about maximizing the macronutrients per calorie.  His formula goes like this: health = nutrients / calories.

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I love this way of eating because there is no need to weigh or measure the food. You get a list of foods you can eat as much as you want of (basically all raw vegetables, leafy greens, crucifierous vegetables, beans, legumes and all fruits), some to eat in moderation (raw nuts and seeds, avocado, plant based milks, and starchy vegetables such as butternut squash and sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain breads), and foods that are OFF limits include dairy, all animal products, in between meal snacks, fruit juice and dried fruit as well as all oils, salt and sugar.  Now I will tell you I am not perfect, and will still be salting my food! It’s the last “vice” I have from my chef’ing days, I still think vegetables taste bland if not salted. I managed to compete in bodybuilding and get shredded and down to below 10% body fat while still eating salt, and although I am not as heavy handed with the salt shaker anymore – I am picking my battles here…

The five “rules” are:

  1. Consume a large green salad every day, and put some raw onion and shredded cruciferous veggies on top.
  2. Eat at least a 1/2 cup of beans or lentils each day, in a soup, stew, or top of a salad or in another dish.
  3. Eat at least 3 fresh fruits a day, especially berries, pomegranate, cherries, plums, and oranges.
  4. Eat at least 1 ounce of raw seeds and nuts daily, utilizing some chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. Limit to 1 oz if you are trying to lose weight.
  5. Consume a double-sized serving of steamed greens daily, and utilize mushrooms and onions in your dishes.

There are endless ways of preparing these foods, while you might think the list looks restrictive, it certainly isn’t – just think of how many varieties of green vegetables there are out there! As a chef, I am challenged to come up with different ways of eating my food, and how to enjoy them. I am using my spice rack frequently and utilizing herbs and spices I haven’t in a while, which have been delighting my taste buds.  I’ve had not felt hungry all week and have had surprisingly few cravings, with the exception of last night, when I was craving something sweet (I ended up chewing on a date and going to bed). I am sure there will be days when I want to run to the store and buy the entire shelf of chocolate, breads and crackers, but will then take a moment to reflect on my goal and why I want to do this.  Eating crappy foods always make me feel crappy – it only gives me pleasure for a couple of minutes.  Mindful eating is about paying attention to every bite, reflecting on how it nourishes your body and how you will feel eating it as a result. Try it!

I will continue to post about my experience with this way of eating. I’ve added some photos below of meals I’ve prepared this week… If you are curious about the Eat To Live program or have any questions at all about plant based eating, as always- please don’t hesitate to ask me anything, I love to hear from you! Wishing you all a happy and healthy weekend filled with delicious, mindful eating! 🙂

Breakfast 1: Oatmeal with cinnamon, currants, blueberries, strawberries, 1/2 a mashed banana sprinkled with 1 tbsp of walnuts:

oatmealfuhrman

 

Breakfast 2: Green smoothie with lots of kale, 1/2 banana, 2 dates, water and ice:

 

 

 

Greensmoothie

 

Dr. Fuhrman’s Anti-Cancer Veggie Soup, with lentils, chickpeas and adzuki beans sprinkled with some nutritional yeast:

Veggiesoupanticancer

My daily green salad for lunch with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and some type of beans will go on top. Dressing is always oil free, sometimes with some nut butter (cashews) to make it creamy:

Vegetableslunch

 

A flax roll up (which is awesome, low calories- around 135 cal, and 12 grams of protein, only 24g of carbs, 9 grams of fiber) spread with a ginger-garlic-tahini sauce, stuffed with grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, arugula and cucumbers, SO good!:

Flaxrollup

 

No Need To Trade In Tasty For Healthy – A Lunch Idea To Prove It

No Need To Trade In Tasty For Healthy – A Lunch Idea To Prove It

As a professionally trained chef and certified holistic health coach specializing in a vegan diet, I’m particularly passionate about showcasing how it’s possible to keep both a nutritious and delicious healthy eating habit. I will admit, there was a point in my life when I competed in bodybuilding shows, that I was crazy enough to carry around tupperware containers of bland, cold, grey chicken or fish (yuck! Sorry chickens and fish!), sweet potatoes and cold green beans and think I was doing my body and spirit a favor.  On the outside I may have screamed “health! fit!” but seriously, nobody enjoys eating like that for a longer period of time. The outside has to reflect the inside, both when it comes to being physically and mentally fit.

Luckily, I quickly snapped out of that insanity, and got back to my roots… I’m a cook with an insatiable curiosity for flavors and different cuisines.  I love experimenting in the kitchen with whole foods, spices, herbs and ingredients. I want to entice my taste buds on a daily basis. That is what makes me happy. Life is too short to eat on autopilot, to consume boring, bland food and “punish” your body so you can look the way you think you should look.  I try to challenge myself regularly to come up with different dishes, and other times I get inspired by researching and coming across existing blogs and recipes that excite me.

The other day I decided to peruse Susan Voisin’s blog, Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, as I am in the process of trying to shed a few additional pounds I gained over the winter (not obsessing, no- just keeping it real), and would like to avoid cooking with a lot of ingredients high in fat, particularly oils. Susan is a master in coming up with delicious recipes that require very little to no oil, by just adding water to a pan when sauteing, and spices for additional flavor.  When I read her recipe for her Indian Samosa wraps, I knew I had to try them.  I am currently at home with a minor knee injury in the middle of the week, so particularly happy to be able to cook a delectable lunch for myself (sorry pups, too spicy for you – the only other companions I have during the day) and wanted to share the results with you!

If I could have added or changed something to this recipe, is perhaps a couple of handful of spinach or other dark, leafy green to make the wrap even more nutritious and colorful.  Regardless, this wrap lived up to all my expectations and left me satisfied throughout the afternoon and happy to be a vegan 🙂

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Samosa Wrap

1 pound Yukon  gold potatoes (about 2 medium)
1 pack extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 medium Vidalia onion, minced
1 cup (236 ml) frozen green peas
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (include some seeds for added heat)
1/2 – 3/4 cup water
salt to taste
1 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
6 whole-grain tortillas  (I used the Ezekiel brand)

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Cook the potatoes, unpeeled, in salted, boiling water until they’re tender (pierce easily with a fork). Remove from water and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/4-inch pieces.

Cut tofu into 1/4-inch cubes.

Heat a deep non-stick skillet and add the onion. Cook on medium-high until onion begins to brown. Add peas, tomato, ginger, jalapeno pepper, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring, until peas thaw.

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Add potatoes and tofu to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, salt, curry powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and lemon juice.

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Simmer for about 10 minutes, until filling is firm and water has evaporated.  Season for more salt, pepper and lemon juice if needed.

Warm tortillas on an open flame stove to char them nicely on both sides.  Place 1/6 of filling in center of wrap, fold bottom edge up, and fold sides over filling.

 

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Cut in half and serve.  Delicious and nutritious!! No more take out- ever!!

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