Protein Salad Bowl

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I decided to use all my favorite ingredients and make a protein filled salad bowl. Since I'm eating strictly plant-based now (I decided to cut out dairy, meat and eggs for good) I've been incorporating more beans and potatoes into the mix, especially on days I work out hard. You know what I've noticed? I have WAY more energy (YES!), less breakouts (I think eggs were the culprit), and in a better mood. Food really does affect your gut and the way you energetically feel. I go back and forth experimenting with incorporating animal foods into my diet, but I honestly always feel best just eating strictly plant-based. 

Not only do beans and potatoes contain high amounts of protein, greens like spinach and broccoli do as well. So you can imagine how much protein is in this salad! 

You can also substitute the white potato with sweet potato. I bought these purple skinned potatoes from the local farmers market, so I wanted to use them up. 

What really brings this salad together is the vegan rawmesan 'cheese,' which I've been sprinkling on just about anything I can. Its made with nutritional yeast, which is high in vitamin B. When eating strictly pant-based you need to be very conscious that you're receiving all the nutrients your body needs. When your body is deficient in vitamin B you'll notice you're constantly tired, moody, sleep poorly, and your skin may even begin to look flushed and pale. Avoid these symptoms by eating more vitamin B rich foods like greens, nutritional yeast, nuts, seeds, and other foods listed here

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and remember to generously sprinkle that rawmesan 'cheese' on top!


Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mixed greens (divided) 
  • 3 small potatoes (or 1 medium potato of your choice: sweet potato, red potato, white potato)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme 
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 head of broccoli 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 ear of sweet corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan rawmesan 'cheese'

Instructions: 

Roasted Potatoes:

1. Preheat oven to 375'F. 

2. Cut your potato in to small pieces, and spread in baking dish and drizzle avocado oil or olive oil on top, and salt and pepper. Mix in the sprigs of thyme, and roast until golden brown for about 40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes. 

Portobello Mushrooms:

1. Chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces and cook in your skillet with salt and pepper on medium heat stirring frequently for about 15-20 minutes.

2. Set aside once cooked. 

Chickpeas and broccoli: 

1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add in broccoli, and cook until softened. For about 5-7 minutes. Drain broccoli once softened. 

2. Add 1 Tbsp of avocado or olive oil, cooked broccoli, chickpeas, spices, and salt and pepper into your pan and cook on medium heat with a splash of water for about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. 

Sweet Corn:

1. Husk corn. 

2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add corn. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Cut the kernels off the core and set aside. 

Assembly:

1. Add 1 1/2 cups of mixed greens to each bowl and then divide all the toppings to each bowl. Add the avocado and the vegan rawmesan on top. 

2. Use your favorite dressing. I used a simple French vinaigrette dressing and it tasted great! Enjoy!

 

 

Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?

Have you ever been overcome with anxiety because you feel like you aren’t where you need to be in life? This familiar feeling arises within me from time to time, and although I know better than to succumb to these defeated feelings, they can be overwhelming. Pressures that society instills in us and that we instill in ourselves manifest a lot of stress, and we forget to appreciate where we are and all that we are doing.

I’m 26 years old and when I look at my Facebook newsfeed I see posts of friends getting engaged, having kids, and creating homes for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be happier for these friends, but seeing this makes me think…Am I where I want to be in life? Am I where I thought I would be at this point in my life? There is no grand plan for how your life will turn out, and there is no way in knowing. When you hear about your friend’s lives and what they are up to…do you feel jealous? Anxious? Unsettled? I know I do, and that’s because I am my own worst critic. I know that I want a life where I have financial stability, a home, and a family, and because I don’t have those things yet and other people do, I feel pressure. I recognize this, and it makes me think, will we always believe that the grass is greener on the other side?

Why do we want what we don't have? We latch on to all the reasons why life isn't good enough, and constantly want more. Continuously climbing up a never-ending ladder hoping that when we finally reach the top we will have everything we've ever dreamed of.

What if I told you a little secret? Those feelings will never go away. You will forever yearn for more out of life, your relationships, and career. It's a chronic addiction, and a mind game that will exhaust you to no end.

So how can we overcome this? How do we deal with feeling insignificant? Try not to latch on to the negative, the reasons why things won't work out, why you feel like you aren't good enough, or why you shouldn't keep trying.

Time is on your side my friend. Make the most of it. It's easier said than done to say, "don't rush the process." It's not just some yogi mentality; it's a practice of patience that is acquired with time. When you finally accept that you won't know how long it will take to get to your destination, or if you will ever get there, you finally have given up resistance. You’ve finally learned to accept yourself for who you are in the now, with wrinkles, cellulite, pimples, or other "imperfections." You've learned to embrace everything as a learning experience, a building block, and a part of you.

We have become accustomed to instant gratification, instant results, and have forgotten that worthy things take work, investment and yes, time. Time is contingent to our patience and growth. As we learn and progress, our goals in sight will surprisingly transform as much as we do.

At the end of the day, what we are all searching for is meaning. Meaning in building a prosperous life. Meaning in our relationships. Meaning in the mess of it all. We are all interconnected by this humanistic desire and inner fire that drives us to wake up each morning.

So why is it we always compare our lives to others? What makes what they are doing any better than what you are doing? You see, what's different is the way your friends speak about what they are doing (and we do the same in social situations) or what they share on social media. To you, they seem happy, content and on the right track, because this is what they are forced to portray to ironically make you feel comfortable.

They’ve somehow pushed your insecurity button and envy and jealously inevitably surface. You want to feel the kind of security and happiness they are portraying. However, unbeknownst to you they don't divulge the pain, the disappointment, and all the bad things they have dealt with along the way to where they have gotten (in your mind).

We think that everyone else has their shit together, is able to make more money than us, and has the secret ingredient to this mysterious formula. It's just not the case. We are just thinking romantically and latching on to ideals that society has engrained in us from a young age. Telling us that we will grow up and be rich and have a happy life and family, and once we have all these things, this is the true definition of happiness and success.

The reality is, things aren’t that simple. The definition of success differs from person to person. I realized this when I began meeting people and they were honest about their struggles in life. They were dealing with exactly the same problems as what I was going through. Not being happy with their job, wanting the freedom to travel, and their struggles with dating and being single. I began to realize, I’m not the only one, and neither are you. Get out of your head, stop over-thinking, and begin to look within. What you want, you have the ability to create, but dwelling on what you don’t have, will get you nowhere. 

You would think by now, after all these years of experience, we would have learned. But you know what? People don't like the truth. And why? It's brutal, raw, and honest. The truth can't be romanticized into some fairytale dream with a knight in shining armor. The truth isn't always happy or fun. The truth makes us confront our deepest insecurities. So of course we want to avoid this!

When I was ready to grow I began to welcome all of my insecurities, all of my inner struggles, and a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Why? Because I finally learned that accepting these feelings, these aspects about myself, meant that I finally accepted myself for who I am. Beautifully broken. I use the word broken in a positive context, because being broken means that you have endured pain, and learned how to be resilient and strong.

Most of all you've learned. You've learned that the bits of you that are cracked don't necessarily need to be fixed. You've learned to take responsibility for your actions and words, and you've become more connected to your individual beauty by accepting what you used to perceive were flaws. Those flaws have transformed just as much as you have. I no longer felt like my flaws defined me, and I began to have the strength to define them, because I knew who I was. I realized that I would forever be evolving into a new beauty, into a new beast, into a more aware person.

I realized when I accepted these uncomfortable feelings that I was more connected to my truth. Instead of avoiding the pain, and escaping it through any vice, I decided to look at pain right in the eye. I developed a more consciously aware relationship with pain. I began to ask why it was present, and reflected on my experience with pain to help me become stronger and avoid any self-destructive patterns in the future.

I’ve learned that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s just unknown. It intrigues you, and because others describe their life in a desirable way, you endlessly search for what they have. Not realizing that you’re standing right in your own oasis. Don’t seek what others have, because what they have is unique to their life and their path. Look down where you are standing and notice how the grass feels in between your toes. That’s the beauty in it all. That’s where you will find your success, your strength, and feeling complete in life.

Everyone will always want more, but when you accept what you have in this moment, you will not only attract what you desire, you will become it. That’s the secret, not thinking about how life will be when you have obtained what others have, it’s about realizing all that you have already.  

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods to eat in the wintertime, and this is a quick and simple recipe to make at home. 

I find myself constantly disappointed when ordering this at restaurants. Either they add too much, cream or butter and the flavor of the butternut squash is lost. Thats the whole point right, to taste the main ingredient?

Thats what this recipe does, using a just a few fresh ingredients, and creating a flavorful and addicting soup. Feel free to add a little ginger to the dish if you're feeling a little sick, this antibacterial addition will add a hint of spice. 



Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large butternut squash (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 6 thin carrots 
  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. grass-fed butter or olive oil
  • 32 oz container of vegetable broth 
  • 2 cups water (if needed) 

Instructions: 

1. Melt the butter on low heat in a saucepan. Add in the onion and cumin. Cook for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. 

2. Add in butternut squash, carrots, and vegetable broth.

3. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat with lid on top for about 30 minutes until vegetables are fully cooked. 

4. Blend together soup with a hand blender. If the soup needs more liquid add more water to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. 

 



Meditation Takes Practice


Have you been hearing a lot about meditation? Do you think its just some hippie way of living, and don't understand the benefits or why people are raving about it? I was one of those people. I heard all about meditation for a while, and just thought it was another fad.

The deeper I got into wellness and emotional healing the more and more consciously aware I became and I just wanted to learn more. I decided to finally tested out the meditation waters, and you know what? It wasn’t so bad. Painless actually. 

My first meditation experience was at a beautiful resort I stayed in with my family in upstate New York, and I went to a guided meditation class. After that experience I was completely hooked. If you have a wild imagination like me, you’ll have some great imagery come to mind. I had the most memorable and mesmerizing visuals. Throughout the hour-guided meditation I was in pure bliss, no worries or thoughts consumed my mind. I was in my element, literally. I felt calm and found the portal where my breath and mind were connected. I was silent, still, and my soul was powerless and taken on a serene journey. 

Guided meditation is a great starting point for beginners because it verbally guides your thoughts, and provides you with positive reinforcement throughout the experience. This helps you let go and relax. However, if you do become consumed with mental vomit, its ok, we all do, even in meditation! Awareness is key. Accept these thoughts. Don't force yourself to stop thinking, just redirect your train of thought to clarity. It's almost like the sunlight coming through your window in the morning, reawakening your mind. Allow the sunshine to come through. 

It's funny because many people that I suggest meditation to tell me, "I've tried it, but I don't think I’m doing it right." There are no tricks with meditation. There are different approaches and styles, but at the end of the day meditation is all about shutting off your mind, allowing yourself to relax, and being present in the now. We sometimes get used to being so hard on ourselves that ironically even in a time when we are supposed to be doing something good for ourselves we tend to think that it's still not good enough. We figure because we can’t do it “right” there’s no point trying again. Am I right? Don't rush the process. This is something that takes time and your investment in the time.

How did you learn to ride your bike? How did you learn to play baseball or an instrument? How do you learn anything in life? PRACTICE. Any habit or skill we have formed, we've developed through consistent practice. So keep meditating. Keep trying. Stay on the tidal wave, because you’ll stand up and be taken to shore, I promise. Sometimes you'll be able to clear your thoughts and feel at ease, and other times you may overthink and have to bring yourself back to the moment, and just breathe. This is completely normal and it doesn't mean you aren't meditating right, this just means you can practice more. Eventually meditation will become second nature, a habit.

Remember to focus on the good. Envision the energy you want to surround yourself with, the light that radiates from within. Take this energy with you throughout the day, this is your souvenir, this is your reward. You will notice a change in how you react to stress, the people you surround yourself with, what is important to you. You will gain so much clarity, and feel present, really present. You won’t be as consumed with the past or worried about the future, and you will feel more content with all that you have now and who you are in this moment in time. Does this sound terrible to you? I didn’t think so.

So what are you waiting for? A good way to integrate meditation everyday is making time to meditate for 5 minutes every day the first week then 10 minutes your second week and see if you can get up to 30 minutes. Attend a meditation class and try a different approach, just find what style works for you. I love going to classes as well because you are in a space where everyone is there to detach from their hectic lives together. This forces you to sit down and breathe with other likeminded people.

It takes 21 days to form a habit, so by the end of meditating every day for 3 weeks this should become second nature and a part of you. I hope you try it out, and please share your experience with meditation in the comments below; I’d love to hear how it has impacted your life. I know mine has completely changed, and its crazy to look back on how I stress ate, had so much anxiety and used to respond to stressors in my life compared to how I do now has significantly improved. When I was in college I would be so stressed that I would eat just about anything I could get my hands on because I just had so much to write and complete. I felt terrible afterwards but it was a habit I formed and I realized I needed to redirect that energy into a positive more beneficial habit not one that would make me feel terrible and breed negatively in my life.

I’m now fully in control of my reactions and I handle situations as they come. I’ve learned there’s no point worrying about if it’s going to rain or not. I’m not going to walk around in fear with an umbrella every day! The rain isn’t so bad anyway; it reminds me that I’m alive. This analogy just goes to show that its all about changing your perspective and learning how to adapt and handle what comes to you when it does. Meditation will help, I promise. 


I've included a simple meditation calendar to keep you on track. Print it out and check off each day you meditate. Set a goal for yourself. Every week you've meditated, treat yourself. Whether thats going to a yoga class, taking a day trip with a friend, or getting a massage. When you have a reward in mind it helps to motivate you.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Guacamole & Pico De Gallo

So I'm sure you all know by now of my addiction to Mexican food and guacamole. So naturally I had to post a taco and guacamole recipe! 

It's very simple to make, just takes some chopping and cooking the sweet potato and then you can assemble the tacos. The hardest part about this recipe is not eating all the guacamole! I tend to snack on it while making the rest of the recipe. 

I've been following a Ketogenic diet for a while and the results are amazing. It's essentially low carb and high in healthy fats. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Your body becomes more efficient in burning fat for energy! It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which supply energy for the brain. The diet consists of eating 75% healthy fats like avocado, coconut, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, or ghee.  20% from protein, and 5% from carbs. Remember it's all about QUALITY!

My biggest word of advice is always to avoid carbs and sugary foods including fruits in the morning for breakfast, to avoid sugar cravings throughout the day.  Eating plenty of healthy fats keeps you feeling satisfied longer and you crave less and snack less throughout the day. I eat mainly a veggie diet, but you can include eating meat in this diet as well (just make sure it's good quality meats). 

This recipe (and guacamole) is full of healthy fats and flavor, I hope you enjoy! 



Makes 8-10 Tacos

Ingredients:

Tacos

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 14 oz. can or package of organic black beans
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. cumin 
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taster
  • 8 Soft organic corn tortillas 

Guacamole

  • 4-5 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 small red onion (diced)
  • 1 medium tomato (diced)
  • 1/2  bunch cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 jalapeno (diced)
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • Salt and pepper taste

Pico De Gallo

  • 4 tomatoes 
  • 1/2 small red onion (diced)
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro 
  • Juice from 2-3 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings

  • Vegan sour cream
  • Sriracha aioli


Directions:

1. Peel off the skins of the sweet potato and cut into 1 inch chunks. 

2. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and cook the sweet potato until soft, about 20-30 minutes. 

3. Bring your skillet to low-medium heat, and add the olive oil, black beans, spices, and salt and pepper. You may need to adjust the spices according to taste. Then add the cooked sweet potato and gently smash and mix into the bean mixture. 

4. Chop and mix together all the guacamole ingredients and do the same for the pico de gallo. 

5. Warm the corn tortillas in a pan for about 2 minutes on each side. Add the sweet potato mixture, guacamole, pico de gallo, and vegan sour cream and sriracha aioli which you can buy in your grocery store. Enjoy! 

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Do you have chocolate cravings? Or are you just a chocolate lover like me?! Well, whatever the case, here is a healthy chocolate mousse alternative. This recipe is naturally sweetened with either coconut nectar which has less sugar content (low glycemic) or with maple syrup which is a tad sweeter in flavor.

The ripe avocados give this mousse a rich creamy texture that will trick you into thinking you're eating chocolate pudding. The avocados also provide healthy fats, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acids. The raw cocao boosts this recipe's nutrient content by adding iron and powerful antioxidants. 

I love making this recipe for my friends, or sometimes just making this quickly as a snack for myself. You can serve this right away or I also like to let it cool off in the refrigerator and set for about an hour. 

 It's hard not to eat all of it, but I promise you, you will be licking your bowl clean!