Nutrition Blog

Healthy Snacks for a Full Day in NYC #AuditionSeason

It’s Audition Season!!!!  And we all know what that means… sometimes 3 -4 auditions in a day.  When do you have time to eat?  Well, if you are vegan and gluten-free like me, it can be hard to keep your calorie intake up during a long day of auditioning  and taking class (while not being able to go home to make food).  I always have food on me (whether I have a backpack or a satchel with me).  Quick snacks that are high calorie are my go-to.  And higher calorie foods help me meet my caloric needs.  And let’s face it… eating out all the time is expensive!!!!  So having food with you is not only healthy for you, but it also helps your wallet.  So here are my Top 12 Healthy Snacks for a Full Day of Auditions in NYC.  

  1. Go Macro Bars.  My favorite flavors are Protein Pleasure, Sunny Uplift, Everlasting Joy, Protein Purity, Blissful Daybreak, and Prolonged Power.Image result for Go macro bars
  2. Trader Joe’s Trail Mix (My favorites are: Go Raw Trek Mix,  Oh My! Omega Trek Mix, Simply Almonds, Cashews and Cranberries Trek Mix)
  3. Image result for lara barsRelated image
  4. Trader Joe’s Trail Nugget Pro Bars (Peanut Butter and Berry Flavors)
  5. Pack Protein Shakes and a shaker bottle in your bag.  (Brands: Vega, MRM Veggie Protein, and Garden of Life).Image result for vega
  6. ApplesImage result for apple
  7. Trader Joe’s Dried Persimmons
  8. Trader Joe’s Dried Baby Pineapple
  9. Trader Joe’s Organic Dried Mango
  10. Trader Joe’s Beet ChipsImage result for trader joe's beet chips
  11. Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips
  12. Peanut Butter and Fruit and/or Coconut Milk Yogurt (Trader Joe’s Peanut butter with banana or Peanut Butter with Trader Joe’s coconut milk yogurt.  You may need to pack a small cooler to help with carrying around yogurt so it doesn’t go bad).  Image result for trader joe's peanut butterImage result for trader joe's coconut milk yogurt


Another Quick Treat

If you love banana bread like I do… you’ll love these banana bread energy balls.

Core Energy

Banana Nut Bread

 

 

It tastes just like real thing!!!

Ingredients:

Dates

Bananas

Hemp Protein

Ground Flaxseeds

Quinoa

Buckwheat Flour

Walnuts

Cocoa Nibs

Vanilla

Cinnamon

 

Procedure:

Place all ingredients into a food processor.  Leave some of the walnuts for later.  Form into balls.  Chop the walnuts you set aside and place in a bowl.  Roll the balls in the walnuts.  Serve immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for later.  Energy balls will last 3 months in the freezer.


Satisfy Your Peanut Butter Craving!

Core Energy

Satisfy your Peanut Butter cravings with this Peanut Butter Energy Bar.

Ingredients:

Dates

Hemp Protein

Ground Flaxseeds

Quinoa

Peanut Butter

Buckwheat Flour

Vanilla

 

Procedure: 

Process everything in a blender.  Then form into balls.  And Enjoy!

 

 

 

 


Quick and Easy (esp. Regionally)

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of regional work and living out of hotels on contracts.  As some of you may know, there’s only so much you can do with a refrigerator and a microwave to create a delicious vegan meal.  I recently completed a contract up at The Fireside Theater doing “The Little Mermaid.”  While I don’t like to eat a large meal before a show, I would usually have a macro bar before an hour before our half hour call, I would have a larger meal after my show.  My go-to/post show meal was simple veggie burger tacos.

Ingredients: 

  1. Gluten-free Tortillas (corn, chickpea, brown rice, etc)
  2. Veggie Burger (I love Trader Joe’s Hi-Protein Veggie Burgers or Dr. Pregger’s Veggie Burgers)
  3. Hummus (I used Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Hummus)
  4. Optional: you can add vegan cheese on top (I love daiya cheese)

Procedure:

  1. Warm tortillas in microwave for 30 seconds.
  2. Cook veggie burger in microwave until soft and warm (1-2 minutes)
  3. Assemble taco with half a burger in 2 tortillas.  Add hummus
  4. Add a side of carrots or any type of veggies.

This is a very simple recipe… but it’s great on a budget and living in a hotel room.  Quick & Easy.


BBQ Jackfruit Veggie Bowls

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup steamed broccoli

1 cup steamed eggplant

1 cup steamed asparagus

1 cup caramelized onion

1/2 package of BBQ Jackfruit (I get the one from Whole Foods)

Procedure:

  1. Cook brown rice
  2. Steam Broccoli, eggplant, and asparagus
  3. In a pan, cook onion until translucent/caramelized
  4. In another pan, cook BBQ Jackfruit until warm.
  5. In a bowl, combine 1 cup brown rice, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup eggplant, 1 cup asparagus, 1 cup onion, and 1/2 package of BBQ Jackfruit.
  6. Enjoy!

Jackfruit Bowl


Zucchini Meatballs

Ingredients:

3 large zucchini (grated)

1 cup gluten free oats

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1 flax egg (2 tbsp ground flaxseed & 2 tbsp water)

1 cup daiya cheese (mozzarella)

1 tbsp dried oregano

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat a sauté skillet over medium heat.  Add grated zucchini and cook until most of the water and moisture from the zucchini has evaporated (about 10 minutes).
  3. Strain zucchini in a strainer.  Try to get all of the excess water out.
  4. Add zucchini to a mixing bowl.
  5. Add gluten free oats, quinoa flour, flax egg, diaya cheese, and oregano to the bowl.
  6. Mix until well combined and the mixture become doughy.  The dough can be as finely mixed or as you’d like.  If you want it finely mixed, try adding the mixture to a food processor and processing it for a minute.
  7. Coat a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
  8. Scoop a large tablespoon of zucchini mixture and form into a ball and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat this step several times until you have used all of the zucchini mixture.
  9. Place the zucchini balls into the oven for 20 minutes or until they become golden brown.
  10. Once golden brown, remove from the oven and let cool.
  11. Enjoy with tomato sauce, zucchini pasta, regular pasta, etc.

    Zucchini Meatballs


Persimmon Apple Salad

 

 

Ingredients:

1 large handful of spinach

1/4 cup dulse

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped roasted brussels sprouts

1/2 apple, chopped

4 dried persimmon pieces, chopped

2 tbsp raw cashews

Procedure:

  1. In a large bowl add spinach, pulse, bell pepper, brussel sprouts, apple, and persimmons and cashews in a bowl.
  2. Mix with dressing of your choosing (I used something light.  I recommend a balsamic vinaigrette or apple vinaigrette).
  3. Serve.  Enjoy!

Persimmon Salad


Persimmon Broccoli Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup Trader Joe’s Broccoli Carrot Slaw Mix

1/2 cup diced persimmon

1/2 cup yellow bell pepper

1 /4 cup daiya cheese (mozzarella)

3 huge tbsp organic Thompson raisins

2 tbsp apple vinegarette

 

Dressing Ingredients:

1 /2 cup apple juice

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

 

Procedure:

  1. In a jar, combine all of the dressing ingredients and shake well to combine.  Set aside.
  2. In a serving bowl, combine quinoa, broccoli carrot slaw mix, persimmons, yellow bell pepper, daiya cheese, and raisins.
  3. Add two tablespoons of dressing to quinoa bowl.  Mix well and serve.  Enjoy!

Persimmon Broccoli Quinoa Bowl

 


Raspberry Pancakes with Raw Almond Butter

Ingredients:

2 soaked dates

1 cup raspberries

1 cup organic applesauce

1/2 cup gluten free flour (try quinoa flour or trader joe’s gluten free flour)

1/2 cup teff flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Procedure:

Pre-heat a non-stick skillet under medium heat.  Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until batter is smooth.  With an ice-cream scoop or 1/4 cup, ladle batter onto skillet.  Should be able to make 4 – 5 pancakes in one skillet.  Cook pancake on one side for about 5 minutes until golden brown on the bottom, then flip the pancakes and cook for another 5 minutes on the other side.  Depending on how hot your pan is, you may need to lower the heat and/or the pancakes may cook faster.  The idea is to cook the pancakes at a low temperature, preserving as much nutrients as possible.  Transfer cooked pancakes to a serving plate.  Top with raw almond butter.  Enjoy!

Makes 2 large servings or 4 small servings.

Raspberry Pancakes


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Have you ever had a vegan thanksgiving before?  You should try it.  Here are some recipes (inspiration from the Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine) to help you get started for next year:

Sage Cornbread (Gluten Free)

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup coarse or medium grind yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup corn starch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1-2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

2 tbsp ground flaxseed (flax meal) with 5 tbsp water

1 cup homemade cashew milk

1/4 cup 100% pure grade A maple syrup

2 tbsp powdered sage

INGREDIENTS FOR CASHEW MILK:

1 cup raw cashews

2 tbsp agave nectar

3 1/2 cups filtered water

PROCEDURE:

  1. CASHEW MILK: soak 1 cup raw cashews over night.  In the morning, drain the cashews and rinse them off.  Place the soaked cashews in a blender.  Add agave and water.  Blend until smooth.  Strain the Cashew milk to catch any pulp.  (Save the pulp – it’s a great addition to pancakes or cereals).
  2. CORNBREAD: Preheat oven to 400 F/190 C degrees.  Coat loaf pan or 9-inch baking pan with coconut oil spray.  Whisk together cornmeal, quinoa flour, corn starch, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir in powdered and chopped sage.
  3. Combine the flax meal with water and it will immediately thicken.  Stir in non-dairy milk, dry mixture and maple syrup.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake for 20 – 35 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on top and sides.
  5. Cool 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Vegan Sage Cornbread

Cornbread (No Sage and Pure cornmeal)

I tried making the cornbread again and ended up playing around with the ingredients.  Here’s a more traditional recipe that I came up with:

1 cup coarse or medium-grind yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup corn flour

1/4 cup starch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp ground flaxseed (flax meal) with 5 tbsp water

2 cups organic applesauce

1/4 cup 100% pure grade A maple syrup

Vegan Cornbread

 

PROCEDURE:

  1. CASHEW MILK: soak 1 cup of raw cashews over night.  In the morning, drain the cashews and rinse them off.  Place the soaked cashews in a blender.  Add agave and water.  Blend until smooth.  Strain the Cashew milk to catch any pulp.  (Save the pulp – it’s a great addition to pancakes or cereals).
  2. CORNBREAD: Preheat oven to 400 F/190 C degrees.  Coat loaf pan or 9-inch baking pan with coconut oil spray.  Whisk together cornmeal, corn flour, corn starch, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Combine the flax meal with water and it will immediately thicken.  Stir in applesauce, dry mixture and maple syrup.  May need to add more applesauce until the mixture becomes doughy.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake for 20 – 35 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on top and sides.
  5. Cool 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Raw Pear Pie (from Vegan Health and Fitness)

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

1 cup dates

3 cups oat flour (I used quinoa flour – – you could also try buckwheat flour)

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp nutmeg

**2 tbsp water

Filling:

5 medium sized pears

2 lemons

pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Maple Syrup

PROCEDURE:

  1. Blend all crust ingredients into a food processor (no maple syrup) until it becomes a crumble texture (**may need to add more water as needed)
  2. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with coconut oil spray.  Make a patty and then press crust mixture onto plate.
  3. Thinly slice the pears and place in a bowl.  Cover the pears with lemon juice and make sure the juice is evenly distributed.
  4. Layer the pear slices in the pie crust in a spiral pattern.  Top each layer with a drizzle of maple syrup.  Sprinkle each layer with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  5. Serve or bake:  If you are eating it raw, refrigerate for a couple of hours to get the crust to set up firm.  OR bake at 350 F/175 C until warm.

Vegan Raw Pear Pie


Jackfruit Tacos

This is a quick and easy meal to make.  Takes less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

2 Corn Tortillas

Whole Foods BBQ Jackfruit (packaged)

Trader Joes’ Beet Hummus

Trader Joes’ Broccoli Slaw

1/2 Avocado

Procedure:

  1. Warm the Jackfruit in a pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes until it’s heated all the way through.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup broccoli slaw with 2 – 3 heaping tablespoons of beet hummus.
  3. Add 2 – 3 heaping tablespoons of jackfruit onto 2 corn tortillas.
  4. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of broccoli slaw/beet hummus mixture to the tacos
  5. Top with sliced avocado
  6. Enjoy!

Serves 1

Jackfruit TacosJackfruit Tacos


Pumpkin Veggie Pizza

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup canned organic pumpkin

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Veggie Toppings:

1/2 cup portobello mushroom (cubed)

1/2 cup asparagus (chopped)

1 cup brussel sprouts (quartered)

Balsamic Pumpkin Glaze:

2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

2 tbsp raw agave

2 tbsp canned organic pumpkin

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Combine all crust ingredients into a food processor until the mixture becomes a dough-like texture.
  3. Place the dough on a sprayed non-stick baking sheet.
  4. Cover dough with plastic wrap and roll out until the crust is about a quarter inch thick.
  5. Remove and discard plastic wrap.
  6. Add a light coating of Glaze to the Pizza dough.
  7. Add veggie toppings.
  8. Drizzle the rest of the glaze over the veggies (to desired amount of glaze.  You may have some glaze left over.  I used the rest of the glaze as a salad dressing).
  9. Place pizza in the oven for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove pizza from oven after 45 minutes.
  11. Cut into 4 pieces and serve.

Serves 4.

Pumpkin Veggie Pizza


Pumpkin Chai Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa flour

1 oz can of organic pumpkin

1 scoop Vega One Vanilla Chai

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup water

Procedure:

  1. Mix all ingredients into a food processor until smooth
  2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  3. Add batter to pan at desired size.  (I put roughly 4 pancakes in one pan)
  4. Cook each side for about 5 minutes (may need to adjust the heat to low after the pan heats up for a while)
  5. Once golden brown on each side, remove from pan and place on a serving plate.
  6. Top with raw almond butter, raw tahini, or agave, raisins, and peaches.
  7. Enjoy!


My Vegan Story

As I am reading this article by Robert Cheeke on “How to Build Muscle on A Plant Based Diet”, I feel called to share my story about becoming vegan.  As I may have mentioned before, I have been a vegan for 4 going on 5 years now.  At the start of my veganism I weighed 115 lbs. I grew up not eating red meat.  The only meat I ate was chicken, fish, and turkey.  And I’ve never been much of a dairy person, so the only dairy I liked was non-fat plain greek yogurt.  Originally I went vegetarian when I was 16 years old during sophomore year of high school.  At the start of my vegetarianism I weighted 125 lbs at a height of 5’10”.  I was vegetarian for about 2 years and then was suffering from some digestive health issues and got down to weighing about 110 labs.  I went to a holistic doctor and personal trainer who told me I had to go back on eating meat and dairy (butter… which I hate!).  He basically told me my knowledge of what a healthy diet is was a lie.  So I went back on eating meat (but I only liked canned chicken), I tried eating butter (but I hated the taste so I didn’t eat it) . . . but I was still suffering from my digestive health issues.  So my mom told me to try going off gluten even though I was tested for gluten intolerance and it came out negative.  So I did and after a month 90% of my symptoms were gone.  Going into my freshman year of college when I was 18 years old, I decided to stop eating meat and dairy all together.  And then I became vegan.  So many people ask me if going vegan was hard.  It wasn’t because the only things I took out of my diet at the time of turning vegan were chicken and yogurt.  So my story, I guess, is simpler than most people.  Once getting out of the college dorms and doing more research on a plant-based diet (reading books by Brendan Brazier and Robert Cheeke), I was able to gain 30 lbs in a year and a half.  I went from weighing 115lbs at a height of 5’10” to now weighing 150 lbs at a height of 5’11”.  And since, I’ve been on a plant-baed/gluten free diet 100% of my digestive health problems are gone.  Veganism was initially a moral life choice, but it also soon became more than that: it’s the diet that my body functions most efficiently on.  Our bodies are all different.  What works for someone may not necessarily work for you.  It’s all about trial and error and seeing what does.  If you’re reading this today, I pray that my story helps you.

 

Robert Cheeke’s Article: Click Here

 

 


NYC – Food!!!

I was fortunate enough to go to NYC for my spring break in March.  I was a little concerned about what I was going to eat given my dietary restriction.  But let me tell you, I was incredibly surprised at how many healthy food restaurants, on-the-go places, and grocery markets their were!!  I was in heaven!!!  So here are a few of my favorites: Peacefood Cafe (gluten free cafe), The Organic Grill, DF Mavens (vegan ice cream, raw juices, smoothies, etc), Westerly Natural Market (similar to a Mother’s Market in California or a very small Whole Foods), V-life (a hole in the wall vegan place), Chop’d (SO GOOD!!!), and theirs a healthy smoothie, salad, breakfast stand in the middle of the food court in NYC’s Grand Central Station (I got a green smoothie there three mornings in a row!).


I’m Running with Team World Vision: Willow Chicago

I have decided to run in the Chicago Marathon with Team World Vision: Willow Chicago.  The Chicago Marathon will be held on Sunday, October 11, 2015.

Team World Vision spoke at my church, Willow Chicago, last sunday and their mission and purpose was incredibly captivating to me and I felt God calling me to do something greater, something outside of myself, something that challenges me both physically and spiritually.

Team World Vision dedicates themselves to saving men, women and children in Africa who are dying everyday from unclean water.  I’ve decided to run with Team World Vision’s Willow Chicago Team to help save these families and to try and make the world a better place.  A donation of $50 will provide clean water for one person.  My goal is to raise $4,000 which will provide 80 people with clean water.

If you’d like to support me in this feat and donate, click on the “Make A Donation” button below.

And if you can’t donate, but you would still like to help me reach my goal, please pray for me and share my story with your friends and family.  A prayer and outreach would mean so much to me.


Core Energy Updates

I’ve been working on some updates for Core Energy.  I hope I’ll be able to launch sales again by June 2015.  So keep an eye out for when Core goes back on sale.  Core is in the process of a full makeover: new look and new flavors.  Here’s a sneak peak…


Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes

Here is another delicious recipe from the Vega Team (myvega.com)!  I just had to share.  These pancakes taste like a dessert!  You’ll feel like it’s dessert time rather than breakfast time… ha ha.

Pumpkin-Spice-Protein-Pancakes1

Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes

Ingredients: (makes about 12 pancakes)

1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (I used amaranth flour)

1/2 cup Vega Sport Performance Protein, Vanilla (I used MRM Veggie Protein, Vanilla)

1/3 cup ground raw walnuts

1  tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp dried ground ginger (or fresh)

1 1/2 cups almond milk (I used homemade cashew milk)

1 cup pumpkin puree (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin)

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Procedure:

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients (flour, Vega Protein Powder, ground walnuts, baking soda, spices).

2. In a separate bowl, mix together all of your wet ingredients (almond milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla).

3. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and mix just until fully combined.

4. Start making your pancakes in a heated pan (medium heat).  Melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil and start to make your pancakes.  Or you can use coconut oil spray.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with a dollop of Cashew Cream

 


Gingerbread Pancakes

Here’s another delicious recipe from the Vega Team at myvega.com 

Gingerbread Pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes

Ingredients: (makes around 8 pancakes)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used homemade cashew milk)

2 tbsp blackstrap molasses (I didn’t have molasses at home so I used 2 tbsp of dark pure maple syrup)

1 cup gluten free flour (I used amaranth flour)

1 scoop Vega Sports Protein, Vanilla (or you can use any vegan plant-based vanilla protein powder)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger (I used 1 tsp fresh grated ginger)

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 Tbsp coconut oil

Optional Toppings: sliced banana, chopped nuts, maple or agave syrup

Procedure:

1. Whisk together non-dairy milk, applesauce, and molasses.  Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients.

3. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, mix until just combined.  Add more non-dairy milk if the batter appears too thick.  (I didn’t need to).

4. Melt coconut oil over a non-stick pan over medium heat, or use a griddle.

5. Add a quarter cup of the batter into the pan.  Flip once bubbles have formed and popped (approx. 2 min each side)

6. Top with fresh fruits, nuts, or syrup.  Enjoy!


Gingerbread Pancakes


Moroccan Salad

I recently found this website on the Vega Website.  It’s absolutely delicious!!  You can find more delicious vegan recipes on the vega website: http://myvega.com

This is a versatile and hearty salad that makes a great addition to a potluck, as the filling in kale wraps, or as a stand-alone dish.

Full of Moroccan spices and flavor, the dressing for this salad includes turmeric and ginger, known for their anti-inflammatory properties, as well as tahini (made from sesame seeds), which contains iron. Parsley, rich in vitamin C, helps with absorption of iron as well as being a source of antioxidant support. Let your senses be carried away by the flavors, and your body will thank you for the nutrient rich feast!

 

Moroccan Salad

 Ingredients

1/2 cup dried apricots and golden raisins (I used organic apricots and organic raisins)

1 cup warm water

1/3 – 1 cup room-temperature water

3 Tbsp Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil Blend (I used extra virgin olive oil)

1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup tahini

1 cup minced parsley

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

 

Salad

3 cups raw zucchini, diced

3 cups cooked whole grains (choose from quinoa, barley, wild rice or wheat berries) (I used red quinoa)

1 cup of prepared dressing

1 cup minced parsley

 

Preparation

1. Soften the dried fruit for at least 30 minutes in the warm water (strain off the water when ready).

2. Dice the zucchini and mine the parsley, and add to a large mixing bowl with cooked grains.

3. For dressing , combine in a high power blender or food processor: 1/3 cup room temperature water, soaked dried fruit, Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil, vinegar, tahini, and spices.  Blend until the texture is a smooth consistency.  Add up to 2./3 cup remaining warm water if necessary to achieve desired consistency.  Tip: The dressing will be thick, almost like a paste.  This will help bind the grains and support the hearty texture of this salad.  You can save the leftover dressing for dipping vegetables, add to sandwiches, use as salad dressing, etc.

4. Garnish with additional fresh parsley before serving.

5. Keeps well in the fridge for 3 -4 days.

 


Buckwheat Sweet Potato Veggie Pizza

Love veggie pizza?  Try this recipe…
Vegan Pizza

Buckwheat Sweet Potato Veggie Pizza

Crust:

1 cup grated sweet potato

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tbsp dried basil

Toppings:

Tomato Paste

1 sliced tomato

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced

1/2 zucchini, diced

1 carrot, grated

 

Procedure: Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Spray a large non-stick cookie sheet with coconut oil spray.

Crust Procedure: In a food processor, add grated sweet potato, buckwheat flour, chickpea flour, coconut oil, and basil.  Combine all ingredients till mixture becomes dough-like.  Transfer the dough to the cookie sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and roll dough out until it is 1/2 inch thick.

Tomato Sauce: Add the tomato sauce and spread over the top of the pizza.  Add the sliced tomatoes

Toppings: Add the rest of the toppings to the pizza.

Cook the pizza for 45 – 60 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the crust to be.

 


The Healthy Vegan Diet

Even though you are vegan does not mean that everything you eat is healthy.  There are a lot of unhealthy vegan foods that “appear to be healthy,” when in actuality, they are not.  The easiest way to ensure that you are eating healthy on a vegan diet is to eat plant-based.  Here’s a pyramid to help you:

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Sweet Potato Carrot & Greens Pancakes

 

I always try to add more greens and vegetables into my diet as possible.  But I know what your thinking . . . sweet potato, carrots, green?  In a pancake?  YUCK!!!

HOWEVER, there are SOOOOOOOOO  GOOD!!!!  In these delicious pancakes, you hardly taste the carrots and spinach at all.  All you taste is delicious sweet potato and cinnamon.

 

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Carrot and Greens Pancakes:

1 cup grated sweet potato (uncooked/raw)

2 cups homemade cashew milk

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup spinach (tightly packed)

1 large grated carrot

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Toppings of choice: raw almond butter (or any other raw nut butter), fruit, dates, etc.

Servings: Makes 4 servings

 

Procedure: Heat a non-stick pan on medium/low.  In a food processor process all ingredients.  Spray griddle with a non stick spray (I recommend Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray).  Using an ice cream scooper, spoon mixture onto the pan making about 4 pancakes in the pan.  Cook until edges are set, about 2 – 5 minutes (depending on your burners.  All burners are different).  Flip and cook until done.  Top pancakes with nut butter of choice (I used raw almond butter),  or toppings of choice (I put bananas and pears on mine).  Enjoy!!!

Vegan Pancakes

 


Hidden Veggies

Do you have the hardest time getting your kids to eat their vegetables? Or perhaps you dislike eating vegetables? Either way, I have some great tricks to sneak vegetables into meals so that your kids (and you) will never know they’re there. Ready?

1. SMOOTHIES: Add spinach and kale to your breakfast smoothies in the morning. The sugars from the fruit will mask the taste of the greens. Try also adding bell peppers (bell peppers are very sweet). They go great with strawberry banana smoothies (red bell pepper), mango smoothies (orange bell pepper), and banana smoothies (yellow bell peppers).

2. PANCAKES: Have you ever tried adding greens and vegetables to pancakes? (I know . . . it sounds crazy, but I do it ALL THE TIME). Adding spinach and kale to chocolate pancakes is a great way to add in greens to your diet (as well as protein). The chocolate masks the taste of the greens perfectly. And when blending the batter in a blender or food processor, the greens are broken up and the batter is smooth. Also, try adding carrots and bell peppers to sweet potato pancakes.

3. SAUCES: Another great way to incorporate more veggies is to add pureed carrots, bell peppers, and greens into sauces such as marinara sauces and pestos.

4: HUMMUS: I love adding vegetables into my homemade hummus. Depending on what type of hummus you want, play with recipes that include sweet potatoes, carrots, edamame, spinach, kale, parsley, cilantro, bell peppers, etc. My favorites are:
– Sweet Potato Hummus (with pureed carrots)
– Spinach Edamame Hummus
– Red Bell Pepper Hummus (with pureed carrots)

3. JUICER: If you have a juicer, juice vegetables of your choice (i.e. spinach, kale, parsley, beets, carrots, bell peppers, etc) and use the vegetable juice as your liquid base for smoothies, sauces, salad dressings, and dips.


Plant-Based Proteins

Being a vegan, I get asked the same question all the time: “Where do you get your protein?”  Well here are some of the few plant-based sources that contain protein as well as other powerful antioxidants and nutrients.

Plant-Based Proteins


COR-E

Get Energized!  Body. Power. Mind. COR-E!

 

Learn more about COR-E here:


Banana Protein Green Tea Pancakes

Here’s a recipe I made up.  It’s delicious and provides you with sustainable energy for the rest of the day.

Banana Protein Green Tea Pancakes Banana Protein Green Tea Pancakes

2 Dates

2 Bananas

1 scoop Vega One Sports Protein – Vanilla

½ cup buckwheat flour

½ cup quinoa flour

1 ¾ cup water

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

6 green tea bags

Procedure: Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Banana Protein Green Tea Pancakes

Pre-heat a pan (lightly sprayed with coconut oil spray) over medium heat.  Use an ice cream scooper transfer batter into pan to create pancakes.  Let pancakes cook on one side for about 5 min or until golden, then flip over and cook for another 5 min or until golden brown.

Banana Protein Green Tea Pancakes Banana Protein Green Tea Pancakes

Transfer to a serving plate and top with raw almond butter and your favorite fruit.  Enjoy!

Banana Protein Green Tea Pancakes


Food Combining Chart

Combining foods is essential to create complete proteins for your body on a plant-based diet.  Here’s a chart to help you insure that you are fueling your body with what it needs.

food combining chart


Nuts and Seeds Soaking Guide

Did you know that you can soak nuts and seeds?  Did you know that soaking nuts and seeds increases their nutrient content and makes them more easily digestible?  Here’s a table to help get you started:

Soaking Nuts and Seeds


Plant-Based Sources of Calcium

As a vegan, many people ask me where I get my calcium from.  It’s quite simple:

1. Broccoli

One cup of cooked broccoli provides 45-62 milligrams of calcium with an absorption rate of 50-60 percent.

2. Collard Greens, Kale, and Spinach

One cup of collard greens contains 266 milligrams of calcium.  Kale and Spinach are also very rich in calcium.  Try collard greens, kale, and spinach in fruit smoothies or add them into your favorite desserts (what did I say desserts?!?!  yes I did!)  Kale can be a surprise, nutritious, hidden ingredient in brownies, muffins and ice-cream.

3. White Beans and Navy Beans

White Beans have 161 milligrams per cup; navy beans, 126 mg.  However, the absorption rate for beans is substantially lower than broccoli, which means at 17 percent, for white beans, 38 mg are actually absorbed.  But nonetheless, the body still absorbs some calcium from them not to mention all of their protein.

4. Dried Figs

A serving of 10 dried figs delivers 140-269 milligrams of calcium.  No matter what food dishes you include these delicious figs in (cereals, salads, desserts, etc) your body will absorb 10-20 percent of its daily calcium requirement.

5. Butternut Squash 

Baked butternut squash dishes contain 84 milligrams of calcium per cup.  Try my Creamy Butternut Squash Soup recipe right below this post to get your calcium fix.

 


Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Want to know a fast way to make an incredibly delicious and creamy soup in just 10 minutes and without all the cream?  Try this simple recipe:

CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Serves 6.  1 serving = 1 cup soup.

Ingredients:

4 cups homemade cashew milk

1 large cooked and peeled butternut squash

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Half and core the butternut squash and place face down on a sprayed baking sheet.  Cook the squash in the oven for 1 hour or until the skin easily falls off.  Once cooked, take the squash out of the oven, take the skin off, and let cool.  In a high speed blender add cashew milk and butternut squash.  Blend until smooth and serve.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

 

If you’ve never made homemade Cashew Milk before, here’s a recipe that I created.

CASHEW MILK

2 cups soaked raw cashews

4 tbsp raw agave

7 cups filtered water

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth.

Raw Cashew Milk


Chocolate Pudding

Do you love chocolate?  How about pudding?  Forget your commercial jello pudding try this nutrient dense homemade chocolate pudding.  This is a highly nutritious pudding loaded with plant-based protein, healthy fats and well… deliciousness!

CHOCOLATE PUDDING

2 Bananas

4 Dates

1/4 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup roasted carob powder

1 tbsp raw almond butter

Blend all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

This pudding will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


High Net-Gain Nutrition

Clean Eating 101.  Learn how to eat clean and what clean eating really means.  Brendan Brazier (Vegan ironman triathlete and formulator of Vega) will take you through how to eat clean and transform your body from the inside out.

Brendan also has three books out and a fourth book on the way.  Brendan’s first book is THRIVE: a Vegan Nutrition Guide, his second book is THRIVE FITNESS, and his third book is THRIVE FOODS.  Lastly his fourth and most recent book is the THRIVE ENERGY COOKBOOK.  I currently have all three of his books and they are my bibles.  The knowledge, recipes, and meal plans within the books are so helpful.  I highly recommend them.

 


Need Another Reason to Eat Plant-Based?

Do you suffer from chronic digestion problems, stomaches, and constipation?  Do you wish you had more energy throughout the day?  I suffered from chronic digestion problems in my last 3 years of high school.  Any medication that doctor’s gave me did not work.  However, once I started eating plant-based and 90% raw, 90% of my symptoms went away.  I felt like a new person.  And to this day, I feel GREAT!

Check out what this 78 year-old retired bodybuilder has to say:


My Very Own Creation…

I created this pancake recipe a few days ago and it turned out really good. If you love bananas I have a feeling you are going to really like these pancakes. Based on the Thrive basics and fundamentals explained in, Vegan Ironman Triathlete and formulator of Vega, Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive, this recipe is very nutritious and very easy to make.

Banana Quinoa Pancakes

2 ripe bananas

2 dates

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup quinoa flakes

1/2 cup quinoa flour

2 tbsp Vega One Nutritional Shake – Natural Flavor

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

Makes 2 large servings

Blend ingredients in a food processor. Once combined, heat a pan over medium heat and cook pancakes for 5 min each side. (It may take longer for the pancakes to cook because they are cooking at a lower temperature. Be patient, it’s so worth the wait).


Have your Cake and Eat it Too!

I’m not much of a dessert person. But I have to say I love this pie. It’s not very sweet, rich or overbearing which I like. And it is full of complete protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals. You’ve got to try it.

Raw Banana Coconut Pie

Crust:

1 cup fresh or soaked dried dates

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup hemp protein

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp lemon juice

Filling:

2 bananas

1 pear

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1/4 cup hemp protein

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

Topping:

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Make crust by putting all ingredients in a food processor and processing until dough like. Remove and spread out into a pie plate; pack down.

Put all filling ingredients into food processor and process until creamy. Spread out evenly in pie crust.

Put topping ingredients in food processor; pulse a few times. Spread on top of pie filling.

Refrigerate until cool and firm, about 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings

Sometimes I put this pie in the freezer and defrost it when I want it. It still taste just as good!


Food For Fuel

One of my go to snacks for the day is a raw vegan energy bar. Even though I do buy already made bars from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (Raw Revolution Bars, Vega One Bars, Vega Vibrancy Bars, Lara Bars) I like to make homemade energy bars as well. There is a comfort in knowing exactly what is going into your food because your are making it yourself. You know exactly what you are putting in your body. And the fact that it’s healthy and extremely good for you is empowering (at least for me). This morning I made a HUGE batch of energy bars. I form them into balls (instead of bar shape) because I find the ball shape is easier to handle when wrapping the balls in plastic wrap.

Here are some of my favorite recipes from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive book:

Ginger Pear Energy Bars

These bars contain lots of nutrients that your body needs and ginger to help fight inflammation and improve digestion. These bars are also a good snack to have before a workout.

1 small pear, cored

3/4 cup fresh or soaked dates

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup hemp protein

1/4 cup walnuts

2 tbsp grated ginger

2 tbsp sesame seeds

In a food processor, process all ingredients together except the sesame seeds. Cover mixture in sesame seeds before shaping into balls or bars.

Makes approximately 12 1-3/4 ounce bars

Banana Bread Energy Bars

If you love bananas, you will love these!

1 small banana

3/4 cup fresh or soaked dates

1/2 cup Popped Amaranth

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup ground sesame seeds

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Makes approximately 12 1-3/4 ounce bars

Chocolate Blueberry Energy Bars

These bars are high in antioxidants and flavonoids. They help reduce radical damage in the body and improve cellular recovery.

1 cup fresh or soaked dried dates

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup roasted carob powder (or cocoa to make 100% raw)

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup hemp protein

1/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 cup sprouted or cooked buckwheat (optional)

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

In a food processor, process all ingredients except the buckwheat and blueberries. Once the mixture is fully and well combined, knead buckwheat and berries into mixture by hand.

Makes approximately 12 1-3/4 ounce bars.

I usually make a huge batch of bars and form them into balls. I cover them in plastic wrap and put them all in a big plastic bag. I then put the bars in the freezer and they last up to 6 months.


Banana Chocolate Pancakes

I’m not a chocolate lover, but I LOVE these pancakes.  They are not too rich like eating a chocolate bar, but they are nutty with just the right amount of that chocolate taste to satisfy your chocolate fix.  These pancakes are from Brendan Brazier’s book “Thrive: the Vegan Nutrition Guide for Optimal Performance in Sports and Life.”  ”Designed with kids in mind, these pancakes are popular for weekday breakfasts.  Unlike traditional breakfasts that most children eat, these pancakes are packed with high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals” – Brendan Brazier.  So if you have kids, I have no doubt that they will love these pancakes and will be begging for more.

Here is the recipe:

Banana Chocolate Pancakes

2 bananas

2 fresh or soaked dates

1 cup Popped Amaranth

1 cup homemade Chocolate Hemp Milk

1 cup water

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup hemp protein

1/4 cup roasted carob powder

1/4 cup unsweetened carob chips (I used cocoa nibs.  Those will work too).

makes 2 large servings.

Pancake Procedure: In a food processor, process all ingredients until smooth.  Lightly oil a pan with coconut oil and heat over medium heat.  Pour in pancake batter to desired pancake size and cook for about 5 minutes or until bubbles begin to appear.  Flip and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.


Thrive Diet Blueberry Pancakes

This morning I made Vegan Blueberry Pancakes.  These pancakes are gluten free and were cooked at a low temperature as to keep the nutrients in the food.
Here is the recipe:

Blueberry Pancakes:

2 dates

1 cup blueberries

1 cup homemade hemp milk

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cooked or sprouted quinoa

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Blend ingredients in a food processor.  Once combined, heat a pan over medium heat and cook pancakes for 5 min each side.  (It may take longer for the pancakes to cook because they are cooking at a lower temperature.  Be patient, it’s so worth the wait).  This recipe makes 2 servings.

Top with your favorite toppings and here is the result:


Vegan Thanksgiving

Several people ask me what I eat for Thanksgiving.  ”Do you buy a Tofurkey?”  ”What exactly do you eat?”  ”It seems really hard to be a vegan.”  But the truth is… it’s super easy to be a vegan and to make food that you can eat.  All you need to do is think ahead.  Have a lot of recipe books and websites on hand, and have the patience and the discipline to prep and make your vegan dishes.
Funny thing, being vegan, I have never had a Tofurkey for Thanksgiving.  I know!  Weird huh?  But I’m not a fan of eating a lot of the imitation meat: tofu, seitan, tempeh.  If I do eat fake meat, it’s always usually tempeh and I only eat it when I got out to dinner at a vegan restaurant such as Native Foods or The Veggie Grill.  I don’t buy tempeh at the grocery store.  So tempeh is always a treat for me whenever I go out to dinner.  At home, I like to eat foods that are in it’s purest form and either raw or cooked at a very low temperature.

For Thanksgiving this year, I made my first ever, Raw Harvest Pumpkin Pie.  I’ve never made a dessert that I can eat on Thanksgiving before so I’m very excited to have this pie tonight and to have my family try it.  My sister liked it when she was helping me cook and doing taste testers, so that’s a very good sign.  Here is the recipe.

And the pie turned out so good!!!  Here are some pictures:

I also made a Vegan Cornbread.  Before I was vegan I remember my mom making me cornbread all the time.  It was one of my favorite meals accompanied with butternut squash soup.  I was browsing on the internet and Facebook one day and I found this recipe for Vegan Cornbread and I had to make it.  Here’s the link to the recipe: