As a little girl, some of my favorite memories were hanging out in Helena, Montana with my cousins. Boating, tubing, crafts, baseball games and yummy food. My aunt Mary had a sign in her kitchen that read, Mary’s Vegetarian Kitchen, and to this day I believe she was a huge part of my journey towards a whole foods, plant-based diet.
With that being said, I have a real treat for you guys today! I decided it would be fun to interview a person who is not only near and dear to my heart, but is also a powerful voice for the evolution of our planet. We’ve known each other since he was born and have slept in the same bed many times. Simmer down, he’s my cousin and grew up in Mary’s Vegetarian Kitchen.
He’s worked with several celebrities and is following his bliss on a daily basis. I’ve been following his amazing pictures and posts on Facebook for quite some time, and begging him to either open a restaurant or hook a cousin up with some recipes! I’m super stoked and honored to introduce you to Cody Chaet, the founder of Vegan Lifestyle Academy.
Q. What inspired Your Vegan Lifestyle?
Ultimately, it was parents who inspired me. They raised me a vegetarian in a very non vegetarian friendly environment which took a strong backbone. As time went on, a lot of my family members began eating meat for a few years, including myself. Ultimately my dad led me in the vegan direction. He became diabetic type 2 when i was much younger and when the condition progressed and it became time to step in and help out. I moved back home to MT from LA and helped assist my parents back onto a Vegetarian track. He then went Vegan and went running straight for Raw Vegan. I was so inspired by the transformation that i embraced the lifestyle and discovered my career.
Q. What does Veganism mean to you?
In my opinion, Veganism means a healthier happier life. I do love the idea of obtaining radiant health simply through eating delicious food. But ULTIMATELY, Veganism means NOT killing harmless animals to satiate our ignorance. Evolution may have required as at one time to hunt and eat meat for survival but now we are just plain ignorant. We eat meat not for survival but to satisfy our palate and our hunger needs in a specific way. I don't refer to Ignorance as a derogatory or degrading term. I simply break the word down and help people realize that it means to IGNORE(ance) the truth.
Q. Do you miss meat?
NO, i don't miss killing animals. It does not make me happy. I do what makes me happy.
Q. What is the mission behind Vegan Lifestyle Academy?
The VLA is a lifestyle Support & Education System. It was designed to both educate people on the facts of extracting meat, dairy and eggs from your everyday consumption and replacing them with higher quality group of proteins and food sources. The Education consists of cooking demos, private cooking lessons, and even large group discussions. The support system is catering anything from breakfast, lunch, dinner to a party or special event. People have many different needs and i try to fill those needs in any way that i can. That includes helping them off animal products progressively onto a plant based diet.
Q. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I would have to say the major highlight of my career has been truly helping people better themselves from the inside to the outside. It has been the most rewarding. I have worked with some incredible and some even really famous celebrities. However working with a high profile person is not nearly as rewarding as knowing you saved a life or saved a marriage.
Q. I think many people want to incorporate more vegan foods into their diet but don't know how. How would you recommend people begin transitioning to a more plant-based diet?
I highly recommend before even eliminating certain foods from one's diet, i recommend buying a Vita-mix and begin drinking green smoothies daily. I alwayyyyys use Spinach as my green base. It seems to hide nicely where as kale and swiss chard stand out over fruit. Once you have integrated green smoothies at least 4-5 days a week. Start taking out one processed, packaged, preserved, meat, diary, egg, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, saturated trans fatty product at a time. BABY STEPS are the key to success. A great green smoothie is Spinach, Strawberries, Banana, 1 T Maca, Lucuma or some kind of superfood powder, Almond or Hemp Milk & ICE.
7. You knew I was gonna ask you for a recipe! Please share!?
Probably my most famous vegetable dish is my maple miso brussels sprouts. I have converted many brussels sprout haters in brussels sprout eaters from this dish alone.
MAPLE MISO BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 C Cup Olive Oil
1/4 +1 T C Maple Syrup
1/2 C Mellow White Miso or Red Miso ( I like red)
2 T Tamari
Brussel Sprouts - 12 CUPS (roughly) The more you use the less saucy. The less the more saucy
1.Blend all Liquids in blender until super smooth and creamy.
2. Half Brussel Sprouts if they are small. Quarter them if they are larger. Toss Halved or Quartered Brussels Sprouts in sauce.
3. Spread evenly on large baking pan and bake at 450 degrees for 25-45 minutes, or until brown and crispy areas are visible.
4. You will know when they are done because the top will be burnt almost. That is the most flavorful version of this. Dark Brown Tops. If you take them out too early, it changes the entire experience.
There you have it! I hope you take a few tidbits that feel authentic to you and incorporate them into your life. For me personally, I am taking away how much we are parents can impact our children by making healthy choices in all areas of our lives. We can change the way future generations relate to food, the animals and the planet! So powerful!
You rock Cody! Thanks for making our world a better place!!
(Oh how I wish there was a love button!)
You can also catch up with him on Twitter and Instagram
I freaking love coconut oil. So much so that I’ve actually frozen it overnight so I could sneak it on the airplane with me. (Hardcore. I know.) It has so many uses and as David Wolfe said,
“Coconuts are one of the greatest gifts to this planet. No matter where you are, what you have done, how much you have mistreated your body, coconut flesh, water, cream and/or oil can save your life.”
The other day, I caught myself doing something I swear I would never do; arguing with someone on Facebook. (Okay, so it wasn't really a fight, but more an agree-to-disagree type of thing.) In my defense, they were bashing coconut oil and calling it unhealthy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t turn into a protective mother bear. Nobody says bad things about my sweet little angel coconut oil and lives to speak any more injustices.
I’m kidding.......Sort of.
With that being said, I dug deep into my notes from Integrative Nutrition and one of my favorite books on the planet, Superfoods By David Wolfe. In his book, he details the top ten most powerful food ON THE PLANET. Guess who made the list?
All things coconut. Oil included.
Thats right folks. Coconut oil and coconut cream have been used for food and other medicinal properties since the dawn of time. Loaded with antioxidants and great for thyroid health, blood sugar issues and the nervous system, coconut oil is become more mainstream every day. Here are a few more benefits straight out of David Wolfe’s book:
- Improved digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and amino acids, I can just see you shaking your head and
-Contain healthy anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial saturated fatty acids, helping to naturally fight off viruses, bacteria and fungal growth.
-Improve absorption of calcium and magnesium
-Regulate and support health hormone function.
-Increase the speed of the thyroid function, thus allowing the body to drop weight and accumulated toxins.
And the list actually goes on. Way on! I can see you shaking your head and throwing your hands up in disgust. I know what you’re thinking. With all these awesome benefits, how could ANYONE say ANYTHING bad about coconut oil? Calm down my child. Let me explain.
Many people take one look at the coconut oil label and they see the high levels of saturated fats. (I remember one of the health coaches in Costa Rica telling me about how she got into a fight with a nutritionist over coconut oil and saturated fats. HEALTH COACHES ARE HARDCORE!) Before you too jump the gun, let me explain the truth behind saturated fats and why there is so much false information out there.
We’ve all been “trained” to believe that ALL saturated fats are bad. What people don’t realize is that unlike the high-calorie, cholesterol-soaked, long-chain saturated fats found in meat and dairy products, coconut oil is made from raw saturated fats containing mostly medium-chain fatty acids. This means the body can metabolize them very efficiently and convert them right to energy.
Coconut oil/cream actually restores natural saturated fat levels to the skin. These saturated fat levels are imperative for growing children and their nervous system. Coconuts contain no appreciable levels of cholesterol and actually support heart health.
Many studies have been done to support these claims too. Farm animals fed coconut oil never gained weight. When this oil was replaced by soy oils, they did. In other cultures, where coconuts are a staple, they not only have thriving health, but do no have any of the health issues we have in America.
Just in case you need more proof, Dr. Raymond Peat (a leading researcher in the field of hormones) had this to say about coconut products:
“When regularly added to a balanced diet, lower cholesterol to normal by promoting their conversion into pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is also the precursor to many hormones including progesterone......Pregnenolone is a major factor that gives coconut products their beautifying qualities. It improves circulation, gives the face a lift, restores sagging skin, and reduces bags under the eyes by promoting the contractions of muscle-like cells. Pregnenolone counters fatigue, enhances memory, protects the nerves from stress and has anti-anxiety properties.”
So there you have it. Or at least you have my perspective on it. That’s the tricky thing about nutrition. It’s the only science where you can prove and disprove theories. You can prove meat is good for you. You can prove it’s bad for you. The same goes for dairy and even coconut oil. The key is to try it yourself and listen to your own bodies cues. For me, it’s been a powerful component of my diet and skin care regimen and I will defend it always.
** On a side note, if you’re wanting to try some of this super awesomeness in a jar, make sure it’s cold-pressed, organic if possible, and in a glass bottle, preferably a dark one.
Yes, it's a tad ironic that me, the girl who once lost weight in soooo many unhealthy ways, is now giving you advice on healthy weight loss. I promise I'm legit though. Just to prove it, my dad is down almost 40 pounds since July 10th. While living with a health and nutrition coach surely helps, he has also had to be accountable for his actions. Yes he backtracks on the road a little bit, (And yes, I chew him out) but he is really making huge strides.
Hey, progress not perfection right?
Let’s be real. Weight loss is hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Sure commitment and determination are what will propel you, but sometimes those things are not enough. I’ve put together a list of the top thirteen tips that will help you lose weight and get in touch with the parts of yourself that need healing most.
Ready or Not........
GO TO BED HUNGRY
Hardest. Thing. Ever. Do you agree? I still struggle with this one, but, if I were to give you one challenge, that would change your body and your outlook on food, this would be it. Go to bed hungry. Your body, on average, should go at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Try it for a week and see what happens. Have a cup of tea, go for a walk or do some deep breathing. Make it work folks. Make it work.
DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES
Unless you’re chugging a green juice, drinking straight out of a coconut, or slamming a kombucha tea, stick to water. Pure and simple. Empty calories from bottled juice or soda make my heart feel super sad. You don’t need them and your body doesn’t need them. Say “Laters baby” to all your sugary drinks and don’t look back.
What? Diet Soda? No you can’t have diet soda either. It’s actually worse than regular soda and causes weight gain, depression and a whole list of other health problems. In fact, if I had to chug a diet soda or a regular soda, I'd take a regular soda anyday. I'm not too keen on drinking neurotoxins anymore.
Say it with me. WATER. WATER. WATER.
EAT REAL FOOD
Simple right? Actually, today it’s harder than you think. We are a society that lives off prepackaged foods and quick, easy meals. We believe Big Macs are food and highly processed GMO protein bars are actually healthy. A rule of thumb is to eat food as close to it’s natural source as possible. Food shouldn’t contain chemicals. The longer the shelf life, the shorter yours.
HAVE A CHEAT MEAL
One of my fave Geneen Roth quotes? “The fourth law of the universe. For every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge.” I lived this law of starving and binging for years and I swear by it. Don’t deprive yourself. Have a cheat meal! You shouldn’t have to walk around depressed because you ate bread and pasta. Hey, you’re human! My dad’s favorite thing in the world was his mother’s homemade noodles. I made them for him the other night and we talked about my grandma and how much we missed her. The meal was a wonderful reminder that the food that nourishes our body is secondary. It’s time together that counts.
CHEW YOUR FOOD AND PUT DOWN YOUR FORK BETWEEN BITES
When I was with my dad in Boston, we went out to dinner at a beautiful seafood restaurant. I challenged my dad to put his fork down in between bites and look around. We noticed so much that we wouldn’t have otherwise and really connected with one another. From a nutritional standpoint, digestion begins in your mouth. Aim to chew each bite of food twenty times. (I know you busy moms are shaking your head and rolling your eyes at me right now. We don’t chew food. We inhale it. Am I right?) Trust me on this one though. Mindfulness + Chewing = MAGIC
This simple yet underestimated concept was one of my biggest “A-HA” moments while at Institute For Integrative Nutrition. Add in healthy things and your cravings for the bad things will dissipate over time. Add veggies to every meal. I eat steamed spinach or kale with my breakfast every morning. My dad has been on Shakeolgy for a month and says he no longer craves sweets. It’s not a cure-all, but it does really make a difference. WINNING!
KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL
The food diary is a super powerful tool to bring awareness to your eating patterns and what foods resonate with your body. It's fun and isn't meant to be a punishment. Stay free of judgment, grab a notebook and keep it with you throughout the day. Simply write down what you ate, how much, and how you felt after both physically and emotionally afterwards.
While atThe Institute For Integrative Nutritionwe were given the following guide to help clients in determining the impact certain foods have on them. Because I love you all so much I want to share it with you!
Physical symptoms are bodily sensations.
1. Clues for imbalance: headaches, stomach pain, muscle cramps, coughing, fatigue,
insomnia, restlessness, shakiness, muscle weakness, poor concentration, pallor
2. Clues for balance: bright eyes, hunger, stamina, natural deep breathing, high energy, restful
sleep, focus, alertness, strength, good attention span, good color
Emotional symptoms may be a little harder to notice.
1. Clues for imbalance: anxious, bored, scared, mad, sad, depressed, scattered, restless,
irritable, agitated, hyper
2. Clues for balance: confident, excited, energized, humorous, happy, interested, focused,
calm, relaxed, easygoing, patient
FAIL TO PREPARE AND BE PREPARED TO FAIL
So, when my dad left for work the other morning, he was set with a green juice, shakeology and huge jug of water. It made my heart explode with happiness when he said, “Look Rach, I’m double fisting it.” (virtual chest bump and high five!) He knows that if he’s not prepared, he will eat crap if it’s nearby. My advice is to spend 15-20 minutes at night preparing for the next day. Cut up veggies, grill your chicken, make your shakes and be ready to go the next morning. What? You don’t have time? Do you have time to feel like shit? BAM! I just went there.
WATCH FOR KNOWN FOOD ALLERGENS
From what I have seen with my own clients, wheat and dairy are the main culprits. For the first week I had my dad on this new way of eating, I cut both from his diet. (He didn’t even know. Shhhhh.) He dropped 13.4 pounds in 7 days. Wheat and dairy are both culprits for weight gain and contribute to more health problems than you could imagine. If you are congested, experience skin issues, or feel sluggish and bloated, I encourage you to cut these out for yourself for one week. I double dog dare you and promise it will be worth it.
LEARN TO READ LABELS
Rule of thumb? Unless the ingredients consist of kale and other superfoods, stick to five ingredients or less and make sure you can pronounce them. The other day my dad came home with tortillas made with organic corn, lime juice and water. (Next time you're at the store, take a look at what is in tortillas these days. YIKES!) He also had organic spinach and some whole food bars for the girls. He was so cute and so proud of himself because he read the label and the ingredients instead of falling for the deceptive packaging on most of the items on the shelf. As I taught my dad, and for the record, all natural doesn’t mean anything anymore. For example, high fructose corn syrup is all natural but couldn’t be worse for you.
KNOW YOUR WHY
Not too long ago, I broke down to my dad. I told him how much I loved him and how I cannot imagine my life without him. He’s sixty-years-old and this is when health problems really start. He is overweight and his legs were starting to really bother him. I said things like, “Do you want to be around to see Presley get married?” and “You work so hard to build successful businesses and you need to be around to enjoy them.” Why do you want to be healthy? What’s in your future that you don’t want to miss? Ask yourself these questions and find a way to keep your “why” in the forefront of your mind.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Want to hear the most magical common-sense advice I will ever share with you? The biggest misconception about weight loss and health is that we change if we are hard on ourselves. Bullshit. We don’t change by force, shame, guilt, deprivation or fear. We change by self-compassion. Sure you can lose weight, but you won’t change internally where it matters most. You’ll gain the weight back and be back to square one. I always tell clients to treat yourself and your weight loss journey like you would treat your best friend if he or she was going through it. Your true self cannot be exposed when you are constantly judging yourself. This is where a health coach may come in handy!
DIG A LITTLE DEEPER
When I first start working with clients and weight loss, I would always hear the same thing, “I just like food. I just like to eat. That’s my biggest problem.” I love to eat too, but there is something active inside of me now that doesn’t have the desire to go through three fast food places in an afternoon. (Yes, I did that many years ago.) You see, it’s never really about food. Ask yourself what you are using food for that you cannot express directly. What feelings come up for you before you overeat? Past abuse, unhealed relationships and unresolved feelings of unworthiness all play into our decision to leave our bodies and overeat when life gets hard.
Without a doubt, this is the most important of all the rules. You may not want to hear that, but it's true. Please believe me when I say that it is possible to heal. Have faith in yourself. If someone as insane around food as me can change, anyone can. Total healing is possible. I promise!
As you may or may not know, my dad has been living with us. It’s so great to have him here and I love being able to cook him healthy meals. Just by getting him on these awesome superfood shakes and eating organic whole foods, he’s lost 16.8 lbs in a week! (Perhaps living with a health coach helps too?)
I think the coolest part of watching him experience the beauty of whole foods is that he’s not hungry. He still eats carbs and fats and never feels deprived. He actually pushed part of his meal away the other night because he was full. It was truly a Kodak moment.
One of my dad’s favorite recipes I’ve made so far, was the quinoa “fried rice.” It's also my oldest daughter's favorite. (She calls quinoa baby noodles.) I love this dish because it's loaded with veggies and full of flavor! In case you’ve been living in a cave, or um, at McDonald’s this past year, quinoa is a protein-rich seed that is a staple for many vegans and vegetarians. It’s a perfect protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids found in animal proteins. Super cool right?
If you're not vegetarian, feel free to add some high quality animal protein to this dish. If you're vegan, omit the egg. Basically, this is your dish, so do what you want with it :)
Quinoa "Fried Rice"
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 t minced garlic
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup green onions
3 to 4 cups cooked quinoa
2 tbsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
3 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (use soy sauce or shoyu if you don’t have Bragg’s)
salt + pepper, to taste
Over medium heat, saute garlic in sesame oil for roughly 1 minute. Add vegetables and cook until thawed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add quinoa**, soy sauce and mirin. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quinoa has absorbed the liquid.
In the middle of your saucepan, push fried quinoa to the side to create a hole. Crack eggs inside the hole and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Gently mix the quinoa and eggs. Let cook for an additional minute. Mix again. Repeat until egg is completely cooked. Season with salt + pepper.
Top with green onions
**quinoa needs to be briefly rinsed before cooking to remove the coating containing the bitter-tasting saponins.
June was a whirlwind in every sense of the word for our family. Moving to another state with two kids, two dogs and a bird had me pleading for sanity at times. Kitchenless and living out of a suitcase, we were literally eating out for almost every meal. I felt like a gypsy and found myself craving the stability of a not only a place to call home, but healthy whole foods. (I actually started dreaming about green juice rivers and trees with leaves of kale. That must be what heaven looks like.) The bottom-line is that I felt unbalanced, ungrounded and unhealthy. In other words, I felt like shit.
A friend of mine had recently completed the Beachbody 21 Day Ultimate Reset. When I saw her after completion, she looked amazing. Her skin was glowing, her energy was amazing, and although she didn’t set out to lose weight, she found herself ten pounds lighter. Most importantly, she was able to take an in-depth look at her relationship with food and use this information to continue her journey towards optimum health. As I was reading the stories on Facebook, I couldn’t believe that one gentleman dropped 31 pounds and another woman lowered her cholesterol 75 points in only 21 days!! Insanity! Sign me up! Right!?
Last Monday, although slightly intimidated, I began the reset. Being an avid juicer, and heavily relying on whole food shakes out of sheer convenience, the thought of preparing every single meal made me clench my jaw a little bit. Could I really commit to this? Regardless of the occasional self-doubt, I set my intentions for renewed energy, improved mental clarity, improved moods and a deeper connection with my own food and weight issues.
Sunday I did all my shopping for the week. (Thank you Billings for opening a Natural Grocers in anticipation of my move back ;) I watched the DVDs and read through the booklet. I couldn’t help but think that this reset was basically a crash course in the six-month program I offer my own clients. So cool! But enough with the logistics, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and I will share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Basically I am eating three amazing meals each day. I also take supplements that oxygenize, alkalize, mineralize, detox, revitalize and optimize my body. Because this is an “inner workout”, the program encourages you to limit your working out to 20 minute walks and stretching.
Week 1 is about reclaiming your health. Basically, you’re accessing your body’s inner chemistry and preparing it for change. You’ll slowly remove meat and dairy, which are known to place stress on the digestive system, from your diet.
In the 2nd week, you release the toxic compounds that are stored within your tissues, clogging your cells and blocking proper nutrient absorption. This phase includes a gentle colon cleanse and eating a full vegetarian diet.
During week 3, you restore your metabolism to maximum efficiency, putting nutrients, enzymes, and pre-and probiotics back into your system. You'll cut back further on grains and will be eating mostly fruits and vegetables. The good news is that you can incorporate Shakeology into the mix! I love effortless so for me that's a biggie.
During week one, I haven’t felt hungry. At all. The meals were incredible. Oatmeal with flaxseeds and organic berries, salmon with asparagus, and quinoa salad were a few of my favorites. I felt quite accomplished and satisfied preparing my own meals while still managing to cook for my family. Usually, I’m the mom who is tasting the mac and cheese or eating the crust from the peanut butter and jelly even if I’m not really hungry. I will definitely be more mindful in the future.
Because I’ve never eaten red meat, cutting it out was obviously not a problem. I chose to replace meals that contained yogurt with an organic egg, because dairy and I don’t get along very well. For those of you who are meat eaters, the reset does a wonderful job of slowly phasing animal products out of your diet.
My energy right now is amazing. No coffee. No stimulants. My mental clarity is incredible and I find my patience for my children and life in general is at an all time high. I feel upbeat, grateful and optimistic. Although my intention for this reset was not to lose weight, I am down 7 pounds in one week! That’s insane, especially considering I was eating a lot and didn’t really work out. My exercise consisted of walking to the park and playing some Just Dance 3 with the girls.
The Bad And The Ugly
On day 2 I woke up feeling like I went on a drunken tequila bender the night before. I had a terrible headache and I felt nauseas, achey and weak. My skin broke out and I wanted to sell my children on Craigslist. (Hey, I’m just being honest.) This only lasted one day and I was able to shift my mindset into viewing this experience as something positive. My body was working properly and getting rid of toxins. I did have a cup of green tea to soften the withdrawal symptoms. It's crazy how a month of eating like crap can affect your body in such a negative way!
When I started on Monday, I didn’t take in to consideration I would be doing the reset during the 4th of July. We had my little brothers and their friends over and everyone was relaxing, eating and having some beers. For a minute, I wanted to join in the fun, but instead I took a moment and remembered my intention and why I was doing this reset. I’m so thankful I stuck with it!
I can honestly say with how I feel right now, the day of utter hell was totally worth it. My skin is almost cleared up and my energy is through the roof. I know it sounds corny, but I’m high on life!
I’m honestly looking forward to the rest of this experience. Like I said before, in the 2nd week, you release the toxic compounds that are stored within your tissues, clogging your cells and blocking proper nutrient absorption. This phase includes a gentle colon cleanse and eating a full vegetarian diet.
I have found the Beachbody Ultimate Reset to be extremely valuable so far; even for someone like me who knows a ton about health and wellness. I know the effort is worth the results and I’m taking this time to be gentle with myself and offer the same support to myself that I would to one of my clients. I look forward to sharing the rest of my experience with you all!
We’re in the middle of moving back to Montana. Between packing, working, swim lessons, The Bachelorette (yep, I said it) and tying up all the loose ends in Boise, my time in the kitchen has been cut in half and I'm feeling it. Hey, health coaches are human too. All I have to say is thank God forShakeology!
I wanted to make something easy and nutritious that would last a few days so I decided to make this rainbow soba noodle salad with the ingredients I had in my fridge. (Basically, I took ingredients from four different recipes I found online and came up with this gorgeous nutritious masterpiece.) I was really happy about how it turned out though!
Have you ever tried soba noodles? They’re made with buckwheat but don’t be fooled by the name. They’re gluten-free! Buckwheat is actually related to rhubarb, not wheat, rye or barley! Buckwheat has a well-balanced assortment of essential and non-essential amino acids; the building blocks of protein. It is considered a superior source of protein when compared to wheat, rice and even millet!
Bottom line? Buckwheat rocks!
Ready for the recipe? Let’s go!
1 package soba noodles**
1/2 head purple cabbage shredded
1 bundle chives cut up
1 red pepper diced
1 orange bell pepper diced
1 yellow pepper diced
4 handfuls spinach
1 big bunch of cilantro cut up (you can never have too much in my opinion)
1 lime juiced
4-5 handfuls cilantro (remember you can never have too much)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup shoyu (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup brown sugar brown rice syrup. (This ingredient is optional but I'm not gonna lie. It makes the pasta salad so yummy)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 garlic cloves minced
1 jalapeno (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped ginger (optional)
Cook soba noodles as instructed. Drain and run under cold water. Mix with all the vegetables.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and toss into the salad. The salad stays good for about 3-4 days :)
**Remember to read the label on your soba noodles. Many brands are imposters and use wheat flour with the buckwheat. Not cool but a fact none-the-less.
In 2005, I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office. 201 pounds. 9 months pregnant. 82 pounds on my 5’4” frame in 9 short months. My pregnancy was the first time I had given up my eating disorder in years. No diet pills or purging left me with no control. My body rebelled from years of abuse by holding onto every calorie I put in my mouth. It didn’t trust me and the feeling was mutual. I vowed to get back to my original weight once the baby was born, in a healthy way of course. After all, I was going to be a mother. No more of this eating disorder BS.
Less than 2 years later I stepped off the scale and stared half-heartedly at my reflection in the full length mirror. Tilting my head to the right I began analyzing the many parts that made up my body. Hovering around 100 pounds, I ran my fingers gently over the bruises that were scattered across the sharp tips of my hip bones. With little-to-no-fat, even wearing a seat belt caused me to bruise. Heart racing, thighs no longer touching, collar bone and ribs protruding, I placed one hand on each side of my waist, squeezing my insides until my fingers and thumbs touched. Maybe, just maybe, I was thin enough.
Disconnected from anything real, I was days away from treatment; about to end the game, drop the crutches and size 0 jeans. I was going to give life a trial period. At my core, I knew I wouldn’t be sick, thin, and depressed forever. I knew my thinness, along with my all-or-nothing mindset, was not sustainable. Although slowly dying was the easy way out, and there were days I welcomed death, recovery beckoned me. The responsibility I felt towards life was reflected back to me daily in my one-year-old daughter’s eyes.
So, I fought like hell and I recovered. Or so I thought. I realized today that even 5 years into recovery, I still struggle with my body and the shape it manifests when I am “healthy.” This morning, halfway through hot yoga, I made my way into child’s pose, and I cried. While others wiped away sweat, I quietly wiped away tears. For the first time in a long time, I hated what I saw in the mirror. How could I, the girl who was supposed to be empowering women to love their bodies, be so vainly filled with disgust? After yoga, I came home and cried some more. I told my husband maybe I did need a tummy tuck, and a boob job, and lipo, and yada yada yada. While my girls did not hear my thoughts, I know they could feel them.
In this moment, I’ve snapped back to my truth. Sure, I still want to look like the petite kidless nineteen-year-old who wears her bikini to hot yoga, but that comes at a price for me. I’m not naturally built like that, and forced acceptance trumps desire in the recovery process. I know I cannot teach my daughters to embrace all aspects of who they are, while forcing my body to look a way it’s not meant to. I want them to realize that beauty, power and fierceness is not determined by a pant or bra size. I must first consistently believe that myself and this is not an easy task in our society.
You see, until you really pay attention, you don’t realize how women use food and weight to connect with one another; how they speak to one another as if food is the enemy and our bodies are the battleground. This is a bit discouraging for me. On one level or another, all women play this weight game, not just women with eating disorders.
Although right now I feel inklings of despair, I must choose to be different. I will get to the bottom of why my body was the enemy this morning, and I will deal with it differently; head up and heart open. I do realize that for me health does not look like six-pack abs and size 0 jeans. These days, it’s a solid size 6, imperfect breasts and the acceptance of stretch marks gracing my thighs. Health is having womanly hips, and thighs, and a butt, because that is how I am built. No matter how healthy I eat, or how much yoga I do, I will have cellulite and stretch marks and imperfections. I must accept that my body is okay despite what the mass pictures of photoshopped bodies on Pinterest may tell me.
After I wrote this, I realized it had been 5 years EXACTLY since I entered treatment. Significant or not, it was a rude wake-up call that my work on this earth, and with my body is never done. While my moments of weakness are far and few between, they do exist, and they suck. They always carry blessings though. Today I realized my job is not to empower women by being a perfect example, but to be brutally honest with my own struggles. Oddly enough, I can do that, despite the occasional shame and fear of being judged.
My wish is for all women everywhere to embrace their own body’s version of health and beauty; not society’s, or Pinterest’s, or the childless girls in hot yoga who wear their bikinis to class. Our bodies are our physical connection to the greater source of knowing. We’ve lost this truth. Although it’s a person-by-person project, collectively we can change. We can be honest and forgiving and accepting of our imperfections and the imperfections of others. We can stop the negative body talk. We can appreciate another woman’s beauty. We can change our experience and most importantly, we can change the experience our children will have in their bodies.
I've been intrigued with homemade veggie burgers lately. Unfortunately, none of the ingredients made my heart skip a beat. Then, right before we left for Montana, I was thumbing through one of my Whole Living Magazines when I came across something spectacular and borderline holy. Quinoa patties. One look at the ingredients and I knew I needed to make them a part of my life. I’m so glad I did!
For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), let me tell you a little something about this super versatile food. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. In fact, it’s the only “grain” that is a perfect protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids found in animal protein. This fact makes it an ideal protein for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa is amazing for you!! Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Believe it or not, it was once considered "the gold of the Incas." Don’t you love when you learn something new?
When preparing quinoa, I always like to remind clients to wash it first. This removes the soapy looking saponins that coats quinoa seeds. The easiest way to do this is by running cold water over the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. This will help remove the bitter taste too.
Now that you have your PHD in quinoa, let’s move on to the recipe. You can make this recipe gluten free by substituting crushed almonds or oat flour for the bread crumbs.
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten (organic and local if possible!! The animals are treated so much kinder than factory egg farms)
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, add patties, cover, and cook until bottoms are deeply browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until patties are browned. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining patties
Everyone in the family loved these. My husband had this to say, “I’d rather have this than a burger.” Score!
We made them into “burgers” with some ezekial buns, onion, romaine and a little pineapple-cilantro mustard. I was also thinking about doing a greek style quinoa burger with cucumbers and homemade tzatziki sauce. The possibilities are endless.
Raise your hand if you’ve been to Costco.............
Now raise your hand if you’ve tried their lemon poppyseed muffins..............
I know. They’re amazing. Too bad they’re basically giant cupcakes with 690 calories and 38 grams of fat. Yikes! While I'm not one to count calories anymore, this shocked me.
Good news though. I have a healthier version!
Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
1 3/4 cup oat flour (oats in the vitamix)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp lemon zest
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients
In another bowl combine the wet ingredients
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently until combined.
Fill each well of a muffin tin that has been lined with cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Ever since the Long Beach Conference, I've been back on my super food kick. And I feel great!
It’s rare that I believe a food is worthy of it’s own post, but maca is deserving. In fact, if kale and maca ever got into a fight, I'm afraid to say maca would win. If you’ve never heard of this amazing super food, (one of the top 10 in the world!!) fasten your seat-belt and get ready to have your mind blown. Yes, maca is THAT exciting. If you struggle with fertility, low energy, low libido or any hormonal issues, this post is for you.
This amazing root vegetable grows in South America. It's cultivated in one of the harshest most difficult farmlands in the world. Basically, no other crops can grow there. This gorgeous relative of the yam contains extremely high levels of trace minerals; thirty-one to be exact! Native Peruvians have used Maca since before the Incas.
Maca became well known by word of mouth. Generation after generation told the story of it’s ability to increase fertility, relieve anxiety and cure impotence. It regulates menopausal symptoms and PMS. It is also proven to be useful for memory loss, arthritis, respiratory ailments and diabetes. Let’s break these benefits down. Shall we?
The whole reason maca was respected so much among the ancient Peruvians was due to it's ability to raise fertility in livestock and humans. Maca contains glucosinolates, which directly affect fertility. Study after study has been done to support this fact. I find it fascinating that maca was used centuries ago to relieve stress and increase fertility. Men and women in Peru who struggled to conceive a child would eat maca until the woman became pregnant. We’ve lost the natural healing in our culture and I’m so thrilled it’s making a comeback.
Maca is best known for being an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a food or herb which brings the body to a heightened state of resistance to disease through physiological and emotional health. Basically, maca can normalize functions within the body even in disease-ridden states. Pretty remarkable.
Maca’s reputation as an adaptogen goes hand in hand with it’s ability to increase libido. Basically, it’s nature’s Viagra. Sex hormones are a delicate balancing act and any stress can really mess up these hormones. Maca helps restore the adrenal glands to normal, thus balancing energy, libido, sexual function, immune system and overall sense of well being. In men, maca is great for prostate health and helps to increase sperm count.
Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of why maca rocks the world we live in. Maca has a huge impact on our hypothalamus, which regulates our adrenals. (Millions of Americans suffer from adrenal burnout. If you crave caffeine or are on thyroid medication, I’m talking to you.) The hypothalamus also influences the production of sex hormones and is considered the brain’s sex center. It’s all connected folks.
We live in a thin-obsessed society where anti-aging is on the front of everyone’s mind. What many people don’t realize is that youth and health revolve around optimal and balanced hormones. Maca is a rejuvenator for the entire endocrine system, therefor it helps the body makes it’s own natural hormones- and correctly. No trips to the doctor to determine your dose. I encourage you to consider maca therapy :) Hormone replacement therapy (as it is done in the doctor’s office) actually ages the body by diminishing the hormone-producing capability of the glands. Basically, if an unnatural hormone is introduced into the body, the body gets lazy and stops it’s own production. Maca is great because it gets to the root of the problem instead of masking the symptoms like HRT.
PMS? Menopausal? Maca can help. Because of maca’s ability to regulate hormones, women who use maca experience less mood swings, cramps, hot flashes and menstrual irregularity. (Why do I have a feeling that all the men out there are going to get their wives a big bag of maca for Christmas this year?) During these times, estrogen is dominant in woman’s body. Maca can correct this. Many women who have used everything from HRT to phyto-estrogens have reported that maca has given them their lives back.
Depression and Anxiety
According to master herbalist Carmen Mattes, “Maca is excellent for depression and that ‘out of control’ feeling common to many men and women.....Sometimes within days, but usually 2-3 weeks, people report feeling a sense of well-being, increased energy and reduced menopausal symptoms for women. Maca presents us with an excellent choice to nourish and balance the endocrine system.”
Lower Stress, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
One of maca’s most dramatic and noticeable benefits is its ability to reduce stress. Because it’s an adaptogen, it can lower high blood pressure and raise low pressure. Maca is one smart cookie!!Because it is nature’s balancing plant, it has a positive influence on anything on the body that is out of balance. Maca is also ultra rich in sterols, which reduce cholesterol! It’s ability to do this is often overlooked by doctors who choose to match the pill to the ill.
Who doesn’t want to up their energy? Maca rebuilds exhausted adrenal glands and therefor takes charge of exhaustion. The positive effects can actually be seen in the blood within a few days!
How To Use Maca
Today, the most popular way to consume maca is in a dried and powdered form. I put a few teaspoons of maca in my smoothies every morning! I find that it goes really well with raw cacao. Amazing Grass has maca in their shakes and I just add extra. I’m hardcore like that. I use Navita’s Naturals maca powder. I feel like it’s affordable and great quality.
You can also buy it in capsules or make tea with crushed maca and some goji berries. As a traditional remedy, use 2-10 grams (2,000-10,000 mgs)
Don’t be mislead. Make sure to buy only organic maca root. That root is the only part with medicinal properties. Make sure it is 100% maca root. No cheap fillers!
I first learned about maca during my training at Institute For Integrative Nutrition and it has been a wonderful addition to my diet ever sense. I feed it to my kids in their smoothies as well. Have you ever tried maca? What are some of your favorite ways to use this super food?