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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

21 Day Kick-Start

So, as many of you know, I will be walking away from corporate life on Friday, April 23rd for good. I am a little anxious, but overall I feel super fabulous. I feel like it's a new start to a new life. A whole new me where my Primary Foods don't get in the way of my total health. I am so very excited and blessed to have the opportunity to actually follow my bliss and surround myself in my passions of health, yoga and food!

To keep this super fabulous momentum going, I have decided to take part in my own Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's 21-Day Vegan Kick Start. I am going to start on Monday, April 26, 2010. I have dabbled in vegetarianism off and on for many years and while I was attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition I spent a month investigating a vegan diet after hearing Neal Bernard, MD speak.

I had a few challenges during my vegan month last year. While I thought a life without cheese would be terrible, it's not what I missed the most. I really missed my breakfast foods, yes, the incredible edible egg. I also had trouble with was feeling grounded. I started feeling super flaky, scatter brained and the proverbial "blonde." I am pretty sure that these feelings were coming from a lack of Vitamin B and Omega 3s.

I think my biggest challenge wasn't s0 much of a challenge as it was a surprise....I went vegan for 4 weeks and I actually gained 7 pounds. How is that even possible? Well, I will tell you how it's possible....all you can eat buffet at Kaya's Kitchen in Belmar, NJ every Sunday night, that's how it's possible. Kaya's is delicious and amazing and the best vegan cuisine in New Jersey. However, if you over eat, regardless of food style, you're going to gain weight. Additionally, while on this vegan experiment, I ate many more processed foods (from a box, wrapped in plastic) than I normally do. Vegan ice cream, cookies, cakes, burgers, tv-dinners etc. I don't eat that crap to begin with, so what was the point of removing animal protein and dairy from your diet if you're just going to start eating crap!? Exactly. no point.

So this time around is going to be a bit different. Kayas will be a treat, rather than a weekly scheduled binge. I will cook more whole, vegan foods and try out different recipes that I can share on this blog. And I will pay attention to my vitamin B and omega 3 intake so I don't turn into a dumb blonde.

Between now and then, I am going to re-read a couple of vegan books to get me in the mind-set:
Skinny Bitch
Living a Charmed Life
The Kind Diet
This Crazy Vegan Life

One thing that I am super amped up about, which I am probably not supposed to talk about, but whatever, the cat is about to hop out of the bag...is our upcoming interview with Christina Pirello, author of Glow, This Crazy Vegan Life, Cooking the Whole Foods Way and Christina Cooks. SO excited about that and looking forward to it! It's perfect timing for this whole challenge of mine!

So, back to the 21 day challenge....the reason I am posting this blog well over a month in advance of my start date is that I wanted to see if any readers wanted to join me. If any readers out in blogland want to take on this challenge with me, I will set up a tele-class on the 1st, 7th, 14th and 21st days of the challenge so we can check in with one another for support! We'll use the 21 Day Kick-Start a guideline and then go from there. So, if you're interested drop a comment with you're email address and I will be in touch!

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra
Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Wonders of Maca: The Peruvian Ginseng

Maca, the superfood of the Incas has been around for at least 10,000 years. It's a radish like root vegetable grown in the mineral rich volcanic soil in the Peruvian mountains. While people in the US recently discovered the power of the maca root, it has been used by the Inca people and their herds for thousands of years to combat stress and thrive in higher altitudes.

Maca is a well known endocrine modulator, or an endocrine adaptogen, which works on the pituitary through the hypothalamus, communicating with all the glands of the whole endocrine system.

Maca is super-charged with over 60 micronutrients. It's 40% potassium and 10% calcium. It's high in phosphorus, magnesium, silica and zinc. It also contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E, B12, B1, 2 and 3. It hast 18 amino acids and 20 fatty acids, so it just may be the strongest root on earth without natural stimulants. Maca also contains important hormonal precursors and sterols proven to assist the human body in a number of ways including boosting your energy and mood!

Maca's hormone balancing properties can boost your libido, sooth menopausal symptoms, increase sperm cell production, improve testosterone levels and eradicate symptoms of impotency.

Some may not enjoy the taste of maca on its own, but it's pretty easy to incorporate it into your diet. Simply mix maca powdered root into any of your favorite drinks or food. You can buy maca from any of your favorite natural foods stores including Whole Foods, Deans Natural Foods and Nature's Corner.

Because maca increases libido and fertility, it's fabulous for preconception health. Maca stimulates graffian folicals- (stimulates fertility) by controlling estrogen. Levels that are high or low at the wrong time either keep a woman from becoming pregnant or keep her from carrying to term. If you are interested in using maca for preconception health I suggest talking to you doctor and finding out your progesterone levels.

Super Maca Smoothie
2 Tablespoons of Maca Power
1/2 Cup - Milk [rice, almond, oat, hemp, soy or dairy]
1 Tbsp. - Almond or Peanut Butter
4 Dates
4 Ounces - Plain or Vanilla Yogurt
1 Tsp. - Bee Pollen
1/2 Tsp. - Cinnamon

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra
Keep it Fresh!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vegan Nachos!

Who says that nachos always have to have cheese or meat? This recipe is so flavorful, I promise you won’t miss the animal products! The creamy guacamole, hearty beans, salsa and fresh cilantro create a satisfying array of flavors for this simple, healthy snacking dish.

1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
dash of cumin
dash of chili powder
salsa to taste
1 avocado
½ lime
fresh cilantro to taste
sea salt

Beans: Heat beans in small pot on low/med heat. Add dash of cumin, chili powder and sea salt.

Guacamole: Mash avocado in bowl with fork. Squirt half lime into bowl adding fresh cilantro and continue to mash together.

Spread chips out onto dish and pour desired amount of salsa onto them. Spoon guacamole over chips and salsa. Once beans are heated, pour them over dish, then top with more fresh cilantro. The beans will heat the rest of the ingredients and flavors will marry together. ENJOY!

*Feel free to use this same recipe, but instead of pouring ingredients over chips, stuff into a whole wheat wrap with some brown rice for a healthy, filling burrito!

Benefits of Pinto Beans:
Pinto beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. Pinto beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, pinto beans provide virtually fat-free, high quality protein. But this is far from all pinto beans have to offer. Pinto beans are also an excellent source of molybdenum, a very good source of folate and manganese, and a good source of protein and vitamin B1 as well as the minerals phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Pintos are a great replacement for red meats. A half cup of cooked pinto beans will provide about 120 calories and 10 grams of protein, without the saturated fat.

Green Mountain Gringo Strips: I recommend serving with Green Mountain Gringo Tortilla Strips. They are great tasting, all natural using non-GMO corn and gluten free. You can find them at any health food store, and at most supermarkets.

What does GMO mean? Genetically Modified Organism is the most common usage (though 'manipulated' or even 'mutated' might also be appropriate!) The acronyms GEO (Genetically Engineered Organism) or simply GM or GE are also used. Genetic engineering is a radical new technology that forces genetic information across the protective species barrier in an unnatural way. Why be concerned? One of many good reasons is that these laboratory-created mutations are unlabeled, virtually untested and on grocery shelves everywhere.

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren