Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life is like a box of chocolates...

"Life if like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
-Forest Gump

I have argued countless times with family, friends and even members of the medical community. This is gonna be short and sweet.

The notion that heart disease and diabetes and cancer are hereditary and therefore, unavoidable, is, for the MOST part, a steaming pile of horse shit.

You are NOT what runs in your family. Do NOT accept your doom.

Granted, there a small percentage of life threatening diseases that due to one reason or another are not preventable. Some may just be too aggressive. This is the exception, not the rule. While many doctors may not agree (screw them and find another!), studies and personal experience tell us a very different story.

Hereditary, scmeditary. Just because a long line of people in your family have suffered from heart disease or diabetes does not mean you will get it. Under normal circumstances, it is likely. But, if you take care to maintain a superb diet and lifestyle, you can laugh in Hereditary's face. You do not inherit disease. You inherit learned eating habits and life choices. Both of which can be altered.

The best way I can describe this is: When you are born Life deals you a hand of cards. It's HOW you play those cards that determines the outcome. Will you gamble them away? Or will you play smart to increase you chances of winning?

Will you chance heart disease because you just CAN'T give up fried chicken, or will you put on your big girl pants and act like your life depends on it? (It does, you know). Suck it up!

Another pet peeve: do NOT look at living a healthy lifestyle as a negative thing. Bummer. No Pepsi for you. No more dairy and artificial junk. Boo f*cking Hoo.

How about we grow up and act EMPOWERED instead of deprived?!? Empowered to change the course of your entire life! Empowered to live a life without ailments, allergies, sickness & doctors visits. Empowered to live to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Empowered to outrun someone half your age! Empowered to feel sexy and live a fulfilling lifestyle! Empowered to keep up with your kids! You deserve it girl!

Empower yourself and take control of your life today!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall fun

I love homemade edible gifts.  I think cookies at Christmas time is wonderful.  I think getting creative with food is fun for all holidays and seasons.  These are a few Fall gift ideas I'm making for friends, family & teachers.

Kale Chips, Organic Pumpkin Pie Spice & Organic Pumpkin Vodka

Put spice mix into a jar and decorate to make a thoughtful unique gift.

I used my Cheezy Chipotle Kale Chips recipe (they are Uh-Mazing.) and put them into a brown paper bag.  Use decorative scissors to cut the top of the bag and fold over.  Use a hole punch to punch 2 holes in the top of the bag and pull decorative ribbon through to secure.  

To make the pumpkin vodka, put 1/4c organic pumpkin puree into a large mason jar.  Fill with organic vodka.  Cover and allow it to sit in the fridge for 24-48 hours.  The vodka acts as a preservative, so you can keep it in the fridge or freezer after that for a while (6 months +) or you can strain the vodka into another jar.  Decorate the jar and you have the ultimate fall gift.  To make it more impressive, (pictures coming later), put it in a basket with 2 martini glasses and a printed and scrapbooked recipe using it.  (Blog post coming soon with my 2 favorite recipes using it!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

5 Steps to a Healthier Halloween

There are 3 kinds of parents in this world.

The ones who let their kids eat shit all year so that Halloween is not a far cry from their daily grind.

The ones who don't allow their kids to eat junk but somehow cant find it within themselves to deny their children candy on Halloween.

And then there's me...

(Well...I guess there are 4.  There are Jehovah's Witnesses too, but for arguments sake, they don't count when discussing Halloween, lol)

I LOVE Halloween.  Its full of mystery, darkness, magic, candy, pumpkins, and its the one time of year an adult professional can get away with dressing like something out of soft care porno and no one cares.  Kids love it.  Adults love it.  And when you're not busy wondering which stripper heels to wear with your super duper skankified getup, you are busy using your children as human baby dolls, dressing them up from head to toe in the most god-awful to-be-used-against-you-in-the-future garb.  Lets be honest: Halloween for parents of young children is like preplanned birth control.  It is always sure to result in a collection of pictures you will stow away for future use when your precious little 5 year old 'LalaLoopsey' turns 16 and brings some asshole home.  That's when the pictures make their glorious debut back on the walls of your home.  That and a gun rack, but I digress.  

When I first changed my diet I cringed at the thought of Halloween.  How in the hell could I deny my daughter the joys of trick-or-treating?  How could I let her go and then make her throw it all away without even one little nibble of a miniature Kit-Kat?  Was I a terrible mom?  Could there be something I could do to prevent neighbors from spoiling her with artificial colors and flavors and high fructose corn syrup?!?  I was doomed.  

We can't ignore the data and many studies that show strong links of childhood diseases to artificial colors and sweeteners.  Childhood diabetes, ADHD, autistic tendencies  allergies and a host of other illnesses appear to be caused or intensified by the consumption of Frankenfood.  There is no way, while I still have control over what my child puts in her mouth, that I would allow her to eat the same conventional junk that other kids do.

On to Plan B.  I had to convince her that she did not want the candy.  What did I do you ask?  I'll tell you!   I just follow these simple steps and I am worry free come Halloween night.

1. I bought Halloween toys and organic candy instead of the conventional crap.  My candy bowl is filled with  bubbles, stretchy skeletons, Halloween slap bracelets, stickers, organic lollipops, organic gummy bears and bags of pretzels.  Almost as much as I can't feed shit to my own daughter, I feel like a bad person contributing to someone else's allergies and other health afflictions if I serve it to others as well.  My kid or not, if it comes from me, you can bet your sweet ass its going to be healthy or organic.

2. I buy more expensive 'healthy' candy for my own daughter.  I put together a gift basket with the above mentioned items, some vegan candy bars (we LOVE LOVE LOVE Go Max Go brand).  Or, I bake special cupcakes, brownies, etc.  Or both.  =)

3.  I take her shopping the weekend or day before and she picks out a present, not to exceed a specific monetary value.  This year I will let her choose something up to $15.  We buy it together and we do NOT open it.  I put this in her surprise gift basket with candy.

4.  She goes trick-or-treating.  She comes home.  She sees the gift basket with her toy and plenty of other semi-junk candy.  She happily trades.  We let her stuff her face with several pieces of candy after all of the Halloween excitement.  

5.  We throw away the shit in the hollow smiling pumpkin pail but as I said before, I cannot stand the thought of anyone eating it, let alone us.  

In the future when she is a little older and may not see the point of continuing the tradition of going house to house just to throw away the candy, I plan on giving a monetary value to the candy she collects.  For example, 10 pieces of candy = $1.  Then, she can earn money to spend on herself.  Or she can trade 5 party size chocolate bars for one full vegan dark chocolate bar.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Flavored Water

Do you have any idea how much people make off of flavored water?  Like, millions.  Really.  Want a quick and easy way to make your own??  You can use filtered water or sparkling water if the mood strikes you.  Its this easy:

1.  Open fridge
2.  Find fruits
3.  Slice fruits
4.  Insert in water.

Let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes or hours and you've got yourself some flavored water that didn't cost you anything but some leftover fruits in your fridge.

Some good combinations:

Cucumber + Mint + Lemon

Ginger + Mint (pictured)

Raspberry + Cucumber (pictured)

Orange + Strawberry

Kiwi + Lime

Cranberry + Ginger + Lemon

Apple + Mango

Pineapple + Jalapeno + Pear

Grapefruit + Ginger

For an extra health kick: Throw in a decaf green tea bag!

Friday, October 5, 2012

8 Things You Can Do To Combat the Flu Season

Its here!  The kids are back in school.  The weather is changing and you are one Grande Pumpkin Soy Frappuccino away from being murdered by your significant other if they see one more $7 charge for 'coffee' on your next bank statement.  Welcome to fall.  The most beautiful time of the year and the one time of year that it seems everybody and their little fat brother is SICK SICK SICK.  Flu season, enter stage left.

During my workout 2 days ago, I focused on my arms.  I apparently worked out a little too hard that yesterday and today, wiping my own ass is the biggest challenge I've faced in a long time!  If that were it, I could deal.  But, nooooooooo...its also about to be 'That Time'.  So, I'm sore, I have a dirty ass and I'm bitchy.  OK.  Megan-0.  Life-2.  Now, this is all compounded by the fact that I woke up this morning with a throat so swollen it feels like a basketball was shoved down there.  'That Time' + my swollen throat = Megan-2, Ryan-0.  (hehehe...I kill myself!)

Flu season is upon us and although I almost never get sick anymore, I do occasionally catch something like I did this morning.  Lucky for me, I keep my immune system in pretty good shape and when I do get sick, I've been successful at kicking its ass out of with the quickness.  Below are some things you can do to help prevent catching the bug and to speed up your recovery if you do happen upon that little bugger.

1.  Ginger Green Tea
This and the next are my secret weapons.  Few bugs can get far with this.  To make this potent concoction, bring a pot of water to a slow boil with fresh ginger.  You do not have to peel ginger.  Just slice it thin or shave on a microplane into the water.  As much as you can stand.  I have grown to love ginger so I use a lot!  Let this slow boil for a little while to make a ginger tea.  While you are waiting, grab some organic &/or raw honey and pour about a teaspoon into your mug.  You can also throw in about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar as well.  Throw in your green tea bag.  Turn the heat off the water and when the water is no longer boiling, fill your mug up.  

Green tea can be a bit bitter if water is boiling.  Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes or longer and bottoms up!  Research has shown that the longer the green tea is steeped, the higher the amount of polyphenols, which are responsible for the health benefits of the tea.  DON'T FORGET: You cannot do this once and expect an immediate retreat of the symptoms.  Drink 3-6 cups of this a day.  Make a big pot of ginger tea and reheat throughout the day adding new teabags and honey.  Keep it up and you will see your symptoms start to disappear.

2. Garlic
Garlic is nature's antibiotic.  It is anti-fungal  antiviral and antibacterial.  It is: Uh-mazing.  Take it raw.  Chop up a few cloves into swallow-able sizes and take just as you would a pill.  The use of prescription antibiotics strips away the natural gut flora, which IS your main defense against these things in the first place!  Disease begins in the gut by a weakened immune system.  Keeping your gut flora happy and healthy is your best chance to keeping yourself healthy.  A strong immune system means you can use your 'sick days' at work for fun days at home.  Try garlic instead.  

3. Eat Your Greens!
Get your nutrients from fruits and vegetables.  As much raw as you can.  Raw food contains enzymes which are the building blocks of your immune system.  Eat them.  Lots of them.
4. Rest
Getting adequate sleep helps keep your immune system functioning happily.  If you are sick, get extra rest.  Today, I skipped the gym and my mommy-&-me class to rest.  So get your beauty sleep, gorgeous, you're body needs you!
5. Herbal Supplements
 According to many naturopaths, knowing your blood type can be important in choosing the right supplements for you.  Type O blood types should avoid echinacea since it wont be as effective.  Rather, Type O's should use Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus or White Larch.  (Look for these in your local health food store.)  Type A's should look for Echinacea or an Echinacea/Goldenseal Combo.  Type B's should go for medicinal mushrooms, of which shitake, reishi and maitake are the best.

 6. Wash Your Grubby Mitts!
Just like your mom and teachers always told you.  Scrub-a-dub-dub those germy cesspools you call your hands so the next time you shake hands with Mr. nose picker or chronic masturbator, you wont have those nasty germs lingering on your extremities.  
7.  Magic Mushrooms
OK, so not those magic mushrooms, but just like stated above for Type B's, medicinal mushrooms can have a host of benefits for most.  Stick to shitake, reishi and maitake for the most potent benefits.
 8. Exercise
Its no hidden secret that exercise is good for you.  It keeps you fit.  Helps with blood pressure, sugar control, fat burning, immunity.  You name it, exercise is probably good for it.  Just Do It Nike style and get your lazy butt moving.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Salt & Vinegar Fries

Love on a baking sheet.  If I had to pick 3 things to survive on for the rest of my life, I would choose anything smothered in buffalo sauce, my vegan street tacos and salt & vinegar anything.  Up until I finally put the ix-nay on the potato chip vice I had several months ago, I was still cramming salt & vinegar chips into my piehole every chance I got.  No lie.  My love for those salty, tangy kettle cooked pieces of heaven was so strong that my lips would burn for 2 days after I shamefully stuffed my face with...yes, an entire bag.  Most brands have dairy, so it took me a little while after giving that up to find the kettle cooked ones that were dairy free.  That's when all hell broke loose.  I would pull the vegan card and allow myself to indulge in their sinfully deliciousness since, after all, they were vegan.  That was until I had to quit cold turkey.  I had no self control.  It was bad.  Was there a rehab for junkies like me?  Did I belong in a circle of people sharing their stories in a drab room surrounded by only the sound of my own twitching?  Detoxing from my last 'episode'?Cracked lips from the salt & a tongue so burnt from the vinegar that it was swollen inside of my mouth?  I could only hope I didn't fall off the wagon again into a party size bag of tang and crunchiness.  I needed the potato equivalent of Methadone.

Four months clean now, my craving came back and it was a strong one.  I had no sponsor to call.  No one to hold me accountable.  I ransacked my pantry and low and behold, a giant jug of vinegar beckoned to me next to my small sack of potatoes.  Salt?  Of course I had salt.  Pepper?  You bet.  I had all of the components of my favorite delectable snack at my fingertips.  

Gone are the days of prepackaged junk food!  Gone are the sneers from friends as I hog the entire bag of potato chips.  Welcome new friend.  Welcome Baked Salt & Vinegar Fries.  

Update: My life is back to normal and I have learned to share these tasty niblets with the kids.  The family gave the thumbs up approval and I am well on my way to recovery!  

Salt & Vinegar Fries
Makes enough for sharing...unless you are like me.  

6 medium russet potatoes
6 c white vinegar
1 tbsp salt (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
ground black pepper to taste

Bring the vingar to a boil in a large saucepan.  While the vinegar is heating, cut potatoes into wedges or fries. When the vinegar begins to boil, add the potatoes.  Return to a boil, reduce heat to a medium boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and allow to sit for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drain potatoes, discard vinegar & put potatoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss gently to coat.  Spread out evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, turning fries halfway through.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


These are the first of many pumpkin recipes I plan on playing with this season.  The first is a yummy vegan latte that I made for myself.  The second is a pumpkin smoothie I made when my 5 year old protested that she didn't get a latte.  For both recipes, I used flaxmilk, but you can use whichever non-dairy milk you prefer. 

Vegan Pumpkin Smoothie - Kid Approved!
Makes one smoothie
This is not a thick smoothie.  If you prefer it thick, add more frozen banana or freeze the pumpkin beforehand.  

1 c vanilla flavored non-dairy milk (or milk + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/3 c pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
1 frozen banana

Blend all in high speed blender until smooth.  

Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Latte
makes one large latte or two small
I also Rice Whip to make this soy free.  This is sweet enough for me, but you can add additional sugar if needed and to make it extra pumpkin-y, use Pumpkin Spice coffee!

1 c non-dairy milk 
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1 Tbsp organic brown sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 whole clove
1/2 c strongly brewed coffee (preferably pumpkin flavored)
vegan whipped topping (optional)

Heat non-dairy milk in a small saucepan with pumpkin, sugar and spices.  Bring to a boil while whisking together.  Remove from heat as soon as it boils and discard clove.  Pour into glass(es).  Pour coffee in and top with whip cream if desired.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday Tuna Bake

This is by no means a pretty photo, as I had no intentions of blogging this recipe, but my family ate it up so fast that I got a crappy shot of the leftovers being devoured by yours truly.

In a hurry to prepare dinner the other night with no time to spare between running the kids around soccer mom style and bath time, I scoured the pantry for something that required little time and would be filling.  I grabbed a box of Ancient Harvest GF veggies spirals and decided I was going to mix it with my cheese sauce from Nacho Moms Weeknight Nachos, minus the pimentos because I didn't have any.  Then I went a step further and decided it needed some actual veggies and some protein for my carnivorous husband.

Easy Peasy Cheezy Tuesday Tuna Bake

1 box Ancient Harvest veggies spirals (or any other pasta you have on hand)
1 recipe Cheeze Sauce
1 can drained tuna (I obviously use the most sustainable possible, hook & line caught, etc)
1/2-1 c peas (I didn't measure...just used about 1/2 a small frozen bag)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
small handful Daiya cheese (optional.  I used Jack style but use what you have)

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta to box directions.  (Or don't.  I don't ever cook pasta using directions.  Boil water, throw pasta in, turn heat to med-high and keep pulling 1 noodle out at a time to test doneness.  Drain.

Saute the onion until translucent & steam peas (if frozen.  If canned, just drain.)

Mix pasta, cheeze sauce, tuna, peas, onion & extra cheese.  Bake until heated through.  About 8-10 minutes.