Tag Archives: Health

Exercise and Motivation: Get Back on That Mat!

03 April

I wanted to start a brand new blog site dedicated to excuses I come up every day when is time to exercise. It would be call 365 reasons to not exercise and it would be one per day so you would have an excuse for each day of the year! But I figured why spend all that energy that goes into creating a new site/blog and instead sit and blog about why I choose to be lazy instead when I can actually put that energy into the exercise itself.

One of my biggest problems is that I need motivation and discipline and/or consequences if I don’t exercise. For example, when I was paying for a gym membership I was going at least three days a week and taking the classes offered to get my money’s worth. That motivated me to go and workout because it would be lost money from my bank account making some corporation rich!  

So on the Blue Moon I decided I was going to sign up for a bunch of classes to get me going again. I signed up for a weight lifting class and Anusara yoga class. I was also planning to take Belly Dance classes again, but found that my favorite teacher had moved and was unable to find another class that would fit into my new tight schedule. The weight lifting class was two days a week, yoga was two days a week as well, and that left me with only Friday night free. My weekends are pretty busy as it is with all the socializing I do at the farmer’s markets and raw foodist hang-outs so weekend classes were out of the question.

The first week of classes everything went great. I was feeling great and both classes seem to be working in sync with each other. Almost as if both instructors had called up each other and agreed on what they were going to be teacher me. I was flying and very happy! My yoga practice (after 8 years) was improving and I was getting strong enough to do hand stands. My arms and my breathing in weight lifting improved so much that my coach was very proud that in such a short time he could see great progress.

At the start of the 4th week, I began feeling the pressure. I was getting stressed out by my busy exercise schedule. So I started skipping class and coming up with all sort of new excuses. I debated and concluded I had gotten my money’s worth for both classes and that I needed more time to concentrate in work and my blog. And I quit both classes and stopped exercising completely.

After about a month, my size 4 jeans were not fitting anymore. I knew it was not the food because I was not eating differently. That motivated me to begin exercising again and I signed for iyengar yoga and even began an online 100 pushup challenge.

Once I got back on the horse, or better yet, on the yoga mat again, I felt so much better. Even though I’m not using financial reasons to get me motivated this time around, the size 4 jeans are. I also decided to keep my weights around my very small living room so that while I take breaks from my busy “online life“, I can workout. In fact, Denis and I made a pact, if we want to watch TV (which is one of my worst addictions), then we will workout while we watch TV.

I’m loving it now, but I know eventually (probably once the challange is completed) I will be bored again and will have to find a new way to motivate myself to get back to exercising. But for now I won’t stress about it and keep going.

Photo by cowbite

Schedule me in, please!

29 March

Every month I find myself complaining that I don’t have enough time to take care of myself. Every weekend I make a promise to spend time on me… what that means is: no cleaning, no chores, no Facebook or twitter, no reading… just a little girl time for me.

In a perfect world, I would enjoy to be able to get a massage, manicure, pedicure, wax, etc weekely. However, I cannot only afford it, but also I can’t find the time to drop everything else I do on weekends (or week nights for that matter) to take care of me and do those things.

I watch Oprah shows about women who let themselves go over the years because of children and other things in their lives, and I always wonder how they got there. But I find myself doing things for everyone else, working from home, preparing food for Denis, Facebooking, and doing chores and no time to take care of me.

At the beginning of the year, I had decided to start doing more for me. I took a weight training class, went back to yoga, and started a Full Moon Liquid Fast. Well it didn’t work out. It made me more stressed than relaxed because I had to leave work on time (yes, I’m not those people who “clocks out” at 5pm, I’m a workaholic and so is Denis) and I still didn’t have time to remove my nail polish at the end of the week! How sad is that? So I decided to quit the classes and concentrate in one thing at the time. But I still didn’t know how to manage my home time.

If you think about it, this is how much time we really have:

Work – 8 hours (but if you are me or Denis 9 to 10 hours), sleep 8 hours (if you are lucky!), commute to work 1 to 2 hours round trip (1 hour for me), time getting ready in the morning – 2 hours (1 hour for me,  I’m quick!). If my math is correct, that leaves us with an average of 4 hours every night. That’s not counting making dinner and getting ready for the next day… and forget it if you have kids! I’m single and only have a cat so I’m lucky I get about 2 hours every night after making dinner and other chores… and that’s with a helpful partner!

A few weeks ago, Denis was listening to the WISH Summit and related some of the information to me, because I myself didn’t find time to listen to the talks. He heard from one of the speakers (sorry I can’t give proper credit, we don’t remember the speaker!) that women should schedule time in their routines or busy lives to themselves. That was my aha moment! So immediately I decided to block two hours a week to do my own version of spa time.

So after careful consideration on what day would work out best for me and moved things around, I squeezed myself in for two hours every Thursday night. So Thursday night came and went and I only managed to get 1 hour to myself. So today I was able to get another hour squeezed in. Got my nails done and other things that I don’t need to share here *wink*. But the point is that it was a great effort in my part to get it going.

I hope I can continue to do this every week and will soon become part of my routine and at least get my nails done! But I hope that by sharing this, you can also find a way to schedule yourself in for time for you alone.

Blessings…

Picture by Nick J Webb

Raw Coconut Curry Kelp Noodles

22 March
kelp curry noodles

Kelp curry noodles

At my first Raw Spirit Festival in ’08, Sedona AZ, I came across Kelp Noodles. My friend John Schott from LifeFood Gourmet had a table at the festival and made an awesome tomato Italian sauce for these noodles. I got the last bowl he was selling and boy I’ve been hooked since then!

So when we got back to FL, Denis went online and looked them up… he ordered them and I’ve been making different sauces for them. My favorite is Coconut Curry sauce I created by accident trying to copy a red Thai chili sauce.

What  I enjoy most about this sauce and the noodles is that is easy to prepare and makes a great “fancy” meal when I’m tired and don’t want to send a lot of time in the kitchen.

Here is what you’ll need:

Kelp Noodles

Kelp Noodles

1 Pack of Kelp noodles

3 cloves of garlic (less if you can’t handle raw garlic)

Organic Cumin, organic curry powder, coriander, turmeric (all in powder form)

Ginger

1 Handful of cilantro

2 cups of coconut oil

Red chillies (Thai chillies)

Salt

Olive Oil

Lime or Lemon

Red Pepper strips

1  1/2 cup of almond or other white nut milk

Shredded lettuce & avocado

*Sweet peas, shredded celery & carrots optional

**To make it spicy (picante) add more chili peppers

First make the curry paste by putting the garlic, cumin, curry, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cilantro, chilies, salt, lemon, olive oil in the food processor and mixing until it becomes a paste. Add the nut milk and coconut oil and continue to mix.

Rinse the noodles well and put aside in a bowl to mix. Add sauce, red pepper strips, and optional vegetables (peas, carrots, celery). Mix well and let it sit for a few minutes.

Serve over a bed of lettuce with avocado.

Kelp curry noodles

Mixing the noodles, sauce, and vegetables

Moving to the Beach Salad

15 March
Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad

Denis and I moved from a small 3-bedroom house to a tiny beach apartment a few months back and during that stressful packing time, I made this recipe everyday.

I was making sure to empty my refrigerator so that I could clean it before returning the house, so we had very little fresh food left. I came up with this salad with different types of Seaweed to sort of keep the “ocean-sea” theme since we were moving to the beach. So I named it “Moving to the Beach Salad”!

Here is what you need:

Romaine lettuce

1 Tomato

Yellow/green beans

1 pack of Pacific Sea Vegetable Mix (wakame, funori, kiriboshi wakame, shiro kikurage, ito kanten, kizami hoshi kombu)*

Seaweed Dressing

1 Tbs. Namashoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce)

1/8 Raw sesame seed oil

1/8 Olive Oil

A few drops of Apple Cider vinegar (optional)

Pepper flakes

Real Salt to taste

*I’m able to buy a pack from Glaser market that is ready to prepare, but any seaweed salad mix will do.

Soak the seaweed salad for 10 minutes and drain water and add more water to soak for another 10 minutes. Or if you buy a particular brand of seaweed mix, simply follow the directions in the package. Some mixes require more or less time soaked in water.

In a separate bowl, mix the sesame oil, olive oil, namashoyu, pepper flakes, and apple cider vinegar if you are using it. We don’t use vinegar, but most seaweed salad dressings have vinegar and agave, but I believe apple cider vinegar replaces both. Depending on how big the package of seaweed is, you may have to increase the amounts of the oils and ingredients for the dressing.

After draining the seaweed water the second time, rinse the seaweed in a strainer or colander with more water. Shake the excess water off and add the salad to the bowl with the dressing. Mix well and let sit for about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, shred the lettuce or cut thinly to use a bed for the seaweed. Cut the beans as thin as you like and add to the lettuce. Cut tomatoes to complement the meal and finally add the seaweed on top of the lettuce and beans. I also serve this with avocado slices.

We eat seaweed at least once a week; it’s a good source of minerals and vitamins. We are fortunate that we can buy the seaweed mix at our local farm, but there are websites that sells amazing seaweed salads for a reasonable price. I recommend the Sea Tangle Noodle Company which also offers kelp noodles.

Hope you enjoy this recipe and stay tuned for my kelp noodle recipes!

Passionate Chef Jamie Oliver at Ted: Food Education

14 March

This is a passionate and inspiring video presentation from Ted Talks with chef and activist Jamie Oliver. It was heartbreaking to watch Jamie at a school asking children to name some vegetables and foods. Most kids didn’t even know what a tomato looked like!

How can we expect people to be healthy when the new generations don’t even know where food comes from or what basic foods look like? I hope this talk from Jamie inspires you to teach a loved one about food and health.

Enjoy!

Full Moon Liquid Fast

27 February
Full Moon Liquid Fast

Full Moon in Sedona Arizona - 2007

About four months ago, Denis and I decided to challenge our diets and take it one step further. We decided to fast and only eat, or drink in this case, liquids once a month on the full moon.

We noticed that around the full moon it was hard to deal with everyone’s energy. At work, on the road, online, on TV, at the beach, everyone is more stressed than usual.

A liquid fast entails only consuming liquids such as soups, smoothies, juices, water, puddings; basically anything that doesn’t require chewing.

I am a huge fan of soups and smoothies… always been! And preparing only liquid foods was very easy for me.  I also had great help from several books with not only great raw vegan soup recipes but smoothies and juices.

We start our liquid fast about three days before the full moon and so far it has helped us deal with the “Full Moon” energy around us. I have set reminders in my calendars to let me know when the full moon starts so that we can start our fast.

Here are some of the recipes that I make during the liquid fast:

Miso Soup

Green Soup

Borsch

Green Juice Delight

Juices

Thank God, Orange Juice, & Grapefruit Juice

Happy Full Moon 2010!

5 Tips to Become a Vegan

25 February
vegan pie

Vegan Pie

Last year I wrote about beginning to transition to a vegetarian diet.  If you are ready to take the next step and have decided this is the right choice for you, here are five ways to get started with a vegan diet. These tips follow the steps from the previous post.

Start Fading Fish from Your Diet

Fish was hard to give up because I loved sushi! I started using mock meats and substitutes such as tofu & tempeh. I used the same formula for meats and other animals; I started eating fish only three times a week for a month and only if I prepared it at home. When I went out, I would order a vegetarian or vegan meal. After a few months, I was able to only eat fish once a week and soon stopped completely.

Substitute Milk and other Dairy for Soy or Almond Milk

There are many products out there to replace dairy. I started with almond and rice milk, cheeses, ice cream, butter, etc.

Soy CreamPhoto by:  Veganbaking.net

Tofu, Your New Best Transitional Choice!

Learning to prepare and enjoy tofu can be challenging. But with the right recipes or going to the right restaurants, one can soon enjoy tofu. I found that the best tofu recipes can be found at Asian restaurants like Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc. I also learned that the trick to preparing tofu at home is marinating it for about 4 to 8 hours in your favorite sauce. I used to copy the recipes from my favorite restaurants and prepared them at home. It’s important to know the different textures tofu is sold and how it is used. Most brands have a picture of how to use tofu depending on its texture. Silken is most commonly used in puddings and smoothies, firm and extra form for frying baking, etc.

TofuPhoto by: avlxyz

Read it: No Animal Bi-Products

Once I found out that I was allergic to dairy, I stopped consuming dairy products. However, I was not aware that hundreds of packaged foods have dairy. For example, crackers and you good-old-plain saltines have dairy. It’s important to read the labels of packaged foods even if they are labeled vegetarian.

Learn to Order Vegan Dishes in Non-Vegan/Non-Vegetarian Restaurants

Vegan Potato Green BeansPhoto by: rusvaplauke

This is one of the tips that saved me, learning how to order a healthy meal at an unhealthy restaurant. Whenever I went out to eat, I would ask the waiter/waitress for any vegan or vegetarian dishes so that I wouldn’t have to read the entire menu. I have yet to find a restaurant that doesn’t have a vegetarian or vegan alternative. If they didn’t have a dish, I would make one on my own. For example, every restaurant offers side dishes, baked potatoes, side vegetables, fruit plates, etc. So I would order three sides and a house salad which usually didn’t include meats or dairy. Because I was allergic to dairy, I would always ask for no butter or cheese in any of the side dishes and would let them know of my allergies.

One of the biggest challenges is learning to change your habits, and enjoy the transition. If it is done right, it will be very rewarding. Any time I made changes to my diet and lifestyle, I made sure to visit my doctor to monitor my health.

It is important not to judge others and preach. We’re all different and what works for one person, may not work for someone else. So love your family and friends the way they are and don’t try to convert anyone. Just because you made a choice, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for others.

Have fun & don’t stress!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Recommended reading

  • Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
  • The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Robert O. Young
  • Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide by the Editors of Vegetarians Times
  • Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman
  • Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins

My Father’s Scramble Tomato, Onion, and Rice Eggs… Vegan Style

10 February
Raw Vegan "Eggs"

Raw Vegan “Eggs”

When someone doesn’t feel like making food or cooking, they order take out or go out to eat. And if budgets are tight, most of us have a recipe we make for those days when we just don’t feel creative about making food or are tired.

My dad’s recipe for those occasions was scramble eggs with rice, tomatoes, and onions. He would fry the chopped onions, tomatoes, and left over rice and throw a few whipped eggs and make a meal out of that. For many years before we became raw vegans, I would use my father’s recipe for when I felt tired and didn’t want order take out food.

I now have a raw vegan version of this recipe that is very quick to prepare and tastes amazing.

Here are the ingredients:

2 Handfuls of Almonds (hopefully sprouted)

¼ cup Flax Seed Powder

Turmeric

Organic Cumin Seed Powder

Real Salt

2 Tomatoes

½ Medium Onion

Cilantro

½ small jalapeno pepper (optional)

Olive Oil

Avocado and Shredded Romaine lettuce

Put the almonds in the food processor with the flax seed powder, turmeric, cumin, and salt. Process to a powder and set aside in a bowl.

Almond Powder and Tomatoes in Food Processor

Almond Powder and Tomatoes in Food Processor

Using the same food processor (no need to wash it), put cut tomatoes, onions, oil, cilantro, and salt to taste. Pulse to make a semi-chunky salsa and avoid making it too liquidy. If you are using the jalapeno pepper, add them to the salsa to make it as spicy as you can handle. Add the salsa to the powdered almonds and mix without making to mushy.

Mixing Powder and Salsa

Mixing Powder and Salsa

Serve over shredded lettuce, I use the lettuce to replace the rice in my father’s recipe. Slice the avocado and serve on the side. This serves two people, a tiny woman and a big Russian!

I recently added something else to this recipe; I’ve been using pumpkin seed oil and pour it over avocado. It’s delicious!

Enjoy!

5 Hard-Core Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

08 February

Plus Where to get Dinner, Chocolates, and Flowers

heart

Valentine’s Day is a romantic holiday but who said you had to stick to the usual gifts that may not go with your green lifestyle? Here are five gifts ideas for your green significant other:

“No-one-died” Jewelry

Jewelry is the most common gift to give to your loved one on Valentine’s Day. So why not make it something eco-friendly that didn’t cause people’s lives? Here are gifts from recycled, reused, and/or natural materials that will go excellent with your “green” Valentine’s Day.

“Good-Cause” Accessories

There are many companies that make accessories that help a good cause. I’m choosing Hemp Sisters (Earth Divas) this time because they have a great variety of green gifts for your significant other.

Romantic Evening – Do a Home Spa

Gaiam is a great site with wonderful gifts for any occasion. I picked this “Healing Home Spa” set because it a great way to show your loved one that you care for their health and the earth.

When you are Ready to Commit

Compost buckets! Not your typical romantic gift, but it will make a statement that you both are ready to take the next step in your “green” path and commit to it.

Compost Bucket

Compost Bucket

Something Practical for All

This is a great gift if you know you significant other has everything and doesn’t need another necklace, ring, earrings, etc., or your family doesn’t exchange gifts. I picked Tonic, formerly Green Dimes, for this occasion because it’s a great way to stay green by eliminating unnecessary junk mailings that are cause trash. Not a typical romantic gift, but a very original idea!

So now that you picked the gift, all that is left are the card, the flowers, the chocolates, and dinner.

The Card

Picking a card that is green is easy. Most places sell now cards made or recycle paper etc. However, if you want to take one green step further, check out these cards that have wild flower seeds that can be planted to grow. Very original and will impress your “green” significant other.

The Flowers

Organic flower shop

If your honey is like me, they won’t want flowers and may prefer plants. However, if they do like flowers, here is an organic shop that has a great variety for this special occasion.

The Chocolates

Take this opportunity to try raw vegan chocolate. I have many raw favorites, but for Valentine’s Day I’m recommending Gnosis Chocolates.

The Dinner

If you are truly green, you will want to go to a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. To locate a local place to take your significant other for dinner, use Happy Cow. And if you are in South Florida and want an impressive restaurant, try Sublime.

Happy Green Valentine’s Day! Remember that the most important part of this holiday is LOVE!

Heart Photo by: qthomasbower

Saturday Morning Green Delight

31 January
Saturday Morning Juice & Ganesh

Saturday Morning Juice & Ganesh

One Saturday morning I woke up waiting a green juice. So I took everything green out of the refrigerator and juice it. I usually don’t juice greens because I get a fantastic green juice at Josh’s Organic Garden called the “Thank God” five days a week. Not only does Josh have the best greens ever, but also their juicing method is out of the world.

So I have gotten used to drinking green juices five days a week and Saturdays they are not open. I washed all my greens and juiced them including two apples because my juicer is not as great as the one at the Juice Bar. And now it has become a tradition to wake up Saturday mornings and juice the greens.

Here is what I juice:

3 types of Kale (dinosaur, red, and green)

3 types of chard (red, yellow, and white)

Florida Romaine lettuce

Dandelion, Spinach, Collard Greens

Celery, Carrots, Cucumber

2 apples (optional)

I juice everything and put it in a jar, mix in about 2/3 of water, and some pH drops. I save half of that for my sweetie and he adds a lime/lemon to his juice, and I add the two juiced apples to mine.

And that’s our Saturday morning delight!

Thank God at Josh's Organic Garden

Thank God at Josh's Organic Garden