10 Awesome Reasons to Go Vegan

There is a huge misconception out there that following a vegan diet is very limiting, depriving and extreme.  It’s actually just the opposite!  There is TONS of amazing things to eat on a vegan diet, you won’t feel deprived in any way shape or form AND when you compare the overwhelming statistics about heart disease caused by a western diet…I don’t think it’s extreme at all!

There is absolutely no disputing the fact that our country’s rising death rates from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other illnesses is directly related to the diets we follow that are heavy in animal products.  The countries that eat the least amount of meat and dairy have the lowest rates of heart disease.  Period.

When people become sick, they will spend any amount of money on prescription drugs that cause awful side effects.  Even undergo invasive surgeries.  And following a vegan diet is extreme????  A diet centered around plant based foods is good for you, good for the environment and good for animals.  Here are ten awesome facts about a vegan diet: (these facts were compiled by theflamingvegan.com)

  1. Grain that is used to feed livestock for meat production could feed 1.3 billion people. Think of all the world hunger problems that could solve!
  2. Following a vegan diet could help put an end to drought problems and provide more clean drinking water in poverty stricken countries. It takes 2,500 gallons to make just one pound of meat. On the other hand, it only takes 25 gallons of our valuable water to grow one pound of wheat.
  3. Most cases of food poisoning (up to 80%), are due to infected meat.
  4. Reports that vegans are healthier are not myth-based. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet tend to display lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, less chance of getting colon and prostate cancer, and a decreased rate of Ischemic Heart Disease.
  5. Shockingly, every hour in the United States 500,000 animals are killed for their meat.
  6. Although we are consuming far too many antibiotics for our own health, (about 3 million pounds annually in the U.S. alone), animals receive even more. Livestock are fed up to 17.8 million pounds a year, and this number could actually be less than what is really being given to them since farmers are not required to report this number. The antibiotic tainted flesh and fluids from these animals end up on our plates and in our cups.
  7. Acres upon acres of forests can be saved with a vegan diet. Forests are wiped out so that the land can be used for crops to feed animals…not humans! Every year, just one person who sticks to a vegan or vegetarian diet will save an entire acre of trees.
  8. By not eating meat, you’re also helping to ease the problem of pollution. The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined!
  9. A vegan diet can prevent and reverse heart disease as bad cholesterol only comes from animal products.
  10. Vegan foods are frequently lower in calories which means you can generally eat larger portions for less calories.

Start The New Year with Our 7 Day Vegan Cleanse

There’s more at the end of your fork than just that bite of meat. Every time you sit down to a plate of chicken, eggs, beef, or dairy products, you are consuming mass produced antibiotics, arsenic, synthetic sex hormones, carcinogens, bacteria such as E.Coli, campylobacter, listeria, dioxins, and a host of other toxins that can cause serious health problems in humans.

This January, let’s start to wipe the slate clean and flush our cells of these harmful agents.  Instead of waiting to see what 2017 has in store for you, take control of your own health and be proactive to ensure you do whatever is necessary to preserve your health.

7 Day Vegan Detox Cleanse

vegan-detox-cleanseOur 7 day vegan cleanse is your starter kit to living a life with less dependency on tainted animal products.  Can you imagine feeding yourself, your spouse or your child arsenic?  How about a mouth full of synthetic sex hormones?  Drugs, antibiotics and artificial hormones are administered to factory farmed animals and their flesh and bodily fluids ultimately end up on your plate/in your cup with the same.  Many people shy away from a vegan or even vegetarian diet because they think it will be too restrictive, boring, expensive, complicated or just don’t know where to start.  That’s where our holistic nutritionist, Stacey Albert, steps in.

Stacey’s 7 Day Vegan Cleanse will provide you with a map for 7 days with a minimum of 3 options for each meal (breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner).  You will always have a ‘simple’ option for every meal. A simple option means there is VERY LITTLE prep work to make the meal.  No fancy recipes to follow.  On the other hand, you will also have the option to cook delicious recipes and explore a new way of preparing food without the use of animal flesh.  That means no worries of salmonella, listeria, or E.Coli on your countertops, hands or in your sink.  All fresh food made from plants that provide protein, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and most important of all….TASTE!

So what happens when you purchase the cleanse?  Stacey will email you the 7 day meal plan that also includes your shopping lists and recipes.  You will have around the clock support from Stacey to help you with the process.

To purchase the 7 Day Vegan Cleanseclick here.

Questions? Fill out the form below and Stacey will contact you.

Contact Us!

Vegan Tempeh Bolognese Recipe

vegan-tempeh-bolognese

Vegan tempeh bolognese in a pink cashew cream sauce with garlic toast.

A hearty, protein packed vegan version of Bolognese that uses the goodness of plant protein from organic, non GMO tempeh.  This sauce goes one step further to add the creamy goodness of cashews to create a tempeh bolognese in a pink ‘cream’ sauce.  Everyone that has tried it has absolutely loved it.  I received the recipe from an amazing vegan chef, our friend Phil Martinez.  I altered it slightly by using crushed tomatoes instead of pureeing the tomatoes myself with an immersion blender.  Below is the slightly revised recipe:

For the cashew cream sauce:

  • ½ cup raw cashews (soak in a covered container in very hot water for 10 mins)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup filter water

For the tempeh sauce:

  • 1 med onion diced (1cup)
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk washed and diced (1/2 cup)
  • 4 cloves of garlic rough chop (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic from the jar)
  • 1 pkg organic non GMO tempeh
  • 1 can 28oz crushed tomatoes (look for jars that say ‘BPA Free’)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt

1 pkg 16 oz pasta

Directions:

While your cashews soak, dice the onion, carrot and celery and sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil until softened, about 3-5 minutes. I use a large pot so when I add the tomatoes and cream sauce I have room to fold and stir.   Add garlic. Sauté another minute.

Cut tempeh into large chunks and add to food processor.  Pulse a few times until you have the desired consistency for your ‘chopped meat.’  Add to the pot. Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, just take the tempeh into your hands and crumble it with your fingers right into the pot.

Fold everything together and sauté another 2 minutes.  Add your can of crushed tomatoes, salt & pepper, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir often to blend all flavors.

While that is simmering, take your cashews, nutritional yeast and water and add to your high speed blender.  Blend until it is all smooth.  About 1 minute or less.  After 20 minutes, stir the cashew cream sauce into the large pot.  Heat for two minutes and serve over your choice of pasta.

 

Vegan French Toast Recipe

vegan-french-toast-recipeA simple and quick recipe to whip up some vegan french toast.  This recipe is good for about 6 slices of toast. I purchased fresh baked tuscan bread from Wegman’s but you could use any bread you like.

This recipe is from the amazing Seed to Sprout!

Ingredients

  • 4-6 slices of bread
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup agave (sub maple syrup if you don’t have)
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt ( optional)
  • 1.5 cups water

Directions:

  • Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with very hot water.  Place a cover on top of the bowl and let sit for 5-7 minutes.
  • Drain cashews after they have soaked.  Place cashews and 1.5 cups water, agave, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a high speed blender.  Blend until completely smooth. If you’re blender is not a very powerful blender this could take up to one minute.
  • Heat a pan or griddle to medium heat. Spray with non stick cooking spray. Dip pieces of bread in batter and cook about 3 minutes per side or until golden.
  • Serve with favorite toppings.

 

Cashew Mac And Cheese – Vegan

vegan-cashew-mac-and-cheese-recipeMy husband said it was the best [vegan] mac and cheese I ever made. I have to agree.  I have made all the others…nutritional yeast based sauce, Daiya based cheddar cheese sauce with a roux, sweet potato, carrot & onion based sauce…this by far is the best, the easiest and the creamiest.

You do need a really good high speed blender. I have a vita-mix.  It’s worth every penny if you’re serious about adopting a plant based diet or even just incorporating more plant based meals into your diet.

I got the recipe from one of the best recipe bloggers, the Detoxinista, but I also put the recipe below for those of you that don’t like to hop around to multiple websites.  I have to say though, it’s worth a trip to her site to see her recipe collection.

Vegan Creamy Cashew Mac N Cheese Recipe

  • For the cheese sauce:
    1 1/2 cups raw cashews ( she did not say to soak them but I soaked mine in hot water for about 10 minutes, covered)
    3 T. fresh lemon juice
    3/4 cup water
    1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1/2 tsp. chili powder ( I only used about 1/4 tsp)
    1/2 clove garlic
    pinch of turmeric
    pinch of cayenne pepper ( I omitted)
    1/2 tsp. mustard (dijon or yellow)

To make the cheese sauce, toss all of the ingredients (drain the cashews obviously) into your high speed blender.  Add a little water as needed to get the sauce to your desired consistency. I like mine really thick and creamy.  I had to stop the blender every now and then and mix the ingredients around with a spoon since it was so thick.

Boil up 16 ounces of your favorite pasta, I used cellantani.

Once your pasta is done boiling, simply drain the pasta, add it back to the pot and mix in your cheese sauce. This dish is best served immediately.  As you store it the noodles absorb a lot of the sauce and it becomes less creamy.  If that happens, add some warm water and mix it up before you re-heat it.

By choosing a plant based mac and cheese, you eliminate saturated fat, heart attack causing cholesterol, harmful lactose, casein and other dairy proteins, butter, etc.  In return, cashews provide heart healthy unsaturated fat, loads of vitamins, minerals and disease preventing anti-oxidants.

Enjoy 🙂

Vegan Black Bean Burger with Sriracha Mayo

Vegan black bean burger with Sriracha mayo and avocado.

Vegan black bean burger with Sriracha mayo and avocado.

Probably the tastiest yet easiest black bean burger I have ever made.  All simple ingredients, comes together very quickly and cooks up even faster.  I prefer my burgers mildly spicy, with just a hint of spice. If you like more spice, increase the sriracha to 1.5 tablespoons.  Taste the mix as you go.

Serves 4 if you make each patty with a 1/2 cup measuring cup.    You’ll need a food processor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 1 TBS sriracha (or more depending on your tolerance for spice)
  • 1.5 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS oats (I use quick oats)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced (omit if you don’t have)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • (**don’t add to food processor) 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:

Pulse the onion, sriracha and garlic in the food processor. Just about 5-6 pulses.  Then add the rest of the ingredients (NOT THE BREADCRUMBS) and pulse again about 5-7 times again.  You want the mixture rough – not pasty – so don’t over process.

Cover the mixture and let chill for about 30 minutes (the longer the better).  Then, add in the bread crumbs and mix all together.  Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop out your burger patties.  Cook about 5 minutes the first side and only about 2.5 minutes the second side.  Keep your eye on them.  If you’re using a higher flame the 5 minutes will be too long.  I used a low-medium flame.

For the sriracha mayo, I mixed together 3 TBS Earth Balance mindful mayo with 1.5 TBS sriracha.  Again, more sriracha if you like really spicy.  Enjoy!

Artichoke Sunflower Burger

One of my favorite resources for vegan recipes is OneGreenPlanet.org.  They have an amazing collection of recipes that are fairly simple to follow and typically very consistent in terms of my satisfaction with them.  The Artichoke Sunflower burger is no exception.  This is a huge hit with everyone I make it for.  The recipe is below but first please read some facts about what you’re putting into your body (and your family’s) when you choose beef, poultry or turkey over plant based). One can promote cancer and

Vegan artichoke sunflower burger served with vegan macaroni salad and mixed greens.

Vegan artichoke sunflower burger served with vegan macaroni salad and mixed greens.

heart disease while the other protects against both.

Let’s break down some burger fats:

Typical beef or turkey meat is likely contaminated with staphylococcus bacteria and e.coli (more than 50% of meat tested from supermarkets is!).  Plus animal meat contains artery clogging saturated fat and cholesterol (leads to our number one killer- heart disease), antibiotics that were administered to the animal that will now make their way into your body, synthetic hormones, and cancer promoting IGF-1.

Now let’s take a look at some of the ingredients in the artichoke sunflower burger.

Organic brown rice for low glycemic energy.  Sunflower seeds offer vitamins E and B-1, as well as copper. Plus those who consume nuts and seeds on a regular basis enjoy a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Artichokes are packed with phytonutrients such as quercetin, rutin, gallic acid, and cynarin, all working to protect against many health risks including cancer, heart disease, liver dysfunction, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

For me the choice is clear.  I’m going to do everything I can to keep myself and my family healthy.  Thanks for your interest in the Sunflower Artichoke burger by OneGreenPlanet.org.  Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups artichoke hearts (I used canned, quartered artichokes in brine)
  • 1 ½ loosely packed cups cooked and cooled brown
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ loosely packed cup fresh Italian parsley (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon mild miso (ex: chickpea or brown rice)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ rounded teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 medium clove garlic (I use minced garlic. 1/2 tsp= 1 clove)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Directions:

In a food processor pulse all ingredients together until sticky.  Don’t over process.

Chill in fridge for an hour for best results. It helps the burgers stick together better when cooking.

Heat a skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes the first side then about 3 for the second side. I personally prefer my burger patties to cool before eating them because the cooling process firms them up a bit.  But if you can’t wait dig right in 🙂

This recipe is from OneGreenPlanet.org.

Overnight Oats Recipe

oatmeal with goji berriesThe top reason people say they skip breakfast is because they are too busy in the morning.  With this simple recipe for overnight oats, you can pack in protein, fiber, Vitamin C, Betacarotene, anti-oxidants and essential Omega 3 fatty acids.

As its name implies, you make this breakfast the night before and let it sit ‘overnight’ in your fridge.  In the morning  you can eat it cold or zap it in the micro for a few seconds to warm it up.

Recipe:

Use equal parts oats (I use quick oats) and Unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk).  My ‘pre-gym’ breakfast is:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons Goji berry, golden berry and goose berry mix – Click here to purchase
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened raw coconut shreds (optional)
  •  1 tablespoon hulled hemp seeds – Click here to purchase

 

 

Mix together in a tupperware container.  Put in fridge and eat in the morning.  You can also make this breakfast really quickly in the AM.  Just use quick oats, double the water (ex 1/3 cup oats with 2/3 cup water)- zap in micro for 55 seconds than add all of the toppings.

Health Benefits of Goji Berries:

Goji berries are unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, giving them the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the humble goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.

This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Their powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides help to boost the immune system.

(*** anyone who uses blood thinners or takes diabetic medication may have a negative reaction eating goji berries, according to WebMD. When in doubt, ask your doctor first.***)

 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

There are nearly 6 grams of protein in every one-ounce serving of hemp hearts. As a highly digestible source of plant-based protein, raw organic hemp seeds are great for athletes, vegans, and vegetarians. Hemp seeds are a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids, which are required for our bodies to build protein and must be obtained through food.

Raw organic hemp seeds also contain a healthy 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids which is rare in many of the foods consumed in Western diets. A proper balance of these essential fatty acids is important for controlling inflammation levels and preventing chronic conditions like heart disease. Hemp hearts are also a great source of nutrients such as vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant to protect cells, and minerals like iron, which wards off fatigue and boosts energy levels.

Source

The Skinny on Detox Diets

Paleo-detox-cleanseI’m compelled to write more about detox diets and cleanse programs now that the biggest time of the year for weight loss is nearing.  The number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.  However it is estimated that less than 9% of people will actually achieve their weight loss goals.   It’s kind of surprising when you consider the fact that the weight loss industry spends BILLIONS of dollars marketing diets, pills, gimmicks, procedures, etc.

If you are embarking on a weight loss journey, you may be compelled to participate in a ‘detox cleanse’.  Depending on the type of program you choose, this may do very little for your weight loss efforts and in fact, it can even worsen your situation.

Calorie restricted programs that rely on juices and liquids for the majority of the cleanse can really slow down your metabolism and make it even harder for you to lose weight. Your body is smarter than you realize.  Imagine that the inside of your body is made up of thousands of workers.  They are responsible for the processes in your body like digesting food, storing calories for energy, transporting nutrients and oxygen to your cells, etc.  To do their jobs they need calories for energy.  If you restrict calories to your body, your workers will be hesitant to use them to do their jobs.  They may think to themselves, ‘Maybe we should store these calories instead of using them just in case we don’t get many more.  We can slow down some of our processes so that we utilized less calories.”  This is basically the exact opposite of what you want to happen when you are trying to lose weight.  You want to give your workers the proper nutrition they need, through healthy calories, so they can do their jobs efficiently.  Your body needs all types of calories from carbs, healthy fats and protein, to function at its best.  The way to do this is by embarking on a whole foods cleanse, one that reduces toxins in your body while also speeding up your metabolism and helping to burn extra calories.

Our 14-day Paleo Detox cleanse does just that. It’s unlike most other cleanses where you drink liquids and feel hungry all day. This cleanse removes hormones, steroids and refined foods from your diet while providing your body with the nutrition needed to function at its best.  As a result of eating frequent whole meals as outlined in our plan, your metabolism will speed up and burn calories more efficiently.

Please be wary of extreme cleanses or pills that promise to melt away the pounds.  Weight loss has been and always will be about eating whole foods that provide your body with good nutrition while balancing the amount of calories you take in with the amount of calories you burn.  There is no pill that can do that for you. Just healthy eating and making smart choices.

 

 

Why I’m Obsessed With Black Rice

My mom knows how into health food I am and I’m always researching and digging for new ways to use food to not only fuel the body but to also help and prevent ailments, aging, aches, pains…anything.  So when she came over with a bag of black rice that she picked up from Trader Joe’s I was intrigued.  I know from my studies that most food that is very dark in color (spinach, blueberries, kale, etc) is traditionally loaded with antioxidants and health benefits.

Health Benefits Black RiceI cooked some up and the deep color of the rice magnified and the water turned a bright black/purple color.  The rice was a little sticky after it was done cooking, which I really liked.  I love sticky rice from Chinese restaurants in NYC! It also had a very good, mild flavor to it.  A bit nutty, but mild. Because it had a mild flavor I didn’t use too many seasonings.  A little olive oil, pink salt and black pepper was all it needed. I paired it with some fresh sautéed veggies.  Ok so now with the good stuff…

Health Benefits of Black Rice

I was really excited when I read on NaturalNews.com that black rice is one of the healthiest foods that can be obtained today!  As I thought, because of it’s deep, rich color, black rice is a good source of antioxidants. The color can be attributed to the same chemicals (anthocyanins) that give acai berry and blueberries their distinctive coloring.

Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid with antioxidant effects.  According to an article on About.com, they act as ‘antioxidants and fighting free radicals, anthocyanins may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.”

Also, the article states that  “In herbal medicine, anthocyanin-rich substances have long been used to treat a number of conditions (including high blood pressure, colds, and urinary tract infections). Recent research suggests that anthocyanins may also help fend off major health problems, including heart disease and cancer.”

Adding Black Rice To Your Diet

As with any other carbohydrate, we recommend eating your starches early in the day, before 3pm. And of course, measure and moderate.  Your total caloric intake from carbohydrates each day should be about 30% or less depending on if you are trying to maintain or lose excess weight.   Carbs are not your enemy.  We are our own enemy because we go overboard with the portions.

If you can’t find black rice at your local supermarket, you can order it online from Amazon.com.

 

 


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