I hope you're all doing well. Where I"m from, in SC, its snowing right now! We rarely get snow, only ice so I'm sure this will be no different but as always, we're still hopeful for some fun snow:)
I've received so many wonderful responses about this blog that I'm encouraged to share with you a little bit more about my nutrition practices. As stated in the About Me section of this blog, I'm a vegan meaning I eat no animal products of any kind. People often ask me, "Well, what do you eat then?" I want to tell them, animals aren't the only source of food! God gave us an entire earth to eat before he intended for us to eat the animals!
I don't expect everyone to live a vegan lifestyle. It is hard to do at first, however I didn't start out this way. I used to eat lean animal proteins of all kinds, and loved them! In fact, only the last six months did I give up dairy. There are many nutritional benefits to these foods, but for me, the choice to go vegetarian was very gradual as I learned more about nutrition. The decision was 50% ethical, 40% nutritional and 10% of a challenge. I wanted to take my body to the next advanced level of eating healthy and being a nutrition student, I know it is simply a fact that the body has a harder time digesting animal proteins and animal products than any other foods. PLEASE NOTE- I'm not saying this means animal products are all bad, however the longer our bodies spend digesting things, the less energy they can expend. All the energy, or calories, is being reverted to digesting the animal products.
I can tell you my energy levels have skyrocketed since the switch. I used to come home at 4 p.m. exhausted and want to go to bed, now I stay up till sometimes midnight with zest and purpose without nodding off. Also, my skin is more clear, hair is shinier, and body feels more at ease. I never have indigestion anymore! Animal products can cause slight inflammation in the body because they are highly acidic foods. Again, I'm not saying they are bad, just giving facts. Every food has an acidity level ( sometimes called a pH level ). The more alkaline, or less acidic, the friendlier it is to your body. Some alkaline foods are papayas, bananas, carrots, greens ( almost all vegetables and fruits except citrus, however the acid in fruits ends up alkalizing during digestion). Most proteins are acidic. Even vegetarian sources like beans and nuts are slightly acidic, but none as much even as close to being as acidic as meat. Anyhow, I noticed that my joints ached less after I switched to a more alkaline and animal free diet.
I'm sharing these reasons with you to show you why I switched in case you're considering trying some more vegetarian foods. However, this blog is designed for ALL healthy foods, including lean animal sources. I am familiar with eating that way and will continue to provide OPTIMUM nutritional information on those foods just as much as vegetarian sources.
So, back to the question,
WHAT DO I EAT?
My daily diet contains 100% fruits and vegetables, 10% whole grains and 10% nuts or 10% nuts/beans.
I fill up each morning with a glass of almond milk and then an hour later, a veggie/fruit shake that has almost 10 different vegetables, 10 different fruits and protein from hemp seeds and fat from flax and 1 tablespoon raw almonds.
For "brunch" I have some almonds or trail mix and/or dried fruit with oat bran.
Lunch is a huge salad with lots of veggies, herb spices and maybe some olive oil or nuts or a LaraBar( all natural fruit and nut bar) with a cup of raw veggies.
My pre-work out snack is a 1/2 apple with a natural homemade "raw" snack made from dried fruits and raw unprocessed nuts- and after my workout , I have 1/4 cup Millie Lou'sFavorite Trail Mix and 1 orange sliced up sprinkled with flaxseed and cinnamon.
For dinner I usually have some veggies with another shake just like the one I ate that morning and some nuts added to it of my choice:)
To drink all day, I drink distilled water with lemon, distilled water alone and have herbal tea in the morning and at night with my shake ( all caffeine free herbal teas)
I can tell you I am full ALL day this way. I do not go hungry and appreciate food for the natural energy it provides. It is amazing how different I feel. MAKE YOUR CALORIES WORK FOR YOU, NOT AGAINST YOU!:)
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One great vegetarian snack? Comin up!
Figgy FuDgE TreAtS
1 cup of dried figs or dates ( for the natural dried fruit, look in the produce section)
1 cup unsulfured, natural, shredded coconut (unsweetened )- I buy the organic kind on the baking aisle
1 tablespoon ground cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup raw, natural walnuts or walnut halves
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1. With a food processor, pulse the dried figs or dates until you get a paste like consistency. Scrape out into a bowl.
2. Next, in the food processor, process the walnuts, cinnamon and cocoa powder until the walnuts are ground up to a fine consistency, not like flour but where there are just tiny chunks ( usually 20-25 seconds)
3. Scrape out the nut mix into the bowl with the fig or date paste and mix to combine.
4. Add the coconut and mix. It will be very very sticky:)
5. Scoop out by tablespoons and roll into a ball. This ball can be rolled up into a piece of foil, saran wrap or all the balls can be stored in an airtight container in the cabinet for 1 week or the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
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These are FANTASTIC sources of energy. Do me a favor, eat one and don't eat more. Wait 20 minutes. You'll be amazed that you're not craving anything. This treat satisifies on ALL levels- protein, fat and carbs. the body needs all three and when it receives it in one energetic, unprocessed source like this recipe, it is satisfied until your next meal. Also, because nothing has been cooked, all the natural enzymes and nutrients are still in tact, therefore giving your body MORE energy instead of draining it to digest the food instead. THis is the key to eating:)
Don't worry that this is a higher calorie snack because it contains dried fruit and nuts. DID YOU KNOW?? The fat in the coconut is also fine because it is a type of fat used immediately for the body by energy. However dont consume a Mounds bar and think its healthy: )- I used to love those!!: )
Calories are simply measurements of energy- so UTILIZE the calories ( energy)you eat and make them work FOR you, not against you.
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As with all snacks, do NOT eat the whole batch of these!:) These are meant to be enjoyed in 1-2 servings. However again, I think you'll agree they satisfy no matter how small:)