Thoughtful Thursday – ALT Sandwich

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One of my favorite sandwiches used to be the BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato). But now that I’ve gone vegan, those sandwiches are off the menu. Years ago I tried avocados. I wasn’t too crazy about them because they have a bit of a bland flavor but that can be a good thing.

The other day I wanted to make a really good sandwich and thought I’d try an ALT, avocado, lettuce and tomato. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted and satisfied my hunger. It was even easier to make than a BLT because I didn’t have to cook the bacon. Plus I felt great after eating it.

I simply used 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, lightly toasted and spread with vegan mayonnaise. Then I added the avocado slices, lettuce, tomato and a little Himalayan sea salt. Voila! I had a delicious, healthy, satisfying sandwich!

Thanks for stopping by and hope you give this a try!

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“Health is not about the weight you lose, but about the life you gain.” ~Dr. Josh Axe

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Thoughtful Thursday – Adverse Affects of Dairy

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As most of your know, I went vegan about 4 years ago. Not because it was the “in thing” to do but because of health issues I was having at the time. I drank lots of milk when I was a kid and I think we’ve all heard the slogan, “Milk, it does the body good.” But does it really?

I grew up thinking that cows were put on this earth to give us milk and that was that. But when you think about it, the only reason a cow produces milk is to feed their calf. So their bodies have to be in a continual pregnant state to produce milk for us.

There’s been a lot of research done showing milk may actually do us more harm than good. For starters, one of my problems with milk was that I was constantly congested. When I’d get a cold, the congestion would get really bad. I thought by drinking only organic milk and eating only organic dairy products, I was being healthy. But my congestion just kept getting worse even though I wasn’t sick. After reading an article in a magazine I decided to give plant based milk a try and found that my congestion completely cleared up in a few weeks.

After experiencing that I started doing research and found that milk contains harmful hormones which are given to the cows to increase their milk production. Even the organic milk still has hormones in it. I also learned that milk causes your body to leach calcium from the bones which in turn can make you more susceptible to osteoporosis. Not to mention, that milk and dairy products can cause cancer. Yikes! And these were just a few of the adverse affects of dairy that I stumbled upon in my research.

There are a lot of documentaries that you can watch like Food Inc., What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation to name a few. These films were a real eye opener for me and although I didn’t go vegan initially, the more educated I became, the more I realized I needed to stick with it to stay healthy. Once I did that, I was living proof that what they were expressing in these films had a lot of truth behind it. Granted a vegan diet isn’t for everyone but there’s always room for improvement no matter what diet you consume.

Please don’t take my word for it but do your own research. You may be surprised and shocked at what you find. Your diet is the foundation to your health as well as your happiness. Because the bottom line is, if you don’t have your health, nothing else really matters. You can’t bring joy to the world if you don’t take care of yourself first. Hope you found this information helpful.

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“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” ~Ayurvedic Proverb

Sources:

Forks Over Knives: “7 Ways Milk and Dairy Products are Making You Sick

The Miter: “Harmful Effects of Cow’s Milk on the Human Body Becomes More Prevalent”

Dr McDougall: T. Colin Campbell, PhD: Link Between Dairy Protein, Casein, & Cancer

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Thoughtful Thursday – Vegan Chocolate Smoothie

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Ok, I confess I’m a chocoholic. But who doesn’t like chocolate? I mean it’s just awesome! There are so many varieties of chocolate out there like white, milk, dark and all flavors in between.

Besides tasting so delicious, studies have shown that dark chocolate, at least 75% or more has some pretty good health benefits too like reducing stress and food cravings, fighting fatigue, improving blood circulation and so much more. It’s even considered nutritious and contains nearly the full RDA of copper and manganese, plus it contains descent amounts of magnesium, iron, fiber, zinc, selenium and potassium.

The 75% dark chocolate has the least amount of sugar as compared to white or milk chocolate. So it won’t contribute to weight gain as long as you don’t over do it. What I have noticed personally is that the more sugar that’s in the chocolate, the more I’ll want to eat it. I find that with the darker chocolate I only need 1 square to satisfy chocolate craving and I’m good to go.

As most of you know, I’m vegan so I’m always looking for vegan chocolates. They do make more of them now and they’re very tasty but a little more pricey than regular chocolate. With that being said I’m always on the hunt for new ways to satisfy my chocolate cravings.

I found a great smoothie recipe online that I tried. It was good but just wasn’t satisfying that rich chocolatey flavor I was looking for so I made changes and came up with this delicious Vegan Chocolate Smoothie that has a rich chocolate flavor and contains about 16 grams of protein:

  • 1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk (or any unsweet non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp Organic Gluten Free Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Organic Cacao Nibs or 1.5 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (see note below*)
  • 2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp No Salt or Sugar Added Almond Butter
  • 2 Tsp Organic Chia Seeds
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Organic Date (pitt removed)
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Instant Espresso Coffee
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1 C Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

(*) Although I love cacao nibs and all the antioxidants they provide, I found that using Cocoa Powder gives the smoothie a richer and creamier flavor.

I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

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“I’d give up chocolate, but I’m not a quitter.” ~Unknown

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Thoughtful Thursday – Benefits of Ginger

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Ginger root has been used for centuries as a spice and for medicinal purposes. The first time I tried ginger, I wasn’t too crazy about it. I loved the scent but the flavor, not so much.

Over the years, I’ve grown to really love ginger. I’ll put a few small pieces in my salad or add some to my veggie juices. I even make fresh ginger tea which is very aromatic and quite delicious (recipe below). I’ve learned and personally experienced the healing powers of ginger and I can say in all honesty, it’s truly a Superfood.

Ginger has many benefits and can help the body heal from a number of ailments naturally including:

  1. Aids in Digestion
  2. Regulates Blood Sugar
  3. Reduces Inflammation
  4. Lowers Blood Pressure
  5. Helps with Nausea
  6. Antibacterial Properties
  7. Reduces Menstrual Pain
  8. Aids in Reducing LDL Cholesterol
  9. Anti-Cancer Properties
  10. Aids Weight Loss

Before making any changes to your healthcare regime, always check with your doctor/health practitioner to make sure it’s right for you.

Ginger Tea Recipe:

  • 4-5 quarter inches pieces of ginger, slightly crushed
  • 2 Cups Water
  • Sweetener (honey, stevia)

Add ginger and water to a teapot. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes. Strain ginger pieces, add a little sweetener and enjoy.

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“Our Food should be our Medicine & our Medicine should be our Food.” ~Hippocrates

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Thoughtful Thursday – “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich Recipe Review

Vegan Chickpea "No Tuna" Salad | Forks Over Knives

I’ve been exploring more vegan recipes, especially the ones that don’t necessarily appeal to my tastebuds. And I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. So far, they have all been quite delicious and tasty.

My family likes to eat tuna fish sandwiches but tuna is one of the most toxic fish you can eat. They’re high in mercury and other heavy metals because of pollutants in the water. So I wanted to find a vegan alternative. I finally decided to give this recipe a try and I’m glad I did. It’s a “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich. It’s great because it doesn’t have that fishy smell like real tuna but it’s super delicious and quite filling. Plus it’s quick and easy to make.

The recipe was published in the latest Forks Over Knives, “100 Best Plant-Based Recipes,” 2021 and it can also be found on their website “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich.

Forks Over Knives  100 Best Plant-Based Recipes  2021 image 0

The main ingredient is chick peas aka garbanzo beans which is not necessarily my favorite but they work well in this recipe. I served my family these sandwiches and they were a hit! Lots of flavor, very filling and satisfying, vegan and most important, No Mercury! It’s a win win.

I recommend getting a little crazy and giving it a try. You may discover new flavors on this adventure!

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“Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.” ~ T. Collin Campbell

Thoughtful Thursday

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14 Ways to Show Your Love

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. We all know that we should express our love every day to those we hold dear, but Valentine’s Day is that 1 day to really shine. Without spending a lot of money, here are 14 Ways to Show Your Love to that Special Someone in your life:

  1. Make a nice breakfast.
  2. Take over and do their chores for the day.
  3. Go for a nice walk together.
  4. Do a yoga or other exercise class together.
  5. Go out on a picnic.
  6. Watch a movie with candy and popcorn.
  7. Bake a special sweet dish like the vegan brownies from last Thoughtful Thursday!
  8. Make a handmade Valentine’s Day Card.
  9. Create a surprise “Love You” display on the kitchen table with candy, flowers.
  10. Order a “To Go” meal and have a candlelit dinner at home.
  11. Create a romantic music play list and dance the night away.
  12. Leave little love notes for them to find.
  13. Give them a Spa Day at home with candles, chocolates and bubble bath.
  14. Spend quality time together talking with no distractions and really listen.

“Where there is Love, there is Life.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Zucchini Brownie Recipe Review

Many moons ago when I tried eating vegan, it really wasn’t the tastiest, at least not the recipes I tried. I’ve been vegan now for the past several years and can say that the recipes have improved tremendously. Some recipes are so good you can’t even tell they’re vegan and not made with eggs, milk and the usual ingredients. A lot are even better all plant based.

You may have seen Zucchini Brownies for sale in health food stores and restaurants. The thought of making something as delicious as a brownie from a vegetable didn’t quite appeal to my taste buds at first. But being a chocolate lover I finally gave into my curiosity and tried one at a small restaurant. To my surprise it was so delicious and moist, I pretty much inhaled it, lol.

Since I love to bake, I figured someone on the internet must have a pretty good recipe. Lo and behold I came across ElaVegan.com hosted by Michaela. She is a very talented vegan food stylist, recipe creator, photographer and writer.

Michaela’s Zucchini Brownie Recipe was absolutely delicious as are her many other recipes which I highly recommend you try. The recipes are written with easy instructions, lots of photos and helpful tips. She also puts a tab at the top of each recipe for a quick print. Even if vegan isn’t your thing, it’s a delicious alternative to healthier meals. I highly recommend trying these delicious brownies!

“Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.” ~Josh Billings

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Holiday Indulging

The holiday season is a very special time of year for celebration and good cheer with those you love. But they also can be tough for many reasons and this year goes without saying. I’m always looking for the silver lining in the cloud and I’ve found that for me, all this craziness has meant more time with my family. So tomorrow night we’re doing a little bit of baking, something we haven’t done for the last several years.

I’m not sure how you do with indulging in holiday treats but I know at this stage in my life, the weight goes on quickly and fairly easily but is hard to get off. Sometime it seems like I just look at the sweets and the weight goes on, lol. But seriously, the holidays only come once a year and this year, I’ve decided it’s okay to indulge a little. Now, I’m not going gung ho and eating an entire batch of cookies but I’m definitely going to savor each bite enjoy a few.

The more you avoid something you really want, the more likely you are to binge eat. So having a few sweet treats is acceptable and should be enjoyed guilt free! But then just make sure you get back on track to eating healthy again and exercising if possible.

To compensate for my indulgences, I’m planning on running an extra mile here and there but nothing crazy. So my words of wisdom to you are enjoy this special time of year with loved ones and really cherish these special moments together, and “ENJOY” your holidays treats because I’m sure they’re well deserved!

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Plant Based Diet

Five years ago, I was a pretty big meat eater. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I thought I ate healthy for the most part but as the years rolled by, things slowly started to go wrong. Looking around at everyone else, I thought this is how it’s supposed to be. This is what happens when you get older. But every now and then, I’d see an older person who was not the norm. They looked great, were in shape and had their wits about them. I thought Wow! They must have good genes because they weren’t like everyone else.

Then one day, my kids thought it’d be fun to gross me out by having me watch Food Inc. Great documentary by the way, but it definitely changes your perspective on food. After seeing it, I went even more organic than I already was with my diet and thought I was safe but more problems started showing up like joint pain, weight gain, the never ending cold/flu that would last for 2-3+ weeks when the season would come around, fatigue and head aches to name a few.

The cherry on the cake was when I developed sciatica. This was extremely painful. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was at 18. I was bed ridden for 2.5 months. I could barely walk, had to eat standing because I couldn’t sit down. I saw the chiropractor and physical therapist 3-4 times every week with little or no improvement.

I was getting desperate as the pain was unbearable and I’d search the internet on my phone in bed on how to alleviate sciatica. One of the things I found was that meat along with other certain foods, makes the body acidic and worsens the pain. So I decided to go cold turkey, no pun intended, and eat only plant based foods. I had very little appetite because of the excruciating pain and for over 2 months I lived on vegan shakes. Everyday I would have 1 plant based protein shake and 2 raw plant based shakes.

Then a funny thing started to happen. I began improving. The pain lessened and I lost weight! I lost a total of 25 pounds in that 2.5 month period with no exercise at all, just changing my diet. I felt so much better. Then just as I was getting back to my normal self, we were going to be hit by a hurricane which can be a little stressful and I resorted back to my old eating habits of meat, cheese, etc. It only took 2 days, and pain started to return. There was no way I was going back to that! I immediately started eating a vegan diet again and never looked back.

It’s been over 3 years now since I went vegan and all of my symptoms are pretty much gone. The weight stayed off, I rarely have headaches, the joint pain is gone, I have more energy and the fog lifted from my brain. Now when I get a cold, I get very mild symptoms and just feel a little off for about 2 -3 days instead of becoming really sick and feeling miserable for 2-3+ weeks like before.

Being vegan is not for everyone. We are so programmed from birth to eat the meat, dairy products and sugary processed foods that we think we can’t survive without them. But I’m living proof you can. Even if you only replace 1 meal a day with a vegan one, you’ll notice improvements in your body and how your feel. You can also replace dairy with plant based products that taste really good.

I think we all pretty much know how to eat more healthy but choose not to and that’s okay too. But I know for me, I didn’t want to spend the later years of my life in pain or with limited mobility and being stuck with constant doctor visits and lots of prescription medications. I want to enjoy life to the very end with strength, vigor and vitality!

If you want to give it a try but don’t know where to start, Forks Over Knives has a website with lots of information and recipes. They also publish a quarterly magazine full of delicious plant based recipes and success stories to inspire you which can be found in most grocery stores.

So ask yourself, what is it going to take for you to change your diet and eat more healthy?

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” – Hippocrates

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