Thoughtful Thursday Vegan Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

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Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite treats for Thanksgiving but that only comes once a year. So to get into the spirit of Autumn sooner I love making pumpkin smoothies.

When you slowly sip this savory drink bursting with flavors of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg you can’t help but to sit back and take a moment to truly enjoy the season. This recipe is very easy to make and is super delicious! I always try to use organic ingredients when they’re available.

Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Can Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Small Ripe Banana
  • 3 Tbsp Organic Rolled Oats
  • 2 Organic Pitted Dates
  • 1.25 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 heaping tsp Ginger
  • 1/8 heaping tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 C Ice
  • 1/2 Hass Avocado (optional) *

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Top with sprinkled cinnamon and enjoy! (Makes about 2 glasses)

* Note: If you prefer a thicker, creamier smoothie the avocados do the trick. They have a mild flavor and give you more of a milkshake consistency. But I would try it first without the avocado because you can always add it later, it should be thick enough without it 🎃 Another trick is to use 2 Tbsp Organic Chia seeds. Soak them overnight in water and add them to your smoothie mix and blend.

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Dangers of Keto Diet

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I’ve talked about this before but it’s really important to remember how truly unique each of us are. From our personalities, to our looks to how our bodies react to foods, especially diets. A little over a year ago, I gave the Keto Diet a try for 15 days. But it didn’t agree with my body. I ended up losing weight but not fat. When I went back to eating my normal diet, which is vegan and I reintroduced the carbs, I put the weight back on and then some.

I came across some people who loved the Keto Diet so much that they stayed on it for a long time. But what most people don’t know, is the Keto Diet was designed to be followed for short periods of time. This is a diet of high fat. Even though some say it’s the good kind of fat, bottom line is fat is still fat. And too much of anything will take a toll on your body.

Long story short, by staying on the Keto for a long period of time, the people I spoke with developed serious health issues and were told to get off of the diet. The adverse affects of prolonged Keto Dieting is dangerous and include:

  • Hepatic Steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Kidney Stones
  • Hypoproteinemia (abnormally low protein)
  • Keto Flu (symptoms mimicking a cold flu)
  • Rapidly Increased Cholesterol Levels
  • Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies
  • Dehydration

Also keep in mind if you already have pre-existing health conditions you very well could make these worse or add more complications to your list. So please always consult with a doctor before and during major dietary changes so you can monitor your progress and avoid any serious adverse affects.

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“Every human being is the author is his own health or disease.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday Juicing

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Most of us abuse our bodies for years with bad eating habits before an illness shows up. Once it does we chalk it up to “it’s a part of aging.” But I highly disagree. I’ve seen friends and family make dietary changes and either improve their condition or cure the illness completely. I have also experienced these changes.

Juicing is an easy way to supplement your present diet with lots of vitamins and minerals that you normally wouldn’t eat especially if fruits and veggies aren’t your favorite. I can tell you that the juice recipes today are quite delicious and filling and have come a long way since yesteryear. I replaced 1 meal a day with 2 glasses of fresh juice. Depending on what’s in the recipe, I might use the blender or the juicer. The main difference is the blender uses everything you put in while the juicer extracts the juice and discards the pulp or fiber.

I feel my best when I include fresh juices in my diet. When I first started I noticed a lot of changes. I had lots of energy. The brain fog that I didn’t even know I had was gone. Plus all the aches and pains I felt had disappeared. I felt fantastic!

You don’t need to make radical changes to your diet, but at least modify it somewhat and add in fresh vitamins and minerals with juicing. Taking a vitamin may help improve things but it doesn’t come close to fresh nutrients. There are lots of books on juicing but one of my favorites is “The Healthy Green Drink Diet” by Jason Manheim which is available on amazon.

Hope this inspires you to great health!

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“Health is the greatest blessing of human beings.’ ~Hippocrates

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Thoughtful Thursday Uniquely You

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There are 7.9 billion people living on our beautiful planet. Out of those 7.9 billion, there is only 1 UNIQUE You! I’m currently reading the “The Inflammation Spectrum” by Dr. Will Cole and to be honest, I never realized how truly unique each of us are.

I always thought I was an oddball because of how I react to my environment and to food. But as it turns out, everyone is completely unique. That’s why a certain diet will work for your friend and they’ll lose 20 pounds, while you’ll struggle to lose 1 even though your both eating the same things. A medication may have no side affects for one person, while the other will experience multiple side affects.

Dr. Cole explains in his book that just about every health issue we face like anxiety, depression, fatigue, diabetes, digestive issues, heart disease, hormone imbalances, autoimmune disorders and more are inflammatory in nature or have an inflammatory component. The trick is to determine what is causing it. Dr. Cole explains how to determine what works for you and what doesn’t in order to create a custom diet that is tailored specifically to you.

This sounds like a complicated process but it really isn’t as hard as you think. I will say that I was surprised at some of the foods that tend to lead to inflammation. The majority of us suffer from one ailment or another so I recommend reading his book and giving it a try, you’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself. I’ll also keep you posted on how I’m progressing, so stay tuned.

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

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Thoughtful Thursday Growing Microgreens

Last month I wrote a post about the Benefits of Microgreens. Today I’m writing about growing them. I looked up a few tutorials online and decided to start with a kit to see if I liked growing and eating them.

I purchased a small kit made by Back to the Roots. It’s an organic microgreens kit that comes with 2 compostable growing trays, 2 seed packets and 2 expandable soil discs. It was very easy to use. You start by placing the soil disc in the tray and add water. Wait about minute and allow the disc to expand. Then spread the soil in the tray and sprinkle the seeds on top. Cover the tray and let the seeds germinate. After about 2 days the seeds are sprouting and you can remove the lid and just add a little water everyday. That’s it! Within one week I had these delicious microgreens.

The one thing to note is this is a compostable tray that has the potential to leak which can damage surfaces. To be on the safe side I kept my tray on a trivet with a paper towel underneath and it was perfectly fine. It never leaked or got damp.

I used a pair of shears to cut my microgreens at the base and added them to my salad. They tasted absolutely delicious! They’re super easy to grow and super healthy for your body. You can buy a set of 3 kits on Amazon or a single kit from Target. I highly recommend giving them a try.

Hope this inspires you to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for stopping by!!!

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“Growing your own food is like printing money.” ~Unknown

Thoughtful Thursday Benefits of Microgreens

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Previously I wrote a post about homegrown Alfalfa Sprouts which are excellent for your health. But microgreens are different from sprouts, the most obvious being they are grown in soil where sprouts are grown in water. Another difference is sprouts are ready to be eaten in 5-7 days while microgreens are ready in about 2 weeks.

When eating sprouts you’re eating the entire plant and microgreen are cut near the soil so you only eat the stem and leaves. Microgreens are a powerhouse of nutrition because they pretty much contain all the nutrients of a mature plant but in a highly concentrated form.

Depending on the type of microgreens you grow, they’ll have higher levels of the following nutrients:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Polyphenols
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Folate
  • Protein
  • Fiber 
  • B Vitamins

These small plants are full of antioxidants, beneficial vitamins and minerals. They help protect the body from heart disease, alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, they boost the immune system and brain function, protect your eyes and bones, aid in weight loss, prevent anemia and more.

Microgreens are easy to grow and can be grown year round. There are many types of microgreens that you can grow like arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, quinoa, radish, spinach and watercress to name a few. Plus growing your own microgreens is the best way to keep them fresh longer but they’re also available in stores. Either way it’s a win win to improve your health!

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“To keep the body healthy is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha

Thoughtful Thursday Veggie Soup Recipe

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With the frigid cold months approaching, it’s always nice to sit down with a warm bowl of soup. I always go into soup mode during the fall and winter seasons. It’s pretty warm down here in the south, but thankfully the temps do cool off enough to enjoy delicious soups.

Soups are especially tasty when you’re feeling under the weather. There’s a certain magic to eating a warm bowl of soup. No matter how bad you feel, you always feel better after eating a bowl.

There are many types of soups. Some are served cool or flat out cold while others are served warm or very hot. The consistency also varies depending on what’s in your soup. Personally, I like a soup full of flavor and hearty enough to satisfy my appetite.

You can buy lots of soups in your grocery store. But that’s all processed food loaded with salt and a lot of other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Not to mention ingredients that shouldn’t be in your food in the first place. Making soup is fairly easy and most definitely worth the effort.

The internet is loaded with tons of recipes. I find vegan soups taste just as good or sometimes even better than non-vegan. Forks-Over-Knives has a ton of delicious soup recipes on their website. Whether you’re vegan or not, these recipes serve as good place to start with and then just add a few of your own ingredients.

One of my favorite soups is made in my Vitamix Blender which has a program setting for hot soup. If you don’t have a setting for hot soup on your blender you can still make this soup using your blender and then warm it on the stove for a few minutes.

Creamy Veggie Soup Recipe

  • 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 Large Pieces of Fresh Broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Red Miso
  • 1/8 tsp Organic Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Cup Water

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If your blender doesn’t have the soup feature, then warm the soup in a small pot on the stove for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl.

Extras

  • 1/2 Hass Avocado, sliced
  • Fresh Organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Slice of Ezekiel Bread

Top your soup with sliced avocado and cilantro. Serve with a slice of bread and enjoy!

Try creating your own variations with this soup, like adding some cooked black beans outside of the blender for texture. There’s lots of options, be creative and add what you love to eat.

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“In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” ~Deepak Chopra

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Thoughtful Thursday Homegrown Alfalfa Sprouts

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Alfalfa sprouts are mild flavored and very nutritious to eat. Studies have shown they are a high anti-oxidant, anti-aging food source. These little sprouts can help fight cancer, lower cholesterol and diabetes, prevent osteoporosis and more.

I used to buy fresh living alfalfa sprouts at my local grocery store but sadly they stopped carrying them. So I decided the freshest and safest way to get them was to grow them myself. I’ve tried several sprouting trays and they don’t always produce the best results.

Getting frustrated, I decided to go back to basics and try using a large, wide mouth mason jar with a sprouting lid. This is working beautifully and is very easy. I only need 1 Tbsp of seeds and in about 4 days, I have fresh organic alfalfa sprouts that are delicious and crisp. The sprouts can be stored in the fridge for about 4-6 days.

Alfalfa Sprouts taste great on salads, sandwiches, in smoothies and anything else you can think of. Below are instructions to grow your own spouts and links to Amazon.com for the supplies.

Instructions to Grow your own Sprouts:

  1. Fill a wide mouth mason jar with 2 cups of cool, fresh water and add 1 Tbsp of High Mowing Organic Alfalfa Seeds (I’ve had good results with this brand, the seeds are sourced in the United States). Cap the jar with a sprouting lid and soak the seeds for 8 hours. Then drain and rinse the seeds keeping the lid on. Store the jar upside down, in a bowl, at an angle so water can continue to drain.
  2. Rinse and drain the seeds with the lid on once in the morning and once at night. And again store the jar upside down, in a bowl, at an angle.
  3. Repeat step 2, everyday for about 4 days until your sprouts are ready.
  4. On the last day, depending on the light in your kitchen, you may want to move the grown sprouts to a window where they can get indirect sunlight to make them a little more green. You only need to keep them there for a few hours and then store them in fridge until you’re ready to eat them (also, I rinse the seeds before eating to remove the hulls).

I hope this inspires you in some way!

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Below are links to Amazon.com for the supplies:

High Mowing Organic Alfalfa Seeds

High Mowing Seed Sprouting Jar Lid

Wide Mouth Mason Jar

“Those who think they have not time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” ~Unknown

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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