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.

Thanks for stopping by!

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

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Thoughtful Thursday – A Day at Lion Country Safari

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Lion Country Safari located in West Palm Beach, Florida was established in 1967 and sits on a whopping 320 acres. I remember my parents taking me when I was about 8 years old. And no, I’m not telling how many years ago that was, lol. But I remember thinking how cool it was that the animals got to roam free while we drove through the park in our car. They could come right up to us, and many did.

In March of this year, we did a family road trip and visited Lion Country Safari. It’s changed quite a bit since I was there last. Now they have an audio that we listened to through my cell phone that gave information about each group of animals we were seeing. The park is home to over 1,000 wild animals including lions, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, ostriches, and so many more.

The way it’s set up is each group of animals is in a different section, separated by a fence. This way the predators can’t get to their prey and everyone lives happily ever after 😊 Cars slowly drive through on the road and get to enjoy all the animals. As the cars exited the one section, they were all greeted by an ostrich who tapped each car’s windshield as if he were saying good bye. It was pretty funny watching him do this. Apparently, ostriches are attracted to shiny objects and the windshields were reflecting the sun that day.

Once you finish the drive through safari, you can enjoy the walk through section of the park with shops, food and more animals to see. You can even feed the lorikeets which my daughter and I did. They’re so beautiful with their bright colors.

If you have the chance to visit Florida, I highly recommend stopping at Lion Country Safari. It’s a beautiful and unique place to visit!

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“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~Charles Darwin

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 – Earth Day

Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre, Marco Island, FL

Earth Day started April 22, 1970, as a way to bring awareness to environmental issues and changing the public’s outlook. We are all interconnected on this planet. Every action causes an equal reaction whether it be good or bad.

Everyone chooses their battles to fight. Some battle to reduce air pollution while others battle for the forests. My battle is for the oceans because they are one of the biggest sources of life on this planet. It’s heartbreaking to see the islands of plastic that have formed as a result of dumping garbage into the oceans. Some of the plastic breaks down, pollutes the waters and eventually settles on the ocean floors. Marine animals mistake plastics for food causing them to get sick or even die.

As humans we consume tons of fish, crabs, lobsters and shrimp from the oceans every year. With the amount of plastics, garbage and toxins that have been dumped into the oceans the marine life has become toxic for humans to eat. Yet it still is a very large food source for us, so what does that say about the state of our health?

This is just one small part of a much larger problem in the oceans and I could go on and on about the issues at hand, but I think you get the gist of it. Everyday we wake up we need to be mindful of the role we play on this planet and be proactive in taking care of Mother Earth so we will have a beautiful tomorrow.

What are some of the things you do to help make a better tomorrow?

Thanks for stopping by!

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~Unknown

All photos above in the slide presentation were taken by Maria Vidaurre, Bahamas.

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!

Thanks for stopping by!

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

Duckling Colored Pencil

I was going through some of my old sketch books and came upon this cute little guy. I created him in my 9″ x 12″ Strathmore Sketchbook quite a few years ago. He was made with Prismacolor Pencils and nothing else. I remember making him and thinking it would be so hard to draw fluffy down feathers. But I think I pulled it off, somewhat at least. Considering it was spring I figured it was the perfect time to share him with you.

Hope he brightens your day!

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Thoughtful Thursday

Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird hatchlings

Welcome Little Ones

Last week I wrote about the coming of Spring and the Mockingbirds that made a nest in our topiary just outside of our front door. I still find it odd that they did this with all of the foot traffic in and out of our home, but I guess they felt safe enough.

We’ve been watching Momma coming in and out from the nest a lot from our window. One time we saw her come back with a worm so we investigated once we knew she left. When we walked outside you could hear tiny little peeps. Lo and behold, we had 3 new babies in the nest and I was able to get a quick photo before Momma came back.

Life is beautiful, precious and just amazes me at times. We were blessed to see the birds build the nest, lay their eggs and now welcome the new babies. I’m still in awe with these precious little ones.

Mockingbirds are the Florida State Bird and are here all year round. They are about ten inches in length, sing beautiful songs and are excellent mimics. We’re keeping everyone away from the nest area so the babies and parents don’t stress. We can see that Momma keeps an ever watchful eye over her babies as Mockingbirds are known for fiercely defending their nests.

Take the time to slow down and breathe in the beauty and new life all around you during this very special season.

Have a lovely weekend!

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“Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with life itself.” ~L.W. Gilbert

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Spring Solstice

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Spring Equinox is on Saturday, 3/20/2021. This marks the first official day of spring in the Northern hemisphere. On this day, the length of the day and night are almost equal.

The flowers are beginning to bloom and the birds are nesting. We have a pair of what I believe are Mockingbirds that have made their nest just outside our front door in the topiary tree. We’ve been careful to keep the noise down, lights low and the gardeners away from that tree so that we do not disturb them. But it can be a little challenging since they are right at our front door. You can see the momma bird on her eggs keeping them nice and warm. I can’t wait for them to hatch! Very exciting!!

Have you checked your yard for any exciting new babies that may be coming soon? Would love to hear from you.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.” ~Charles Dickens

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Keto Day 15 – Progress Report

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Keto Day 15 – Progress Report

Okay, today is my last Keto Diet progress report. I promised to report the good, the bad and and ugly. Well, I started out good, losing weight and inches and that has now slowed down to a crawl unfortunately. I’ve lost a total of 7 pounds but my body fat and muscle mass is the same. I’ve hit a plateau and it’s a little frustrating.

Going back to my history, my body doesn’t normally respond well to eating more fat. However, one thing I did start adding to my morning shakes was Coconut MCT Oil which is a long-chain triglyceride that is easier to digest and is a good source of energy. It’s also good for brain health. You can have it everyday, but I only add it to my diet 3 times a week. I will say I’ve noticed that my mind is definitely sharper. So that’s a plus! Some of my other issues related to inflammation have also lessened, another plus!

Many people lose a lot of weight on Keto, but it just doesn’t seem to totally agree with me so I have to tweak my diet a little more. I think if I go back to cooking oil free but keep the avocados, nuts, coconuts and olives in my diet a few times a week I’m hoping I can find a good balance.

The Keto recipes were delicious and I now have a few new favorites. I’m still a believer in the Keto Lifestyle and recommend giving it a try. But eat a clean Keto Diet, not the ones that convince you a slab of bacon is healthy. Before making any changes to your diet, always check with your healthcare practitioner.

Thanks for your support on this adventure!

Recommend books for Keto Diet:

  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola

  • “Keto-Green 16” by Dr Anna Cabeca

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“If your body’s not right the rest of your day will go wrong. Take care of yourself!” ~V. L. Allineare

Thoughtful Thursday

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Daylight Savings Time

This Sunday marks Daylight Savings Time. We go to bed on Saturday night and at 12 am we are supposed to set our clocks forward 1 hour. An easy way to remember which way to set your clock is think “Spring forward, Fall back.”

But who started this and why? During World War I, President Roosevelt had the idea to follow the European model and suggested to Congress to start one standard time throughout our country. This was supposed to help us utilize our resources better. Thus they enacted the 1918 Standard Time Act which was meant to only be in effect for 7 months out of the year. After the war, the Standard Time Act was discontinued. However, some states still continued to follow it.

When World War II started, Congress imposed new legislation that was basically same as the 1918 Time Act but would be in effect for the entire year instead of only 7 months. This was repealed in 1945, and again some states kept following the Time Act.

In 1966 Congress passed new legislation that would permanently set a standard time for the entire nation. There are a few exceptions to the rule. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not follow this legislation, as well as overseas US Territories.

So don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead 1 hour Saturday night before going to bed. Hope you have a great weekend!

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Sources:

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/daylight-saving-time-instituted

https://time.com/5005600/states-without-daylight-savings-time

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