Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Hello everyone,

Happy Fall!  I don’t know about you but this is my favorite time of the year for food.  I love warm meals and the comfort of pumpkin and squash recipes. It is a wonderful time to try new recipes and to turn on those ovens to warm the house.

We made this incredible recipe, originally from the Forks Over Knives Magazine (and altered it a bit), and I wanted to share it with you.  This will be going on my favorite list to eat time and time again.  I hope you enjoy it at much as we did.

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Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Marinara (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash halved and seeds removed
  • 12 oz. brown lentils, rinsed and drained (canned)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 6 oz. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-milk (I used almond)
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (the more garlic, the better, in my opinion)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, ground
  • 1 Tbsp. of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat.  Place the squash halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender.
  2. In the meantime, in a bowl, stir together the lentils and marinara.
  3. Place potatoes in a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water to saucepan and bring to a boil.  Steam the potatoes, covered, for approximately 10 minutes or until tender.  Let the potatoes cool.
  4. Place the cooled potatoes in a blender.  Add the plant milk, nutritional yeast, white wine vinegar, garlic, sea salt and pepper.  Cover and blend until you reach the desired, sauce consistency. Set the sauce aside.
  5. Remove the squash from the oven.  Turn squash halves over, scrape squash strands with a fork, and spoon in the lentil mixture.  Bake for another 20 minutes or until heated through.
  6. Warm the potato sauce and poor it on top of the squash halves.  Add the basil as a garnish or mix it in.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being an Animal Rights Activist

Hello everyone,
I hope that you have all had an incredible summer.  I know that it’s been a bit…
I cannot believe that summer is almost over! Where does the time go?!  My summer consisted of working at the gym as fitness director, running my own business, taking a plant based nutrition course, activism, volunteering at a sanctuary, going to a wedding in San Francisco with the hubby, attending my 20 year high school reunion (whoah, I know!), and kissing Layla (our fur baby).  It was filled with ups and downs; the lowest of the downs took place a few weeks ago.  And that brings me to the subject of this blog:  “The Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being An Animal Rights Activist”.
I know that seems like a rough transition, but hang in there.  It’ll make sense by point 3.
1) Being an Animal Rights Activist is one of the hardest jobs in the whole world!
Not only do you not get any financial support for your actions, but the job never stops. I am no where near as active as some other activists, but I co-hosted a Cube of Truth almost every weekend for a year. In addition, I try to cook vegan food for people to sample, offer online challenges and to post something valuable/informative on social media every day! This work may not sound difficult but you never hear the end of it when you are fighting for something that is against the social norm.  It is full of Internet trolls, family insults including “you are a f*ing moron”, and strangers posting pictures of tortured animals.  The hours also never stop.  Being an activist means knowing the truth about what happens to animals and never being able to get away from the images: on social media, going to the grocery store, at family dinners, smelling barbecues in the neighborhood, seeing commercials on the TV’s at the gym, listening to food commercials on the radio, in your dreams (or nightmares).  It is a constant battle of trying to be compassionate, yet knowing what a dark place this world can be.
2)  Self-Care is crucial and must be done to sustain this movement! (And this is where my breaking point comes in….)
As an activist, you feel like you can never stop.  At this very moment, thousands of animals are being slaughtered and I should probably get off my butt to advocate for them instead of writing this blog.  I don’t have time for a bath or a vacation because the animals need me (and if one more person tells me abut their vacation when I am trying to save the world!). I am tired but I need to go to a Cube.  I want to cry but I can’t stop.  I don’t have time to be sick…..and vegans don’t get sick!
These are all thoughts that go through our heads.  I have heard fellow activists who feel guilty for sleeping in a warm bed because the animals the animals don’t get the same luxury.
For me, it had been months of no sleep, anxiety, and months of activism when I simply broke: both physically and mentally.  I saw a video on Instagram of an activist who was entering a meat market.  At this market, the customer went inside, purchased a live animal and the animal was killed right there for them to take home.  There was a video of a baby cow, and this is where I lost it.  I cried so hard, one of those gut-wrenching cries where you have to hold back the vomit.  Since then, I have been broken.  I have not been able to think of activism, I cannot see a video on social media and I have had the most intense stomach pain for the last two weeks.  Not doing self-care or taking care of my mental well-being finally caught up with me.
As an activist, we have to remember that we have to put our oxygen masks on first.  We cannot take care of this planet and save animals if we don’t take care of ourselves.  It is not selfish.  It should be a requirement.  This is a lifelong movement and the animals need us for the long haul.
3)  It is okay…better yet, more than okay to be happy!  
I think sometimes as activists we think that we have to watch the slaughterhouse videos, we have to study the facts regarding how animals are killed and how we are destroying the planet.  And we become so angry at the world, at our family and at our friends.  We scream at them that “meat is murder” and we become people that aren’t fun to be around.  While I don’t think that we should ever sugar coat our feelings, I do think we may get more people on board if we are happy and compassionate human beings.  Someone is more likely to jump on board if they see us as an inspiration instead of someone who is sad all the time (“I don’t want to be vegan if it makes me angry like you!”).  In addition, what is that doing to our health if we are angry and sad all the time?!  The animals don’t want that.  They want people to be strong so that we can thrive in this fight.
Having said all of this, I am not quite sure when I will completely recover from my breakdown.  I am spending my free time doing Yoga, meditation, eating healthy foods, taking baths and staying off of social media (that’s a whole other subject).  I am not quite sure when I will be able to dive back into activism 100%.  I know that when I do, I will try to remember these points so that I can make it through this long haul.  Maybe some extra Layla kisses will help ❤
Thank you all for reading.  I will be back with something happier soon.  And to my fellow activists, please take care of yourselves!  ❤

Delicious Brownies…Packed Full of Protein and Fiber!

Hello everyone,

It is a cold and rainy day here in San Diego, which makes it perfect for baking brownies!  Who am I kidding….any day is great for brownies 🙂

My favorite brownie recipe comes from my dear friend, Lacey.  I am sharing this recipe with her permission, and I highly recommend following her on Instagram for food inspiration (@sweetleifcafe).

We have tested these brownies on everyone, from kids to football coaches, and they always get a thumbs up.  Just don’t tell anyone that they are actually healthy and packed full of protein and fiber.

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Black Bean Brownies

 Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans; or 1 (15 oz.) can drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup creamy raw nut butter
  • 5-6 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free)

 Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment                 paper. In a large food processor fitted with an S-blade, process the black beans until smooth.
  2. To the pureed black beans, add in the almond butter, cacao powder, ground flax, vanilla, sugar, vinegar, salt, and baking soda. Process until a very smooth and thick batter is formed, stopping to scrape down the sides at least once to make sure everything is mixed.
  3. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and pulse a few times to mix them in. Use a spatula to scoop the batter into the lined 9-inch baking dish. The batter will be rather thick, so you’ll need to use the spatula to spread it evenly into the pan.
  4. Bake until the top begins to crack and the center feels relatively firm to a light touch, about 30 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely before attempting to cut them into squares, as they are very fragile when warm.
  5. Serve at room temperature, and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

Cooking Demo for this recipe coming next week!

 

 

My First Ebook is Now Online!

Hello everyone,

Happy Monday!

I am so excited to share with you that my first ebook has officially been published and is now online!  Ahhhhh (Imagine me jumping for joy!)!

I receive numerous messages from people every day who are suffering from Lyme Disease and who want to know how I improved my health.  So, I thought that I would put my entire journey into one, short ebook.  It truly makes me sad that many people suffer from this disease and have no one to turn to.  I truly hope that I can help people through my story and through my failed attempts to heal.

Note: this ebook is not just for those who are suffering from Lyme.  It may be beneficial for anyone with a chronic illness, or even for those who just want to live a healthier life.

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What’s Included in My Ebook:  

  • My Personal Lyme Story: from my diagnosis to remission
  • My Lyme Symptoms
  • The Failed Treatments that I Tried
  • What Treatment Finally Worked
  • How I Healed Naturally
  • Tips for Living a Healthy Life
  • My Lyme Diet
  • My Favorite Resources
  • And So Much More………

I truly hope that you will check it out.  Please click here for more information and please share with any family/friends who may be interested.  

Thank you SO much for your support! ❤

 

 

How Going Vegan Has Improved My Health

Hello everyone,
Happy Wellness Wednesday!
I just realized today that it has been almost two years since I went vegan. Honestly, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Here are some of the health transformations that I have had since making the switch:
 
I healed from Lyme disease.
 
I no longer need to take thyroid medication (which I had been on for almost 17 years!).
 
My skin has improved greatly.
 
My bloating has decreased and my digestion has improved.
 
My asthma is gone.
 
I have a ton of energy!
 
My joints no longer hurt.
 
My periods are no longer debilitating.
 
I look forward to cooking (before I went vegan I couldn’t even boil water!) and love that I have found passion in my life!
 
There is absolutely no turning back!!! I cannot wait to see what my vegan future holds…
Have you had any health transformations since going vegan?  
I would love to hear them!
Or are you ready to make the vegan transition for your health?  I am here to help you anytime you are ready!

Is it Possible to get Protein Without Eating Meat?

I always knew that I loved animals and never, ever wanted to eat them.  However, being a personal trainer, I often worried about not getting enough protein as a vegan. I would go a few months without eating meat and then someone would ask me, “But where do you get your protein?!”  I would let my mind convince me that I was dying from a protein deficiency and would start eating chicken again.

Because eating meat did not align with my morals, I finally took time to do some research and I found that it IS absolutely possible to get protein without eating meat!  And two years later, I am still feeling great and will never go back to eating animal protein again.IG image 1.png

Here is the good news!  Every food that we eat (minus oils) contains protein, so if you are eating enough calories you will absolutely get enough protein.  And protein from plants doesn’t contain all of that yucky stuff that meat does: no saturated fat, no cholesterol, no hormones that increase IGF-1.  Plus, plant protein contains fiber (something that meat doesn’t contain at all) and isn’t inflammatory!  In addition, plant protein doesn’t increase your chances of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, or kidney issues like meat does.  It’s an all around WIN!!!!!

Unknown-3.jpeg***This guy doesn’t have to worry about protein…and all he eats is PLANTS!!!!!

So, how much protein does a person need?  The recommendation for adults is 0.4 grams of protein per pound of healthy body weight.  It is absolutely easy to satisfy this need with a plant based diet.  Simply make sure to eat enough calories and to load up on whole plant based foods.  In addition, here are some foods that contain more protein than their plant based friends:

*Black beans: 7.6 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)

*Garbanzo beans: 7.5 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)

*Kidney beans: 8.1 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)

*Lentils: 8.9 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)

*Seitan: 22.5 grams of protein (3 ounces)

*Tofu: 10-20 grams of protein (firm usually contains more protein but varies from brand                 to brand)

*Peanuts: 8.6 grams of protein (1/4 cup)

*Almonds: 7.3 grams of protein (1/4 cup)

*Quinoa: 4.0 grams of protein (1/2 cup cooked)

*Potato: 4.5 grams of protein (1 baked)

*Peas: 4.5 grams of protein (1/2 cup)

PLANT PROTEIN

Above are some of my favorite sources.

Other sources include edamame, nuts and seeds, nut milks, plant based protein powders, whole grains and vegetables.

I hope that helps a bit and shows you that it IS absolutely possible and beneficial to get protein without eating meat.

For even more information, I recommend reading Proteinaholic by Garth Davis, M.D.  It is also available on audio book and is absolutely GAME CHANGING!

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Have a great day and I would love to hear from you!!!

What is your favorite plant based source for protein??? Leave a comment below.