I am Grateful – Cook Book Review

Cook book review – I Am Grateful Recipes and lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude
After my amazing food filled trip to Santa Cruz I was excited to get home, and get cooking in my own kitchen, with my Cafe Gratitude Cook Book. or should I say Un Cook Book.

So far I have made four recipes from the book. If you are unfamiliar with Cafe Gratitude, let me get you up to speed as quickly as I can.

Cafe Gratitude is a Raw Vegan restaurant, and so delish! I am lucky enough to have the location in Santa Cruz, with in driving distance from me.  Cafe Gratitude has this amazing vibe. The menu selections are all named affirmations, so when you order instead of “I will have the macrobiotic bowl”, you say “I am Whole”, and the waitress always says it back. When I visited the San Francisco locations they would always have a question of the day they would ask as well, but I have not had that experience in Santa Cruz.

There is great documentary called May I be Frank, The star, Frank stumbles into Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco, and meets Ryland, the cafe’s manager. Ryland asks Frank, the question of the day, what is one thing you’d like to do before you die? Frank answers ‘I want to fall in love one more time, but with a body like this, no one will love me, because i don’t love myself.’ What follows is 42 days of Frank, with the help of the staff at Cafe Gratitude, take on his weight, health, relationships and loving himself in just 42 days. Definitely worth a watch!

 

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Back to the Cook Book!

I am having a little love affair with Kale right now, who isn’t? so the first recipe I tried out was I Am Giving, a marinated Kale salad. It was put together in almost no time, and tasted amazing! I left out the hijiki seaweed it called for, due to an allergy of mine, and didn’t add any thing in its place. In the book it has you put it all together and serve right away, but I prefer my kale ( I used curly) a little softer, so i made it about a half hour to 45 minutes ahead of time, to let it get a little less firm. The kale was perfect for me. I loved it, and Hubby loved it! We had quite a bit left over which I ate in a wrap the next day for lunch with a bit of brown rice and that was great too, the kale really holds up well in the fridge.
Next I whipped up  I Am Attentive, a spicy tahini sauce. Again, due to it being raw food, it was a cinch to prepare, I just put all my ingredients in my VitaMix V(Thank you Hubby!) and whirled it around for a few seconds. Done! I used the sauce on a rice bowl I threw together using a brown rice and quinoa mix, kale, avocado, cucumber, scallions, basil, and some cilantro. The sauce was hearty and just the perfect amount of spicy. I had left overs of this as well, which was surprising considering every one went back for more, so I put it in a dressing bottle and the fam has been using it on sandwiches and lots more rice bowls.

In short every thing I have made from this book has been great, some of the recipes can be a little complicated, but from what I have tasted so far I am sure they are worth it, if you have a lazy Sunday afternoon to spare. Next I think I will try some of the yummy desserts, or maybe some of the raw crackers!

I am Grateful Cook Book – 4 out of 5 carrots!

 

Traveling Vegan

the ahimsa life.com

 

Traveling for work, while trying to stay healthy, and live a Vegan lifestyle can be done.

In my old life, I could travel any where from 3 days, to 15 days a month. I have learned a thing or two about eating clean, and exercising on the road. The good news is that every time I go on another trip I am seeing more, and more healthy options at hotels, airports, and convention centers. Here are some of my best tips.

Load up BEFORE you leave home. I travel with a few items from home to make life on the road easier.

1) Dr. McDougall Instant soups, my favorite is the Hot and Sour YUM!! This little baby can be your breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a pinch. It is a little high in sodium, but well worth it when you are hungry and the hotel has no options. It can be made easily, only hot water is needed. I prefer using the in room coffee maker to heat up the water, but some rooms have microwaves you can use as well.

2) Tea bags – any flavor you like. Some times just making a cup of tea, and reading a good book before bed is one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself when you are far from home.

3) Instant Oatmeal packets. Again, thank you in room coffee maker! I like Dr. McDougall ones, they are vegan, and delish. They fill you up, and make you all warm inside! You can get them in cup, or packets, the packets travel easy, I just make them in the provided in room coffee cups.

4) Yoga classes online! Traveling for work, I always have a laptop or iPad with me.  YogaGlo, YouTube, and YogaJournal.com are some of my fave places to get my Asana on while away from my home studio. You can buy a travel mat that folds neatly into your suitcase, use a pair or yoga socks, or the bathroom towel as a mat.

5) Reusable water bottle. I always bring mine empty through security, a lot of airports have water bottle filling stations now, and if for some reason your does not, it will come in handy while you are traveling. Traveling can dehydrate you terribly, so keep filling!

At the Airport.

The first thing I always look for is a Cibo Express. You will always find options there, from fresh fruit to sandwiches, wraps, noodles and baked goods! I take one to eat now, and one for the plane, or when I land.

There has been a wave of health conscious restaurants opening up in airports as well, here are a list of a few of my favorites…

San Francisco International Airport – Terminal 2 – The Plant Cafe – fresh juices, fresh salads, and two words… BEET BURGER! Yum! BONUS!! SFO has a Yoga room for you to get your practice in before or after your flight! (Yoga rooms are also available in Dallas, and Albuquerque!)

yoga_room_sfo

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 4 – Real Food Daily – Organic, Plant based, perfection!

O’Hare International Airport – Terminal 3 – Burrito Beach – Lots of clearly marked Vegan options for you to create your burrito masterpiece.

When you get there…

If I have the time, I try and find the nearest Whole Foods, or Health Food store. You can request a mini fridge for your room, if there isn’t one, and stock up on some essentials, bananas are great travel food, you do not have to wash them, and they require no refrigeration. grocery stores have great pre done items for us Vegans, sandwiches, salads, hummus, and chips, pita or carrots. Whole Foods has an entire Veggie bar where you can load up on noodle dishes, and all sorts of salads.

When dining out…

Believe it or not some of the best places I have been dragged to by my job have been steak houses. They always have amazing veggie sides, and big baked potatoes. When in doubt at any restaurant I always talk to the waiter, let them know you are Vegan and they can usually point out some options on the menu, and if your in luck, maybe the chef will toss together some thing for you that is off the menu. So many times they have offered to do this for me and I end up being asked all night by my table mates what I was eating and if they can have some.

Travel safe!

♥Pamela

 

Snacking and a healthy lifestyle.

what's yours?

 

I love to snack! For the most part I tend to eat a little all day long.

I have found best way to snack smart is to make sure I am set up for success before I am hit with a case of the munchies.
In my old life, I traveled a TON! Cars, shuttles, and airplanes. See my post on staying healthy while traveling. If I am on the go, and on the ground,  I stop in a local grocery store. Sure, I have to get out of the car, but I get extra steps on my FitBit and I get some real food. Grocery stores are stocked with ready to go cut fruit, veggies and snack time fresh items. Here is a great list of some of my favorite healthy snack options whether you are on the go, or staying home.

Ditch the juice eat some fruit. Whole fruit contains fiber, which makes you feel full for longer. Apples, Bananas, grapes, melons and berries. Don’t forget, if you are a road warrior like I was, or just on the go with the kiddies, make sure that produce is cleaned before you eat it. I love these handy Grab N’ Go fruit and veggie wipes.

Miso soup- a nice warm bowl of this stuff is scientifically proven to rev up your metabolism, and give you an extra boost of energy.

Make your own trail mix! recipe here.

Apple and peanut butter- It’s important to buy a natural peanut butter, read the label, it’s not a healthy snack if it is full of chemicals and sugars.

Hummus – with carrot sticks. The chickpeas in hummus are full of Protein and fiber.

Almonds- healthy fats and vitamin E to help you recover post work out. These nuts have also been proven to boost fat burning abilities.

Frozen Grapes – these are like bite sized Popsicles! I love them, especially on a hot day.

Whole grain toast with avocado slices. Whole grains, can help lower cholesterol, and if you can’t guess, a great source of fiber. Avocados! I love avocados, seriously, I do. just check out my post on them here. Avocados can help stabilize blood sugar, and help fight heart disease, and that’s just two of the many reasons you should be adding avocados into your diet. For a bit more flavor, add a dash of pink Himalayan salt, it helps balance your PH, helps your intestines absorb nutrients, and strengthens your bones!

Water, water and more water! Don’t forget to drink your water!
What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Be Well,

♥Pamela

 

Tip Tuesday – Save time, Eat healthy – Crock pot cooking Vegan Chili

Sticking to a healthy eating does not mean you have to be faced with a hour or two of cooking and cleaning once you get home.

Relaxing is just as much of a priority in a healthy life style as fitness is. I enjoy cooking, but when I see a crazy day pop up in my schedule I reach for my crock pot.

As far as Crock pots go- I stick to the basics, I have had my good old crock pot for years. The settings are basic. Off, Keep Warm, low, and high, and that works for me.

What can you make in your crock pot? well just about any thing.

Ahimsa Chili

One of my families favorites is my crock pot chili. We do not get any snow here on the sunny west coast, but January brings some rainy days. And this Chili is  the perfect amount of hearty and spicy for those chilly nights. The ingredients are simple and can be purchased at any grocery store, no running around looking for exotic spices for this one. It is put together quickly before I leave in the morning and is ready to go by the time I get back. I serve it with the classics – Saltines, chopped onion,  and Vegan cheddar. But you can also do vegan sour cream, and green onions. This recipe serves four easily, if you have less, make the whole batch any way, it saves well in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Here what you will need –

1 tsp Olive Oil – I use Cali Virgin, it’s the best!

1 Medium Chopped Yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 Bag frozen Beyond Meat Original ground

3 Tablespoons Chili powder (use less if you want less spicy)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup vegetable stock

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glenn)

2 16 oz cans dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons Bragg liquid Amino’s

salt and pepper to taste.

 

Set crock pot to desired temperature (see below) and add oil. Add half your chopped onion and all of the other ingredients. That’s it! Easy right?

Temperature guide –

With Crock Pot cooking choose your temperature by how fast you want it done.

Want to eat in 2-4 hours? High Setting

4-8 hours or more – low setting

 

 

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Juice of the Week – The Best Green Juice Ever!

The

 

Green Juice, we love it!

In A perfect world you would be drinking at least 1 homemade green juice a day.

This recipe makes it easy to keep that promise, and its delicious too!

Kick Start Your Morning Green Juice

1 cucumber

3 celery stalks

2 green apples

5 Kale leaves

1/2 lemon

1 thumb size piece of ginger

Wash all ingredients thoroughly, making sure they are super clean, I always use a produce spray for this, and please buy organic!

Toss all ingredients in blender.

Blend till smooth, if you like it colder, add in some ice.

Drink and enjoy all the healthy deliciousness!

 

♥Pamela

 

Avocado will you marry me?

Avocado will

It’s no secret I love avocados. I start most mornings with toast, avocado and a little bit of lemon or lime. Yum! As a matter of fact if I am out to breakfast or traveling I have been known to go off menu and ask for that there too. Sometimes I will ask for a side of grilled tomato sometimes not, on this stage its avocado that is the star!

Yes they have fat – the good kind that does not end up around your waist. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, AKA the good kind. This type of fat is the same heart healthy kind found in Olive oil.

Here are some ways to add avocados to your diet today!

  • Avocado toast for breakfast – I like mine with a little lemon, or lime
  • Add some to your morning smoothie
  • Top off your salad
  • For that matter top off your veggie burger or sandwich
  • Guacamole – hello!
  • make an avocado based salad dressing by blending with water, olive oil, and any spices you like
  • Making some veggie chili this weekend? Some crackers and a few avocado slices go great with your spicy bowl

 

This entry was posted in Eat.

High Fiber foods you need in your Diet

fiber

Fiber, are you tired of hearing about it yet? No? Great you shouldn’t be because fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol, it regulates your blood sugar, improves gut health, and makes you feel full longer. With all that goodness can you believe the average American only eats half of the recommended amount of fiber daily? You should shot for at least 30 mg per day.  Below is a list of some plant based fiber goodness foods you should add to your diet.

Legumes

Beans, peas and lentils not only have a serious amount of fiber but they also contain protein. That combo is amazing for keeping you feeling full for longer periods of time, which is great if you are trying to shed some pounds.

Canned beans are an especially affordable and convenient way to add some fiber. Try subbing pinto beans for meat in your next batch of chili, add black beans to your burritos or canned beans to your salads. One of my favorite ways to add beans to my diet is by making a simple rice bowl, brown rice, veggies, and beans with a little sauce, perfection!

If you’re concerned about sodium, rinse the beans under running water first.

Berries

Fruits and vegetables both contain fiber, but fruit generally has more fiber per serving. One cup of berries contains 4 to 10 grams of fiber. Blackberries and raspberries have 8 grams fiber per cup, while elderberries top the chart with whopping 10 grams per 1-cup serving!

Add berries to your morning oatmeal, or top your salad with a bunch. I like to snack on berries through out the day.

Pears

When it comes to fiber, pears are the superstars. Pears on average contain two to three times the amount of fiber. A large pear has 7 grams of fiber, while a large Asian pear contains 10 grams. Stick with fresh pears, and stay away from the canned pears swimming in sweetener.

Flax seed

Flax seed is a Fiber powerhouse containing BOTH soluble and insoluble fiber. Add it to your morning smoothie or to your baking.

Chia

1 oz of chia seed has 11 grams of fiber, that’s 1/3 the recommended intake for an average adult! I add chia to my morning smoothie along with flax, but its great sprinkled on a salad or made into a pudding.

Are you making sure you are getting your fiber?

 

 

Health and Wellness Movies I love

The Best Documentaries you can watch right now from home

My favorite way to spend a lazy afternoon is to make some great snacks and sit down to watch a movie. Struggling to find something to watch? Check out a few of my favorite health related Documentaries.

Vegucated-

I can’t say enough about this movie! Watch it, watch it now! Vegetated is the story of 3 regular New Yorkers who take on the challenge of going Vegan for 6 weeks to learn what it is all about. Its a fun and honest look at what it takes to be Vegan and why you should.

FREE on Amazon Prime!

Forks Over Knives –

Back in the day when I had only been Vegatarin for a few years I was able to see a screening of this film in theaters.  This movie is hands down the best, especially for Veg curious people who are craving some scientific and practical information on changing their diet.

Streaming on Netflix and available for rental on Amazon

Food Inc. –

This movie is loaded with great info, though not a fully Vegan centric movie, the first time I watched it I confirmed this is the right lifestyle for me. Food inc gives you a ton of info on how your food is made and who is profiting by it.

Amazon rental

BlackFish –

I missed this movie in theaters, but have streamed it a few times. This is a very important movie. Everyone needs to see it, and think about the way animals are treated for our entertainment.

Netflix Instant and Amazon rental

Enjoy the movies and let me know what you thought!

♥Pamela